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Relocating to CA need some input on some areas

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Relocating to CA need some input on some areas

Postby scottmitch » Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:58 pm

I am thinking about relocating to California from Arizona. My wife was offered a transfer there and given some choices about which region she would cover.

The choices are:

San Fran/ Sacramento
San Jose
Fresno
Bakersfield
Covina/ Pasadena
Orange City/ Riverside
San Diego

She likes being close to city/ culture and I like the outdoor pursuits. We also have 3 young children. Cost of living/ housing is a factor but not a huge one we both pull decent incomes.
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Postby Zzyzx » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:00 pm

Livermore / Dublin / Pleasanton is a nice area IMO. You're close to SF and San Jose, but not right in the city. Good hiking, cycling, kayaking (Del Valle), some climbing in Mt. Diablo State Park. You'll still have to drive a few hours to the mountains, but it'll be quite a bit better than if you were in SF or Silicone Valley. there are also quite a few wineries in the area and different cultural events.
Livermore has also an excellent outdoor store Sunrise Mountain Sports.
If you want to be closer to the mountains you'd have to choose one of the Central Valley locations. I haven't lived in that part of the state, so I can't tell you much about it though.
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Postby ksolem » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:44 pm

I live in Monrovia, just east of Pasadena on the edge of the San Gabriel Mtns. There is excellent trail hiking and Mtn biking right here.

The mountain and desert rock climbing areas to the east, Tahquitz/Suicide and Joshua Tree are 2-2.5 hours drive. The Sierra east side is not bad from here either when the Angeles Crest/Angeles Forest highway is open. I figure on 3.5 to Lone Pine. Right now it is closed due to landslides secondary to the recent Station Fire, so going up that way on a Friday eve means running the traffic gaunlet of the 5-405-14 interchange.

Monrovia has nice houses, cool old neighborhoods, good schools, good police and fire, and is a lot less expensive than Pasadena. We scored an exceptional house here on a nice bit of land which we could not have afforded were it a few miles west in nearby Pasadena.

If you/she decides on the Pasadena-Covina district you should check out the smaller incorporated cities just to the east: Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Monrovia. Look at the neighborhoods on the north side of town up against the mountains. Get bear proof gargbage cans...

That said, San Diego has a thriving climbing community, some local areas, decent access to Tahquitz and Josh. But you'll be doing some hard driving if you want to do much in the Sierra. Folks do it, but it's a push.
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Postby fatdad » Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:52 pm

You have a couple of choices that appear pretty broad: SF/Sacramento and OC/Riverside. There's LOTS of wiggle room in those choices. Still assuming SF means either the City or East Bay, it's pretty hard to go wrong with that area from a culture and outdoor perspective. Berkeley/Oakland hills, Mt. Diablo. Good hiking, some bouldering. Good mt. biking but it's all on chewed up fire roads sadly. Great road riding. I'd avoid anything east of Mt. Diablo like the plague.

If you're looking further south, Pasadena is real nice though it gets hot and smoggy in the summer. Pluses are that it's right at the foot of the San Gabriels and has a really nice downtown area: good restaurants, shopping, the world class Norton Simon Museum, Rose Bowl, kind of feels small townish, though you're close enough to enjoy all the cultural benefits of being in LA.
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Postby HandjamMasterC » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:10 pm

I've lived in the Sacramento area now for about 23 years, and lived in the L.A. area for 17 years before that. I personally think the Sacramento area offers the best balance of outdoor and cultural pursuits. We can be in Yosemite in about 3 hours and San Francisco in 2 1/2 hours. Climbing, hiking, river rafting / kayaking, gold panning, skiing are all close by and easy to do. Plus, there are quite a few concerts and performing arts at the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. I like it here. And I could go anywhere - I'm retired.
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Postby labgloves » Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:26 pm

I live and work in Pasadena. (As ksolem mentioned the neighboring areas are much cheaper.)

In Pasadena I am very close to great cultural activities. I regularly take the Gold Line (metro) into downtown for concerts, etc. And, I often start a hike in the San Gabriels from my apartment door. This involves about 3 miles of walking through Altadena to get to the nearest trailhead.

From LA, you have great access to the Eastside of the Sierra (though it does take longer with the Angeles Crest closed.)
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Postby Luciano136 » Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:42 pm

Pasadena or Orange County. I personally don't like how busy LA county is, so OC was the best option for me. And the clean air and beach is a bonus.

San Diego = too far south
Bakersfield/Fresno = no culture

San Jose/Sacramento area could work but is further from the east side than LA.
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Postby Luciano136 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:24 am

Also keep in mind that there are a lot of differences within Socal itself. Riverside vs. coastal OC = huge difference. The latter sees *maybe* 3 weeks a year in the 80s, so that's a drastic change from AZ as well.
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Postby scottmitch » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:29 am

OP here

Thanks for all the replies so far it helps. I like the beauty of the outdoors first and climbing second. So for me mountaineering is high on the list and having the sierra accessible is important. I can do the bishop in 8 hours from phoenix, wouldnt want anymore than that prefer less. Other activities in descending order rock climbing, skiing, road biking, mountain biking. I think we would both like to be near the ocean again also after the desert living.

We are originally from Oregon before we moved to AZ so i think we could handle (and miss) some moister/ colder weather.

This is kind of the consensus around the household so far:

San Fran/ Sacramento: top of the list
San Jose: not sure
Fresno: not enough 'culture'
Bakersfield: ditto
Covina/ Pasadena not sure
Orange City/ Riverside: not sure
San Diego: we have enjoyed visiting but seems pretty low on the 'culture' level and seems pretty far south
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Postby Luciano136 » Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:47 am

scottmitch wrote:OP here

Thanks for all the replies so far it helps. I like the beauty of the outdoors first and climbing second. So for me mountaineering is high on the list and having the sierra accessible is important. I can do the bishop in 8 hours from phoenix, wouldnt want anymore than that prefer less. Other activities in descending order rock climbing, skiing, road biking, mountain biking. I think we would both like to be near the ocean again also after the desert living.


Looks like OC (or LA area) would be your best bet for the 3 reasons highlighted. The Sierra is closer than San Fran/Sacramento, world class rock climbing in J Tree and you are near the ocean (and will still be cheaper than San Fran).

If you do pick Norcal, I'd go with Sac town; SF is just too expensive. However, you will be further away from the Sierra and there's no ocean.
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