Vote for the Best Places to Live in the West

November 14, 2013 | By | Comments (51)

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Do you love living in the West? Then Sunset needs your help. We’ve spent months researching our big February 2014 feature on the best places to live and work in the West. We’ve come up with 24 great neighborhoods, towns, and cities in 6 different categories. Now we’re asking you to help us choose our 6 first place winners. What’s the best place to start a career? The best place to start a second career? The best family-friendly (but not boring) suburb? Cast your votes in our polls below—and watch for the final results in our February issue.

Ed’s note: The polls closed on December 6th, but feel free to share your vote(s) in the comments below!

COMMENTS

  1. Mateo DF

    Actually I retired from the Seattle area down to Chico and the nearby Sierra foothills. And aside from great weather (hooray for the sun!), the natural beauty, and that it’s still affordable, what I really love about here is the lack of traffic! Where else in Cali are there still decent size cities of around 100K people, and yet where all the local highways don’t regularly turn into parking lots at least twice a day (if not 24/7)?

    March 4, 2014 at 8:02 am
  2. Sue

    Th­is mo­m is­ bles­sed; I ju­st w­ant t­o ad­d h­er stor­y. S­he ha­s be­en un­em­plo­yed f­or m­ont­hs b­ut no­w re­cei­vin­g m­on­ey i­n h­er s­par­e ti­m­e o­n la­pt­op. Sh­e bas­ic­ally­ m­ake­­s $­60­0­0-$­8­00­0 a m­onth o­nli­ne. Che­ck o­ut he­re http://P­­o­­w­6­­.­­ℭ­O­­M

    January 19, 2014 at 2:37 pm
  3. Matt

    No class in Chico and bad food???? You must be out yo rabbit ass mind!!! Chico is on the rise! 1/4 million people in the metro and more great restaurants then you can count.. Not to mention the weather is fab! It’s January and it was 80 today haters! Bend is nice, but waaaay to far from civilization and that weather up there is horseshit!

    January 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm
  4. Sunset magazine names Tahoe’s Kings Beach and Chico on “best places” list : Sierra FoodWineArt: A lifestyle magazine

    […] “We’ve come up with 24 great neighborhoods, towns, and cities in 6 different categories. Now we’re asking you to help us choose our 6 first place winners. What’s the best place to start a career? The best place to start a second career? The best family-friendly (but not boring) suburb? Cast your votes in our polls below—and watch for the final results in our February issue. See more HERE. […]

    December 9, 2013 at 9:44 am
  5. Lived in Seattle and Lived in So Pas

    According to Trulia, the average price per square foot for a home in Issaquah, WA, is $222. For South Pasadena, CA, it’s $540. (Stats for Q4 2013.)

    You can look at that massive delta two ways. Pacific Northwest boosters could say, “See how cheap it is to live up here in this lovely quiet city near-ish Seattle!” SoCal partisans could say, “That’s because very few people actually want to live in Issaquah.”

    If you believe that housing prices are a valid indicator of how desirable a community is, there’s that.

    December 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm
  6. Sunset Magazine Invites Readers to Vote For the Best Places to Live and Work in the West | Wading Boots

    […] vote, go to the Sunset Westphoria blog by December 6. Share your choices and rally support for your hometown favorites by tweeting […]

    December 7, 2013 at 10:40 pm
  7. Maria

    LOve South Pasadena!

    December 6, 2013 at 9:10 pm
  8. Vote on the best place to live, work, vacation

    […] Take the survey and vote on your favorite places to live, vacation and work. You can see the results in the February issue of Sunset Magazine. […]

    December 6, 2013 at 7:47 am
  9. Waltero

    I love living in South Pasadena, and it should be among the best towns for something, but as a “cosmopolitan ‘burb?” I wouldn’t mistake it for Geneva. However. compared to the other 3 cities in the category, South Pasadena stacks up well.

    December 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm
  10. Robyn Grace Jennings

    Sonoma Valley!

