The search for the perfect place to call home is one of life’s biggest decisions. Whether you’re a recent college grad, starting your career, or an empty-nester looking to retire in style, the prospect of finding the right neighborhood can seem daunting.
With so many good options out there, it’s hard to know where to start! We’ve come up with the 7 best places to live Southern California.
- Overview of Southern California
- 7 best places to live in Southern California
- 1. Los Angeles
- 2. Loma Linda
- 3. Santa Barbara
- 4. Irvine
- 5. Manhattan Beach
- 6. San Diego
- 7. Anaheim
- What are the tips for living in Southern California?
- Reasons to Do Research Before Deciding Where to Settle in Southern California:
- What Makes a City Ideal for Families with Kids?
- Why Does Living Near a Beach Cost More Than Other Areas?
- Do You Need an International Driver’s License to Drive in California?
- How Do You Get Around Los Angeles and San Diego without a Car?
- Where Do Most Expats Move When Living in Southern California?
- What Are Some Healthy Food Options When Living in SoCal?
- Final Thought
Overview of Southern California
Southern California is located on the Pacific Coast, between Los Angeles and San Diego. It is considered to be part of the Southwestern United States region that includes Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. With a total population of nearly 20 million people, Southern California includes the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Diego.
The area has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters; every city in Southern California offers an abundance of sunshine year round! From laid back beach towns to bustling urban settings, there is something for everyone across the region.
Southern California cities include:
- Los Angeles
- Long Beach
- San Diego
- Chula Vista
- Rancho Cucamonga
- San Bernardino
- Santa Clarita
- San Clemente
- Mission Viejo
- Yorba Linda
- Costa Mesa
- Palm Desert
- Laguna Niguel
- Cathedral City
- Rancho Mirage.
These are some of the best places to live in Southern California! Each city offers its own unique experience; some are popular with college students, while others attract an older crowd. Some of the cities listed here may be most appealing to renters (depending on which you prefer).
The city that is right for one person might not be the best choice for everyone. Whatever your lifestyle preferences or budget, there’s a Southern California neighborhood perfect for you!
- San Clemente
- Chula Vista
- Laguna Niguel
- Los Angeles
- Costa Mesa
7 best places to live in Southern California
Here are seven best places to live in southern California:
1. Los Angeles
Population: Almost 4 million
Weather: Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters
Top Attractions: Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Universal Studios
Pros and Cons:
Hollywood entertainment industry, good job opportunities, warm climate.
Higher cost of living relative to other areas in southern california, traffic congestion on freeways.
Cost of living -Housing costs are higher than in much of the nation. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $1700 per month while home prices hover near $550,000 (compared to the national averages of about half that price).
Los Angeles offers a wide variety of entertainment opportunities for all types. From the Hollywood Entertainment Industry to great shopping, Los Angeles is known as “the city that never sleeps” offering something for everyone! With warm weather year-round and easy access to beaches, there are endless possibilities when it comes to recreation in this area. Love traffic? There are plenty of freeways for you to get stuck on!
2. Loma Linda
Population: around 23,000
Weather: Semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild winters.
Top Attractions: Loma Linda University Medical Center, San Timoteo Canyon Regional Park, Lytle Creek Trailhead
Pros and Cons:
Schools, low crime rate, and less traffic congestion are all bonuses..
Limited job opportunities, higher cost of living relative to other areas in southern california.
Cost of living – The cost of housing is slightly higher than the national average, with average one-bedroom rents at $1400 per month.
If you’re looking for a small, quiet city with great schools and low crime rates, then this might be the perfect place for you! With easy access to nearby mountains and desert trails as well as a wide range of recreational opportunities at San Timoteo Canyon Regional Park, there are tons of things to do in Loma Linda!
3. Santa Barbara
Population: around 90,000
Weather: Mediterranean climate with warm summers and mild winters.
Top Attractions: Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Stearns Wharf, Presidio of Santa Barbara National Historic Site
Pros and Cons:
Excellent schools, nice climate, lots of recreational opportunities.
Aside from limited job opportunities and expensive cost of living, gas prices are also high.
Cost of living -Housing expenses are greater than the national average, as well as several utilities such as electricity and gas.The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $2100 per month while home prices hover near the million dollar mark (compared to the national averages of about half that price).
