California

Have you lived in or visited California? Tell us about it!

COUNTIES – Click here for a list organized by county

MAJOR CITIES: FRESNO * LONG BEACH * LOS ANGELES * SACRAMENTO * SAN DIEGO 

SAN FRANCISCO * SAN JOSE

OR BROWSE THE ENTIRE STATE BELOW… 

Whittier

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —  The city that I have lived in for some time now is Whittier, California. It is a mid-sized city which is centered around a few major freeways. Whittier has many public schools and parks which makes it a great place to raise a family. The city is also close to many major southern California attractions such as Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. The weather for the majority of the year is quite pleasant with the winters being relatively mild. Whittier has a very diverse populations which includes Latinos, Asian, and Whites. One of the thing which I feel that this city has a lot of is quality “mom and pop” restaurants. Aside from having our share of restaurant chains, I believe that the smaller and normally family owned establishments are something all of us are proud about. Whittier believes in higher education as we have a local college and quite a few public libraries. Although the university has quite a bit of sports teams, it is at the high school level which is mostly supported by the community. It is common on a Friday night or weekend, for stadiums or arenas to be filled by family, supporters and friends who know someone placing high school ball. Of course, what would an outing be with a taco truck to get something to eat at halftime?

St. Helena

Napa County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —  St. Helena, CA, USA. My town is a small town located in Napa Valley, we have two small grocery stores and a few stop lights. It consists of one high school that is very prestigious in its academics. There is a few small coffee shops that everyone loves and that I go to every morning before work. We are largely built as a tourist area because we are in the heart of wine country. It is nice to live here, safe and no violence. It has changed in the fact that it has become a little more culturally diverse which is good but still primarily Caucasian. I like that it is a small town and I can trust to leave my car unlocked if needed. The police log is always a good funny read as not much goes on. Alot of the population are middle aged to senior citizens which is negative in the sense that they may say they are liberal in their thoughts but only because they dont see much liberal activity. There is not much to do as far as night life unless you count Ana’s cantina where all the locals go after work or on friday nights. Sometimes wedding parties will come when they are married in the area. It is a nice place for retirees or to have a family. Just be prepared if you do not fit the usual suburb look. You will get a lot of stares and looks, just because they are not used to it.

Desert Center

Riverside County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —  I live in Desert Center, California. Desert Center is in the Mojave Desert in Southern California. We are about sixty miles east of Palm Springs, California, and fifty miles west of Blythe, California. We have to drive at least fifty miles in either direction to one of those towns to buy groceries and anything else of major consequence. Desert Center is located at the junction of Interstate Highway 10 and California State Route 177. And all the people from Los Angeles who travel to Lake Havasu for three-day weekends pass right through Desert Center (or, as we locals call it, “DC”) and **man** is there ever a LOT of car traffic passing through this place!! An important part of Desert Center is also a “resort” named Lake Tamarisk–named after the man-made lake located there–where most of the residents of Desert Center *really* live. Lake Tamarisk has a beautiful nine-hole Riverside County golf course, an truly outstanding library, and a fire department which has saved many a life, and much property, in this and the surrounding area. A few years ago when I moved here, Desert Center was the location of a California State Prison and a Kaiser Iron Ore Mine. The town was booming with several thousand living here. It had an elementary school, a nice little local market that sold most of the essentials (including beer!), an eight-pump gas station, and at least two doctors. But the prison and the mine closed down a few years ago. Today, unfortunately, everything except the library, the golf course, and the fire department have closed, and the population has skidded to about 126 souls. But surprise! The town and environs (except for Lake Tamarisk, of course, and some other parcels in the area) have just gone up for sale. So if you have always wanted to own a town, here is your chance!!

San Clemente

Orange County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —  I am from a small beach town located in south orange county, CA known as San Clemente. I was born and raised there, went to school there, had my first love there, and got into all sorts of trouble there. When I turned 23 I had moved away to san diego to find a better or different way of living. After staying in san diego for about 5 years, i returned to san clemente to find it exactly the same, yet all the more different. There were new buildings, shopping centers, trollies, people. The town I once knew as home felt so alien to me. Almost like it wasnt real. I all of a sudden didnt feel very comfortable or even like I was in the same city. The poeple were even different. They were now all outsiders who decided to move there to raise their families. I cant be mad at them though for wanting to make a better life in such a perfect spot. But ever since going back there in 2018 I felt like Ive had to move on towards another place where I can raise my own family. Plus I dont want to get stuck there just like everybody else I grew up with.

Riverside

Riverside County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 — When I first moved to Riverside. CA, U.S.A., 10 years ago, I didn’t like this city too much. What I’ve learned over the years is that I was only feeling this way because I did not know the people who reside here. The residence of Riverside, CA, are mostly families who enjoy outdoor activities and want a safe city to raise their family. The city used to be much safer. However, with the laws which passed a few years ago, it created a state that provides benefits for the criminals and takes away the innocents rights. This is a state problem as oppose to a city problem. With that being said, although the crime rate is rising, I can see the families who live here stick together and protect one another as much as possible from the criminals. Not all cities have that. The community of Riverside is much safer for that aspect. It is a large city with over 400,000 residents. It’s combined nationality of residents is another reason I like Riverside. People come from all over the world to work and raise their families here. The school system for the most part, is a good choice. My son has learned that people from all of world are the same – human. He has learned to adjust his communication with children who do not speak English. Riverside has many activities for families to enjoy. Although, I from the beach cities, I used to feel, if there isn’t a beach within walkinbmg distance there’s not much to do. However, my 8 year old son and I have enjoyed the skate parks since he started skateboarding at age 4, we enjoy hiking, or going to the library. In our neighborhood we do have occasional visits from wildlife. We’ve seen coyotes, fox’, pelicans, squirrels, boars, and mountain lions, and we even have 100+ donkeys who live up the road and enjoy roaming our neighborhood sometimes. The city of Riverside is against feeding the wild animals because it makes it difficult for these wild animals to survive naturally when humans feed them. Thus, it has recently become against the law to feed these creatures. After 10 years, I’ve decided living within walking distance to the beach is a huge plus, but have also learned if I do not want to drive in hours of traffic to get to a beach, there are plenty of alternative in Riverside, CA.

Rialto

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 — Rialto, California is not a town that is commonly know throughout America. It is a mid size town that inhabits around a hundred thousand people that is not too small to be a quaint town but not big enough to be a big city. The city of Rialto is a close knit city that likes to include all of us by having seasonal activities and the city hall is always updating its yearly schedule of events that I like to attend each year. I have lived in Rialto all of my life and for the past thirty years it has been the place I call home. I really enjoy the suburban feel it has and the ability to feel warm despite is mid-size. I also enjoy the space there is between the homes and the parks that are safe for families to enjoy. Downtown Rialto has the old railroad house that is nice to see and there is a town strip that has the old time business fronts that can take you back in time after you walk down the street. I like to know that the multiple fire stations are nearby and the police station is situated in mid town so its easy to access. I also like to walk to the neighborhood parks to enjoy the fresh air on a mid Autumn day and to see all the tree leaves change color which is the perfect weather to be outside. Rialto is a town that I grew up in and the town where I hope to raise my family at for the rest of my life.

Sonora

Tuolumne County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —I live in Sonora, CA. It is a small town in the Mother Lode foothills. I grew up in this town. It was the perfect town to grow up in, the perfect town for a kid. It was much smaller when I was a kid. There was only one stop light back then, but over the years the town grew and now today there are several stop lights and the town has also grown in size and there are much more stores here today than there was back then. When I was a young adult the town was no longer fun for me, I felt closed in, like I was missing out on what else was out there. So I ventured off into the bigger world. But my family was still up here and it took about 8 years of being gone and I finally found myself right back here in this town but now grown up I know this is the right place for me. I found my husband here and together we have two beautiful children and I couldn’t be happier. This town has been in my life the whole way, even when I was away I would come back to visit. The town always seemed to draw me back. I love it here, the air is clear, there are mountains in every direction, in the winters we get snow, the people are friendly, it feels safe here and it feels like home!

Winton

Merced County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —I grew up in Winton, California USA. It is a very very small town located in Merced County central California. I’m not a fan of the weather which can get hot here in the summer. The town is split into two sides with northbound train tracks running in between. There really isn’t anything to do here so people usually travel to neighboring cities like Atwater or Merced to visit bigger stores, the mall, movies or even fast food. Once a year we have a fair that comes to our park but it doesn’t stay for long maybe 2 weeks average. It’s a quiet place but it’s still a bit dangerous at night still i’m sure that goes with any town. We don’t have a high school here so we have to go by bus to nearby city of Atwater to go to high school there. The home costs and rent is cheaper in here than nearby towns or cities so it feels like many that live here commute to their jobs outside of town. It’s slowly growing since moving here in the mid 90’s but it’s mostly the same as before really. Overall this small town is pretty diverse and I like the culture differences within the community and I look forward to how my small town will grow in the future.

Los Angeles

Los County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 — The city in which I live in is Los Angeles, California in United States of America. This city is very populated and is very busy during business hours. The city is filled with large buildings with multiple stories. Traffic is really bad in the morning since everyone is trying to get t work. Between the hours of 7 am to 10 am the major freeways would get congested with heavy traffic. Even the carpool lanes or toll lanes are jammed with traffic. It is crazy here to own a car, special since traffic and parking is bad during weekdays. I like this city since is very populous and diverse. We have different culture and people from all over the world living in a common place. Here, you can find ethnic foods from different cultures and learn about them. There are tiny streets dedicated to each culture, such as China town, Korean town and little Tokyo. One thing that did change was the amount of people immigrating to this city. I see more and more diversity around the area in which I live in. I also noticed that there has been more construction lately. There are companies that are starting to built both commercial and residential infrastructures in this area. I guess is a good thing since it will attract more people to this area. The only downside is that the housing cost will be increasing more since demand is higher. Housing prices has been increasing recently and it keeps on escalating.

Palomar Mountain

San Diego County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —I live in Palomar Mountain in California in the United States of America. It is located in San Diego county, but it is very inland and on a mountain. Even people who live in San Diego don’t know this town exists. To live in Palomar mountain has its ups and downs. It is in a rural area and there are not very many people who live here. The good things about living here are that it is very quiet and there is not traffic. I use to live in Los Angeles, which is the complete opposite of where I live now. I traded my commute through downtown la for a commute where I can walk to work. The downside of living in a community like this is that there are no grocery stores or normal restaurants within an hour drive. The drive to get here is also very windy. I use to get sick every single time I drove the road up here. Luckily I have more of a tolerance these days. It is a very beautiful place with tons of trees and nature trails and on a clear day you can see the ocean! We have no traffic lights and the only thing on the mountain is a vegetarian restaurant with very odd hours, a post office and a general store. I typically do not go to these places, but it is nice to have them as an option just in case. I love the wild life we have as well. It is typically a daily occurrence to see deer and turkey grazing outside our home. Overall it is a nice town to live in.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —I live in Los Angeles, California. I’ve lived here for over five years and it took a little while to get used to. I’m from the east coast and the west coast is very different. One thing I love about Los Angeles is the quality of food. I forget how lucky I am to live somewhere where there are so many amazing chefs. It’s not until I visit another city or town that I realize that. And it’s all kinds of food from Thai to Italian to Mediterranean to Mexican. I’m also grateful I live in a place with diversity. There are all kinds of people from all over the United States and the world. I also love that there are so many museums to go to, with constantly changing art exhibits. I love the weather a lot, it’s so sunny here. I love that there are both beaches and mountains, so I can go on a hike or take a relaxing day at the beach. I also love that I live in a politically liberal city/state. One thing I don’t like about Los Angeles is the traffic. It takes an insane amount of time to get anywhere unless its super early in the morning or late at night. I also don’t love that we have a homeless problem that the city isn’t doing a great job addressing. I also don’t love that a lot of the people here are caught up in the film industry and trying to be cool. One major thing that has changed since I’ve moved here is rent has REALLY gone up. I feel like Los Angeles is going to have to deal with the affordable housing crisis soon. It’s driving people out of the city. Overall Los Angeles is very spread out and you need a car to get around because our public transportation isn’t great. But you can find some neighborhoods that are walkable, they are just more expensive to live in. It’s a great city at times but I would definitely not be able to survive if I didn’t have down to earth friends/people in my life.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 —I currently live in Los Angeles CA. I live near the LAX airport and close to two major freeways. Living in Los Angeles is great if you are looking for a city that has lots of interesting things to do such as different restaurants, for example one of my favorite restaurants is GEN KBBQ buffet located in Torrance. Living in LA has its benefits such as you are close to the beach but also close to tons of tourist attractions. The problems with living in LA is that there is always to much traffic and it can be a hassle to get to one place, at times it has taken up to an hour to go to a location that is no more than 15 miles away, all due to traffic. I usually get around on a bicycle, I have grown to love getting around on a bike because you are able to use the full car lane if you need to, also you don’t have to worry to much about traffic. The streets are not the best in some places there is tons of uneven roads or gravel. If you need to find parking you might need to have change or pay with your card so that you can park your vehicle when visiting a small shop. The whole city is really lively and you can always find something that is open even in the middle of the night. The sun is always shinning and the weather is around the 75 degrees to mid 80s. Los Angeles does have a homeless problem and this can be seen all over the city at times you can see people setting up tents or pushing their belonging in carts. Rent has gotten too expensive, most places run near $1000-15000 a month for 1 bedroom and 1 bath, you are better off living with sharing a place. All in all LA is a place you should visit but unless you love crowds or traffic, you should plan to leave after a couple of years.

