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OT / Best place to live in Northern California?

Started 1273970817.33 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1274333912.647 by DreamWeaver

What would be a great place to live in Northern California? I know it's generally expensive, but are there nice places that are more reasonable and safe and friendly?

I've thought about (but have never been to) San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel area, Pacific Grove.....

Any thoughts / suggestions?Smile

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Jgirl1273970920.5972804 PostsRegistered 2/16/2008

There are some GREAT towns outside of Sacramento and that area is far less expensive than the Bay area.  Anything in the Sierra foothills is gorgeous.

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Sile1273971054.041224 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010


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september1273971867.1319338 PostsRegistered 6/29/2007

Monterey, Carmel, and Pacific Grove are on the Central Coast. Yes, they are all nice places to live, but the cost of living is high.  As a trade-off, you feel like you're on vacation all the time, as this is where so many others come for their vacations!

Also, the public schools are great.  If you have kids, the higher cost of living is offset by not having to pay private school tuition.

It never gets too hot here, and it never gets too cold.  San Francisco is about 90 miles north and has a similar climate and home prices that are about the same.



Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.-Ruth Ann Schabacker

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tdog1273971892.6932320 PostsRegistered 12/4/2007

I live in Pacific Grove, and it is BEAUTIFUL here, but, alas, it is expensive. Also, the summers can be really foggy here. The average temp is about 63 degrees. Most cities along the coast are pricey. You have to live inland to find more affordable places. Sorry I can't be more informative, but if you do some research you should find some ideas. Also, Napa Valley is gorgeous, but also pricey. Summers there are HOT. 

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Jgirl1273972093.482804 PostsRegistered 2/16/2008

Auburn, Grass Valley, Nevada City, Placerville, Cool, Pollack Pines, El Dorado Hills


If you like places a little closer to Sacramento there is Folsom or Roseville.  These towns have a much lower cost of living.  Any place in the Bay area is almost cost prohibitive.

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JBUGG1273972330.041680 PostsRegistered 1/27/2007

I live in just northeast of Sacramento, and there are a lot of lovely and cost effective/affordable towns to live in and choose from.


El Dorado Hills is a very elite town, while beautiful, it's not very cost effective to live there..imo. It's the Cadillac of the Sacto. area.

The towns I would recommend in and around Sacramento and the foothills are Roseville, Rocklin, Lincoln (which is where I live and it's BEAUTIFUL). Lincoln is approx. 15/20 min. from the snow and 1 hour away from Truckee so it's a great location. You can buy an already built house or buy land and build your own. It's VERY affordable to live here. A 3 bed/2 bath in Lincoln, fairly new home is 150K. You can buy an acre of land for like 150K as well.

 Folsom and Loomis are nice, too. If you want to live a little closer to the snow, Auburn is lovely as well.

Grass Valley, Nevada City, Placerville, Cool, Pollack Pines are beautiful but these are in snow country and you will get snowed in from time to time each winter. Not sure if that's something you would want to deal with or not.

All of these towns are fairly inexpensive, especially comparted to the Bay Area (I was born and raised in the Bay Area so I'm pretty familiar w/ real estate).

If you have any further questions about this, I'll be happy to help you out with my input.

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MrsSweetie­Bear1273972463.797089 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Somewhere UNDER the rainbow

Napa - my home town!  I really do miss it.

My favorite people are dogs, and
Dogs are my favorite people.

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JBUGG1273972638.431680 PostsRegistered 1/27/2007

Mrs. Sweetie Bear, Napa is lovely. So is Sonoma. You can't beat the wine country for it's beauty and serenity, that's for sure!

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Jgirl1273972780.092804 PostsRegistered 2/16/2008

JBugg- Are you going to the Amgen tour tomorrow?

Can't wait!  Very exciting for our small town!


And, I forgot about Lincoln.  Nice location and good housing prices.  

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GemNBeauty­Madness1273973105.973227 PostsRegistered 11/23/2008

I agree, you can't beat the wine country...as well as including Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and surrounding areas. Depending on where you are moving from, some of the mentioned areas run around  $800,000 minimum for a 2-3 bedroom in a nice area. Sacramento's suburbs seem to be more reasonable...just depends what your price range is and the lifestyle you are looking for. If you haven't visited San Francisco and the wine country, you ought to plan a trip there.... you'd probably have a fantastic trip! Good luck. 

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CAshopper2­0111273973494.8373742 PostsRegistered 12/20/2009

If you like the coast, San Luis Obispo/Pismo Beach area is less expensive than Monterey County and about 1.5 hours south of Carmel on wiiiindy Higway 1.  I think San Luis is considered "central" CA, but it is a nice place for families IMO.  College town.

