The Top 5 Best Places to Live in Northern California

By Craig Donofrio

Posted on August 5th, 2022

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If you’re looking for a great place to live a family in Northern California it can be tough to narrow it down. We’ve done the work for you by looking at a variety of factors in NorCal’s towns and cities, including affordability, crime rates, quality of schools and green space.

Read on to learn about five best places to live in Northern California and figure out where your family can put down new roots.

1. Folsom

  • Crime Rate: 42% lower than national average
  • Cost of Living Index: 3% higher than California average
  • Median Household Income: $118,000
  • Median Home Price: $800,000

Though Folsom might be famous for Johnny Cash’s song about its prison, it’s actually one of the most family-friendly cities in Northern California and has one of the lowest crime rates in the state.

The city boasts 32 miles of biking trails, 46 public parks, and the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.

2. Roseville

  • Crime Rate: 6% lower than national average
  • Cost of Living Index: 14% lower than California average
  • Median Household Income: $114,400
  • Median Home Price: $690,000

Roseville is one of the most affordable cities on our list in addition to having an astonishingly low crime rate. The city maintains 72 public parks, including the Spray Ground, a splash pad for kids.

It’s also home to the Carnegie Museum, perfect for older kids to learn about local history.

3. San Ramon

  • Crime Rate: 58% lower than national average
  • Cost of Living Index: 11% higher than California average
  • Median Household Income: $167,000
  • Median Home Price: $1.56 million

San Ramon is surrounded by green space and has a lot for the family golf enthusiast, including Bridges Golf Club and Crow Canyon Country Club. Hikers can keep busy at the 444-acre Bishop Ranch Regional Preserve, which offers up challenging trails and the chance to spot red-tailed hawks.

4. Rocklin

  • Crime Rate: 27% lower than national average
  • Cost of Living Index: 18% lower than California average
  • Median Household Income: $101,000
  • Median Home Price: $700,000

Just 22 miles from Sacramento, Rocklin‘s city motto is “A Family Community.” The centerpiece of its green space is Johnson-Springview Park, more than 90 acres of space to play crossed by Antelope Creek.

5. Dublin

  • Crime Rate: 35% lower than national average
  • Cost of Living Index: 8% higher than California average
  • Median Household Income: $152,750
  • Median Home Price: $1.3 million

The Dublin Unified School District has some of the best-rated public schools in Northern California. Several of its schools garner 9 out of 10 score from the school ranking website Great Schools, making it one of the best places to live in Northern California with kids.

» MORE: The 10 Best San Diego School Districts Ranked for 2022

The city is great for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes, offering numerous municipal parks and a sports park with a BMX track.

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