Pacific Beach

San Diego County, California, USA (North America) — October 2019 — I live in Pacific Beach, California, which is one of many diverse communities in the San Diego area. It contains all the elements of a typical medium-sized beach town – dive bars, surf shops, and beachside clubs. I primarily moved to Pacific Beach, or “PB” as it’s commonly called, because of how chill and relaxed the local community is. There is a strong independent music presence here, and you can find no shortage of street musicians and open mics to hang out and enjoy music. Furthermore, my neighbors are all nice people who have lived here for up to 20 to 30 years. They say not much as changed, and that they’ve seen generations of college students and young adults move through the community. The overall vibe which I like and dislike at the same time is the sense of transience despite the historical nature of PB. Every time I hear a college party on a Friday night, I get reminded of how those kids will be gone by summer. Every time I see a street musician, I know for sure that he won’t be in that same spot the next day. Every time I connect with a girl at a club, I feel like we’re only meant to be together for a night or the week that she’s here (because she’s visiting from “out of town”). In the end, I end up loving how precarious the community feels despite all these old liquor shops and bars being around. I can look at a bar sign that says, “Here since 1971” and still feel like the city has only been around for a year. That’s the overall charm and it motivates me to create more lasting things in life for myself.

Santa Monica

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — February 2019 — I was born in Santa Monica, a beach town located in Los Angeles County in California in 1972. Back then Santa Monica still had a reputation as a rather politically conservative and sleepy little beach town. Obviously things could get crazy on Santa Monica Beach and the Pier during summer but most of the time the town did indeed move at an idyllic, almost glacial pace. Growing up in the seventies was a magical time to be in SM. There were plenty of open spaces like Douglas Park, with its lawn bowling and ponds brimming with tadpoles and koi. There was the Brentwood Twin movie theater where my parents and I would take in double features and where I received my formal education in cinema. Of course, above all was Santa Monica Beach and it’s attendant SM Pier, which was a world class venue for fun. I always felt safe and our esteemed Big Blue Bus system did a more than capable job of shuttling my mom and I before she learned how to drive. I attended McKinley Elementary School, a solidly middle class and diverse K-6th school. Around 1977, a growing coalition of little old ladies and activist hippies helped initiate a policy of rent control throughout the city, which began a gradual shift towards leftist politics that continues to this day. Paradoxically, the economy of SM started to embrace a very commercial, tourist friendly stance that has made SM a Mecca for visitors all over the world. Nowadays we are anything but a sleepy little beach town but SM still occupies a gigantic space in my heart. It’s where I learned almost everything important about life.

Roseville

Roseville, Placer County, USA (North America) – February 2019 —I grew up in Roseville California when I was a child. In the 70’s, it was a quite small suburb of the Sacramento area and the main employment in the town was the Southern Pacific Railroad. This was one of the main hubs of railway transportation on the west coast and most of the town either worked at the railroad or was a support system for its employees. There was quite a bit of open space and just a small two lane downtown that had been there since the early 1900’s. This was a conservative town with a little bit of everything available for those who lived their. The county fair was held in town and they even had a small amateur race track for those Saturday night car enthusiasts. My Dad was an engineer for the railroad and played sports with many of the guys in town. My mother was a school teacher and taught at the local high school. My sister and I both had our passions for life, mine was sports and scouts, and hers was boys and fun. It was a simple and enjoyable time when you knew your neighbors and your biggest fear was getting home for dinner, before the street lights came on. Our town’s claim to fame was back in the sixties when the government was hauling bombs from the war and they starting going off in the railroad yard. It shook the town for an hour. They are still finding pieces of shrapnel around town even to this day. We enjoyed great Northern California weather of 90 plus degree weather in the summer and only 45 deg weather in the winter. We lived in an ideal spot where we were 90 miles from the ocean and 90 from the mountains. Our summer nights consisted of playing sports under the lights, going to the movies and watching the crash up derby races on occasion. As I go back to Roseville today much has changed. The railroad is still there but the influx of homes, businesses, medical buildings and shopping centers dominate most of the town. There is now a plethora of wall to wall structures with not more than an ounce of open land to spare. What was once a small, home town feel city, has no become a large hustling business and commerce area. Even though the landscape of the city has changed quite a bit in the last 40 years, the memories never will.

Mountain View

Santa Clara County, California, USA (North America) – February 2019 –I grew up in Mountain View, California in the early 90s. It’s in the U.S., near the coast of California, and I can’t remember too much about it because I was very young when I lived there. I do remember that there were lots of trees and flowers and small birds, and it was a suburban community. Not a large town by any measure, but certainly well maintained. It was also a bit hilly in places, and my fondest memory of the area is riding in the backseat of my parents car down a short slope to the movie rental store. Outside the store, I saw two girls a little older than me with a table set up on the sidewalk. On the table was a cardboard box and as we passed them to go into the movie store, they asked me and my family if we wanted to adopt a kitten. When I looked in the box I saw the cutest little cat, she was a very tiny ball of white and brown fluff. I begged my parents to let me take the kitten home, and after we came out of the store with our movies, they finally agreed to let me adopt the cat. I loved that cat so much, had her for many years, and that is definitely the best memory I have of my hometown.

Auburn

Placer County, California, USA (North America) – December 2018 — Auburn,CA United States of America I love my town. Nestled in the foothills halfway to Reno from San Francisco on I-80 this town has character and charm. Even driving into it from the freeway one is in awe as the interstate runs under a high still functional, railroad bridge. Then as you glide into downtown you pass a very large concrete gold miner statue. Large enough to climb on and lay in his pan. My old dentist Dr. Fox created that as a tip of the hat to the rich history in gold mining this town has. California gold rush was started in 1846 in Coloma near Auburn when James Marshall discovered a nugget at Sutters Mill. Coloma is only a stone throw away when you cross the American River which is beautifully located in Auburn.

Florence

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — August 2018 — I live in Florence, which is a town within the county of LA. This is a quiet neighborhood where most people just keep to themselves. I don’t like how many arrests are made on this block, but I like that nobody is a real threat to anyone. Mostly its just drug problems with people not getting enough crack, so they do stupid things. Im in a very nice building in complete protection from those bad people. The place isn’t somewhere you want to move to. I may live in a nice place, but any other place would put you in cross fire of serious problems that arise often in this area. South Central isn’t for everyone, but the weather is very nice.

Pinole

Contra Costa County, California, USA (North America) — July 2018 — Back in the late 90’s i used to live in a suburban area 30 miles off the city of San Francisco, and that small town is called Pinole. Pinole was a small little town that was great to raise kids and was out of the city life. Very very quiet and not a lot of people unlike today. The town became a city in the early 2000’s when the neighboring town called Hercules economically exploded and many more tech people, professionals, and etc. have started pouring out of the city and started settling in the suburban areas. The city of Pinole has drastically changed due to the fact of more people coming in, meaning the city shown a lot of growth with many corporate shopping centers appearing in the early 2000’s, unlike in the 90’s most of the shopping centers are mom and pop stores and cute small businesses that made the town unique. Though i left to move to the city, many of family still live in the Pinole/Hercules area, and when im around there every other weekend, i still remember the beautiful parts of the area i used to hangout at, even though things have changed such as renovations and what not, the little suburban area will always have a place in my heart because that’s the first place i have known when i migrated here in America in 1993.

Manteca

San Joaquin, California, USA (North America) – July 2018 — Growing up I wasn’t a fan of my hometown because there wasn’t really that much to do. I lived there from when I was born in 1992-2016 when I moved away for college. Living in the Central Valley is hot and I was never a fan of the heat. My grandmother originally moved here because she like warm weather and at the time the town was relatively small. We had basic things like movie theatres and bowling alleys and coffee shops. There is this small local coffee shop that was right down the street from my high school that we would hang out at after school. I was a theatre kid so we would all go together before rehearsal. Now that I’m older I can see the appeal of living where we need. It’s within driving distance of the mountains, the ocean, major cities, and so many other fun things. It’s an amazing part of California to live. Everything is within driving distance and housing is much more affordable then the major cities. Fun fact about my hometown that I always tell people is that the name is misspelled. Manteca means lard in Spanish and was supposed to be Mantaca (I think that’s the correct spelling) which means flower or something like that but someone misspelled the name and it just stuck. One thing I do love about my hometown is that there’s so much agricultural so there’s always fresh produce. Freshly picked warm strawberries on a cool summer night will always be my favorite, same goes with nectarines. Manteca will always be my home.

Napa

Napa County, California, USA (North America) – July 2018 — I grew up in Napa, California where the wine flows freely and the hotels are now plentiful. When I was young it was a much different place than it is now. Empty fields all over the place that are now occupied by shopping centers and Best Westerns to accommodate for the influx of tourism the area has seen over the past two decades. Of course this is majorly due to the growth of Silicon Valley and the bay area in general as it’s attracted crowds of people in the tech industry. I’m a tech person myself and really enjoyed growing up near such an important hub for innovation while being able to appreciate the quiet and serene nature of Napa County. Nowadays the small town of Napa has morphed into a small city with developments popping up non stop and even a yearly music festival, Bottle Rock. Napa’s close vicinity to the big city make it a prime destination for the aforementioned techies in San Francisco and you can find them tasting wine and browsing the wide selection of fancy restaurants on the weekends. It’ll be interesting to see how the area changes over the next few decades as the housing market and population continues to grow.

Lancaster

Lancaster, Los Angeles County, California, USA – July 2018 — Lancaster, Ca. Outskirt of LA county. The time-frame I will be referencing is late 90’s to early 2000’s. It was nice to grow up in this town due to it’s small town feel. Most of the people here (initially) took pride in the city because for generations they had lived here. What I did not like about growing up in this city is as I got older the homelessness started to increase as well as the crime. Due to the fact it is on the outskirts of La county it is an affordable and close option to the people who didn’t make it in LA. The special memories I have in this town include; the poppies, Jet hawks games, the fair, and school events. The landscape is beautiful desert there is definitely opportunity for exploration that was a big memory in growing up here. There are several nature walks and nature preserves that allow you to get a glimpse of what the desert landscape has to offer. I am still living here and it has changed in terms of an increase in development. More business and offices are being constructed constantly. It is a smaller town, with a population of about 150,000. So it is not a “small” town by definition but in comparison to its neighbor of LA which is about 1 hour south.

Novato

Marin County, California, USA (North America) — July 2018 — Novato is about twenty miles from the Golden Gate Bridge which leads into San Francisco. Novato’s economy is dependent upon jobs located in The City. Most people commute from Novato and the rest of Marin County into San Francisco. Because of this traffic is generally awful every weekday morning. Novato has a population of 50,000. The town was an originally a farming town until an air force base was built during World War II. The town still has a military presence as the Coast Guard has a hub near the old base. I have lived in Novato for the last twenty years. The town really has not changed too much. The only real issue I’ve ever had with Novato is the lack of activities for kids and teens. Because of this teenagers have to find their own ways of entertainment which can have dire consequences. Parents blame the kids for acting out, but I blame the town for not providing stimulating activity. Besides that it is a good place to live. Crime is low, the town is diverse, there are plenty of great hikes and wildlife, and the weather is generally pleasant.

Walnut Creek

Contra Costa County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — Walnut Creek is a suburb in the San Francisco Bay Area. Walnut Creek is primarily known for it’s vibrant downtown district with many restaurants and shops. In the 1990’s the downtown was always a fun place to be. Walnut Creek is known for it’s annual art festival in the downtown area. There a prominent local theater called Lesher Theater for the Arts that is best known for their annual production of the Christmas Carol. Walnut Creek is a very safe community so parents are comfortable with letting their kids ride their bikes to the local parks or to the downtown area. The best part about growing up here was the sense of community. There were many festivals, parades, and fairs to visit and enjoy. There is also land for hiking in the hills the locals call the “open space”. There are many types of animals in the “open space” and on a clear day a person can see all the way out to the Bay. Since my childhood in the 1990’s the amount of stores and type of stores has dramatically changed. There is now a Neiman Marcus as the anchor store of the shopping district. Also, many more prominent restaurants have developed.

San Francisco

San Francisco County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — Meeting strangers, I often go through this conversation. “Where are you from?” “San Francisco.” “No, I mean, where are you REALLY from?” The idea that San Francisco is not merely a fantasyland of hippies, bohemian poets, and tech bros, but a quite ordinary place where ordinary people live and do ordinary things, such as raising a family, seems in itself so weird that it is hard for many to grasp. Do locals in Paris and London feel the same way? I sometimes wonder. I grew up in the Sunset District, on the western side of the city, where the numbered avenues run north and south and the named streets east and west, so that standing at an intersection you can look down to the ocean at the end of every street, seeming to rise to the horizon. It’s named the Sunset for a good reason – sunset over the ocean every single night. Cold and windy and the smell of salt spray. Lost in the fog much of the time, sometimes for days or weeks on end, particularly in the summer when the sea fog moves in and sits like a white blanket. Most of the Sunset remained sand dunes until after World War II, when the builder Henry Doelger purchased large tracts, eventually building an estimated 25,000 units or so of housing, mostly two and three story townhouses, side by side, with gardens in the back filling the interior of the block, and one-car garages in the basement, priced for the working class families who needed a home as the population exploded after the war. Derided by the artistic as ticky-tacky little boxes, in the words of a popular song by Malvina Reynolds, they were (and are) in fact comfortable places to live. When I grew up in the fifties and sixties, our neighborhood was largely composed of Irish and Italian families, often with half-a-dozen or so children. How did they all fit in? Boys in one room, girls in another, the youngest in with the parents, and Grandma sleeping on a couch in the living room. But it was an incentive to be out of doors. We were expected to get ourselves to school on foot; being driven was a luxury as unknown as your own bedroom, even in winter storms – as my mother always put it, “You aren’t made of sugar and you won’t melt in the rain.” There was no school busing, and a choice of only two school systems – public or parochial. In either case, we walked, with our friends and siblings. After school and on Saturdays and holidays (Sundays were for church, of course) we ran wild in a way that would never be permitted now. There were plenty of things to do, and in a time with much less traffic, it was safe to play ball in the street or ride bikes, which were for children, not rich adult professionals. At that time you could ride horseback in Golden Gate Park or along Ocean Beach, or ice skate at Sutro Baths or Iceland, or swim at Larsen Pool. There were organized after-school sports and clubs, of course, Scouts and church-sponsored activities, playgrounds with tennis and basketball courts, softball fields. Back then art museums, the zoo and the aquarium were all free and we could wander through anytime we liked, Golden Gate Park being only a long walk or short bus trip away. In the summer, there were free concerts in the park and at Stern Grove. A happy time and place to grow up.