All of the places you mention will be nicer to visit in spring or late summer.  It is foggy and cold in June & July when most tourists visit, but then the locals get a beautiful Indian summer in August-October.

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Missey11273973907.983174 PostsRegistered 12/21/2008Sierra Foothills CA
On 5/15/2010 Jgirl said:

There are some GREAT towns outside of Sacramento and that area is far less expensive than the Bay area.  Anything in the Sierra foothills is gorgeous.

 I have to 100% agree with you. LOL.      We really don't even have to lock our doors still and there isn't even a traffic light in my town.

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CAshopper2­0111273974152.8333742 PostsRegistered 12/20/2009


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MrsSweetie­Bear1273974189.947089 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Somewhere UNDER the rainbow

All those towns! From Calistoga to Napa.  From Monterey to Mendocino.  From Guerneville to Tahoe.  Lassen, Shasta, Ukiah to Yosemite.  All used to be my "stomping grounds".  I miss California roads.  As much as I do love my island home and lifestyle, we just sort of drive around in a circle, lol!

Napa is not the same cute little small town it was when I left but it's still pretty nice.  I love to visit Sonoma when I go "home" to Napa.

My favorite people are dogs, and
Dogs are my favorite people.

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Jgirl1273974234.7872804 PostsRegistered 2/16/2008

feline lover- I think this area is truly a treasure.  You can drive to SF for the day, or the snow, or wine country or Truckee to fish and ski.  The perfect place!

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dtlady1273975611.88830 PostsRegistered 8/4/2006West Coast

My Mother-in law lives in Tiburon it's out of our price range for sure. I would say Sacramento a lot of people commute every day from Sacramento to the bay.


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Sile1273977740.9131224 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010


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productlov­er1273977922.9771553 PostsRegistered 6/8/2007CA

I live on the peninsula, it's beautiful but it is expensive.

  I would not recommend Sacramento.......very hot temps and really bad traffic.

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beatlefan1273978063.303377 PostsRegistered 6/28/2009

I grew up in Napa and my family still lives there - its beautiful and close enough to San Francisco without being in the city.

I currently live In Eureka, on the redwood coast.  It is absolutely beautiful here - there is a university (Humboldt State) in Arcata, 9 miles north of Eureka.  I love living on the coast.  However, it gets foggy here and we have more rain than the bay area. 

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Sile1273978596.8631224 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010


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Sile1273978803.031224 PostsRegistered 2/3/2010


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purrsbythe­bay1273979155.283279 PostsRegistered 4/15/2010San Francisco

I think it depends on whether you're single or married, have children, your age....what kind of hobbies do you enjoy, will you rent or buy, etc.

San Francisco is beautiful and I love the weather (it's perfect for my tastes but not for everyone).  It's an incredibly expensive city.  I think it's second only to New York.  The transportation system is pretty good so it's not necessary to have a car (but, it's nice if you can afford it).  Finding parking is a nightmare and many apartments don't include parking spots so that can be another added expense.

It has a lot to offer culturally; museums, ballet, plays, etc.

It's less than an hour from Sonoma and the wine country is beautiful.

I grew up in Sacramento and my Mom still lives there.  I hate the summers there because they're so hot.  I've been spoiled by the cooler weather in the city ;) But, it's a two hour drive to Tahoe and skiiing and under 2 hours to San Francisco.  It's also much less expensive than San Francisco.

That's just some info for starters.... :)

aka NancScents

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Kazsails1273979644.043628 PostsRegistered 9/6/2007Northern CA

Sonoma County!  Most beautiful place on earth.  Santa Rosa, Windsor, Healdsburg, Cotati, Petaluma.. and in this economy, very affordable.  Only and hour from SF and about 2 hours to Sacto, and 3 hours to the snow.  Not too hot.  Love it here.  I live in Rohnert Park a "bedroom community" with a park in every subdivision.  A great place for families with kids.  LOVE it here. <3

Fair winds.... ~~~~~~_/)_~~~~~~

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LIFE IS WO­NDERFUL1273980292.233118 PostsRegistered 5/17/2008

I LOVE Sonoma County!!!!!

I used to live in Rohnert Park, and LOVE it!!!!!

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jello_19551273980685.7576 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Are you going to need to find a job?  Some of the places mentioned are very scenic but if you need to find work in a more metropolitan area, the commute can be quite long.  Unfortunately these areas have no rapid transit; we're a car-loving community.

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