Post Punk Kitchen Forum

Tell Me About Living In CA
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Author:  Mr. Shankly [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:19 am ]
Post subject:  Tell Me About Living In CA

So after my trip to California, I realized that I really liked the area. I didn't get to travel around too much but I did like Sacramento probably the best. I'm considering moving there now but want to know how people feel about the area and get a clearer picture of what it's like to actually live there. My first concern would be transportation. I don't drive, don't have a license and don't know how to drive and was wondering how the public transportation is in the area that you live in? Another concern is what the job outlook is there. I would end up working in a shop or restaurant probably (something that wouldn't require a degree) and was wondering what the demand or opportunity is like in your area? Another concern is rent. I already know that I'll have to live with roommates but was wondering what an average cost of rent would be so that I can get a clearer idea. I'm also trying to determine which area would be the best fit for me- I prefer it hot, dry, no snow (I've heard it snows in the upper parts of northern CA), I like areas that have a lot around them (like things to do, places to eat, parks, etc) or where things are easily accessible. Tell me about your area or areas you live in. I am really interested in this. I'm trying to research areas and cost of living but when I google about living in CA, I only get articles about why you shouldn't move to CA.

Author:  DarthCupcake [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

I don't know much about Sacramento, but everyone I know who is FROM Sac was dependent on a car when they were there. That may have changed, though--current residents can give a sense of how vehicular-dependent the area is.

I love living in SF. I'm car-free and it works out really easily, though it varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. I generally find SF public transit, plus a bike, to work out well. Sometimes I get a Zipcar for groceries because I don't have a readily accessible grocery store in my neighborhood, so I tend to make large trips once a month or so.

I honestly have no idea about the viability of service industry jobs around here. There's loads of restaurants and cafes, though, so it seems like it ought to be possible.

Rent is spendy. Within SF itself, everyone I know spends roughly $800+ on rent; I have a studio and pay just over $1k. However, from what I understand, this is insane, as apparently the average rent on an SF studio is $2k? Dang. I am never moving out of my current place, I guess.

Basically, I tend to feel that SF is similar to other cities of its size as far as cost and accessibility go. It has TONS of great things going on--lots of free events, interesting things to see and do, great neighborhoods, amazing food, rad people--and it's wonderfully balanced in the weather scheme of things. I love that you don't have to go far to find amazing nature, and I just generally think it's a really fun place to live.

That's all the Bay Area, though... I know nothing about Sac. I've never been. But I figured I'd throw out what I knew, for what it is worth!

Author:  Mr. Shankly [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

Definitely! I really want to hear about many areas of CA and not limit myself to one area. I didn't really get to see SF too much while I was there so I'm still not really sure what it's like. Thanks for your input, everything helps!

Author:  ashley [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

I live in Sacramento (well, I live in a suburb of Sac, but my office is in Sacramento proper).

You can perhaps get by without a car here, but you will pretty much have to live in downtown or midtown and work within walking distance, or close to light rail. Unfortunately, the light rail system here is absolute crepe (and I don't think the buses are any better). If you work regular, daytime hours, this will be less of an issue, but if you're going to be working late nights in retail or food service, light rail may shut down on you before get off work. And then you're stranded if you don't live within walking distance.

I know people without a car, but they are forever bumming rides. And they all ride bikes. Forget about living in the suburbs (where rent tends to be lower).

You can get a studio or 1 bedroom apartment in downtown/midtown for $700-900. Look around Craigslist to get an idea of what it will cost you to rent a room. I'd estimate maybe $500-600/month for a 2 bedroom with one roommate? Obviously you could get away cheaper if you live with more people.

Rent tends to be cheaper if you live in the Arden/Sac State area, but you will end up with students as neighbors/roommates, and again you will have the transportation issue to deal with. There's a big mall and a lot of restaurants and other shopping in that area, so if you get a job around there, living in the area would be an option. The area gets a bit rough after dark, though.

Avoid south Sac. It's the worst part of town and far from everything.

The weather here will be great for you - very hot and dry in the summer. It rains a little in the winter, but never gets very cold. It never snows here.

I actually think you might really like Davis. It's a small college town just west of Sacramento. It's super bike friendly and walkable, and it just has a good vibe. Vegan-friendly, too. I'm not sure what the job market there is like, though. Probably tight with all the students working part time.