With a Mediterranean climate and close proximity to the coast with beautiful beaches, there are endless possibilities when it comes to recreation! There is also a wide range of cultural activities including theater, music, and dance. Love to travel? Santa Barbara is a popular tourist destination!
Population: around 250,000
Weather: Somewhat similar to Los Angeles. Hot summers and mild winters with some rain in between, but generally dry year-round.
Top Attractions: Irvine Spectrum Center, University of California – Irvine, Candlewood Nature Park
Pros and Cons:
Highly regarded institutions, low crime rate, short commute times.
Limited range of employment opportunities (due to small size), higher cost of living relative to other areas in southern california.
Cost of living – With the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment at $2,598 per month and home values approaching million dollars, housing in this metropolis is more expensive than the national average.
Love to commute? Then Irvine might be the perfect place for you! With short average commutes, low crime rates, and great schools, this city is also home to a wide range of recreational opportunities including parks with trails, sports fields, beaches nearby. You can even take your furry friend along on walks at the dog park!
5. Manhattan Beach
Population: around 33,000
Weather: Semi-arid climate with warm summers and mild winters.
Top Attractions: Manhattan Beach Pier, Mira Costa High School, California State University – Long Beach (CSULB)
Pros and Cons:
Excellent education institutions, A pleasant climate, minimal travel time.
Higher cost of living relative to other areas in southern california, limited employment opportunities.
Cost of living -The typical monthly rent for a one-bedroom place is $2600. Home values are around $1 million.
Love the beach? Then this might be the perfect place for you! With beautiful ocean views and nearby mountains as well as a wide range of outdoor recreational activities including surfing, kayaking, and more, you can have it all in Manhattan Beach. Plus with a short average commute time and great schools nearby, this city has something for everyone! Manhattan Beach is a laid-back, family friendly community with natural attractions like the Strand bike path and Manhattan Beach Pier
6. San Diego
Population: around 13,000,000 (greater metropolitan area)
Weather: Semi-arid climate with hot summers and mild winters. Some rain throughout the year but generally dry especially in summer – May is considered a “dry month”.
Top Attractions: San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, SeaWorld San Diego
Pros and Cons:
Huge variety of top-quality recreational opportunities, low crime rates, short commute times.
Limited cultural activities (compared to Los Angeles), higher cost of living relative to other areas in Southern California.
Cost of living – In the country’s financial capital, average monthly rents for one-bedroom flats range from $2160 to $2100. In contrast, home prices range from roughly a million dollars to around half that price (compared to national averages about half as much).
This beautiful city is the perfect place for those who love the outdoors. With great weather year-round, this city has plenty of beaches with nice waves perfect for surfing as well as kayaking and paddle boarding nearby. Plus there are also museums like the San Diego Natural History Museum right in Balboa Park! If you’re looking to be near a major metropolitan area but still want easy access to outdoor activities, San Diego is the perfect place for you!
Population: around 346,824
Weather: The semi-arid climate is one of extremes, with hot, dry summers and chilly winters.
Top Attractions: Disneyland Resort, Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Honda Center
Pros and Cons:
One of the most affordable places to live in Southern California, proximity to other major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Diego.
Limited cultural activities (compared to Los Angeles), higher cost of living relative to other areas in southern California.
Cost of living – The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment ranges from $1400 to $1800, whereas home prices tend to be around a million dollars.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to live in southern California, look no further than Anaheim! With the second highest population of any city in Southern California after Los Angeles itself, there are plenty of people around to socialize with. And if you love Disneyland Resort like most locals do, this is a great place for you since it’s only about 20 minutes away from downtown!
Listed above are the best places to live in Southern California. While every place has its pros and cons, these cities are often considered some of the best places to live in Southern California. If you’re looking for a new home, consider one of these cities!
What are the tips for living in Southern California?
Here are some helpful tips for living in the part of Southern California:
- Learn about local amenities and resources to make your life easier.
- Choose a place that has nice weather year round for an easy transition into your new home!
- Get out there and explore all Southern California has to offer, from beaches like La Jolla Cove and Huntington Beach to iconic places like Balboa Park and The San Diego Natural History Museum!