    December 5, 2013 at 7:41 pm
  11. beeatle

    I want to retire on a Central California coastal town (pop.30) that I’ve had my eye on for decades. Nope, I won’t say the name.

    December 5, 2013 at 10:27 am
  12. Tracy Baranzano

    latiaxis –
    Wow! You should move away from Issaquah. You sound depressed and upset about the world evolving. I visited the downtown one night and the next day I made an offer on a condo and I am very much looking forward to living there. It’s super charming and still feels like a small town to me. I don’t see a lack of trees.

    December 4, 2013 at 3:17 pm
  13. Mike Tayon (@SoapinTrucker)

    As interesting as the article is, I can think of a lot of OTHER choices for each category! :)

    December 4, 2013 at 2:32 pm
  14. Sunshine

    I know, I know — you have all heard stories about living in Utah. Believe the ones that praise the climate, the business environment AND the natural environment, the incredible work ethic, the outstanding state wine stores (yes — true!), the ease of access to the airport, the top-notch medical care, and the university (for education, not football). With all of that, the “other” stories you have heard really don’t matter!

    December 3, 2013 at 6:24 pm
  15. Nicole

    This comment is to Latiaxis from Issaquah. I think you should really consider moving if you absolutely hate the city that much. 35 years? That’s a lifetime of being miserable. I am sure there are a lot less expensive places you can move to and be a lot happier.
    I’ve live in Issquah most my life. You can’t beat, the mountains, hiking trails, skiing, shopping, parks, one of the top school districts in the country, etc. Can’t imagine moving anywhere else.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:32 pm
  16. Jessica Coleman

    Ripon, California is a safe, traditional, small with easy access to SF, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
    I run my nonprofit business out of my home shop/ office, while maintaining my full-time mother and wife roles. Over 600 volunteers from our city join myself and my family in hosting the Color The Skies Hot Air Balloon Festival each Labor Day Weekend. Proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital Central California!

    December 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm
  17. Rena Harris

    I live and work and plan to retire in Bend, Oregon – it’s God’s country so if it doesn’t win top honors in every category it’s ok with me, keeps the rest of the people away so we can keep our beautiful Central Oregon to ourselves!

    December 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm
  18. Cascadia Kid

    Bend is a great place to live, work and play plus raising a family. No truth to the comment you can’t find employees – many here make a great living, are able to buy homes, raise and educate our children and take advantage of the recreation out our back door. Is it the same wage as San Francisco? Not for most, however many make a very comfortable living.

    December 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm
  19. Michael on the High Plateau

    Bend, Oregon, is a great place for a startup — but once you get a business going (a desire held by most startups) it is difficult to find employees. Really, who would want to move to work in a place where wages are low and housing prices are high? Things are now a little more affordable for working people than they were during the housing bubble, but the boom-bust cycle has repeated itself at least a half-dozen times since the late 1970s.

    November 28, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  20. Belinda

    Issaquah is a growing city but still has that small town feel with plenty of charm and beautiful setting. Community also has a great music scene, art walks and highly rated live theater.

    November 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm
  21. Steve

    Chico as “Silicon Valley of the North”?? That title can only belong to Seattle. As a tech person telecommuting from Chico for more than a decade, I can say I never once heard it referred to that way. Be prepared for an eye-watering pay cut if you come here for one of the few tech jobs. Tech employers make it clear they come here for cheaper labor, citing the lower cost of living, not the lifestyle or talent pool. In other words, kind of like offshore operations, but with a time zone and language advantage. Makes it clear this article is just full of whatever the chambers of commerce said about these places.

    November 28, 2013 at 7:03 am
  22. Dennis

    I love Chico. I left for many years… and I am very happy to be back..

    November 27, 2013 at 9:18 pm
  23. Richard

    Chico is a fabulous place to reboot and raise your family. My wife and I relocated here with our son in 2007 from Sacramento and have not regretted the move. This is a wonderful medium sized community.

