Top 5 Best Places to Retire in Southern California
If you’re gearing up for retirement, these are the best cities for your next home.
Southern California is one of the most iconic regions in the United States. From movies to music and television, this area has been heralded for its sunshine, surfing, and easy-going vibe, making it a perfect choice for retirement. Whether you’re planning a retirement that’s focused on golf and tennis, long walks on the beach, or a second-act career reboot, you’ll find a world of options when you retire in Southern California.
SoCal has almost too many amazing towns and cities to count and it’s important to remember that many areas offer access to multiple cities. In addition, with easy travel options between the different communities, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to visit your favorite areas frequently. Alternatively, consider splitting your time between different communities with a variety of desirable features.
There may be no Southern California community so effortlessly cool as Palm Springs. Made up of a number of smaller communities, including Palm Desert, Indio, Palm Springs, Desert Hot Springs, La Quinta, and Indian Wells, this is an area that combines quintessential California architectural and design features with a world-class culinary scene and an emphasis on the arts to create a true playground for grown-ups — and a picture-perfect setting for your retirement.
Fans of mid-century modern styles will find swoon-worthy homes and interior designs. As an ultra-cool playground for the rich and famous, there’s no shortage of luxurious amenities and recreational options. Those who are looking for an active, outdoor lifestyle will find golf, hiking, and swimming while spas, gardens and museums appeal to those seeking relaxation.
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a true paradise, offering spectacular scenic vistas and year-round great weather. Named for a Presidio dating back to the era of Spanish Conquest, Santa Barbara still pays tribute to its historic past. Here you’ll find residential architecture ranging from authentic Victorian homes to Mediterranean Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival and Mission Revival styles.
If you’ve been thinking about going back to school after you retire, you’ll find plenty of options in Santa Barbara. The city is host to four major institutions of higher education, including the University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, and Antioch University. Spend time in the area’s parks, stroll the picture-perfect beaches and hiking trails, or hit the links at some of the country’s best-known local golf courses.
Popularly referred to as the City of Roses, Pasadena is probably best known as the home of the Rose Bowl and its iconic parade and college football tournament game airing each New Year’s Day. However, the other 364 days of the year, Pasadena offers spectacular natural and manmade beauty, making it one of the most beguiling and unforgettable cities in Southern California.
If you want to be close to the big city while retaining a sense of small-town living, you’ll love Pasadena. While visitors come from all over the world to the area’s colleges and universities, its population is just over 140,000 making it relatively small by SoCal standards. As the home of CalTech, Pasadena is a great choice for those who are retiring after a career in high tech or engineering, especially if you’re planning to keep a hand in with consulting opportunities post-retirement.
Of course, no list of Southern California cities would be complete without Los Angeles. As the center of the entertainment industry and a hub for business of all kinds on the west coast, LA is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities on earth. In addition, however, there are a wide variety of enclaves and neighborhoods in the surrounding metropolitan area for those who want to be near the city without actually living in the city.
Whatever you’re thinking about doing in retirement, you can find opportunities along with like-minded individuals. Start a business here and have access to some of the most important professional connections in the country. Go back to school and attend classes at exceptional colleges and universities. Pursue your long-delayed artistic dreams when you sign up for an improv or acting class and go out on auditions. Immerse yourself in the city’s artistic, cultural, and international life. The possibilities are truly limited only by your imagination.
Located in Southern California along the border with Mexico, San Diego offers you everything you’re looking for and a combination of both a big-city lifestyle and exclusive resort-style gated enclaves. The metro area is made up of more than 100 distinct neighborhoods, allowing you to find the perfect location for your active retirement wherever you want to be. In addition, San Diego has one of the country’s best climates, with year-round mild weather enhancing the area’s natural scenery.
If you love outdoor living, San Diego is truly the place for you. Here you’ll experience everything from year-round golf to one of the most bird-friendly areas in the United States. There are nature preserves with rare plant species and one of the country’s most robustly diverse animal populations. You’ll also enjoy big-town arts, culture, sports, and entertainment, along with incredible views from the mountains to the area’s world-famous beaches.
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