Chino Hills

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 —I grew up in the town of Chino Hills in Southern California. The time I will be describing is the early 2000s. It was a relatively small city with a population of around 70,000 people. Not as large as some of the major cities but it was still a decent sized city. Looking back on the city I think about all of the happy memories I had growing up there. Driving past the corn fields, looking at the large empty fields that were green and seemed to go on for miles, and how quiet it seemed before it felt like everything was getting completely developed. As time went by though more and more commercial businesses were set up. Slowly the fields that were used for farming were swept away as shopping centers were added in their place. The hills that were filled with green were slowly replaced as well as more and more homes were built in their place. Looking at the city now compared to how it was you can see just how much it has grown in terms of modern commercialism. It feels as though that small city sort of vibe it had has been replaced and it is filled with the much more generic suburb feeling that can be seen in many locations.

Wasco

Wasco, Kern County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — My hometown is Wasco, California in the 1990’s. It’s a one stop light town on a major highway in California. It is a farming community in the agricultural Central Valley with many illegal immigrants from Mexico. As a non-immigrant white student, it was very difficult being a minority in school. I was bullied for being white and called “bruja” which means “witch” in Spanish because I have green eyes. They refused to call me by my given name and instead made up a Spanish sounding name in its place as a nickname. Oftentimes, I didn’t understand conversations because they were mostly spoken in Spanish.

Victorville

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — The name of my hometown is Victorville, I believe it was named in the early 1900s after a man with the surname Victor. San Bernardino county is the largest county in California, but we are a medium size city of about 122 thousand people. I arrived here in 1969, at that time there was only 17 thousand people here, and the main part of the town, where the stores and businesses were, was only a two lane road with two stop lights, we had several elementary schools, two junior high schools and just one high school. Of course it was named VictorValley High School, which is still used today. I graduated from VictorValley HighSchool in 1976, and all three of my sons also graduated from there, in 2002, 2003, and 2004. During the gold rush craze is when the beginning of Victorville began, we still have many old abandoned mines in all areas around us. When that craze settled down, two cement plants went into business, and houses were built in Victorville for the workers and the cement plants were the heart of the economy here. It is not uncommon to meet someone who has worked at the cement plant, whose father had also worked there. The other major contributor to growth of Victorville was George Air Force Base, about 6 miles away, which is how I got here. I was 12 years old and living in Montana, at an Air Force Base and my dad got new orders to go to George. We were so excited. We were going to live near movie stars. There was 6 of us kids and my dad had a green and white volkswagon bus. And we were a little shocked to see nothing but desert when we got here. But it has been home ever since.

Sacramento

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — I grew up in Sacramento, California in the 1990’s. It is a large town and the states capital. It is a very nice city and even though i grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood there was very little crime. There are many parks and good school districts. It is close to San Francisco and the Six Flags theme park in Vallejo. There are many surrounding cities that were growing at the time like Roseville, El Dorodo, and Folsom. I have many special memories growing up in Sacramento playing on competitive basketball and soccer teams. I made some of my best friends there and had my first kiss. When I moved back to Sacramento after college the crime rate had gone up and many families had begun to move north. There is a very good job market in Sacramento and a lot of business opportunities. The Sacramento Kings NBA basketball team resides there and they have recently built a new arena which is very nice downtown. There is a community college named American River and a state university as well. The American River runs through Sacramento which makes fishing and river rafting popular activities. There are many bars and clubs downtown and the nightlife is always a good time. Sacramento has a minor league baseball team called the River Cats and although I am not a huge fan of the sport the games are very fun to go to. There is also a minor league soccer team called the Sacramento Republic. There are two large water parks in the area which are both refreshing during summer time. There is a large international airport which makes it very easy to reach vacation destinations. Politics are an important part of Sacramento’s culture and there are often large rallies over relevant issues. Sacramento is a good place to raise a family. The community has good values and a lot of activities. Working out is a popular pass time and there are many nice gyms and sports complexes around the town. I enjoyed growing up in Sacramento and I would recommend it to anyone looking to build a home.

Victorville

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 —My small hometown was Victorville, CA, San Bernardino county, USA. I grew up in the 90s. It was a small town then. I lived on a dirt road. There wasn’t many stop lights. I remember the roads suddenly become paved and the stop lights started to come in after a bad car accident. The town is in the Mojave desert. I walked to school. I lived in track homes. There was a lot of kids playing in the neighborhood. I hated the fact that there wasn’t much for me to do. I loved the fact that it was a small town and it was relatively save. I loved the fact that there was a lot of kids my age to play with. The desert was our playground. There was also a lot of neighborhood dogs and cats. I liked the summer nights looking at all the stars in the sky. When we first moved in there was a museum of Roy Rogers. He was a cowboy in the 1800s. It has a sense of cowboy town. There aren’t too many stores. When Buffalo Wild Wings it was a celebration. Same thing could be said for the super Walmart, Target and Winco. The great secret is a place called Deep Creek Hot Springs.

Yorba Linda

Orange County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — The town is Yorba Linda in Orange County, California, United States. I grew up there in the early 1990s. Although it’s a fairly small city, it is surrounded by bigger cities. There are various different suburban type communities around the city, including hilly areas near the back where one could go hiking. Growing up here was pleasant as it was not super busy and you could easily walk to school or the local grocery store without issues. Due to the closer proximity and lack of crowds, there was always something to do or somewhere to go. I loved going to parks to play and even have good memories of grade school. There were always other kids to play with in my neighborhood and pleasant local communities. I really enjoyed going to my friend’s house which was nearby, and going to the neighborhood pool to swim on warm days. One specific memory I had was going to Richard Nixon’s funeral, as his birthplace was in Yorba Linda. A main thing I did not like about Yorba Linda was the summer weather. It could get very hot and stuffy during summer, so if there was no air conditioner it was difficult to stay cool. However, the winter weather was mild and it did not rain too often.

Murrieta

Riverside County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — I grew up in a smaller city named Murrieta, located in Riverside County, California, United States. By “smaller city”, I mean it wasn’t a town where everyone knows each other, but it wasn’t a big bustling city like San Francisco. The city was mostly comprised of retail stores, fast food restaurants, and suburban neighborhoods. There really wasn’t a whole lot to do around there, but there was a lot of undeveloped land. Because of this, the typical thing kids would do was to ride their bikes over to the land and cause mischief. Some days they would make jumps, other days they would be throwing dirt clods at each other, and on rare occasions, usually when the crazy kid in the neighborhood was involved, they would do something like start a fire. Around the neighborhood, things weren’t much different. Kids would do stupid things, like toilet paper people’s houses, and sometimes there was fights between different kids. Parents would occasionally get involved and that usually ended poorly, because everyone’s child is innocent in their own mind. It was pretty much your typical suburban lifestyle around there. When I drive through that city now, it feels like a lot has changed since the late 90’s and 2000’s, but nothing major really has. The buildings are older, people have moved, but living there is still your average middle-class suburban life.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — Santa Cruz, California, USA. I am from Santa Cruz, California, which is a city in Santa Cruz County. It is a free-thinking, affluent town on the coast in northern California. I grew up in the early 90’s and it was a very safe and inspirational place to grow up. There is a hippie spirit that oozes from all over Santa Cruz. I remember going to the movies as a kid in the downtown area and being charmed by the historic old theater and giving money to homeless people that were begging as I waited in line for the movie. Even though it is hard to look at the homeless population in Santa Cruz; I like that it is a city that cares about the homeless and people are very encouraging about giving money to homeless. I have now moved to Low Angeles, but from what I know in many ways Santa Cruz is the same. It’s a small beach town that is definitely not as big as LA or even San Diego. People do come to visit though, especially for the amusement park that is right on the beach or to visit the university. Also Santa Cruz is famous for surfing, and they have big waves in Santa Cruz. These big waves attract surfers that surf huge waves. Seeing a surf competition can be a very fun thing to do in Santa Cruz.

Newport Beach

Orange County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 —Newport Beach, California, USA I grew up in Newport Beach, California in the 1980s and 1990s. It was a beautiful place to live, located right off the coast of the Pacific Ocean. I spent my days playing at the beach, watching the sunset, swimming, laughing, building sandcastles. We took sailing lessons and surf lessons. We played beach volleyball and participated in Jr. Life Guards. We rode our bikes everywhere imaginable. Newport Beach is a small coastal city but has definitely grown in size. We would go whale watching, dolphin watching, and sea lion watching. It was a beautiful and fun place to live and grow and raise a family. We would oftentimes take the Catalina Flyer to Catalina Island during the summer to play at the beach there. We participated in all types of sports too. We loved the water and living at the beach. We had a big house full of animals and a big happy family. They have world famous Balboa Bars which are ice cream on a stick dipped in chocolate and sprinkles. There are several TV shows that were inspired by my hometown, The OC, Arrested Development and the movie Orange County to name a few. Many of the Real Housewives of Orange County live in Newport Beach. Although those shows stereotype Newport Beach, they’re mostly fictional and the things that are similar are extremely exaggerated for entertainment purposes. I suppose that is a pet peeve of mine, however, when I was growing up no one knew where Newport Beach was so now at least people can identify it.

Newport Beach

Orange County, California, USA (North America) —  June 2018 —  I grew up in Newport Beach, CA, USA in the 60’s and 70’s. I lived in a 3 bedroom ranch in a pretty wealthy area. The parents were more relaxed back then. We did not lock doors during the day and kids just ran wild all over the neighborhood. We had a lot of freedom to roam. Our house was about a mile from the beach and we were allowed to ride down there and spend the day at age 10. We rode to the mall and I once almost ran into John Wayne, who said “Look where you’re goin’ little girl!”. (Really, we saw stars pretty regularly.) I earned spending money babysitting a newborn when I was 10! The town was booming and there was much construction. We played in the areas under construction after the workmen went home (Insurance nightmare!!!). Yards were neat and homes were maintained without HOA’s. We had fruit trees and my mom grew vegetables. She also rehabilitated wild birds for several organizations. She was known as the hummingbird lady in our area.

East Los Angeles

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — My hometown is a huge California city that everyone knows, but when I grew up there in the 1950s, it was a rural area on the outside of this big city that was the country to me. We had hills and lots of places for kids to play, though our street was narrow and actually dangerous to play on but we didnt know that as children. My groups of friends played all over this area. We had every nationality conceivable when I was growing up and I wasn’t aware that these people were different than I. I could ride my ride to Dodgers stadium, we were that close to it, but it still felt like a countryside coming home to our little house on a hill. East LA was a cool place to grow up. Pasadena was right around the corner. We lived in an area called Mt Washington, and Glassell Park is where I attended grade school. I walked to school everyday and never really thought about climbing this huge hill to our home, as it seemed an adventure to me, the trees, and homes, nature, all made up this wonderland for me to take in. There were no traffic light on our main street down the hill, only a couple stop signs. After ten years of living there, my father decided to move us to the beach. The “smog” would roll up the valley below us and you couldn’t see the houses across the valley on the other side. I will always miss this area, but in revisiting, it has become a crowded, house packed area like the rest of LA and has NO resemblance to that area in which I grew up. It is now noisy and crowded, and all the places we played as children are gone and filled with homes. Sad to see this change but thats how it goes.

Altadena

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 —My hometown was Altadena which is a city in Los Angeles county in the United States. I grew up there in the 1980s through the 1990s, and had a lot of fun. The city itself it beautiful, with many trees, bushes, flowers and other greenery. It’s a quiet little place where most neighbors knew one another, at least on the same street and in some cases for several blocks surrounding. The children in the area certainly knew one another as they went to the elementary school there which was situated at the top of a steep hill at the base of the mountain which Altadena was nestled against. There were many things to do for children in Altadena, because, being a small friendly little town, there was not a lot of car traffic on the streets. This meant plenty of opportunity for games of hide and seek or “freeze tag” all over the place. Of course there was also a lot of bicycling, skateboarding, and roller skating as well. One of the many things I liked about growing up in Altadena was that many of the trees had delicious fruit just waiting to be eaten. In my family’s backyard we had a plum tree and peach tree, each having deliciously sweet fruit. At the top of my steeply inclined street there was also a huge pomegranate tree interwoven in a long green bush so big and thick that it completely hid the houses that were laid out on a small cul-de-sac behind it. This tree provided an extra special treat for neighborhood children, because as anyone who has eaten a pomegranate knows, they provide a bit of an adventure. In the first place they are pretty substantial, about twice the size of a regular apple. Part of the challenge, besides choosing a few carefully from the tree they hung from, was penetrating into the center to get at the bright red seeds which were the prize for eating. These seeds had a deliciously tangy taste and were very pleasant to eat while chatting about various things. The seeds were so potent they also left red colored stains on just about anything they came into contact with, such as hands or clothing. So for kids the pomegranates provided endless enjoyment always waiting and within reach. One of two parks located in Altadena was another fun place for kids to hang out. It was a very large size, and included two baseball fields, a tennis court, basketball court, children’s playground area, barbecue area, and even a community building so large it served as the polling place for residents to vote in elections. The park was covered everywhere with welcoming green grass. There were several restroom locations, and the pavement and most park structures were constructed with intermixed stones and cement, giving the park a very natural look. Overall, Altadena made a wonderful place for kids growing up in a traditional American style and setting. There was plenty to do and see and many adventures waiting to be had for energetic children. Being situated at the base of a mountain, everything, from houses to parks to streets connecting everything, rested almost without fail at some steep incline, always providing a natural way to keep busy residents in tip top physical shape.

