Lifestyle in South California

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Craving a new locale featuring plenty of sunshine, easy access to the ocean and delicious food? Moving to California might be for you. California is among the biggest states in the nation, both in terms of land size and population, so there is a huge range of great places to live.

However, California is also one of the most expensive places to move to in America, so be prepared to spend more of your income on necessities like housing and transportation than you may have in your home. Talk to a Californian about what it's like to live there, and they'll likely call out three things first: the weather, the food, and the relaxed, easy-going culture.

California's location and topography mean that much of the state, especially along the coast, experience remarkably consistent warm weather year-round. For example, Los Angeles has an average of sunny days per year. And there are plenty of opportunities to make use of that great weather.

California is home to 28 national parks, including Yosemite, Sequoia and Joshua Tree. And there are many places statewide for outdoor activities, including beaches, hiking trails and more. Great food is also readily available. California's Central Valley is a major agricultural center, so fresh produce is inexpensive and very high-quality.

What's more, California has a diverse array of cuisines available to its residents, due in part to its strong immigrant communities. Another result of its historical role as an immigrant landing ground: California's population is remarkably diverse.

In fact, it's the second-most ethnically diverse state in the U. If you live in California, you're likely to live and work with people from all backgrounds and walks of life. California is known for having a warm, sunny climate, and that's generally accurate.

However, the state has an incredibly varied geography that in a wide variety of different climates. It's known for having "microclimates," where temperatures can range dramatically from one place to the next, despite a short distance separating the two. For example, on a summer day, it might be 60 degrees in Palo Alto but 80 degrees in San Jose, less than 20 miles away.

Generally speaking, the South Coast is warmer, sunnier and drier than the North Coast. For example, the average summer high in Los Angeles is in the mids, and the city gets about 23 rainy days per year. Meanwhile, a typical summer high in San Francisco is in the mids, and the city gets about 45 days of rain annually.

The Central Valley, California's agricultural center, has more pronounced seasons than the coast. Its hot summers regularly hit the high 90s and low s, while winter highs hover around the mid 50s. Of the people who don't live in California's coastal regions, the remainder Lifestyle in South California live here, in cities like Sacramento and Fresno.

The mountains and northern forests of California, including the Sierra Nevada and Sierra Madre, are much cooler and see far more precipitation including snow than the rest of the state. At higher elevations, snow sometimes persists late into the year, making it sometimes possible to go skiing in July or Lifestyle in South California.

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There are small towns throughout the mountain ranges, but they're far less densely populated than the coasts. The California deserts, bordering Nevada, are hot and dry year-round. Death Valley in particular is famous for being one of the hottest places in the world, having set the record for hottest recorded temperature in history.

The deserts are inhospitable to humans and sparsely populated. A consequence of California's sunny weather is that the state gets less rain than most other states. A recent yearslong drought has led to wildfires being a consistent problem for the state. Sincethere have been about 8, wildfires each year, withacres of land consumed by flames.

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By many metrics, the cost of living in California is consistently among the highest in the nation, especially in desirable areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. It's very difficult to find a cheap place to live here. Unfortunately, renters don't fare much better. California's median rent works out to be California has a nearly endless variety of Lifestyle in South California opportunities for new residents.

California also boasts a diverse set of industries that contribute to its strong economy, meaning there are many different types of jobs for residents. ificant industries statewide include trade, agriculture and tourism. In Southern California, including Los Angeles, notable industries include entertainment, like movie, television and music production.

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for being host to technology giants like Apple, Google and Facebook, not to mention thousands of smaller companies and startups. In the vast majority of California, the dominant way to get around is by car. That means that the cost of getting around primarily involves gas, insurance, and the cost of buying or leasing a car. Gas prices are very high in California. This places it ahead of every other state in the country for gasoline costs except Hawaii. Car insurance rates in California are also on the high side—in a nationwide study, we found that California placed 44th out of 50 states when it came to affordable car insurance.