    November 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm
  24. Linda

    I have lived in Chico all my life, I’m proud to say I live here.

    November 27, 2013 at 8:44 pm
  25. Renee DeTolla

    Issaquah is a wonderful place to raise a family. It has a low key downtown area that is bustling, tons of shopping, and has a bunch of hiking trails, bike trails, and kiddie parks that are easily accessible. The weather as we all know who live here can be grey, but on a sunny day there is no more beautiful place to live (I speak somewhat on authority after living in different parts of the country). Go Issy.

    November 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm
  26. Clark

    Chico is a mess. From the homeless to the city counsel . Poverty, drunks, drug addicts, outbreaks of sickness and out of control college kids. Nope, not a good place to vote for.

    November 27, 2013 at 2:11 pm
  27. latiaxis

    Issaquah is a remarkably stupid place to live! The city staff are permitting developers to cut down a lot of what’s left of the forests at an alarming rate. Wild animal habitats are disappearing daily. The city of Issaquah is even considering dumping their storm water so close to the wells of a neighboring water district that Issaquah residents themselves are concerned. I have lived in Issaquah for 35 years. At one time Issaquah did have a charming downtown and a beautiful setting that did not include miles of tightly packed housing. Today Issaquah deals with grid-locked traffic on a daily basis and schools that have serious heroin problems. I would leave if I could. I’m just wondering why Sunset Magazine is including Issaquah among its “Best Places to Live”?

    November 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm
    • Jjinla

      Issaquah is amazing. There is no traffic whatsoever except getting out of the Highlands and near downtown during busy times and even then it pales to most of the country. How many more trees do you need? The same people that complain about trees and also whining about affordable housing and face it, affordable means more density.

      Heroin widespread? Come on! Love this town. 20 minutes from the city, 30 from skiing and feels like suburbia in Lake Tahoe. The weather issues are wildly overblown, and I lived in SoCal for 20 years.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:58 pm
  28. misty klinger

    Chico is my hometown and where I brought my kids back to grow up

    November 27, 2013 at 12:32 pm
  29. Bob

    Chuck you are definately wrong about Chico. Yes Chico does have a problem with homeless etc. but no differance than any other city. I have lived in the area for 25 years and cannot think of a better place to live than Chico. Chuck, I think you read too much Craigslist Rants and Raves. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!

    November 27, 2013 at 11:57 am
  30. David

    Chico is a hidden gem!

    November 27, 2013 at 11:28 am
  31. Vote for Issaquah as best cosmopolitan ‘burb’ : The Issaquah Press – News, Sports, Classifieds and More in Issaquah, WA

    […] Cast your vote here. […]

    November 27, 2013 at 11:03 am
  32. AnnDroid

    Please vote for Bend OR. Chico is too hot.

    November 27, 2013 at 8:59 am
  33. Jane

    Chico is a great place to live, not that I want the world to come here, and as far as Silicon Valley North….no way, and that is actually laughable! Come to visit….there is a lot to see..

    November 27, 2013 at 8:07 am
  34. Kevin Durkin

    When the shit hit’s the fan Chico will be the place to live. Wilderness on one side, farms on the other side and a ten month to year round growing season. The most beautiful fall color west of the mississipi. Blossoms from late February through early April. One of the biggest Parks in the west where it’s still legal to skinny dip. It’s also affordable. Avoid the north and east side of town due to suburban malaise and lack of community spirit. Those parts of town look like the Silicon Valley

    November 27, 2013 at 6:33 am
  35. Brooke

    For those posting about Chico being a terrible place to live, you all have obviously never taken the time to know the place. Chico is a wonderful city that is full of more than “hicks, drunken college students and crappy food.” We have Bidwell Park with miles of beautiful, tree lined trails and TONS of delicious local restaurants. The “drunken” students of that “party town university” have provided culture, education and support to the community and helped steadily improve the city over the last ten years. Come visit and see for yourself!