Author:  missmuffcake [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

I do a lot of going to and from bay area/sac. I live in the middle of everything and I like where I am. If I had to move to someplace outside of my house (I am not, my mortgage is less than a studio in SF & I have 3 rooms & a yard!) I would pick Berkeley or mid town Sac. I like the community feel + the homeyness of these area. Like you can take a stroll and spend time outdoors - without a lot of bustle if you choose a certain path.

Since I do not drive I would say the bay area has better public transportation. In Sac things are spread out...Like if you load up on food I assume you need a taxi depending on your area of choice.

I am not sure what the job thing is like in the bay but I know some people have struggled for a job in Sac this last year.

Author:  Alin [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

I've lived in San Diego, LA and am now in a suburb of San Francisco. I move into SF in a couple of weeks. I cannot imagine any city in CA that you can live without a car.....except for SF. For sure not SoCal. Maybe there are parts of Santa Cruz or San Jose that it would be feasible? It's warmish there and the cost of living on a server's salary would be ok. I've never been to Sacramento. I know people without cars that live in LA and northern CA but they rely heavily on friends and family, without that built-in infrastructure you might have a very hard time.

Good luck, your criteria is limiting but if you want it enough, you can make it happen.

Author:  solipsistnation [ Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

You can do okay in Santa Cruz without a car, and in SF itself, or in San Jose (and the surrounding areas-- when people say "San Jose" they usually mean a bunch of other stuff too, like Cupertino and Santa Clara and so on).

Author:  lobsteriffic [ Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

I lived in San Jose (actual San Jose) for 2 years without a car and it was okay, but public transit wasn't that great if you wanted to go very far from home. There is a train that takes you along the peninsula right to SF, so that was handy. But grocery stores were kind of spread out and getting to/from them without a car was a pain. I also thought that compared to SF, Berkeley, Santa Cruz, etc., San Jose is kind of lame. Just my two cents.

Author:  solipsistnation [ Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

Yes. "Kind of lame" is an understatement. San Jose is a rash on the flank of California.

Author:  missmuffcake [ Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

on the news at the gym tonight it was talking about public transit in Sac. a bus/rail ride took 2.5 hours to complete and the same trip was 30 in a car...

Author:  ashley [ Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

missmuffcake wrote:
on the news at the gym tonight it was talking about public transit in Sac. a bus/rail ride took 2.5 hours to complete and the same trip was 30 in a car...

Sounds about right. When I worked in Folsom, I knew a guy who commuted from downtown every night for an 11:00pm shift (freight worker at a grocery store). The last train to Folsom got in at 9, so he had to sit around in the break room for two hours every night before his shift started. Plus the time he actually spent on the train, which was probably at least an hour.

Author:  Amelie [ Thu Oct 04, 2012 11:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

First off, good choice on considering California! It's one of my favorite places because it has so much diversity. Beach, dessert, forest, mountains--it's all there.

Although I have grown to love Sacramento, especially Midtown, the public transit here is not only unbelievably slow, but PRICY. A single fare is $2.50 so that automatically always means $5 round-trip or a $6 day pass. The monthly passes save you some money, but they're still way over-priced considering the quality. I suppose I'm just bitter because it was cheaper to get a Paris metro pass and their public transportation is AWESOME. To be fair, East Sac/Midtown are both quite bike-friendly.

Overall though Sacramento is a great place to live. No San Francisco, but still an interesting city in its own right (and much cheaper). Sacramento is also a short drive/train ride away from so many wonderful places-- a few hours to Lake Tahoe, 2 1/2 to San Francisco, 3 to Santa Cruz. No bitter cold in the winter. No humidity whatsoever. Summers are categorized by insane heat, but almost everyone has air conditioning plus there's the Delta Breeze at night. I personally love the dry heat.

Plus, the vegan scene is growing. This October is the 2nd annual Sacramento Vegan Challenge with tons of restaurants participating. And in terms of finding specialty vegan items, between Trader Joe's, the Sac Co-op, Gluten-Free Specialty (an all gluten-free store), and Whole Foods you'll be fine.

Author:  couroupita [ Fri Oct 05, 2012 7:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Tell Me About Living In CA

Are you only interested in central CA? If you like hot and dry you might consider the SD/OC/LA area. In terms of things to do, I feel like there is a lot more variety in so. CA, but that could be my homesick southern Californian bias (although I think people up here are generally nicer).

I haven't spent much time in Sacramento but it seems like a really cool city! I love all the early CA history.

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