Whether you’re from Cali and are looking to move, or you’re just trying to figure out where to make your next home, deciding where to move to from California can be difficult. If you're moving out of California, here are 10 of the best places (in no particular order) that many Californians have decided to call home.
10. New York, New York
As the most populous city in the country and one with a solid growth rate to boot, it’s not surprising that New York City finds itself in the best places to move to from California.
One of the most popular cities worldwide, Californians are drawn to NYC by the opportunities for acting and performance jobs on Broadway, amazing foods with familiar and famous chefs, and national parks within a short drive of the city for an easy escape from the bustle of the Big Apple.
A quick jaunt out of NYC will lead you to the award-winning New York wine country. It may not be Napa, but with five major wine regions to choose from, you're sure to find some new favorites among their amazing varietals and selection of stunning vineyards.
With 12% of its population made up of California natives, the state of Idaho makes the list of top places for ex-Californians to move. Its extremely low comparative cost of living, top 10 ranking in job growth, and large swaths of unspoiled natural areas make Idaho a great alternative for Californians looking to cut down on expenses without sacrificing a scenic view.
The home of five national parks (for those looking to escape overpopulation) and the nation’s healthiest city (Provost), Utah finds itself as one of the top destinations for those moving out of the Golden State.
Utah boasts several great benefits that West Coasters will be accustomed to. Californians can still enjoy the silver screen at the Sundance Film Festival and get their fitness-fill at the world-class ski resorts. With a plethora of entertainment and activities available in the form of museums, theaters, a strong music scene, an abundance of festivals, and enough stunning scenery to please any outdoor enthusiast, Utah's combination of culture and outdoor recreation puts it at the top of many ex-Californians' lists.
With an average of just over 800 people per day moving to the state of Florida, it makes sense that many of them are moving out of California. The sunny hot weather and sandy beaches help make Californians feel right at home. From some parts of California, Florida is the furthest destination on this list, but with the booming music industry in Miami and the familiar brands they know from home, like Disney and Universal, Florida is a great alternative to expensive California life.
With Denver ranked at #4 by Forbes for jobs and budding towns like Boulder emerging in the tech space, it’s no surprise that Colorado makes the list. Home to the beautiful Rocky Mountain Range, Colorado makes a great place for California transplants who like adventure. You’ll find plenty of skiing and snowboarding during the winter and hot days to go hiking or mountain biking in the summer. All of this combined with amazing food and wine festivals help to make Californians feel right at home.
5. Las Vegas, Nevada
Anyone who has spent time in Las Vegas can tell you: most of the people you meet there are from California anyway. In fact, 19% of Nevada’s total population were born in California.
Known as the “Sin City Capital” of the US and a gambling mecca worldwide, many Californians are already familiar with Las Vegas. Just a short 3 hour drive from LA – many southern Californians who decide to move out of state end up in the city where they spend their weekends.
With a growing economy, housing market and affordable cost of living, Vegas is a great relocation spot for those looking to remain close to Southern California, but live in their favorite weekend escape.
4. Portland, Oregon
Neighboring California to the North, Portland just misses the cut for the top 3 destinations for ex-Californians to live. Boasting the title of second highest number craft breweries per capita, and a self-proclaimed “hipster mecca”, native Californians should feel right at home in Portland.
3. Seattle, Washington
For those Californians looking to eschew the sunshine, Seattle may be perfect place for you. With an annual average rainfall of 34 inches and rain 150+ days a year, you’re sure to experience more than your share of wet weather while living in Seattle!
Aside from the rain and coffee it’s so famous for, there are several reasons why Seattle is one of the best places to move to from California:
- Job Market– Rated best job market in the country by Forbes in 2015, Seattle is THE best place to move if you’re looking for work.
- Tech Industry– Move over Silicon Valley! Home to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, Seattle boasts one of the most impressive rosters of tech companies to work for.
- Long Summers– Everyone knows Californians love their summertime. Summer days are actually longer in Seattle than in California because it’s so much farther north. With daylight hours from 5 AM to 9 PM in the middle of summer, you can soak up those precious rays that much later while enjoying water sports on many of the lakes and beaches. You can even cross the border to the beautiful province of British Columbia and experience a bit of Canada while barely leaving home!
Right next door to California is the home to the second largest population of ex-Californians. Located within driving distance of So-Cal with a much lower cost of living, Arizona is a great affordable option for those looking to move out of CA while staying close to family that wants to stay put.
Californians flock to Arizona for many reasons, including:
- Nature – Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, and the Sonora Desert—some of the most scenic and beautiful places the U.S. has to offer. These and many other iconic locations offer Californians a different take on the natural beauty that they are accustomed to.
- Flagstaff– AZ isn’t all desert. Arizonians escape the heat by going to Flagstaff, where you can find amazing ski resorts and a ton of fun winter activities to keep you loving your new home year-round.
- Outdoor Activities– With open nature always nearby, there are plenty of outdoor activities for the active person in Arizona. You can raft down the Colorado River or hike up Humphrey’s Peak. You’ll even find world renowned golf courses and incredible BBQ.
If you want to stay close to home and still have everything you need in one state, Arizona may be the perfect place for you.
1. Austin, Texas
Texas is the recipient of the largest number of ex-Californians each year, with state-wide total of 680,000 residents born in California. But Austin in particular holds the #1 spot for Californians to move out of state.
It’s no surprise that Austin has the biggest draw for former Californians since it has some very appealing aspects:
- Ranked by Forbes as the #1 city in the nation for jobs in 2013, Austin has a strong and growing job market with jobs in a diverse range of industries.
- With a motto that reads: “Live Music Capital of the World”, Austin is sure to keep those moving from the “Entertainment Capital of the World” entertained.
- Austin is also know as Silicon Hills in homage to the ever popular Silicon Valley in San José, CA. Austin is home to an expanding number of tech companies with an estimated one-third of those tech companies having been transplants from California.
Whether you’re thinking about moving out of California or you're looking for a change in environment without losing your comfort zone, these ten locations are a great starting point to keep you feeling at home while filling those missing holes.