- If you’re moving from a different state or country, be prepared for the new opportunities as well as challenges that might come with it.
- Be aware of seasonal weather changes. It’s important to pack for all types of weather! In summer it may be extremely sunny and hot, while in winter you might need a raincoat as well as warm clothes since the temperature can drop to 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Plan accordingly!
- In Southern California many people commute by car. If you don’t want to rely on a car, look for places with good public transportation like Los Angeles or San Diego!
- -If you’re looking for an affordable place to live in Southern California (and not just cheap), consider moving to Anaheim or Manhattan Beach since they are two of the most cost efficient cities in the area.
- If you have a family, look for houses with good sized yards since living in Southern California can feel even more crowded than other large cities due to the high population density.
- While Los Angeles is expensive, it’s one of the best places to live in Southern California if you’re looking for a vibrant nightlife and plenty of things to do.
Reasons to Do Research Before Deciding Where to Settle in Southern California:
- If you don’t want to rely on public transportation, living in an area like Los Angeles is good since it has one of the most extensive metro systems in the world.
- The west coast can feel more crowded than other areas due to its high population density (especially near coastal cities). Coming from a less dense city or state might take some getting used to!
- Southern California is one of the most visited places in the world with attractions like Disneyland Resort, Universal Studios Hollywood and The Getty Museum. It’s important to research how much things usually cost when living here since it can be more expensive than you think.
- Researching before settling on where to live will help prepare you for what your new life in southern california will be like.
- If you want to live near the beach, keep in mind that living by such a beautiful and popular place can come with its drawbacks! Be prepared for higher rent prices and lots of tourists during summer months at beaches like Huntington Beach or Newport Beach.
- It’s important to consider your commute when choosing where to live. Southern California is known for having some of the most congested traffic in America!
- If you really love exploring, living near a city like Los Angeles or San Diego will be great since they are located close to many different cities and attractions throughout southern california.
When it comes down to deciding where your next home should be, it’s really up to you! Research what will be best for your needs and priorities.
Wherever you decide, living in Southern California is an experience like no other with so much to offer!
What Makes a City Ideal for Families with Kids?
There are many things you should consider when choosing where to settle down in Southern California with children. A top priority would be your child’s school district since this will have a big impact on their education and social life.
While living near the beach can provide plenty of fun activities, it might not be the best place for kids if they are not able to swim or get in the water. If you’re looking for a strong sense of community, living near other families with children will help establish this close-knit feeling! Look for places like towns and suburbs instead of large cities if family life is important to you.
Why Does Living Near a Beach Cost More Than Other Areas?
Living near a beach is one of the biggest perks in Southern California but it’s important to consider some drawbacks. For instance, many beaches are overcrowded during summer months and offer expensive parking fees on top of higher rent prices!
Beaches like Santa Monica or Laguna Beach have more affordable options with less crowded activities if you’re willing to drive a little bit.
Do You Need an International Driver’s License to Drive in California?
While California is known for having some of the most expensive car insurance rates in America, it’s also one of the safest places to drive! It helps if you have a reliable vehicle since freeways are crowded and gas prices are high.
International driver’s licenses can be helpful when renting cars or getting around by Uber/Lyft but they aren’t necessary.
How Do You Get Around Los Angeles and San Diego without a Car?
Southern California has some of the best public transportation in the world with an extensive metro system and bus options. If you’re living in Los Angeles or San Diego, walking will be your most affordable option but driving might be necessary for far distances!
You can also use Uber/Lyft which are very cheap depending on traffic conditions at the time.
Where Do Most Expats Move When Living in Southern California?
Many expats living in Southern California choose to live near the beach if they are not driving. Fortunately, there are many beautiful beaches all along the coast of Southern California that can provide a great place for outdoor activities.
What Are Some Healthy Food Options When Living in SoCal?
When it comes to healthy food options, most people think of salad and avocado toast since these are popular dishes in Southern California. While this might be true, there is a lot more variety to the food scene than you would think!
If you love Mexican food like tacos or burritos, living near LA’s famous taco trucks will give plenty of good options for affordable prices.
We hope you enjoyed this blog post about the 7 best places to live in Southern California. From beachy, laid-back vibes to chic city living and everything in between, there’s a perfect place for everyone here!
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