Vacaville

Solano County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — My hometown was a little spot in California called Vacaville, it is a part of Solano County. I lived there from 1984 to 1996, overall it was a pretty awful experience for me. I had learning difficulties and parents who were too busy for me. I was constantly bullied at school I can remember never having anyone to play with, eating alone, being slapped kicked and called names, Some of the teachers and adults also made sure I felt bad pretty often. I didn’t have any friends until I moved to another state in 1997. The only thing I liked was that it was small and relatively crime free, now it’s tripled in size and crime has quadrupled. I’ve gone back a few times, it’s an average medium sized town that no longer has anything going for it.

Covina

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — My hometown is Covina, Ca in Los Angeles country in the USA. I grew up in the 1980s in Covina. Covina is a small town surrounded by big cities. Since it is a city in Los Angeles county it could never be considered a small town since it is surrounded by cities all relatively similar. The cities run from one to the next and are more distinguished by the high school you were going to go to and the amount of crime that occurred. Covina was a a safe city with moderate incomes and family neighborhoods. It had more houses than apartments and would be considered more so for families than individuals.

Galt

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — I grew up in Galt in the 1990s. Back then it had half the population and half as many fast food joints. Gas was less than a dollar. There wasn’t any internet. And given the lack of a movie theater, bowling alley, arcade, or any real source of entertainment, we kind of just stood around during the formative years. It’s a small farm town and by that I mean, the bigger high schools in the towns around us had a day every year called “Hick Day” where they dressed up like stereotypical farmers and hillbillies and they named it after us. Galt in recent years has tried to appeal more to the tourists; Galt now stands for Great American Little Town and they like to play up the things that make us unique. Unfortunately, all we really have is the flea market, a ridiculous amount of festivals of which our Strawberry Festival is the most well known and sandhill cranes. The cranes have their own festival too but there aren’t any cranes there, just pictures of them and the metal cutout of one in the new roundabout. You can maybe spot them at the local nature preserve though. Despite suffering the downsides most small towns do, there’s something charming about it. I, at least, love my hometown and have never really considered venturing too far from it. I love the holiday parades and the the decorations they put up for Christmas that literally haven’t changed my entire life and the way small shops and businesses are all cluttered around the center of town. It comforts me to visit all the familiar stores and restaurants that I know and love. There’s something to be said for a small community where you know people everywhere you go and things are familiar. Other members of the community, even ones you don’t know, may share beloved traditions with you. There are town stories and legends and customs that are passed down through the generations; my own parents moved to Galt long before I was born. I guess for me there’s truth in the idea that home is where your heart is. While I do live about half an hour outside of Galt now, I still consider it my town.

Santa Maria

Santa Barbara County, California, USA (North America) — June 2018 — I grew up in the small city of Santa maria California which has been my home since 1995 which is 23 years now. The city has always been a small city which has been a great place to live because of how quite and calm it is but at the same time there are many things to do there. Which is why i am still living here. The city has change though because more people have moved here which is great because now the city has become more and more diverse so i have got to learn lots of things of many other cultures and people. that has also had a huge benefit in the fact that now more stores and entertainment has open making it a very fun city but it has not lost its charm and it is still at a size that you can say its a small city still the roads and streets have also improved a lot since the years have passed now we have many golf courses and things like that which make it a great city to live at for me i would love to live here all my life that way my children can have the chance to grow up at the same place where their dad had the privilege to have a great childhood which made me in what i am today

Artesia

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 —A small city near several other well known cities, Artesia. Not much happens here yet the neighborhood is vastly mixed with many different cultures and lifestyles. Artesia falls under the county Los Angeles and like many other neighboring cities it has its attractions here and there. One being Artesia park, which in my opinion is one of the nicest parks around the area. Artesia is filled with several restaurants from fast food to casual night restaurants. I have lived here all my life and I have yet to see all of Artesia. The city is not that big but you’re bound to find nice and welcoming people. Anyone is welcome here and there are a few shopping centers and schools available to choose from. Artesia does have a few churches so for anyone religious they’re bound to find the right church. The city is good for families with young children Day cares, school tutors and places for children to enjoy themselves while the parents take a break as well are all available here. For young adults several apartments are available to choose from although they’re not so great. As for available jobs, it’s somewhat hard finding jobs people are usually looking for. With all that said, Artesia is still growing and the community is always available to help for those in need.

Bakersfield

Kern County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — I’m 28 years old and have lived in Bakersfield my whole life. I like living in this city because it is a large city, but it really has a small-town feel. Everybody-knows-everybody type of town. If you travel west 2 hours you will hit the beach, travel north a few hours and hike national forests, Travel south a few hours and you’ll find amusement parks (Disneyland!), travel east and you can explore the desert. There is so much to do within a few hours drive from home. That fact makes weekend getaways totally doable for a working-class family. The only complaints I have is that the air quality is horrid because we live in a valley where the air does not flow out easily, its always hot and we do not really get a clear 4-seasons. Its mostly summer with a short rainy season. However, after a good rain storm we can see the mountains from every direction. Since I have lived here there has been a lot of expansion and road development. There are a few freeways being expanded which is going to make the commute through Bakersfield a lot easier. I imagine the improvements will bring more travelers through our town.

Redondo Beach

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — I enjoy living in Redondo Beach because it lies at the southern end of the beautiful Santa Monica Bay. Most of its neighborhoods are within walking or bicycling distance from the ocean and the tide pools and marine sanctuaries are nearby on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. We have wide, clean beaches and nice surf. I like seeing so many active and healthy people out walking; young people, families, and retired folks. Redondo Beach has relatively mild weather with cool breezes off of the ocean and with that brings clear air. The city of Redondo Beach offers many great things for residents including parks, activities, kids and seniors programs, festivals, and events. Redondo Beach has a wide range of age demographics. But, your will not see too much ethnic diversity here. The demographics are predominantly Caucasian and Asian. The cost of living and home prices are very high. I was born in Redondo Beach and grew up here. I moved away for fifteen years and just returned two years ago. There is no way that I could afford to live here if I were not living with my family right now. I am living in the house and neighborhood in which I grew up. Most of the homes were built after WWII and of average size. I believe they would be considered middle class when they were built. Now they cost from $750,000 to 1 million dollars. Many original homes in the area are being bought by developers, torn down, and monstrous modern homes built in their place. The look of my neighborhood is slowly changing (not for the better in my opinion).

Temecula

Riverside County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — In southern California, Temecula is a valley filled with all kinds of housing, parks, strip malls, and a colorful older section as well right off the 15 freeway. Temecula is a flourishing city that possesses a Promenade mall, three movie theatres-Edwards, Carmike, and Temeku Cinema, several notable wineries and Pechanga Casino Resort. What is so interesting about this town is that it can either be packed with people or ghost town empty depending on the time of day or night you travel there. Unique to the city is the fact that there is only one restaurant there that is open twenty-four hours. It is small, close to the I-15 freeway and equal distance between San Diego and Riverside. There is always some big event going on the weekends and throughout the week as well. It is a great place to visit, also good for commuting families on their way to San Diego, to Riverside, or anywhere else for that matter. Family friendly and generally filled with children-based activities, there is always something fun to do in Town. It is surrounded by other valleys and towns. There are ranches and plain unincorporated areas which give an indicate of the desert it once was and still can become during the hottest days in summer or anywhere else for that matter. Give Temecula a try one of these days. It is very picturesque and a great place to hang out if one enjoys a small-town aura in a big city location. Have fun and enjoy.

Los Osos

San Luis Obispo County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — I live in Los Osos, which is in the county of San Luis Obispo California, in the United states of america. The town is a beach town located on the beautiful central coast of California. It has great weather year around. Los Osos would be a small town with little to no traffic getting to and from this location. There are only two roads that lead ibnto this town. I first arrived in Los Osos in 1981 where i attended elementary school, then Junior high school and went to High School one town over in Morro Bay. When I arrive in Los Osos there were only 6,000 people that lived here and no stop lights. It has almost doubled in size and we now have 5 stop light in town. Los osos would be considered a bedroom community, as most people travel to work from here everyday. It has a small town feel. Due to the amount of houses and the water supply, the town has had a building Morotorium for about 20 years, and no new houses are being built here. The cost of owning a home is expensive, and Los Osos has been recognized as the next Carmel.

San Francisco

San Francisco County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — I have lived in San Francisco for 6 years and I think it is a very awesome place. It is very diverse, in its ethnic makeup and gastronomy, and you meet a lot of very interesting and smart people here. If you like professional sports, you have a lot of options in the Bay Area. There are also a lot of cool neighborhoods in San Francisco, such as Hayes Valley, Inner Sunset, The Mission, Bernal Heights, Cole Valley, Laurel Heights, Inner Richmond, etc. And all these neighborhoods have different “personalities”. This city also has an amazing variety of eating establishments. If you crave Turkish food you can eat at a la Turca in the Tenderloin. Craving Burmese? No problem, just go to Pagan in the outer Richmond. The bad part is that SAN FRANCISCO IS VERY EXPENSIVE!

Stockton

San Joaquin County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — Stockton, California, USA is the largest city and county seat of San Joaquin county. The population is about 250,000 people. It is approximately 50 miles south of California’s capital, Sacramento and about 90 miles east of San Francisco. A lot of people that don’t want to live in the Bay Area or Sacramento move to Stockton because it is smaller, and they could still be close to those areas. Stockton is home to the University of the Pacific and there is also a satellite campus for Cal State University. There is also Delta College which is a large community college. The public transportation might not be as extensive as larger cities but it is expanding with new routes and plans for even more. Stockton’s weather is something that some people that live here don’t like sometimes. It can be over 100F in the summer and it hardly ever rains. It can drop into the low 20s at night in the winter. Stockton might be growing less than other cities in California but there has been some progress recently. There is a lot of new housing that is being built in the north side and downtown. There is also a lot of industrial growth in the south side of town with an increasing amount of jobs. Stockton is probably like most cities that have expensive and also cheap areas to live. Lastly, Stockton does have a small airport in the south area of town and has Allegiant Airlines there that has daily flights to Las Vegas and less frequent flights to a few other places.

Chino Hills

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018—Chino Hills is a wonderful up and coming city. It is located in south California roughly thirty-five minutes east of Los Angeles. The city house of 70,000 residents from inside newly modeled houses and apartments to original houses from the cities early days. The city gets in name from the wonderful green hills towards the west and southern regions of the city. There is a one major freeway that connect the southern and northern most regions of the city to other neighboring cities and counts including: Orange county, San Bernadino country and LA country. Inside the city you will find a large outdoor mall which retails the latest trends in both fashion and culinary. Other major retail shop can be found spread out over the city, as well as, foods from all over the world. Chino Hills is a melting pot for culture. All forms of entertainment can be found inside the city: movie theaters, live theaters, gyms, and some historical sites from the battle of Chino. Chino Hill also has a state park which brings people from all over to enjoy exercise on its many trails. Education is also a major plus side to this city. The high schools offer a wide funding to student athletic programs, which continually foster CIF contenders in all areas. Between the two high school located in the city many students go on to become successful college athletes.

Port Hueneme

Ventura County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — Port Hueneme is a small town, only four miles by four miles. It is known primarily for two things – the port, where goods such as vehicles, fruits, and vegetables are brought in, and the naval base that takes up half of the town. The residents of this town are usually members of the navy or blue collar workers and their families. It has a calm beach with a pier that is popular for fishing. The weather here is ideal, especially for California. The average temperature is 70-75 degrees. It is usually sunny, but as it is a beach town, it can get somewhat foggy in the colder months. People tend to come and go quite often from this town, but there are residents who have been here for a long time who try to establish a sense of community. They have a few events for the community, such as a monthly food truck event at the beach, a family Christmas event at city hall, and a summer festival at the port. Besides these events or going to the beach, there is not much in the way of entertainment in town, but it does have a few popular local restaurants that also attract people from outside of town. It is relatively crime free. There are a few homeless people that are somewhat known around town, but they are not considered a nuisance. Overall, Port Hueneme is not very lively or exciting, but it is a calm, quiet place to live.

Sacramento

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — I currently live in Sacramento, California. Sacramento is a city of contrasts and in-betweens: it is neither a big city nor a small town, nor the middle of nowhere. It is artsy, but without any well-known museums or galleries, there are many foodies here but no famous restaurants. Most people live outside of the downtown area in very suburban areas. Immediately outside the city center there are older suburbs with houses from the 1950s or 1970s where people can still sometimes walk to a café or bar, but farther outside there are huge suburbs that are long avenues and strip mall after strip mall. People tend to live far from the strip malls and with the lack of sidewalks most drive to do their most simple tasks. The best place in Sacramento is the downtown but there are few affordable places to live left there as many Bay Area transplants who were out-priced from their homes begin to move up north. One of the benefits often lauded of Sacramento is that in an hour you can get to the beach and an hour in the other direction you can get to the mountains, but there is something rather depressing that one of the biggest perks of your city is how easy it is to leave it.

