Written by Scarlett Murray,
Last Modified: 9th February 2023

From the fabulous scenes of San Francisco to the technology hub of Silicon Valley to the beauty of the Lake Tahoe, discover where in Northern California you would like to own a property.  

Northern California is – you guessed it – the northern part of the state of California. It encompasses forty-eight counties, and it includes fantastic locations like: San Jose, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz. Northern California is vibrant with cosmopolitan life and a naturist’s paradise with the redwood forests and the Sierra Nevada.

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Northern California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and short, wet winters. Although, at higher altitudes, the seasons are felt more dramatically, with the ski season being November through to March. But on the coast, average daily temperatures are around 21 degrees and up. The warmest time of year is July, when temperatures are regularly in the late thirties. This is also the busiest time of year, when tourists come to discover all of Northern California’s charm. Northern California blossoms beautifully in the Spring.


The might of nature in Northern California

If you love nothing more than a scenic walk, a home in Northern California could work wonderfully for you.

Aside from snapping a million photographs, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in Yosemite from horseback riding, swimming, rafting, skiing, fishing, even golf.


Half Dome, Yosemite.

Half Dome, Yosemite.

An astonishing five million tourists visit Yosemite every year, but with a property in Northern California, you could become a regular. Fittingly, Yosemite means “killer” in the Indigenous Miwok language, and this incredible national park does not fail to live up to its name. One of its most notable features, the Half Dome is a head-spinning 87 million years old and has a 93% vertical grade. This makes it the sheerest cliff in North America. Think you can tackle it? Hikers can take a seventeen-mile round trip from the Yosemite Valley. To match the sheerest cliff in North America, Yosemite Falls holds the title of tallest waterfall, with a three-tier height dropping 740m.

Yosemite isn’t just a pretty place, there’s plenty to do…

Aside from snapping a million photographs, there are plenty of outdoor activities to do in Yosemite from horseback riding, swimming, rafting, skiing, fishing, even golf. At night, you can go on twilight walks. Sounds like a bit of an upgrade from the small flat park behind my house, where the only exciting fauna and flora you see is a nervous squirrel and a fat pigeon, that’s for sure.

Redwood Forest


Elegant redwoods.

There are two species of redwood trees, and both can be found in Northern California. On the coast, you’ll find the sequoia sempreviren, the tallest living thing on our planet, growing up to 380 feet tall. A little shorter, at 300 feet tall, the sequoiadendron giganteum are especially wide at almost 30 feet across. The oldest ones have been around for a mind-blowing 3,000 years. They simply make the most extraordinary settings for a walk.


With a home in Northern California, you will be spoiled for culture & nightlife

city lights bookshop

Bookworms – introducing your new hangout, City Lights Bookshop.

If you like to mix up your days in nature with days soaking up culture, Northern California couldn’t be better for you. If you’re after art, there’s the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. For times when you’re feeling literary and brooding, make your way to City Lights bookshop. And if you want to immerse yourself in the local music scene, plan dates around Sweetwater Music Hall.

Nightlife like no other…

Northern California could not be more brilliant for nightlife. On looks alone, Madrone Art Bar is a stand-out location for it is a Victorian parlour with graffiti installations. Music wise, it’s home to Motown Mondays and a monthly Prince/Michael Jackson dance party. Beer lovers won’t have space to breathe as there are an incredible forty-eight beers on draft at Zeitgeist.  First opening its doors in 1935, Twin Peaks Tavern holds the title of the first ever gay bar.

There’s so much to explore…

This list really is just a drop in the ocean of the culture and nightlife that Northern California has to offer. With a property in Northern California, whether you’re living there full-time or are just there for holidays, you will have more than enough to fill your days with.


With its magnificent landmark Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a city that gleams with wealth and prosperity.


San Francisco

golden bridge

Glorious San Fran.

San Francisco is the heart of financial, commercial, cultural Northern California. With its magnificent landmark Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is a city that gleams with wealth and prosperity. It’s also a city that is at the centre of and continues to be a trailblazer for LGBTQI+ rights. Almost every type of shop under the sun can be found in San Fran, with the colourful stores of Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood being a particular highlight. If you are looking for work, whatever your skillset, you are likely to find work here. But keep in mind: to stay longer than 90 days in America and to work there, you will need a visa, click here to learn more.

The cost of living in San Fran…

Undoubtedly, San Francisco is a forward-thinking, exciting place to live, but this does come at a cost. According to Numbeo, the average cost of a month’s rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $3,282 – while one outside of the centre is $2,579. Property specialists Redfin describe the housing market in San Francisco as “somewhat competitive”. With the median sale price for a house being $1,287,500, a decrease of 12.9% year over year.

If you can afford to purchase a property in San Francisco, why not cross the Golden Gate bridge and join them?

Santa Cruz


Calling all surfers to Santa Cruz.

Surfer’s city. Santa Cruz lies sixty-five miles south of San Francisco, and thirty-five miles north of Monterey. If you are after a gorgeous beach life of sunshine (the sun shines 300 days a year), suntan (hopefully not sunburn, remember your factor 50, this isn’t Brighton), swimming, and surfing. Its main industries are tourism, agriculture, and tech – so if you are skilled in one of those areas, perhaps you could make a move here work. According to data provided by Numbeo, the average cost of rent per month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre was $2,387, with it only costing a little less to rent outside the centre. Redfin’s data shows that the median sale price for a home here is $1,330,000, and the housing market is described as “very competitive”.

Given its sunshine lifestyle, Santa Cruz would make an excellent place to purchase a holiday home, either for yourself or to rent out to others.

San Jose

San Jose

San Jose

If you are tech whizz, this could be your ticket to the USA. The focal point of San Jose is Silicon Valley. Here, you can find the likes of Facebook, Google, Apple, Tesla, as well as a host of other big names and smaller start-ups. As with all over Northern California, San Jose is a dynamic location with lots to do and consume. Moreover, data from Redfin shows that prices are “very competitive” in San Jose, and that the median house sale price was $1,180,000.

Lake Tahoe is known for her cleanness and is surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains.

South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe

Scenic South Lake Tahoe.

All of Northern California has spectacular nature, but Lake Tahoe might just be a touch more spectacular than the rest. Straddling California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is the largest freshwater lake in Northern America. Lake Tahoe is known for her cleanness and is surrounded by awe-inspiring mountains. If you are looking to lead an active lifestyle in the USA, South Lake Tahoe is ideal. It offers bountiful opportunity for skiing, snowboarding, biking, fishing, and water sports. You also have the option of sliding over to Nevada when the mood takes you.

Not just a winter location…

To top it off, Lake Tahoe also has 72-mile shoreline, so you can tick off summer sports too. It is worth knowing that Tahoe can be extremely busy during the tourist season and much quieter at other points in the year. The snow can be rough on your car and your skin, so bring your shovel and moisturiser.

According to Redfin, property in South Lake Tahoe is “not very competitive”, and the average house sale price is $815k.

Napa Valley

Napa Valley

A romantic destination of wine & hills – Napa Valley.

Picturesque Napa Valley is a romantic destination to own a property in. Its beautiful hilly terrain makes for incredible winemaking, and the area prides itself on its fine dining. Aside from countless wine tours, your days will be filled with trips up a hot air balloon, golfing, and plenty of self-care in their thriving spa and wellness industry. While Napa Valley has less job opportunities, the lifestyle offered here is a little more laidback than the ambitious push found in San Jose or San Francisco. Furthermore, property in Napa Valley is much more affordable than other areas listed here, with Redfin’s data showing that the average house sale price is $550k.





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