Have you caught yourself looking around your neighborhood and thinking, “It’s time for a change. It’s time for an adventure. Wherever I throw this dart at the map is where I’m going.” It’s a natural thought, and it’s one that can strike out of nowhere. If you’re finding yourself in this stage of life, where you need to shake things up and set your sights on new horizons, why not consider living in northern California? 

6 Cities People are Moving to in Northern California and Why

For many, living in California is a lifelong dream. The wanderlust appeal combined with the endless mystery of the ocean is enough to make anyone from all over the United States truly believe that California is a paradise found. While major cities boast attainable yet ideal scenarios: surfing the country’s best waves in San Diego, exploring the art and culture in the sprawl of Los Angeles, appreciating the grandeur of the Bay Area’s majestic tech and landscapes, and so much in between, California’s real beauty shines in the undiscovered gems. Many of these can be found in northern California, a region many people are now reconsidering when planting roots on the west coast. Living in northern California offers you mild weather and moderate temperatures throughout the year, making any day a great day to get out and wander. If you're considering places to live in Northern California, here are 6 cities that have people from all over moving to NorCal.. 

Where to Live in Northern California

When thinking about moving to northern California, it’s easy to get hung up on the price tags and bustle associated with the Bay Area. However, there are a plethora of amazing cities peppered throughout the region that are worth consideration. The natural beauty in this area and the spectacular shores of the California Pacific Ocean might give you an idea of where to live in northern California. A move is a major life event, and you want to make sure you’re planting roots in the area that’s right for you. We bet one of these 6 cities in Northern California will catch your eye and have you calling it home in no time.  

Fremont, CA

Nestled in northern California’s Bay Area, in the county of Alameda, lies Fremont. A tech lover’s paradise, the city plays host to innovative leaders such as Tesla, the city’s #1 employer, Western Digital, and Seagate Magnetics. In a recent report, Fremont was also named America’s Happiest City, taking into account happiness indicators such as income growth rate, time spent on leisurely activities daily, and sports participation. This city's moderate climate encourages outdoor adventures at nearby places like the Mission Peak Regional Preserve and Quarry Lakes Regional Recreation Area that will have you seriously considering moving to northern California.

northern california rolling hills

Why you’ll love it 

Walkability and accessibility are features of this northern California city! Easily visit any part of the Bay Area and beyond with multiple BART stations and easy access to the 680 and 880 freeways. Fremont also plays home to modern and inviting communities, most within walking distance to public transportation as well as the Fremont Innovation District: a 2,500 acre district that houses some of the most innovative companies in the world. Ready to live at the forefront of innovation and accessibility? Visit one of Shea Homes®’s new single-level condominiums in this northern California tech hub and see why living in Fremont, northern California is right for you.

Livermore, CA

If you like wine, you’ll love Livermore, CA. Located on the eastern edge of San Francisco’s Bay Area, this northern California gem boasts over 65 wineries within its ~27 mile radius alongside the lure of small-town charm and a quaint downtown packed with boutique shopping experiences and a vibrant dining scene. This modern community with a focus on quality living and a laid-back pace of life makes an excellent place to live in northern California.  

Outdoor look at Sage community with pool area and green areas in northern California
Sage Community in Livermore, CA

Why you’ll love it 

Livermore is considered the gateway to northern California’s Central Valley. Because of the coastal range protecting the city, citizens enjoy endless mild climates which further promotes the relaxed and less congested lifestyle that is hard to come by in many parts of California. Couple this lifestyle alongside luxurious experiences you’ll find in Shea Homes’ multi-level condominiums within walking distance to all amenities, and you’re as close to ideal living in northern California as you can get.  