Orosi

Tulare County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018 — The town I live in is called Orosi. Orosi is located in California, USA in Tulare County. This town has a population of 8,700 people. Although its considered a small town it has grown tremendously. Living in this town can seem boring at times but the views to the Sierra Mountains are beautiful. I have enjoyed growing in Orosi because not only do you know your friends at school but you also get to know everyone in your neighborhood. Everyone enjoys walks in the evenings after dinner without having to worry about criminals on the loose. Another thing i enjoy about Orosi is that its a very diverse town. The vast majority of people living here are Hispanics but we also have a mix of Filipinos, Whites, Africans, and Native Americans. One thing I don’t like is that during the summer their is not a lot of activities for children to do while their out of school. Some activities would make this small town a better productive place. This town has grown in the past years. They have added many fast food places and even a Family Dollar. We also have a Bank of the West and a Little Caesars.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) –May 2018 Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, United States. LA is infamous. It receives a lot of media attention. Some of what’s reported is true, and some isn’t. It’s a huge, sprawling city full of life and diversity. I love this diversity and all the small cultural hubs I live near – Little Armenia, Chinatown, Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Little Luthuania, etc. Even if there isn’t a name for it, you can meet with a huge variety of people and pass by different languages being spoken every few minutes while simply walking down the street. Also, this impacts the food greatly. There’s so much to choose from! This city’s great if you’re a huge foodie. Luckily I’m in a neighborhood with a relatively high walk score and a suburban feel, so I have so many different activities and cuisines in walking distance to me. Despite this, you can drive 15 minutes south and end up in super urban Downtown, or 15 minutes north and your in the mountains. It’s a wonderful feeling to have so many options, though it’s probably best to avoid driving during rush hour if you can!

Elk Grove

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Elk Grove, California is located 12 miles south of Sacramento and is in Sacramento County. There is a population of approx 100,000 people and is both a rural and urban community with over 100,000 acres of farm land. Elk Grove still has its small time feel where many people have remained in the community. There are new shopping centers opening that has brought a lot of business and revenue to the city. Elk Grove is known for their Elks and you can find Elk statues all around town that are painted in patriotic colors and designs. While there are no sports teams in Elk Grove, there are many agriculture based clubs (such as the local FFA chapters), whom are highly supported by the community. Elk Grove is a very community oriented city where fundraisers for the local schools are popular. Elk Grove FFA is one of the most respected organizations in the community where many people attend Barn Dances, Tri-tip feeds and animal auctions.

Fresno

Fresno County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in the city of Fresno, California. It is a large town both in population and urban sprawl. While most people don’t think of Fresno as a large city (it does have a small downtown area), it is in the top 50 largest cities by population. It has a history of being very conservative, though recently the trend is changing. Fresno, in addition to the rest of the central valley, is the agricultural hub of the world – providing almost 60% of the world’s food supply in tons. The educational situation in Fresno is very dim. While it boasts the 4th largest school district in the state of California, the standardized test results are very poor. It has a city college and a state college, but both are historically under-performing. The climate is that of a desert. We receive very little rain and the summers are quite hot. I continue to live here despite the crime and educational quality because the culture and food here is amazing. It is truly a cultural hub of diversity. There is a thriving night life and downtown art scene. There is a good mix of people with small town values with a large town mentality.

Downey

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–  Downey, California, located on the West Coast of the United States has been my home for the past ten years of my life. Living there is quaint and filled with experiences, even though it’s located just a few miles from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Every Sunday morning there’s a farmers’ market in the Downtown area of Downey, colloquially known as third street. Flowers, fresh produce, artisanal crafts and fish are common products there. I typically like to spend my mornings there, being able to explore the third street with my motorcycle. After a long day of buying products and talking to the locals, I head to the movie theatre near by (a block away) with a few of my friends and we all watch the next flick. Living there has always been a positive experience, but lately, there’s been a lot more traffic. It’s not surprising, as Florence Avenue, Firestone Blvd, Downey Avenue, Lakewood Blvd, and Imperial Highway all cut through Downey. It’s a busy town with a lot of crossroads, so traffic has always been an issue, but it’s been getting particularly nasty lately. I enjoy the increased police presence though, it allows me to feel a lot more secure and safe within my town. I’m Hispanic, and that doesn’t bother me since the police are not discriminatory. I have a good relationship with them, and they love my presence. The people there are all incredibly welcoming, and even though it’s a town with over one hundred thousand people, it still feels like a small town.

San Diego

San Diego County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–San Diego is famous for its beaches. In fact, it has 70 miles of coastline that you can enjoy year-round. While the winter weather may not be great for swimming, you can still enjoy the long strips of soft sandy beaches, gorgeous coastline sunsets, and sunny days when people in other states are bundled up inside their homes. On any given day, especially during the spring and summer months, you can find people outside playing volleyball, riding bikes along the boardwalk, strolling the beachside shops or simply soaking up the sun. Active and healthy living is a mainstay in the area. It’s no surprise that San Diego recently made the list of Top 10 Fittest Cities in America.

Bakersfield

Kern County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018– Bakersfield California is in Central California in the county of Kern. Bakersfield is in between Fresno (north) and Los Angeles (south). There are mountain ranges all around in every direction therefore; we live below sea level. The climate is extremely hot in the summer and that is about 8 months out of the year. There are only 2 seasons. Summer and Winter. Average rainfall is about 4″ a year so it is extremely dry most of the time. Air quality is 2nd worst in the nation. Bakersfield has grown 300% in the last 20 years due to lower housing cost in comparison to Los Angeles or any of the coastal towns. There are a large number of people who commute for work. The nice thing about Bakersfield is the location and the small town feeling. The 2010 census reported a population of close to one half million people with 53% white, 30% Hispanic and 8% Black with the remaining a mixture of all other races. With the growth considered, we still have a large community of growers and farmland. I have lived here for 35 years, raised my children and now have a very big extended family here. We are your average typical American family.

Victorville

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–I live in a rather large city called Victorville here in California. It’s considered to be a part of the High Desert. There are tumbleweeds rolling down the roads. Most roads here are not paved and instead are just dirt roads. During the summers it can get passed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winters it can be as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It can feel kind of lonely living here because there isn’t a huge population of people. There’s open land everywhere, which is beautiful. You can see the mountains from anywhere in the city. Sometimes the openness can be a good reminder of how small we are and how short our lives are on this earth. Living relatively close to both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it’s easy to see how people get caught up in the glitz and glamour and how toxic it can make people. There has been quite a few changes over the past ten years here. There are definitely a lot more shops and restaurants now which is drawing a lot more people to this city. Luckily, it’s bringing people in who want to get away from the chaotic life that bigger cities can causes.

Thousand Oaks

Ventura County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–Thousand Oaks, Ventura county, California, USA. Thousand Oaks is part of a larger area, Conejo Valley. I like being able to see the mountains. The population was almost 130,000 in 2010, as determined by the US census. Thousand Oaks has been growing, but I usually don’t feel overcrowded. Lately, a lot of road work is being done & therefore, slowing traffic, making it seem overcrowded though. One thing I like about Ventura County is that the sales tax, 7.25%, isn’t unreasonable. Our Los Angeles neighbors to the south pay a 9.5% sales tax. I like the variety of parks in Thousand Oaks, from dog parks to parks with hiking trails. I like the mild fall, winter & spring weather. Although we occasionally experience Santa Ana winds, thankfully, they usually aren’t the fierce, dry, hot winds that occur in the Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. I wish we got more rainfall & I don’t like the hot days of August & September. We are fairly close to the beach, which I love. When we first moved in, in 1990, we lived in a new tract home where we knew all our neighbors. We know only 3 of them now, as the others have moved out. I wish we knew more of our neighbors now.

Castiac

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018– Living in this town is like living in a small town with most big city amenities but with a small town community feel. I like that, in my location, I can walk to most anywhere I need to go. The schools are great and the shopping is not good. (good for my wallet) But if I need anything other than what I can find at the grocery store, I just jump on the freeway and I have anything I need less than ten minutes away. The parks are wonderful! Especially Castaic Lake, which I can also walk to. There are numerous playgrounds and campgrounds, fishing dock and trails for feet or horses! Though when I first moved here I saw lots of people enjoying horseback riding, that sight has been fewer and fewer. But the number of backyard chickens has grown! Since I moved here 10 years ago, hundreds of new houses have been built and the traffic has increased. Its becoming less of a small town but we still have a close knit community!

Downey

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in a city called Downey, in the East side of Los Angeles. This town is on the border of LA and Orange County. I lived here for about 15 years as I went to elementary to high school in Downey. I like Downey because of it’s peaceful neighborhoods hence it’s surrounding cities that are not too safe to be around. People call Downey the Mexican Beverly Hills or an Island between the ghettos. There has been alot of money going into the new malls and renovations in Downey which I like. It is attracting alot of new home owners and residents. Downey is a pretty good size city hosting about 100,000 residences. It is right in the crossing of the 5 and 605 freeway which makes it very convenient for traveling to and from work. What I don’t like about the city is that the majority of people that live here are young adults. Young adults can make some noises at nights, drive obnoxious cars, and are inconsiderate of their litter. One other thing I don’t like about living in an apartment so close to the freeway is that the noise can be annoying at night, especially Friday night. Other than that, it is a very peaceful and friendly city with lots of interesting places to visit. It’s not too hot or too cold in the Summer or Winter. It is always centering around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Benicia

Solano County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Benicia is a charming suburb in the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is a Main Street city and First Street, the main artery, is lined with art galleries, antique shops, consignment shops, bars, bakeries and restaurants. It’s a lively area for locals and day trippers. There are many beautiful Victorian homes on the side streets. On Thursdays, from April to October, there is a farmer’s market with local produce, food vendors and entertainers. First Street leads down to an historic train depot and the Carquinez Strait, where water sport enthusiasts and fisherman (and women) gather, especially when salmon is running. Benicia has a rich history. It was once the state capital, and Jack London lived here. There is theater and entertainment in Benicia, and a rich arts scene. A former arsenal was turned into an arts center, which houses Arts Benicia and many artist studios. Each May and December, Arts Benicia hosts an open gallery event for visitors. Benicia is also known for events like the Holy Ghost Festival, the Peddlars’ Fair, and an annual fine arts fair, all of which are held on First Street. There is always something to do in this quaint Northern California town.

Santa Clarita

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in Santa Clarita, California which is in Los Angeles County about 40 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Unlike many Southern California communities which run one into another, it is somewhat cut off by its topography. It is considered to somewhat high desert. The town has one of the oldest cafes in SoCal and also hosts a well known amusement park. It isn’t a great place for singles as it is primarily a community of families. It has a high safety record and is considered one of the most desirable family communities in Socal, ranking third in size for LA County. Having lived here nearly 24 years the population has double since then and is expected to grow considerably larger as the nation’s largest housing development projects has just been approved and there will be more than 20,000 new homes. The traffic has increased considerably along with the number of lights.

Newbury Park

Thousand Oaks, Ventura County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I’ve been living in Thousand Oaks for a number of years now and I have to say that compared to the rest of the Southern area of California, it’s truly a quiet little gem of a city to live in at the moment. It’s for the most part a suburban city with a myriad of shopping centers sprinkled throughout the city and a major mall in the center. The city has a lot of good qualities such as being very quiet in terms of violent crimes, airplanes/helicopters and just general outdoor activities. The aspect that I don’t like about living here is that the people are a bit on the snobby side and there are a lot of far-right leaning people that openly display their political affiliations on their cars and shirts. This aspect of Thousand Oaks also extends to some of the stores as people tend to treat you differently if you’re not white. I feel like it’s gotten worse since Donald Trump became president though there’s also been a big influx of Hispanic and Indian immigrants into the area which has created an ethnic divide among the community. A small section of Newbury Park next to where I live has also become a major haven for criminality and gang violence, an issue which has become a major problem in the recent months. I really like that Thousand Oaks is so clean and taken care of in terms of landscaping across the city though I never feel completely comfortable when I’m out with my girlfriend as I sometimes feel like I’m being profiled when I go to the local market or outdoor mall.

Lemoore

Kings County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — It is nice living in Lemoore, CA. It is near Fresno, CA. It is in the San Joaquin valley. Lemoore is not that big of a city. It has a Mc Donalds, Kmart, Save Mart, Walgreens, Rite aide, and other stores. This city also has a U.S. Navy base. I think it is called Lemoore NAS. It has a nice main street, with nice shops downtown. I like that Lemoore has nice stores and friendly people. I like the warm California weather. I don’t like that there is no mall in Lemoore. It has changed since I first came there by it growing more and getting a movie theater. There are nice hotels there, like the Best Western and the Motel 6.

