life in california

Moving to California? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Are you planning to move to California? Adjusting to living in a whole new state can be incredibly overwhelming, to say the least. But when it comes to moving to California, it’s definitely worth it. California is by far the state with the widest variety in topography, scenery, climate, and culture. It has the lowest point in North America, the oldest trees in the world, and the highest peak in the United States south of Alaska. California contains some of the most productive farms in the world, as well as stunning mountains, deserts, woods, and seashores. It also offers world-class cities and cultural attractions.

moving to California
Is California for You?

According to Nations Online and United States Census Bureau, California covers 423 970 square kilometers and has a population of about 39.23 million. The state has a larger population than Canada, a larger economy than the United Kingdom, France, or Russia, and a larger landmass than Japan. When moving to California, you should do plenty of prior research. Our comprehensive guide on moving to California will discuss everything you need to know; from the pros and cons of the state concerning public transit, to the cost of groceries, entertainment, housing, and the job market.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

10 Reasons Why Moving to California Is a Good Idea

If you enjoy the beauty of nature, such as the beaches along the Pacific Ocean, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and deserts like Death Valley, California is a terrific place to call home. Here are the top reasons why moving to California is the right choice for you.

1. Scenic Beauty

California’s vast size endows it with stunning geography. Over 800 miles of rocky, sandy coastline, dormant volcanoes tucked away in gorgeous mountain ranges, large fertile valleys with winding rivers and countless orchards, and vast, desolate deserts that reach as far as the eye can see are all there. California has all kinds of natural wonders. California is breathtakingly beautiful and has a wide range of microclimates. Its variety of scenery is difficult to match. You can enjoy a moderate sea breeze while watching Mission Bay near San Diego, relax on a warm beach, or explore the lush hills of Temecula wine country. In the summer, you can also play on a mountain lake or travel across a vast desert in less than 90 minutes. That only applies to Southern California.

california scenery

The Sierra Mountains, Sequoia trees, Morro Bay, Monterey Bay, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe and its surrounding mountains, the Central Valley’s agriculture and groves, the Sacramento Delta’s lush vegetation, San Francisco Bay, redwood forests, and the Cascade Range are all further out. World-famous National Parks are located throughout California. There are Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Sequoia, Death Valley, Kings Canyon, and Redwood National Park. The state is admired for both its historical and aesthetic significance.

2. State of Opportunity

California is the ultimate land of opportunity and attracts ambitious, highly educated people worldwide. As the sixth-largest economy in the world, it is a financial behemoth, per California Government. People keep flocking here because there are so many job opportunities. Nearly 40 million already call it home, and more keep coming.

california economy

3. Quality Education

There are several prestigious colleges in the state of California. With 121 community colleges, the California State University system’s 21 institutions, and the University of California system’s 11 universities, it boasts an excellent higher education system. Some top colleges and universities are Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, and USC University of Southern California (private).

education in california ucla

4. Pleasant Weather

There are only two seasons in California, dry and wet. San Francisco has an average yearly temperature of 13.9 degrees, compared to 18.3 degrees in Los Angeles. Away from the shore, alpine regions experience warmer summers and colder winters. California is the state with the widest range of climates. You’ll enjoy the desert if you enjoy scorching summers and moderate winters. The Northern California coast will be a terrific choice if you enjoy cold summers and warm, rainy winters. Lake Tahoe will be an excellent choice for folks who enjoy winter skiing and snow. The summers and winters are moderate along the southern California coast.

california weather

5. Huge Wine Production

The primary reasons California produces the most wine in the entire US are that it has a massive amount of arable land and a climate (and microclimates) ideal for growing an enormous variety of crops. This is also why California produces most of the nation’s fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Due to the combination of climate and highly fertile soil, yield per acre in California is often 50–70% higher than yields in other states, depending on the crop. Visits to vineyards are among the most affordable things you can do in California. Among these, the Sierra Foothills Vineyards take center stage. You can visit some of California’s top vineyards in The Sierra Foothills if you’re traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

vineyard california

6. Amazing Dining Options

California is renowned for its top-notch culinary scene, which includes Michelin-starred restaurants and farm-to-table establishments. One of the most well-liked international cuisines is Thai and other Asian cuisines. Fresh foods, vegetables, fresh cheeses, grilled meat, fish, and shellfish, as well as a variety of cross-cultural dishes influenced by other national cuisines, including Mexican, Chinese, and European, make up California cuisine.

