1. You could be living in a mansion in almost any other state.
According to the latest Coldwell Banker annual report, the most expensive cities in the U.S to buy property are located in California. For the price of your modest single-family home in California, you could be roosting in a mega-mansion just about anywhere else in the nation. And we are not just talking San Francisco and LA, where studio condos run seven figures. Even second-tier cities like San Jose, once a bastion of blue-collar affordability, now sports median house prices of over $US 1 million. Take that cool mil to New Mexico or Montana and you could buy yourself a ten bedroom luxury ranch with acres of gorgeous Rocky Mountain land.
Traffic is a way of life here.
Ready for another number 1? The Los Angeles area ranks as the most heavily congested area in no, not just the entire USA, but the whole damn world. The average driver in Southern California spends over 100 hours driving every year – that’s more than most people’s entire two-week annual vacation. But before those Northern Californians start snickering, San Francisco ranks not so far behind – fourth in the global ranking of most congested cities. Unless you are one of the super-rich that can afford to live right in downtown SF, where everything is in walking distance; the Bay Area is just as bad as the south when it comes to traffic.
California (doesn’t really) know how to party.
While in New York you can tilt back whiskey till 4 am, in Miami down shots till 5 am and in both New Orleans and Las Vegas you can go 24/7, in California your party will be shut down even before it gets started. Due to puritanical law dating back to 1935, all bars across California have to be completely closed by 2 am, or the establishment faces losing their liquor license. Although LA and SF have some of the hippest lounges and clubs in the country don’t count on being able to enjoy them, you’ll get tossed out on the sidewalk while the night is still young.
And then there is the air…
Forget about that clean Pacific Ocean breeze, California ranks as the state with the worst air pollution in the entire country. Cities like Los Angeles, Bakersfield, and Fresno claim the fame of having the worst smog rates in the USA and 90 percent of Californians overall live in areas with unhealthy levels of pollutants in the air. Northern California does rank significantly better than the southern part of the state, with areas like Humboldt, Lake, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties – home to the last stands of ancient redwood forests – actually ranking as among the cleanest in the nation.
The Big One.
With fault lines running all through the state and smaller seismic tremblers rocking us on a regular basis, scientists know that it’s just a matter of time before California experiences a mega-earthquake. And it will not be the first time. Back in 1857, a 7.8 tremor hit LA, but luckily the area was sparsely populated. In 1906, another 7.8 nearly destroyed San Francisco, which was by this time a bustling metropolis. The damage was immense, with much of the city catching fire and resulting in a loss of life of over 3,000 people. When the next Big One will strike California, nobody knows, but hopefully, now we are be better prepared to cope.
Best Travel Credit Cards
Top offers from our partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
100,000 bonus points
The Platinum Card®
100,000 bonus points
American Express® Gold Card
60,000 bonus points