San Diego

San Diego County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — San Diego is one of the jewels of the West Coast. Not only does it have the largest Entertainment district in the Western US, it also has miles of beaches that are surprisingly empty for most of the week throughout the year. Locals normally don’t arrive until 4 pm unless they are at lunch. The weather is perfect near the water year round, with 300 days of sunshine. Thursday nights are special locally for those that are young. They go out and enjoy the bars, discos, and hotels with all the locals. Because there are so many tourists, going out on Friday or Saturday can cause local people to get frustrated. Another local tradition is to go to December Nights, a carnival that is held in the giant park that contains the world famous San Diego zoo. The carnival kicks off December and is on before any of the Christmas tourists show up, making it another ideal event for the locals. Drinking coffee wasn’t a strong tradition until about 12 years ago. Starbucks and others put a lot of coffee shops downtown. Those that moved to or visited San Diego kept the shops open with their business. Eventually, everyone started drinking more coffee. Many locals refuse to drink at chains there are not roasted or brewed by locally owned companies, however.

Willits

Mendocino County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in a rural town named Willits, located in Mendocino County in Northern California. Willits is located 130 miles directly north of San Francisco. Willits is noted for the Skunk Train that runs west, to the Pacific Ocean, to a small town named Fort Bragg. The town of Willits is in a small valley surrounded by beautiful trees that include fir, redwood, pine and oak. The valley of Willits is also surrounded by beautiful farmland and several cattle ranches. Some of the drawbacks for living in Willits are the convenience of shopping and the opportunity of employment. Living in a population of 4,800 people, there aren’t many places available to work or to shop. The closet town with any real shopping is 30 miles south, in Ukiah, and even that would be considered very limited by city standards. As far as employment there is the school district, a very limited hospital and a couple of small manufacturers. Until recently, Marijuana was a discrete source of income for a number of Willits’ inhabitants, but with the leniency of possession, and the recent legalization in Mendocino County, growing and harvesting marijuana has created more employment in our area. Willits has a somewhat diverse culture made up of Hispanic and White, although there has been a significant Asian culture that has migrated into the area over the past 25 years. Willits isn’t an easy place to live and is certainly not for everyone. Most people, even in California, have never heard of Willits, but to the 4,800 of us, we call it home.

Hayward

Alameda County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Living in Hayward is an interesting experience. This city is always changing. There is always a new business or restaurant opening up in Hayward to explore. I have lived here for 22 years. It is a medium city and to be honest, it was pretty boring when I was in high school. There were very few restaurants and only one movie theater. The entire downtown has been rebuilt including a new movie theatre and a ton of new restaurants. We now have a Farmers Market, Zucchini Festival, car shows and other fun events. The high schools have new track and football fields and the University underwent a name change and a huge remodel.

I love that there is so much to do here and it is a great place to raise a family. My daughter loves the parks and events, they are currently rebuilding the library. What I don’t like about the city is the Hayward loop. Hayward is very central to the San Francisco Bay Area, so to make the city more accessible to traffic passing through the city, city planners decided to create a loop downtown which is a series of one-way streets so all 4 or 5 lanes are open to traffic passing through. While the loop cut down the traffic downtown, it made it very difficult for residents to get to some of the businesses downtown. We literally have to drive in circles to reach certain places. There were several accidents downtown when the street directions first changed and some smaller businesses were forced out of business because it became so difficult to park near them. But, overall it is a great city to live in.

Visalia

Tulare County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Visalia is a medium sized city situated between the cities of Bakersfield and Fresno. It is called the Gateway to the Sequoias due to it’s close vicinity to the Sequoia National Park. Visalia is a unique place to live. It has a mixed socio economic status. The street you live on can greatly affect your feelings toward Visalia. Some parts of Visalia are beautiful and peaceful; children ride bikes out in front of the house and neighbors greet each other. Other parts are not so nice. Gang violence, drug use, and theft are present in many neighborhoods. Unfortunately, schools suffer the same discrepancies. The ability to enjoy Visalia is dependent upon each individual. Plenty of entertainment can be found if one looks for it. Main street has a bustling nightlife on the weekends, the mountains are a quick jaunt east, and the city does well to plan fun family activities. Visalia truly is what you make of it!

Hawthorne

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Hawthorne, CA is a thriving community within Los Angeles County in the United States of America! With a diverse population and low renting and mortgage rates, it is a hot target for individuals looking to move to Southern California, and also a hotspot of culture with multiple stores and food options. After 20 years, it has only continually gotten better compared to when I was just a child. Now, as an adult who has stayed, the people here are so wonderful that they make it hard to leave. You get the benefits of being close to the big city, with the hometown feel of a small tight knit community. Within close range of all attractions and hot commodities in Los Angeles, Hawthorne is extremely hard to beat!

Chino Hills

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in Chino Hills. It’s located in the state of California, in San Bernadino County, in the United States. It’s a midsized town of about 75,000 people, and it’s located in the middle of hills and horse ranches. The average income per household in this town is about $100,000 and I know in the last 3 years its ranked as one of the safest midsized towns in the U.S. It has all the amenities you would expect a suburb of the L.A. metro would have – great restaurants of dozens of ethnicities, great shopping options, and very highly rated schools. The streets are laid out nicely, are nice and wide, and the traffic is manageable and not too crazy. It is centrally located – about 3o minutes from numerous beaches, about 45 minutes from the mountains (7000 to 10000 ft high), and about 1 hour 30 minutes from the desert. It’s also 25 minutes from Disneyland, Knotts Berry farm, and many world class museums. It’s quiet, but not too quiet. I LOVE it here.

West Covina

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — The city I live in is a large suburb of Los Angeles. It is about twenty miles from downtown LA. It was made famous by a television show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is set in the city. West Covina has about 100,000 people in approximately sixteen square miles. The city has a lot of great things about it. There are community events, parks and shopping opportunities. The schools are great and there is a lot of cultural diversity in the community. We have everything from a Chinese Cherry Blossom Festival to Mexican heritage events to celebrations of Black history. We also have reliable utilities and city services, including our own police and fire departments. I don’t really think there is much that could be improved in the city, except for maybe safety. You can never be too safe, right? I would like to see even more emphasis put on community safety. It would also be nice if we had an opportunity for more artistic endeavors in the community. We do not have a theater for plays and major musical productions. Finally, I’d like to see more children’s activities, like after school programs and competitive sports and art programs.

Rancho Cordova

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Rancho Cordova, Sacramento County, California, United States Rancho Cordova is a suburb of Sacramento, the state capital of California. There are many large employers in Rancho Cordova, including health insurers, government agencies, and a variety of professional services companies. Along the main streets, these huge office buildings are what you see. It is extremely suburban. The landscape is dominated by housing developments and strip malls. Traffic is intense, and a drive that takes 10 minutes without traffic can take 25 minutes during rush hour. A lot of parts of Rancho Cordova are very nice neighborhoods, however a lot of neighborhoods are so dangerous they don’t receive pizza deliveries. Rancho Cordova keeps getting bigger, but isn’t changing much. More office buildings get built and more huge housing developments break ground, but overall it is a somewhat run down and boring suburb of a vibrant, exciting city.

Victorville

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I live in Victorville, California, USA. It’s nice living here. It’s still in California, so we have the good weather, but we’re right smack in the middle in between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s an equal distance to get to both places from where I live. I like that it’s quiet here. I spent most of my life living in the heart of Los Angeles, so the change of pace was welcomed and appreciated. It does get much hotter up here because we are in the high desert, so that takes some getting used to. However it’s a nice trade off. Stores and restaurants here have a much cozier vibe than down the hill in the Los Angeles county. This might be because there’s a lot less people, so you get used to seeing the same familiar faces in a certain store. But it still has everything you would need in the city. Grocery stores, malls, coffee shops, etc. I am satisfied with the life I’ve built for myself here, and it was a nice change from the constant hustle and bustle of living in Los Angeles, though there are some times when I still do miss my times down in LA.

Santa Clarita

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — My city is called Santa Clarita, and it is located within Los Angeles County, California. It is approximately 30 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, which means about 1-2 hours with traffic. The weather here is a desert climate, so it can get very hot (upwards of 100 degrees) in the summer, and very cold with bone-chilling winds in the winter. Living here is very peaceful, but somewhat boring. The schools are some of the best in the state and children are brought up to perform very well academically. School sports are also a big part of the local community, and many people attend high school football games on Friday nights. There is a fun amusement park here called Six Flags Magic Mountain, with a waterpark right next door called Hurricane Harbor. During the summer, going in the lazy river at Hurricane Harbor is one of the best ways to beat the heat. Overall, Santa Clarita is a typical small town, but with a bit more of a snobby, stuck up feel. It’s a great place to raise a family, but many people can’t wait to get out and experience something new.

Redwood City

Redwood City, San Mateo County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Redwood City has changed drastically in the 20+ years I have lived here. It is in a great location, nestled between San Francisco and San Jose. Not too far from the beach, mountains, and wine country. The slogan for the town is “Climate voted best by government test”. It was your typical suburb when I was growing up as a kid. It’s always been in the heart of Silicon Valley but never has that been more apparent than in recent years. There has, naturally, been a lot of change to the city with the influx of people flocking to the area for the tech industry. Constant new construction, rent increases, and gentrification. On the positive, downtown Redwood City is better than it has ever been. There, and in surrounding towns, are great restaurants and bars. On the negative, everything is more expensive and more difficult to get to. But, as mentioned before, the location is ideal and sometimes that can make it worth it.

Roseville

Placer County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Roseville (Placer Country), California, United States of America: What might’ve once been a quaint, suburban hometown has quickly evolved into a growing problem. Placer County has certain laws in place that allow the homeless many liberties they might not otherwise have in other counties. It is this home to addicts that roam the streets at nights looking for trouble and on the other end of the spectrum white privilege Neighborhood Watch members who try to keep such company out of their neighborhoods. It is a very confusing spectrum indeed. If you’re not being asked for drugs, you’re being asked who asked you for drugs and all in all everyone seems to love the gossip that goes around. A boring town thus the residents try to make their lives less boring with the knowledge of others’ failures and such.

Sacramento

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — I moved to Sacramento a few years ago. It wasn’t long after I moved here that I realized that this city is nothing like the city I grew up in. People here are generally rude, inconsiderate, and unfriendly. Law enforcement seems to spend more time harassing the homeless than they do anything else (supposedly to maintain a certain image of the city to tourists), which causes the crime rate to stay exceptionally high. And, according to articles published in local newspapers, statistically, Sacramento ranks at number one in the country for having the worst drivers. Considering how frustrated I get anytime I am on the road, combined with the number of traffic accidents I read about almost everyday, this comes as no surprise. Traffic is always a nightmare no matter what time of day or what day of the week it happens to be. The weather is either one extreme or another. It is rare for the weather on any given day to be “comfortable”, as temperatures in the summer time can reach over 110 degrees, and nights in the winter time can be as cold as 30 degrees or even lower. When I first moved to this city, I did so because rent prices were significantly lower than any other city I had lived in in this state, but over the past couple of years, rent has increased by around 10%, which eliminates the only positive trait this city had. To sum it all up, Sacramento is a dangerous city that tries desperately to make itself look like anything but that. And with rent increasing faster here than almost anywhere else in the state, there is really no benefit to living here unless you enjoy being miserable.

Sacramento

Sacramento County, California, USA (North America) — May 2018 — Being the capital of California, Sacramento is the heart of California’s functioning government. The downtown and midtown has busy nightlife, but drive 20 min out, and you are greeted by beautiful countrysides of Northern California. What I like about Sacramento is the diversity in the city. Country bars and punk rock bars are next to each other and every place is a new experience. They are rebuilding where all of the abandoned/condemned building were so modern-esque buildings are appearing monthly. A few things I do not like about the city is the homeless situation. Lots of transients find there way here because it’s the last major city until Portland and Reno. There is also a housing problem, even though we have so many open spaces around the city, no new building are being built to expand the housing market. I love the city and also go to University here, and I have never had a terrible moment.

Castiac

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018– Living in this town is like living in a small town with most big city amenities but with a small town community feel. I like that, in my location, I can walk to most anywhere I need to go. The schools are great and the shopping is not good. (good for my wallet) But if I need anything other than what I can find at the grocery store, I just jump on the freeway and I have anything I need less than ten minutes away. The parks are wonderful! Especially Castaic Lake, which I can also walk to. There are numerous playgrounds and campgrounds, fishing dock and trails for feet or horses! Though when I first moved here I saw lots of people enjoying horseback riding, that sight has been fewer and fewer. But the number of backyard chickens has grown! Since I moved here 10 years ago, hundreds of new houses have been built and the traffic has increased. Its becoming less of a small town but we still have a close knit community!

Thousand Oaks

Ventura County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–Thousand Oaks, Ventura county, California, USA. Thousand Oaks is part of a larger area, Conejo Valley. I like being able to see the mountains. The population was almost 130,000 in 2010, as determined by the US census. Thousand Oaks has been growing, but I usually don’t feel overcrowded. Lately, a lot of road work is being done & therefore, slowing traffic, making it seem overcrowded though. One thing I like about Ventura County is that the sales tax, 7.25%, isn’t unreasonable. Our Los Angeles neighbors to the south pay a 9.5% sales tax. I like the variety of parks in Thousand Oaks, from dog parks to parks with hiking trails. I like the mild fall, winter & spring weather. Although we occasionally experience Santa Ana winds, thankfully, they usually aren’t the fierce, dry, hot winds that occur in the Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. I wish we got more rainfall & I don’t like the hot days of August & September. We are fairly close to the beach, which I love. When we first moved in, in 1990, we lived in a new tract home where we knew all our neighbors. We know only 3 of them now, as the others have moved out. I wish we knew more of our neighbors now.

