Living in California
The Golden State is aptly named both for its thriving economy and bountiful beaches along its 900-mile Pacific coast. California has the nation’s largest economy, with a higher gross domestic product than the UK, and is home to some of America’s most iconic cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco. California has an abundance of national parks, which offer various outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, swimming in camping.
Funding for education in California has risen rapidly in the past few years, with $101 billion expected to be spent on K-12 schools in 2019 – up $35 billion from 2014. In terms of higher education, Stanford, in the Bay Area, was recently ranked the sixth best university nationally while the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena was ranked 12th. Beyond these colleges, the University of California’s campuses in Los Angeles and Berkeley are extremely well-regarded.
Adventure-seekers are spoilt for choice when it comes to the great outdoors in California. The state boasts several world-renowned national parks, including Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Park (home to the giant General Sherman Sequoia tree) and Joshua Tree National Park. The state’s extensive coast, hugged by the iconic Route 1, is another huge draw; whether it’s Newport Beach’s eight miles of oceanfront; the beaches of Monterey Bay; the Big Sur or San Diego, surfers and sun worshippers have limitless options while families can enjoy spotting the state’s abundant sea-based wildlife.
California’s largest cities are culture-defining hubs that play host to world-leading creative industries and art scenes. Cosmopolitan San Francisco offers a wealth of cultural events and exhibitions from the experimental to the traditional and acts as the home to the tech motherland Silicon Valley, while Hollywood in Los Angeles is the beating heart of America’s TV and film industries. At the state’s southern tip, San Diego’s Spanish influence punctuates the city’s architecture at the likes of Balboa Park. California is a significant wine producer with Napa and Sonoma valleys in the north just two of its renowned grape growing areas. The Golden State is also an established food trendsetter, often developing new dishes or creating its own twists on global cuisine.
Road: California’s I-5 runs the length of the state from San Ysidro at the Mexican border into its northerly neighbour Oregon. I-80 out of Sacramento enters the north of Nevada, extending onto the states of Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska, while I-8 and I-10 runs east into Arizona.
Rail: Amtrak trains and connecting buses serve more than 150 destinations including top cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Sacramento, as well as various national parks and beaches. Major cities also have commuter metro systems or rail routes.
Air: The state is well-served by major airports, including Los Angeles International, San Francisco International, San Diego International and Oakland International Airport.