california cuisine

7. Job Opportunities

Thirty-nine million people live in California, along with 54 Fortune 500 firms, 5+ large cities, and various industries like entertainment, technology, the internet, and aerospace (via Fortune). California grows more than 400 commodities, producing over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts. There are 25 million acres that are farms or ranches, making agriculture a $51.1 billion industry, one of the most productive worldwide, per the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Besides, California is the most active start-up industry, the largest tourism industry in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. The state also boasts the second largest oil field, in addition to more than a dozen more, and the third largest petroleum refining capacity in the US.

california jobs market tech sector

8. Variety Of Activities

The outstanding restaurants, theme parks, museums, zoos, and cultural districts/neighborhoods of major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego will appeal to almost any nationality or ethnicity. Since there are so many options available, California attracts many visitors. Additionally, the climate is often pleasant all year long. The state’s thriving music, television, and film industries and the consistently lucrative pure celebrity industry make California an entertainment haven.

San Diego zoo california family recreation

9. Diversity

California’s northern (Bay Area) and southern (LA to San Diego) regions are separated by 400 miles. Still, they have pretty different cultures as NorCal is characterized by high tech and SoCal by entertainment and media firms. California has a diverse population of races since it borders Mexico to the south, where many immigrants are from Latin America. Because it is on the west coast, many immigrants come from Asia. California has people of just about every race, ethnicity, nation, religion, language, and culture. You can interact with individuals from other nationalities and sample dishes from several regions, including South Asian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Ethiopian, Mediterranean, Peruvian, and Mexican. According to the Los Angeles Times, 44% of people living in the Golden State speak a language other than English, and no less than 220 languages are spoken there! This state has a diversified ethnic population.

social diversity california

10. Access to International Airports

For someone who travels a lot, easy access to major international airports is a convincing reason why you should move to California. Los Angeles International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, and San Diego International Airport are a few of California’s major hub airports. Los Angeles International, the busiest of these, handles around 30 million boardings annually, per Los Angeles World Airport. The Burbank Bob Hope Airport, the John Wayne Airport in Orange County, the Ontario International Airport, the Sacramento International Airport, and the San Jose International Airport are a few examples of medium hub airports in California.

LAX international airport california

What to Do In California?

You can go to national parks and trek in the mountains, lounge on the beaches and go surfing, or even hang out in the desert and climb rocks, depending on your preferences. There are countless options, and all are commutable within a few hours. You can enjoy yourself by going surfing, windsurfing, participating in other beach sports, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, or visiting Yosemite or Sequoia National Parks. Visit large cities like San Francisco, LA, or San Diego; attend concerts and conference centers; and pose for photos in front of iconic structures like the Hollywood Sign or Golden Gate Bridge. Here are just 5 things you should consider doing in California.

1. Take a Tour of Disneyland Resort

Disneyland has 56 attractions, the self-described “happiest place on Earth,” including shows, rides, and walk-throughs. While Disneyland is a theme park, most of its attractions are not genuine Disney creations but new, imaginative experiences. Some famous ones include the Haunted Mansion, a retirement community for ghosts with space for just one more, or the Matterhorn bobsleds. Only Fantasyland and ToonTown are truly Disney-themed districts, and even those include a wide range of attractions. There are 35 attractions at California Adventure, which is Disneyland’s counterpart. These attractions include shows, rides, and walk-throughs. Rides, shows, parades, shopping, character encounters, and character dining are available. If you stay in the hotel, you may also take advantage of the swimming pool and spa.

roller coaster

2. Visit the Historic Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge is an impressive engineering feat, especially considering the available building methods at the time. Many military personnel passed by it during World War II as they entered and exited the Pacific Theater, giving it symbolic significance. Similar to how those coming and going from New York Harbor view the Statue of Liberty, travelers entering and leaving the country via San Francisco view the Golden Gate Bridge as a cultural heritage site. In addition to its beauty, the bridge has traditionally acted as a symbol, a Statue of Liberty for the West Coast, and a threshold, majestically welcoming visitors and immigrants to California shores. An engineering wonder, the Golden Gate Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge built at the time. The approaching ocean, San Francisco’s stunning skyline, the bay with sailboats in the blue water, the city’s rich history, its unrivaled beauty, and the foggy days and nights that come in over the bridge all contribute to its extraordinary beauty. Folks enjoy crossing it on foot or bicycles to view Alcatraz Island.