Lompoc

Santa Barbara County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–The town I live in now is called Lompoc. It is a part of Santa Barbara County in the state of California which is a part of the United States. This is a smaller town that is very near to the coast and for it’s close proximity to the ocean does not have a large population. While small, there are several restaurants, bars and commercial area that is available in the area. The fact that you can get to the beach within 10 minutes is probably the most appealing thing about living here and what I like the most. It is also one of the most affordable areas to live in the central coast of California as the cost of living can be extremely high much of the area surrounding this city. I’ve only lived here for a little over a year so not much has changed but the surrounding areas of this city have started to be built up more which is nice because they’re only 15 to 20 minutes away. While there are some thing to do day to day here, on the weekends you’re better off traveling elsewhere to have fun or do something interesting. The crime in the city is not terrible but could be improved upon as there are some areas that are not the best in regard to negative things like that going on. Most of the people who grow up in this town ultimately end up staying here so there is a lot of people who know each other well within this community. Overall I’ve had a mostly positive experience living here but can’t say I intend to stay long term.

Victorville

San Bernardino County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–I live in a rather large city called Victorville here in California. It’s located in the county of San Bernardino in the United States of America. It’s considered to be a part of the High Desert. There are tumbleweeds rolling down the roads. Most roads here are not paved and instead are just dirt roads. During the summers it can get passed 100 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winters it can be as low as 25 degrees Fahrenheit. It can feel kind of lonely living here because there isn’t a huge population of people. There’s open land everywhere, which is beautiful. You can see the mountains from anywhere in the city. Sometimes the openness can be a good reminder of how small we are and how short our lives are on this earth. Living relatively close to both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, it’s easy to see how people get caught up in the glitz and glamour and how toxic it can make people. There has been quite a few changes over the past ten years here. There are definitely a lot more shops and restaurants now which is drawing a lot more people to this city. Luckily, it’s bringing people in who want to get away from the chaotic life that bigger cities can causes.

Bakersfield

Kern County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–Bakersfield California is in Central California in the county of Kern. Bakersfield is in between Fresno (north) and Los Angeles (south). There are mountain ranges all around in every direction therefore; we live below sea level. The climate is extremely hot in the summer and that is about 8 months out of the year. There are only 2 seasons. Summer and Winter. Average rainfall is about 4″ a year so it is extremely dry most of the time. Air quality is 2nd worst in the nation. Bakersfield has grown 300% in the last 20 years due to lower housing cost in comparison to Los Angeles or any of the coastal towns. There are a large number of people who commute for work. The nice thing about Bakersfield is the location and the small town feeling. The 2010 census reported a population of close to one half million people with 53% white, 30% Hispanic and 8% Black with the remaining a mixture of all other races. With the growth considered, we still have a large community of growers and farmland. I have lived here for 35 years, raised my children and now have a very big extended family here. We are your average typical American family.

San Diego

San Diego County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–San Diego is famous for its beaches. In fact, it has 70 miles of coastline that you can enjoy year-round. While the winter weather may not be great for swimming, you can still enjoy the long strips of soft sandy beaches, gorgeous coastline sunsets, and sunny days when people in other states are bundled up inside their homes. On any given day, especially during the spring and summer months, you can find people outside playing volleyball, riding bikes along the boardwalk, strolling the beachside shops or simply soaking up the sun. Active and healthy living is a mainstay in the area. It’s no surprise that San Diego recently made the list of Top 10 Fittest Cities in America.

Downey

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) – May 2018–  Downey, California, located on the West Coast of the United States has been my home for the past ten years of my life. Living there is quaint and filled with experiences, even though it’s located just a few miles from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Every Sunday morning there’s a farmers’ market in the Downtown area of Downey, colloquially known as third street. Flowers, fresh produce, artisanal crafts and fish are common products there. I typically like to spend my mornings there, being able to explore the third street with my motorcycle. After a long day of buying products and talking to the locals, I head to the movie theatre near by (a block away) with a few of my friends and we all watch the next flick. Living there has always been a positive experience, but lately, there’s been a lot more traffic. It’s not surprising, as Florence Avenue, Firestone Blvd, Downey Avenue, Lakewood Blvd, and Imperial Highway all cut through Downey. It’s a busy town with a lot of crossroads, so traffic has always been an issue, but it’s been getting particularly nasty lately. I enjoy the increased police presence though, it allows me to feel a lot more secure and safe within my town. I’m Hispanic, and that doesn’t bother me since the police are not discriminatory. I have a good relationship with them, and they love my presence. The people there are all incredibly welcoming, and even though it’s a town with over one hundred thousand people, it still feels like a small town.

Fresno

Fresno County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — I live in Fresno, CA USA. What I like about Fresno is that it is cheap to live here, and there are plenty of things to do in our downtown area. What I dislike about Fresno is we have too crime here, drug addicts/mentally ill that are homeless, and not too many events happen hear either. Our town is pretty large despite it being a small town. Fresno has its ups and downs, there have been many years of neglect in this city that the effects are shown, even in this present day. If you’re the type of person to like big city life, this wouldn’t be the place for you. Despite the crime, drug related crimes as well, Fresno isn’t so bad. It’s a great place to start a family since, like stated above it’s cheap to live here. Personally, I don’t like my hometown too much, and I plan to leave when I get a chance (especially since I’ll be working in IT and there are no IT jobs here). Furthermore, Fresno is a central valley, so it’s also great to live here if you like to travel a lot since most major cities are not that far to travel to from here.

San Jose

Santa Clara County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — I live in the city of San Jose, CA. It is located in Santa Clara county. It is also known for the heart of Silicon Valley. It is a huge city with over a million people. The downtown life is great with music and fun. There are many restaraunts that people go to every night and enjoy the nightlife though it seems people always want to bring their dogs everywhere they go. Some people go to the amusement park called Great America to ride the roller coasters and some people like to visit the sport arenas such as watching the San Jose Sharks.

Although there are many fun things to do here, there are some negatives things about this city. First, the cost of living here is outrageous! People are paying $2000 a month for a one bedroom apartment. Buying a home here is insane when it comes to San Jose. Homes sell for over a millions dollars and that price keeps on rising as the Silicon Valley gets more popular. For the people not able to buy their own home, they either rent rooms inside of peoples homes or rent an apartment sometimes with roommates. Having a roommate is the pretty much normal thing around San Jose and its surrounding cities. Second, lots of people means lots of cars. The traffic here can be like watching grass grow. it can take people 2.5hrs to go 30 miles during traffic peak times both ways. The people drive insanely crazy and you always have to watch yourself so you don’t end up in an accident. Most of the time here, people are always trying to save every penny because it is expensive here but its fun. Some people have moved from the city because of the cost of living but I’m here to stay in it. I enjoy the city life.

Menifee

Riverside County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — Menifee, California Menifee, the town that I live in, is a small city in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. It’s a fairly new city established in 2008 and consists of a rapidly growing population of around 80,000. The town is a beautiful place to live with plenty of open space, lush greenery, and beautiful homes surrounded by picturesque mountain views. Although the town is not very diverse with Whites and Hispanics being the majority, I’ve found it to be a peaceful and welcoming place to live nevertheless. Winters here are mild but summers are sizzling hot (and dry, it hardly ever rains) with average temperatures soaring into the 100’s in the peak of the season. One major downside in Menifee is traffic. Strangely for a relatively small town, we have tons of traffic on all the major roads and highways especially during the morning and evening rush hours. Another downside is the high cost of living and the scarcity of the town’s viable job market. Unlike the big cities, Menifee is more of a family-oriented, elderly friendly town. There are no major nightclubs, party spots, mega malls, stadiums, theme parks, concert arenas or movie theaters– so to be quite honest, younger or more adventurous people might find Menifee pretty boring. There are a few strip malls, grocery stores, retail shops and public parks to enjoy. The promise of a mega shopping complex, movie theater and road expansion has been looming for a while. However, I moved here roughly 2 years ago into my first home, and not much has changed since then. I often travel to the neighboring big cities for entertainment, business affairs, and trips to the airport (Menifee doesn’t have a major commercial airport). In conclusion, Menifee is a decent place to live but not so exciting to visit.

Davis

Yolo County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — I live in Davis, California which is located in Yolo County in the United States. My town is rather compact. I fell as if the majority of our downtown area is so closely tied together that, no matter what you’re craving, you’re going to be able to locate and attend whatever restaurant type you’re looking for. It’s a rather safe town, but just like any other place walking in the middle of the night isn’t the best of ideas. Considering that we are a college town, the college students are usually very pleasant. They can get a bit rowdy on occasion, but having them around makes this place so much more vibrant considering just how many individuals focus their efforts to attend the university. We’re definitely an outdoors type of area, the amount of times I catch myself waking up early to take in just how beautiful the campus is and how delicious the local eateries are for breakfast is just astonishing. The town isn’t rather big, the university is, hands down, the main attraction, but that doesn’t mean that’s all we have to offer. The way our community fits together results in one big and joyous puzzle that promotes self improvement and self love. Davis is this only place for me and I hope I was able to do it justice.

Redding

Shasta County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — I was born in Redding, CA and have spent my whole life here so far. Redding belongs to Shasta County and it is located on the western part of the United States. There are both good and bad things about Redding like just about every town but the problem that has been getting so much worse in the past few years are the homeless people. Crime is becoming so rampant and you basically have to have a conceal carry permit just to feel safe doing the basic tasks in this town. There are so many homeless people just about everywhere you look and where homeless is not a crime, these particular people in this town are hooked on drugs and do not want to help themselves. We have many programs in place to help people in need but for the majority of them, they are people who don’t want help and they just want to prey on the weak to get what they need. If you can get past all of that, there are some good things about this town. There are two lakes (Shasta and Whiskeytown), fishing, hunting, snowboarding on Mt. Shasta, and community events all nearby. If you are into the great outdoors then this place is definitely for you because it is surrounded by mountains and is BEAUTIFUL. All in all, if you are vigilant when it comes to dealing with people and are looking to get away from the big city life while still enjoying a sophisticated community, Redding might be a good fit for you.

Claremont

Los Angeles County, California, USA (North America) — April 2018 —Claremont is a suburb located about 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles. It is a located on the edge of Los Angeles county. It is a growing suburb with about four Starbucks in the neighborhood. It’s mostly a middle class neighborhood. But people who live in Claremont like to think they are upper middle class. It’s a quiet town with not much going on. It’s also a college town and home of the Claremont Colleges, which include Harvey Mudd, Pomona College, and CMC. Surrounding the colleges is an “old-town” style area with small shops and restaurants. This area is called the “village.” It’s a popular destination because it has coffee spots, Jamba juice, blaze pizza, and independent eateries. The things I like about Claremont is that it is a safe area, quiet, and a good place to raise kids. However, there is not much to do around Claremont and it’s a decent drive to Pasadena or to LA. Overtime, it has become more populated and has gotten more stores. The village has expanded and now has more places to eat and more stores. A new shopping center is being opened off the 210 freeway, which includes a whole foods 365. Traffic is ok, but the 210 and 10 freeways are jammed up during rush hours.

Oakland

Alameda County, California, USA (North America) – April 2018 — I live in Oakland, California, United States. Oakland is a great place to live. The weather is probably the aspect that most people would enjoy. It’s temperate all year round and slightly warmer than its counterpart, San Francisco. I would estimate that there are over three-hundred days of sunshine a year, so the city really facilitates an outdoor lifestyle. Another aspect that makes Oakland unique is its diversity of people. Along with cities like New York, it is one of the more diverse cities on earth, where whites, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos all co-mingle (relatively) peacefully. Oakland’s vibe or energy is a happy medium between the hustle and bustle of San Francisco and the sleepy energy of outer Bay Area, California suburbs. While Oakland certainly isn’t as energetic and vibrant as San Francisco, that can be a good thing as it allows for a nice mix of energy and down time. There’s also the food. Any relatively large city within the Bay Area, California is going to have really good cuisine. With its racial diversity and emphasis on food culture, the Bay Area facilitates a climate for fantastic restaurants, and Oakland is no exception. Although Oakland is a relatively small city, at around 400,000 residents, it would literally take an entire lifetime to do an exhaustive survey of all the great restaurants throughout the area. Finally, Oakland is bordered by some really fantastic regional parks which feature redwoods, awe-inspiring views of the Bay Area, hiking trails, and low-lying mountains. All these aspects combine to make Oakland a very livable, fun, and enjoyable area in which to live.

Dublin

Alameda County, California, USA (North America) — April 2018 — I live in Dublin, California and our zip code here is 94568. It is a suburban city that is located near three large cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Dublin is a great city whether you’re single, couple or a family. Dublin is safe for the most part especially when you compare it to other cities nearby. Dublin has great top-rated public schools. The city is family friendly with many public parks, hiking trails, and the town puts together many events for families like their Easter egg hunt. Dublin also has a variety of restaurants and shopping so there’s something for everyone to do. The negative aspects of living in a place like Dublin is that the town is fairly expensive especially when you compare it to other places like San Diego. For such a small city, it is very expensive to live here and very competitive. For example, the average price of a home in Dublin is around one million dollars and the market here is so competitive that homes don’t last on the marker for longer than a week. Also, the city cannot keep up with the many people who are moving to Dublin so it always feels that there is simply too many people in such a small city. This translates to congestion on the streets and busy restaurants and shopping centers. Overall, I would live and retire here if I could because it is a great family city, but it is simply too expensive so my family and I will relocate to somewhere else we can live comfortably.

Manteca

San Joaquin County, California, USA (North America) – March 2018 — Manteca, CA in the USA use to be a small town. Even though it has grown, it still has small town ideas. First is that it places flags out on the sidewalks for appropriate holidays like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day , etc. They have about 200 flags all around town and the citizens make sure they stay upright in their places. I didn’t live here twenty years ago but we did come visit family then so I know about some of the changes. Some of the biggest ones are the stores. They now have big box stores like Costco and a super big Walmart and malls to accommodate some of these. There is a big Senior Center in town and they provide lots of events for our senior citizens.