However, car insurance shoppers can frequently find a better deal by shopping around from multiple insurance companies. California does not have particularly stringent minimums for auto insurance coverage. The only requirements are liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage.

However, you should consider your own insurance needs and what level of risk you're comfortable with when buying auto insurance, not just the minimum amount necessary by law. California has an endless array of different places to live, each with its own style, cost of living and job opportunities. Below, take a look at a few popular destinations along with their cost of living and some pros and cons to keep in mind. Los Angeles is California's largest city and centerpoint of sunny SoCal culture.

The city itself is large, but the entire county is almost as big as the state of Connecticut. There are hundreds of different neighborhoods and places to live, from beachy Santa Monica to upscale Beverly Hills.

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But that size means it can take a long time to get anywhere, and Los Angeles' traffic is notoriously headache-inducing. Depending on where you live, you might run into celebrities. But with a population of nearly 4 million, you'll have to keep your eyes peeled. San Francisco was long considered second fiddle to Los Angeles, but the tech boom of the late 20th and early 21st centuries have put San Francisco on equal footing with Los Angeles in terms of cultural cachet—and more expensive when it comes to the cost of living.

It has famously variable weather that doesn't correspond to typical seasons. The warmest months are September and October, and temperatures can fluctuate wildly based on location and time of day. But there is always something exciting happening, and you'll be treated to beautiful row houses, world-class restaurants and parks right in the city. The city's small size and high density mean that it's far easier to go car-free here than anywhere else in the state.

Given San Francisco's tiny geographic size, it's no surprise that San Francisco's culture has spread beyond the city itself into the surrounding Bay Area.

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Some of the best universities in the country are also located here, including Stanford University and University of California-Berkeley. In some ways, the Bay Area feels more like the rest of California than it does like San Francisco itself. The weather is warmer, things are more spread out and you'll likely need a car to live there. But rents in cities close to San Francisco, like Berkeley and Oakland, are still more expensive than a typical California apartment, and the same cultural ethos prevails.

So SF is not your only option for a big city in the region. San Diego is California's ultimate beach town. It's the second-biggest city in the state, and it's located in California's southwestern corner, just over the border from Tijuana, Mexico.

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Despite its large population, it has much more of a small-town feel than Los Angeles. Life in San Diego is generally very relaxed, with abundant opportunities to go to the beach year-round. However, the city's unbeatable weather means that rents are very high. Sacramento is the capital of California, and with a population of around , it's the state's sixth-largest city. It's located about two hours inland by car from San Francisco, so you're missing out on the easy oceanfront access of other locales on the list, but Lifestyle in South California a far more affordable place to live.

There are plenty of lakes and rivers to explore in the area, so you don't need to travel far to get on the water. Plus, Sacramento puts you closer to skiing and national parks like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. Sacramento doesn't receive as much of a moderating effect from the ocean as coastal California, so its weather gets much hotter in summer, with summertime highs usually reaching the low 90s. Winters are cooler, but not cold: Winter lows are typically in the low 50s.

If you've committed yourself to moving to California, the first thing to keep in mind is how expensive it is to do so. Most places in California are very pricey to live in, so the bigger a financial cushion you can put together, the better off you'll be. If you're able to secure a job offer before you move, even better, especially if your company can cover moving expenses.

California's high rents and low vacancy rates make it very challenging to rent an apartment in most places in the state. The first step is to pick an approximate area to live and an approximate price range. A good rule of thumb is to divide your annual salary by 40, and set that for the amount you should spend. It will be about one-third of your salary. The ideal strategy to locate an apartment in California is to combine looking online and hunting in person in your neighborhood of choice. You can survey a much wider area by using online tools like Craigslist, Streeteasy and Zillow; but searching on foot or by car allows you to get a better feel for what a neighborhood is actually like.

Plus, you might find a great deal for a place not listed on the web.

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If you do end up working with an apartment broker or agent, the landlord will usually pay their commission.

Lifestyle in South California

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