moving near alcatraz jail
Move To The Golden Gate Area

3. Enjoy the Views At Venice Beach

You can enjoy the scenic Venice Beach, Los Angeles’ vibrant neighborhoods, and surrounding areas. Entertaining street art, hotels with beach views, skaters, bikers, the boardwalk, surfing, and culinary culture can all be found close to the beach. You can spend time with your family and loved ones and have fun on holiday, relaxing peacefully at the beach. Both children and adults can enjoy various beach activities like fishing, scuba diving, boardwalk, surfing, sailing, boating, kayaking, roller skating, and biking. You can take your family out for delicious cuisine and gorgeous attractions.

Venice beach ca

4. Explore Nature At Yosemite National Park

One of the first national parks in the United States was created at Yosemite, California, in 1890. In 1984, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site (via UNESCO). Yosemite is known for its waterfalls, steep valleys, ancient sequoia trees, and expansive meadows. On the western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in central-eastern California, the park has an area of roughly 1,200 square miles. Yosemite contains 20% of California’s 7,000 plant species, including the California Black Oak with its palatable acorns and the Ponderosa Pine, Mariposa Lily, the Shooting Star, and the DogWood, a seasonal flower that blooms on DogWood trees (April to July).


5. Discover Californian Cuisine At Bavel

Serving food from all over the Middle East, from Israel through Tunisia to Yemen, Bavel has a bright, fresh, and unique vibe. When in California, make sure you get their signature dish, the malawach, a flatbread traditionally served with tomato, hard-boiled egg, and zhoug. While folks rave about the meaty dishes, Californians love the mushroom skewers just as much. Make sure to order the delicious hummus with duck nduja and a good ol’ dessert afterward.

What Not to Do In California?

Although California is a land of opportunities, some things may cost you significant problems. The following are some things you should avoid doing in the state.

1. Do Not Move Until You Have a High-Paying Job

Do not move to California if you do not have a secured job, an income, and housing funds set aside. It is an expensive state, and the only way to guarantee you won’t become homeless and live on the streets in a week is to have a steady stream of money.

career prospects

2. Do Not Think You Are Superior to Others

Avoid moving with the mindset that you are more unique, brilliant, attractive, or intelligent than everyone else. People from all over the world have moved here in large numbers, bringing similar abilities with them.

respect peers

3. Do Not Look Down Upon Minorities

If you believe that minorities or people of color are less than you, do not relocate to California. A large part of what makes California great is the fact that it is a melting pot of people from all over the world. Recognize and respect the state’s diverse cultural heritage. Additionally, refrain from littering, smoking, and polluting to preserve California’s gorgeous beauty.

racial equality california

Famous People From California

With a population of nearly 39  million, you can bet to see some familiar celebrity faces in California. Here are a few celebrities that call California their home.

1. Marcus Allen

A well-known player in the National Football League, Marcus Allen is a world-class American footballer, analyst, and actor. Marcus has origins in San Diego, California, and bags the honor of being crowned in the Pro Football Hall of fame.

2. Leonardo DeCaprio

Leonardo is a famous American actor and film producer with multiple national and international accolades for being the best in biopics and period films. Leonardo has made it to the list of highest-paid actors 8 times.

3. Dr. Dre

Andre Romelle Young, publicly called Dr. Dre, is a rapper, singer, and entrepreneur from Compton, CA. He is the founder and CEO of Beats Electronics, a one-of-a-kind entertainment technology company.

4. Kim Kardashian

A Powerful American socialite, entrepreneur, and media figure, Kimberly Kardashian is a famous influencer on Instagram and Twitter and a reality tv show star. She has had a commendable acting career and has founded two businesses, KKW Beauty and KKW Fragrances.

5. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc., was a businessman and a technology visionary from San Francisco, California. Jobs was also a co-founder and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios, and when Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, he became a member of the Walt Disney Company’s board of directors.

