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The 8 Most Impressive Up and Coming Cities in California
Real Estate

The 8 Most Impressive Up and Coming Cities in California

Get ahead of the bandwagon and check out California’s underrated cities—you’ll be glad you found them sooner rather than later.


5 min read

March 12, 2022

California is so popular that it's hard to label anything in the state as underrated. Nevertheless, as saturated as it is, there are still up and coming cities scattered throughout the Golden State which have managed to remain slightly more under the radar. Whether it’s the location, recreational opportunities, great job market, or affordable cost of living, these are the fast-growing towns in California that should be on your radar.

While these up and coming cities in California may not be at their prime just yet, they’re well on their way to make the must-visit lists sooner than you’d anticipate. Get ahead of the bandwagon and check out California’s underrated cities—you’ll be glad you found them sooner rather than later.

The Best Up and Coming Cities

The biggest economic contributors to San Mateo are the Medical Center and Sony Interactive Entertainment division.

1. San Mateo

San Mateo offers a unique blend of convenience and charm, positioning you just a short 30-minute drive from the key attractions in the Bay Area, minus the heavy traffic woes. The need to travel into San Francisco for leisure or errands is minimal, given the vibrant evolution San Mateo's city center has undergone. Recent years have seen a boom in cultural venues, retail therapy spots, and culinary delights, ensuring there's always something to keep you engaged right at home.

Yet, the allure of San Mateo's ever-expanding offerings does come at a premium. While it may not reach the financial heights of Palo Alto or San Francisco, the cost of embracing the lifestyle in this increasingly sought-after locale might stretch beyond the means of many.

Oxnard is a major transportation hub in SoCal, with Amtrak, Union Pacific, Metrolink, Greyhound, and Intercalifornias stopping there.

2. Oxnard

Oxnard is on a path of transformation and growth, gradually emerging as a sought-after destination in Southern California. Known for its affordability in housing, welcoming climate, and expanding prospects for employment and leisure, it's carving a niche for itself.

This Ventura County city is distinct from the quintessential Southern California coastal towns characterized by upscale eateries, flashy stores, and a high-profile social scene, Oxnard offers a diverse dining scene, stunning shorelines, and a charming historic downtown. As this gem in Ventura County continues to evolve, it's anticipated that it won't be long before it transitions from its burgeoning phase, potentially leading to a significant uptick in real estate values. roof.

Up and Coming Small Towns

St. Helena is the center of the eponymous American Viticultural Area which includes 416 vineyards encompassing 6,800 acres.

3. St. Helena

Napa Valley, a favorite NorCal wine and dine spot for many, is in no way underrated. However, 20 miles north of the city is an up and coming place to live that’s not among the largest cities in California but is definitely big on charm. Superb schools, great diversity, and a pleasant year-round climate are several perks that attract tourists to St. Helena and quickly turn them into residents. The historical downtown, upscale boutiques, and great restaurants make this can’t-miss NorCal small town the place to move to in Napa County. 

Formerly known as Amador and Dougherty's Station, Dublin was the second fastest-growing city in the state of California in 2013.

4. Dublin 

Dublin stands out as a community-oriented town that boasts excellent public schools, secure neighborhoods, a welcoming climate, and a strong network of young families. Its name, inspired by Ireland's capital due to the significant Irish community that initially settled here, adds a touch of historical charm. Located in the East Bay, Dublin is recognized for its dynamic growth and appeal as a place to live.

The town center is bustling with a variety of stores and eateries, offering a lively urban experience. For nature enthusiasts, the Dublin Hills Regional Park provides a perfect escape into the outdoors. However, those with a penchant for a more fast-paced lifestyle might find themselves venturing outside Dublin to explore the broader offerings of California's cities.

Up and Coming Cities to Move to

Folsom is home to 32 miles of bike trails including the Humbug-Willow Creek, Folsom Rail, and the Oak Parkway Trails.

5. Folsom 

When it comes to certain criteria for moving to a different city, Sacramento is basically on everyone’s radar. However, since it’s not much of an up and coming place to live in itself, the lovely town of Folsom has increasingly become the center of attention in the Sacramento Valley. As the fastest-growing metro area of 2020, Folsom is known for low crime rates, quality education, modest costs of living, and an abundance of opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

Folsom is also home to one of the best California downtowns, dubbed as “the place where the West came and stayed.” The charming cafes, historic buildings, and contemporary restaurants of one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. make it a pleasant place to live.

As the county seat of Shasta, Redding lies along the Sacramento River, 120 miles south of California's northern border with Oregon.

6. Redding

Redding is definitely one of the best Shasta County cities to live in, and it's only getting better. Numerous tech companies are emerging in the dynamic up and coming city in California, creating innovative job opportunities. And while the local economy sees continuous growth, the cost of living still remains lower than in San Francisco.

As one of California’s Cultural Districts, Redding will also give you your necessary arts and culture fix. You’ll have plenty of galleries to discover, shops to explore, restaurants to try, and Shasta-Trinity hikes to trek. What more could we ask for in the best up and coming cities?

Up and Coming Commuter Towns

Although Temecula is geographically closer to downtown San Diego than downtown Los Angeles, it is considered part of the Greater Los Angeles area.

7. Temecula

Temecula, a rapidly developing city in Riverside County is increasingly recognized as an ideal family-friendly locale. A key advantage of residing in Temecula is its strategic position. Situated less than 90 minutes from Los Angeles, California's most populous city, and just under an hour from the vibrant San Diego, it offers the best of both worlds. The city itself is bustling with activities, ensuring there's always something to fill your weekends. Yet, for those moments when the allure of urban excitement beckons, the proximity to major cities makes spontaneous getaways entirely feasible.

At the turn of the 20th century, Redlands was the "Palm Springs" of the next century, with roses being planted along many city thoroughfares.

8. Redlands

The small-town vibe, comparatively reasonable housing prices, and close proximity to Los Angeles make Redlands one of the best cities to live in Southern California.

The amenities are favorable, the education system is highly rated, and the crime rates are low—people working together to uphold the high standards set in this up and coming city.

You’ll have access to healthcare, education, job opportunities, and plenty of recreation. And, if finding a community is something you’re worried about, you’ll be glad to know that this affordable SoCal city prides itself on its accepting and family-oriented nature, as well as a tight-knit community of residents—you’ll fit right in at this city in California.

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