Hayward

Alameda County, California, USA (North America) – March 2018 — I live in Hayward, California, United States. It is a city, but pretty small at 150,000. I generally like the city, though there is not much to do here. Hayward is surprisingly large in terms of area; it is very sprawling, which makes it difficult to get around without a car. Public transportation is decent, though I would not want to be alone at any of the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) stations in Hayward alone at night. The malls in this area are not upscale and have few stores, though they are being renovated to include more popular stores like H&M. However, downtown Hayward is very nice. The movie theater is very popular and is beautifully decorated with murals on the outside, and it is located next to a great sushi restaurant. That area also has a ton of other delicious restaurants and food joints, including non-Starbucks cafes, bakeries, savory sandwich shops, and burger joints with particularly good fries. There are many cute boutiques that I enjoy exploring, including this really cool retro vintage shop. The library is also a great place to visit and always has the newest books. Outside of the downtown area, there are plenty of cool parks to go visit, including one that has a petting zoo and train; I hold fond memories of this park and like going there to relax with friends and family. The one area of Hayward that I am apprehensive about is Tennyson, which tends to have more crime.

Lancaster

Los Angeles County, California, USA – March 2018 — My Southern California desert city is complex. It was founded in the 1800s when railroad tracks were constructed; at that time it was tied to the Gold Rush and was a stop for travelers and settlers on the way to Los Angeles. It expanded rapidly in the 1980s with an aerospace industry boom; before that it was quiet and suburban, its population relatively small. Our main industries are education, aerospace, health services, and our large, high-security prison. Our city has a beautiful downtown area, a thriving local music and theatre scene, a decent college, and lots of coyotes, birds, and other desert wildlife. We speak a lot of Spanish and there are great family-owned restaurants everywhere.

When I was small, the businesses in our area were limited; since the population boom a lot of new stores have come in. Our freeway makes getting in and out of town very easy, but during morning and evening rush hours it gets very crowded. Traffic on surface streets can be thick during the afternoon, but in the early mornings and late evenings the drive is beautiful and clear. We have really beautiful sunrises and sunsets. A few years ago Los Angeles and Orange County use our town to settle homeless residents; the homeless population doesn’t bother me at all, but the fact that larger cities would just throw people away like that does. Sometimes we have issues with gang violence, but compared to other areas of Southern California we aren’t particularly bad. Our population is wonderfully cosmopolitan and individual economic circumstances vary from extremely wealthy to very impoverished. It’s a very easy place to live, but might be a bit too sleepy and quiet for visitors.

Bakersfield

Kern County, California, USA February 2018 — mid-70’s through mid-90’s, Bakersfield was a great town. It was a “big small town”. There were a couple hundred thousand people but it still felt like everyone knew each other. Definitely a working town: mostly ag, oil, and service industries. It was the landing place for a LOT of okies in the thirties and forties so it definitely had more in common culturally with Oklahoma and Texas than with the rest of California. “Redneck” working class values and small town pride and communalism seem out of place in California, but it’s what the place was. Everyone worked hard, looked out for each other, and took pride in maintaining their property and providing for their families. And despite the reputation of small towns, race was not an issue. There was not much economic inequality (nearly everyone was working class) so the races intermingled freely and knew each other well. Some tension, but very different than so cal (where I now live), where there’s a lot of self-righteous yammering about diversity and inclusion but class stratification is very strictly enforced. Bakersfield is a very different place now, though. The population has nearly tripled since my childhood and it has degenerated into just another cookie cutter California suburb. Miss the old days.

Turlock

Stanislaus County, California, USA (North America) – March 2018 — I currently live in Turlock, which is located in Stanislaus County in California, USA. Turlock has a few bad neighborhoods, like any other town in 21st century America, but if you stay away from the bad areas of town you will be just fine. The areas of newer development are very safe and many neighborhoods offer gated communities. The police force, firefighters, and other emergency responders are very professional, caring, and always alert. The quality of life is great in Turlock because it has many schools, recreational areas, parks, restaurants, and shopping centers. Turlock has been rapidly expanding and has a growing population and has much more to offer now than ever before in terms of quality of life and diversity. You can get just about anything you need in town. Turlock is surrounded by beautiful bucolic orchards and farms, which makes it great for a scenic drive in the countryside.

Turlock has a Mediterranean climate and is two hours from just about all of the best parts of California: San Francisco, Sonoma, Lake Tahoe, and the Pacific coastline. If you are a history nerd you will also appreciate the history of Downtown Turlock (meaning Dry Lake). The city has restored their downtown and many of the buildings have not changed since the Town was first built! I can tell you it is an amazing place to call home. I have lived in Turlock for a number of years and I have brought my whole family to live in Turlock. The surrounding towns, such as, Modesto and Ceres areas are more crowded compared to Turlock. Turlock is a charming little town and if you are an artist or poet, you will always find something to inspire your creativity, whether it is the beautiful farms and orchards or the huge orange trees and blossoming flowers. The weather is absolutely amazing year round; especially if you are someone who likes to bike or run, you will never have an excuse not to be outside. Turlock is a wonderful place that is family friendly and always sunny outside. I plan on never leaving Turlock, I always tell everyone that Turlock is the end of the line for me in my journey through life, because it is so beautiful and I am so blessed to be able to call it my home. I hope you get to visit Turlock one day and experience what I have experienced!

Lakewood

Los Angeles County, California, USA – February 2018 — I grew up in Lakewood California. We lived in Lakewood until I was 12 years old, so I consider that where I grew up. We owned a nice home there and it was right across from the elementary school that I went to. We lived there during the 1950s to the early 60s. It was a great neighborhood. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. I always felt safe there. As I child I felt as though I could knock on anybodies door and get help. It seemed like all the kids were in the cub scouts. When somebody had a death in the family everybody would bring food to that family so they wouldn’t have to cook. My grandparents lived just a couple of miles away. It was a real neighborhood where people knew each other and got together to help each other. I remember when my grandfather died and all the people who brought food to our home.

It has changed very much today. To start with the homes there are now so expensive that they would be out of my reach. Also there are now people there from all over the place. It is no longer like a real family neighborhood. People don’t get together, and mostly they don’t know each other. It is now just like most places in the country. You live there, you wave to your neighbors and then go in and close the door. And then of course the crime rate is higher. The one thing that has really changed is the ethnic diversity of the neighborhood. Not that ethnic diversity is bad, for the most part it isn’t. But, it ethnic diverse neighborhoods people are never as close. The different ethnicity’s seem to stick to themselves. That is part of the reason it is not the neighborhood it was before. But, things always change. And as the saying goes, you can never go home.

Burbank

Los Angeles, California, 91504, USA — February 2018 — My home town and the place I grew up is Burbank California. Burbank is a small family town even though it still is part of a huge city. The typical LA issues that plague most of Los Angeles don’t seem to be much of an issue in Burbank. Things such as traffic, homeless, and overcrowding you experience in most of the city don’t really exist in Burbank. It’s small, quiet and has a real sense of community that very few places in LA have. My favorite part of Burbank is the downtown area. Any kind of food you could possibly want is available there, and there’s a good selection of chill bars. I still live here today, and it hasn’t changed much. And to be honest, I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

San Francisco

San Francisco County, USA – February 2018 — I grew up in San Francisco back in the 80s. There were so many things that I still remember to this day that I love. The people, the city, the food, the stores! I guess you can say it was one of the most interesting places around because there was a great concentration of Asian people there. There’s always been a great variety of Asian restaurants that made me excited each Sunday because dad and mom would take me there!

Thinking about it now, it was quite amusing seeing kids my age back then having those mohawk hairdos. Just like any kid back in the 80s, I was into heavy metal music. I remember going to the local Tower Records all the time and then hanging out with the other kids there while listening to cassette tapes from bands like Metallica, Megadeth, and Iron Maiden!

One of the most iconic places I remember was the Fisherman’s Wharf! As a kid, I was always scared of big bodies of water, but when mom and dad took me there, I saw some strange creatures in the water. They were seals!!! After that, I became less scared and I actually visited the place multiple times even as a teenager. Remember the cable cars near the “Crookedest Street in the World”? I took my first girlfriend there for our very first date as a couple! We were very awkward teenagers back then. After that, I also took her to the Wax Museum! Some of the wax people there were so creepy because they were badly made! We laughed so much at them. I actually just laughed again now because I remembered how hilarious they looked!

I also definitely remember my first trip to the Golden Gate bridge. My first comment to mom was “It’s not gold, it’s ORANGE! I’ve been TRICKED!” It was a mixture of disappointment and awe because even though it wasn’t really made of gold, the view was very beautiful! San Francisco will always be my special home. I’ve been away from it for more than a decade (hey, life moves on!), but as the great Frank Sinatra once sung, “I left my heart in San Francisco”.

San Francisco

San Francisco County, California, USA – January 2018 — Growing up in San Francisco from the early 90’s to the 2000’s you will quickly learn of the diversification that exists. The place is more concentrated and smaller compared to the melting pot of New York City but you can experience it all in one day. The city holds its roots through the division of neighborhoods by various ethnic groups which over the years have developed into a complete melting pot but still holding its own unique historical characteristics. The city is an amazing place just the architecture and landscape is very stimulating. The city varies in terrain and you could be hiking through a beach and end up in a small forest park and then end up in downtown with all the high rises and then enter a neighborhood that looks a suburb.

All of this variety concentrated really influenced my perspective from activities to the people you meet is a new experience. The best part of living in the city is walking and public transportation, it allows you be part of the city and gives greater freedom in what you absorb and enhances your interactions.

I moved away 10 years ago and the place hasn’t been the same since. Although more beautiful than before, big money is flooding the city from tech giants to overseas money pushing the real estate market to the zenith and there is no end. Most people I know growing up has moved out of the city, the only ones left are those with a substantial income or are barely surviving. You can’t really blame the city for the prime real estate from the parks to the transportation, cleanness, safety, etc. but this will gradually reduce itself as a hub of high ideals and uniqueness and diversity.

The beauty of San Francisco has no equal only to the people that has shaped and built the atmosphere for centuries creating the beacon that draws people from all over the world to see. These monuments and landscapes are what’s left and slowly the city that I once knew is fading away; like a light in the fog, giving way for those who were destined to live and die here a new path.

Hanford

Kings County, California, USA — January 17, 2018 — I grew up in Hanford, California. Everyone thinks because you live in California, life must automatically be all about the west coast and Hollywood. If you popped up in Hanford expecting that, you’d be wrong. Hanford is located in the San Joaquin Valley smack in the middle of California. Hanford is a heavily agricultural based town – particularly the dairy industry. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate Hanford much as there isn’t much for young people to do. However, as I’ve gotten older, Hanford has changed and improved on itself in small ways. There’s a bit of a night scene now, as well as decent shopping centers and little things to get out and do. The little downtown area is extremely charming, and most of the town’s best events happen in the Civic Auditorium or on the lawn space in front of it. Overall Hanford is a nice little town to settle down and raise a family in, but for those who seek a more “traditional” way of California life, this little cow town is not for you! I will say one thing I’ve always appreciated about Hanford’s location is depending on the way you travel it’s either a two hour drive to the beautiful Sequoia National Forest (or Yosemite) or a two hour drive to the coast (Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach).

Irvine

Orange County, California, USA — January 15, 2018 — Irvine, California is a quiet little suburb that’s a great place to raise a family. The schools are excellent, the libraries are clean, and there’s lots of shopping. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up in a place where it was ok to leave your door unlocked, to have lawn furniture on your front lawn without it being stolen, or to have a dozen parks a stone’s throw away in which to run or play with pets, until I moved away to the city. Residents from Irvine may not be as sophisticated as people from L.A., as relaxed and carefree as people from San Diego, or as hip as the people from Santa Ana, but I believe there’s a shared appreciation of harmony and order that unites the city.

As a teenager though, there was nothing worse than growing up in a boring town. I spent my Saturdays reading books at Borders (RIP), renting Blockbuster movies (RIP), or getting Starbucks and walking around the mall with friends. As you can tell from that description, it’s a pretty well-off place. Many of my classmates lived in these huge mansions overlooking the hills. Some even had their own tennis courts and horses (!). I think the sedentary nature of the town spawned a lot of creative types- artists, skateboarders, musicians, and the like, who wanted to go and add some chaos into the world. Irvine is the bland, steady foundation upon which to build a masterpiece.

Since growing up there in the 90s, it’s unfortunately gotten even more expensive to live and work in that area. My whole family has moved to other cities because we just couldn’t make it work financially. But if you come into a windfall of cash, Irvine is a fantastic place to raise a family. Just don’t be too surprised if your kids turn out to be punk rockers fighting “the Man”.

Fort Bragg

Mendocino County, California, USA 95437— Northern California is packed with amazing places to see and explore.  When visiting, it would be almost a crime not to see its beautiful coast line. This photograph was taken in Fort Bragg, home of the famous tourist attraction, Glass Beach. The coast line there is absolutely stunning. It varies from majestic cliffs to small beach coves full of small ocean life. On a clear day the ocean water is deep blue, and the sight of waves hitting the rocks is mesmerizing and soothing at the same time.

I used to live on the East Coast and never enjoyed going to the beach. All that changed when I moved to California. I love the variety of life forms, the strength of the ocean and the peace of the cliffs. In my mind, there is no other place like it.

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