Housing in California

California spans a land area of more than 163,000 square miles, encompassing a wide variety of climatic and ecological zones and economic and cultural regions. In some areas of the state, you may purchase a piece of land and build a home for under $10,000, while in other areas, you cannot buy any real estate for less than $1,000,000. The typical size of an apartment in California is 1,020 square feet, but there are both affordable and upscale possibilities for houses and flats. The smallest and least expensive apartments are studios, 1-bedroom apartments are more typical, 2-bedroom apartments and 3-bedroom apartments have more square area. In California, an apartment costs an average of $1,726 a month. Rent prices vary according to several variables, such as location, size, and quality (via RentCafe).

housing in california

California (CA), one of the 56 states and territories, has the fourth-highest rent in the country. A two-bedroom apartment’s fair market rent in California can range from $807 in Modoc County to $3,553 in the HUD Metro FMR Area in San Francisco.

Rental costs

The table below compares the rent costs of a studio, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom apartments in California, per RentData.

County Studio 1 bedroom 2 bedroom 3 bedroom
Alameda County $1595/month $1934/month $2383/month $3196/month
Alpine County $723/month $819/month $1068/month $1528/month
Contra Costa County $1595/month $1934/month $2383/month $3196/month
Fresno County $795/month $851/month $1064/month $1509/month
Imperial County $708/month $810/month $1060/month $1509/month
Kings Costa County $894/month $903/month $1109/month $1587/month
Los Angeles County $1369/month $1605/month $2058/month $2735/month
San Francisco County $2350/month $2923/month $3553/month $4567/month
Monterey County $1348/month $1466/month $1793/month $2556/month
Orange County $1678/month $1888/month $2331/month $3227/month
Riverside County $955/month $1106/month $1390/month $1917/month
San Diego County $1478/month $1642/month $2124/month $2987/month
Trinity County $578/month $680/month $868/month $1242/month
Yolo County $1085/month $1147/month $1511/month $2162/month

Public Transit In California

The transportation network in California is dynamic and extensive. Despite being recognized for its massive network of highways and roads and car-centric culture, the state also provides a wide variety of rail, sea, and air transportation options. Several of the biggest population centers in the state have extensive commuter rail, light rail, and subway systems. That system is under pressure to keep up with population development and transportation needs in a state with nearly 39 million residents, significant population growth, and diverse topography and weather. In California, almost every county has its municipal bus service. While some local bus transportation systems, like the San Francisco Muni, serve a single city or county, others, like the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, service an entire region without regard to city or county boundaries.

Additionally, you can easily travel between regions, courtesy of national bus service providers like Greyhound and Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach. California is home to various light rail and subway networks. The biggest covers 78 stations across six lines in Los Angeles County and is called Metro Rail. The Sacramento Regional Transit District, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, the San Diego Trolley, and the Sprinter line are in that order, with the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) coming in second. Several ferry services are also available to take you across San Francisco Bay to other communities in the Bay Area.

Job Market In California

The state provides several benefits to folks living and working in California, despite the high cost of living, primarily due to the high housing and transportation costs. California has the nation’s fastest-growing civilian employment, GDP, manufacturing sector, and average household income. The state’s yearly mean wages are also higher than the national averages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The media, tourism, technology, and service sectors are some of the biggest and fastest-growing industries. According to the BLS, these sectors employed the most people from California in July 2022:

California job market
The Fastest Growing Job Market in The US

Trade, transportation, and utilities: Jobs in this category could include managing a warehouse, operating a truck, working for a gas business, or managing a retail store.

  • Education and health services: This industry includes teachers, teaching assistants, principals, nurses, and doctors.
  • Professional and business services: This group includes secretaries, clerks, accountants, and other office-related positions.
  • Government: This industry employs both elected officials and those who assist them, such as clerks and secretaries.

Average Salaries In Los Angeles & San Francisco

The table below compares the average salaries by different occupations in Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of California’s economic hubs, according to Teleport.

Job Title Average Salary in Los Angeles, CA Average Salary in San Francisco, CA
Dentist $134,233 $159,859
Physician $158,617 $176,969
Pharmacist $96,102 $121.862
Business Development $88,825 $98,935
Hardware Engineer $86,704 $91,589
Chemical Engineer $86,164 $82,690
Product Manager $92,247 $120,322
Finance Manager $88,350 $111,199
IT Manager $87,415 $110,049
Mobile Developer $101,782 $94,665
Sales Manager $75,306 $92,392
Operations Manager $66.056 $87,873
Software Engineer $87,795 $114,515
Architect $63,004 $91,754
Financial Analyst $74,474 $77,504
Research Scientist $68,895 $90,651
UX Designer $70,850 $95,402
Teacher $50,514 $59,079
Interior Designer $64,076 $67,212
Chef $48,147 $48,827
Customer Support $36,228 $49,215

cost of living groceries

Cost Of Groceries

The table below shows the average costs in California with respect to daily groceries (via NUMBEO).