Mountain House, CA

Family fun in the sun defined. Mountain House, CA is a relatively unknown community tucked away in northern California’s San Joaquin County, about 90 minutes east of San Francisco. This planned community is quickly gaining notoriety for its family-friendly atmosphere, access to beautiful parks, and award-winning schools. This community is another place to live in northern California where you can enjoy the great outdoors. 

mountain house splash pad

Why you’ll love it 

Mountain House is a true find for people moving to northern California. This growing community might seem like it’s tucked away from it all, but the splendor only northern California has to offer is well within reach. From the steps of your lovely Ashford home, you can be submersed in the natural beauty of Angels Camp (1 hour away) or take the family to the glorious Discovery Bay for a day of swimming, BBQing, boating, and paddle boarding. If this wasn’t enough to get you excited about Mountain House, CA, consider it’s still a very affordable place to call home. Just ask about the houses we have in the area! Living in this northern California city offers a home base away from city life with an easy commute back to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Point Richmond, CA 

Just across the bay from San Francisco lies the scenic town of Point Richmond, CA. While this northern Californian coastal haven provides its residents panoramic views of the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, and the bay itself, it also affords the population a more laid-back lifestyle and affordable living.  With a rich history, active lifestyle, and community focus this city is another great option when moving to northern California.

richmond bay terminal

Why you’ll love it 

Point Richmond has everything you love about northern California; sunshine, surf, white beaches, and easy access to everything San Francisco and surrounding areas have to offer. With a relatively small population of ~70K, the city maintains a small-town vibe with many of the charming mom-and-pop shops still peppering the quaint downtown village. Usually, when we talk coastal living in California, the price-tag inflates to unprecedented amounts. But in this northern California city, you can still find the home that’s right for you in a variety of different floor plans, at a cost that won’t have you cutting budget anywhere else.   

San Mateo, CA

A not-so-undiscovered treasure people consider when moving to northern California is the south bay city of San Mateo. Located in the Silicon Valley tech hub, San Mateo attracts those from all walks of life. From the Japanese gardens and ice rink in San Mateo Central Park to the kid-focused CuriOdyssey Science Playground & Zoo and the Coyote Point Recreation Area, along with access to the grandeur of hiking Sugarloaf Hills, the city of San Mateo has much to explore. 

Victory at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, CA
Victory at Bay Meadows in San Mateo, CA

Why you’ll love it 

In addition to the hiking, historic central park, and kid-friendly activities, San Mateo is incredibly walkable, especially in its downtown area, known for award-winning dining experiences and burgeoning art scene. Additionally, the city’s access to CalTrain offers quick and easy transportation to San Jose and San Francisco, allowing urbanites to get their city-fix with a more laid-back lifestyle and reduced cost of living. With the plethora of detached homes populating the city’s growing neighborhoods, there’s bound to be one suited for your next move. When it comes to deciding where to live in northern California, San Mateo is an excellent option.

Brentwood, CA

Rounding out the list of northern California cities worth considering is the East Bay city of Brentwood, CA. Brentwood’s history is rooted in farming and agriculture, and much of that lifestyle continues today. In fact, even with the city’s growth in recent years, agri-tourists are increasingly flocking to the city of Brentwood to pick the abundant stone fruit, corn, and cherries. Residents living in this northern California city enjoy golfing, biking, hiking, and other outdoor adventures.

Big house with front patio and garden at Vista Dorado in Brentwood, CA
Vista Dorado in Brentwood, CA

Why you’ll love it 

A rural dream-come-true for those seeking a hands-on-the-land approach to life, Brentwood allows residents easy access to the outdoors by way of Round Valley Regional Preserve, stocked with open land and plenty of hiking. Additionally, residents enjoy an adorable and still-growing downtown area, marked by a plethora of dining experiences suitable for any palate, as well as a local retail scene unique to the street of Downtown Brentwood. Claim your piece of rural paradise and find which of the homes in the area is perfect for you. This charming and desirable northern California community is a wonderful place to call home.

Are you ready to “Live the Difference” and move to northern CaliforniaPack your bags and set off on an adventure to see which city is right for you. If you’re ready to call one of these locations home, contact us! We’ll help you settle in nicely.  

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