    November 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm
  36. Cathy Danielson

    Chuck is wrong, wrong, wrong about Chico!!! It’s great place and has cleaned up it’s downtown. A great town to re-boot, live , go to school, and retire!

    November 26, 2013 at 6:28 pm
  37. Chuck

    Ten years ago I might have agreed with Chico being a great place……for anything. But it’s a Sh!thole now……….bums, transients, homeless running the town. The people who are “running” the city are running it in to the ground. Tea party philosophy(not trying to bring politics in to the discussion) stripping the quality of city services to the community just so they can save a buck, get their fat paychecks and move on. Local politics at it’s worst. I wish they would just move on so we can get our small city back…………

    November 26, 2013 at 4:26 pm
  38. Marta Arensberg

    Tough choice between Issaquah WA (have lived here 30 years) and Alameda CA ( where our daughter, S-I-L, and grand daughter live). We spend many weeks a year on Alameda, and plan to move there some day to be closer to family. Love the small town vibe, with easy access to the city and other Central CA areas. Low cost, no way. But the speed limit is 25 max on most of the island. It helps you slow down in life.

    November 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm
  39. Anne

    Often praised for it’s beautiful setting, Durango is a great place to live, raise a family, run a business, vacation… there is an incredible arts scene, restaurants, trails, skiing, craft beer, and it comes with Mother Nature’s sunny seal of approval.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:50 am
  40. glauber

    There’s little sense in crowing about where I live. In fact, I’m going to gloomily understate its virtues. I have no use for developers to ruin everything, or for prices to rise.

    November 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm
  41. Patricia

    Love Durango and all it has to offer! My parents have chosen to spend retirement in Durango and are living the good life, enjoying everything from hiking and golf, to concerts, all-season gallery walks and fine local food restaurants. I aspire to do the same!

    November 24, 2013 at 10:47 am
  42. Carol G.

    Proud to say I was born in Durango.

    November 23, 2013 at 6:36 pm
  43. Durango Photographer

    Durango CO is the most beautiful place to live and the people are amazing. Wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world.

    November 23, 2013 at 9:58 am
  44. Lalaluie

    I’m sorry, what? Have you ever been to Chico? “Silicon Valley North?” That’s some marketing ploy. Chico is full of hicks, drunken college students, and crappy food. It has zero class and no sense of culture other than what its Party Town university brings. Ugh.

    November 22, 2013 at 6:54 pm
  45. mary nowotny

    Durango is the best – just ask me what drew me here and what’s kept me — best friends of my life, most beautiful setting on earth and a spirit that invigorates me day after day (12 Years after retiring here).

    November 22, 2013 at 5:19 pm
  46. Shawn

    Very nice choices Cambria is very nice I like it there. But no matter where you live you’ll eventually want to travel somewhere else.
    But it’s nice to have a home sweet home. Colorado and California are the best for me. But, CA has to be on top for diversity and the ocean.

    November 20, 2013 at 5:56 am
  47. Linda Mulhern

    San Diego is paradise. The new library with its spectacular ocean views and just a short walk to the Tilted Kilt for lunch make for a fun day. Dinner at the Bluespot in the Gaslamp and a walk through town is just fun. San Diego homes are expensive, but paradise should cost a little more.

    November 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm
  48. Aislyn Greene

    Romie, San Diego was in the running for our best city neighborhood category! Unfortunately, we could only pick four this time around. But rest assured we love it as much as you do. :)

    November 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm
  49. Romie

    Wondering where does San Diego.stand? It seems to me it has everything one would want. Don’t live there now but I do have proerty in Diwntown and hope to retire there soon!

    November 15, 2013 at 12:34 pm
  50. Desert Dweller

    Fun article / post to speculate over! And thank you SO much for *not* mentioning anything within a 200 mile radius of where I am now. Or even where I lived the last 21 years (lost more good than it gained) Let those who gentrify in a bad way go elsewhere :-)

    November 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

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