Item Price
Milk – 1 gallon $4.25
Loaf of Bread $3.34
Rice (white) 1 lb $2.55
Eggs – 1 Dozen $3.56
Local Cheese – 1 lb $5.61
Chicken Fillets – 1 lb $5.16
Apples – 1 lb $1.91
Bananas – 1 lb $0.83
Oranges $1.60
Tomato $1.80
Potato $1.21
Onion $0.95
Lettuce – 1 Head $1.80
Bottled Water – per Gallon $7.69

moving faqs

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the most frequently asked questions about moving to California are answered below.

Is It Worth Moving to California?

Yes, it is moving to California. The state is home to more national parks than any other state and a thriving economy. Furthermore, California offers numerous high-paying jobs, fantastic cities with world-class attractions, some of the best public and private universities in the world, and breathtaking mountains, forests, seashores, and deserts.

Furthermore, it offers excellent weather year-round for outdoor pursuits, including snow skiing, surfing, hiking, trekking, wildlife viewing, and much more. Moving to California is definitely worthwhile when you consider the benefits.

What Are Some Cons of Living in California?

California is crazy expensive. Gas and electricity costs are far greater than in the rest of the country, and real estate is quite costly. California is also a potential danger zone when it comes to natural disasters. Potential natural disasters include:

  • Fires and landslides.
  • Persistent droughts and heat waves.
  • Volcanoes in the north.
  • Earthquakes across most of the state.
  • Tsunamis in some low-lying coastal communities.
  • Blizzards in the highlands.

What I Should Know Before Moving to California?

The first thing you need to know about California is that the state is big and diverse. Before moving to California, it’s crucial to understand that North and South California have radically different cultures and populations. Democratic-leaning California is a relatively liberal state. Politics in California may irritate you if you’re a Republican, a Libertarian, or a supporter of laissez-faire, free-market capitalism. The cost of housing and taxes in the state is among the highest. You’ll probably have to endure expensive housing prices whether you rent or buy a house.

What Is it Like Living in California?

California is a fantastic place to live if you have a promising career and have the means to pay for housing and living expenses. Like any large metropolis, it has its share of advantages and disadvantages. The positive aspects of California include its exceptional weather, geographic variety, and briskly growing metropolises that provide top-notch career and educational opportunities. However, state income taxes, expensive living expenses, and excessive traffic on the highways can irritate some people.

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Move to California With Rocky Movers

California is home to all. Almost any nationality or ethnicity will find something to enjoy at the excellent restaurants, amusement parks, museums, zoos, and cultural areas/neighborhoods of the main cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. Once you have decided to take the plunge and move to California, the foremost step is to hire a reliable local moving company to handle your belongings on the trip. Moving to a different state is challenging, and knowing that your valuables are in safe hands brings peace of mind. Rocky Movers is a long-distance moving company in Denver, CO, specializing in cross-country moves to California. Get started with Rocky Movers by submitting the online form or calling us at (303) 317 6896, and let us create a free estimate and personalized moving plan for you.

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We are a locally owned and operated moving company in Denver, Colorado. We own our fleet of trucks, tractors, and trailers. We directly employ all of our movers. Ours is a top-rated moving company with over 30 years of combined experience in the moving industry. You can trust us as a licensed and insured moving company.

Over the last few decades, we have served many customers earning us a name for being a reliable, affordable, reputable, and experienced long-distance moving company.

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What We Do

Long-distance moves such as moving from one coast to the other can take a toll on you. There’s all the packing, the cross country trip, the offloading, and the massive dent to your pockets. At Rocky Movers, our goal is to make your long-distance moves as comfortable and uncomplicated as possible. Denver professional movers appreciate the need to deliver personalized moving services to their clients, and this is where we shine.

We understand that your moving requirements are unique and we tailor our services to what you need. Our qualified professional movers start you off with a free in-home estimate.

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