California is certainly the stuff of dreams and embodies better than any other state the guiding principle of the Americans: “Nothing is impossible”.
People wanting to make their vision of life in the USA a reality have long been attracted to the West Coast, where so many people, of the most varied social, spiritual, and cultural backgrounds, have already found their fortune. Migration here has a history: in the mid-19th century, California was the destination of many adventurers due to the rich finds of gold. Indeed, California’s official second name, the Golden State, has its origins in the Gold Rush era. Even today its name is justified, because the state combines so many superlatives: the USA’s highest mountain and lowest point; the most inhabitants; the most cars; the tallest trees; the highest quality of life; the most liberal laws; all climate zones; the most brilliant, hip, and creative minds. The state’s attractiveness to migrants has remained consistently high ever since the Gold Rush.
Society here is highly colourful, and people are open and tolerant to incomers. Anyone wishing to settle here or purchase a second home will immediately feel welcomed and will quickly settle right in.
Los Angeles, with its four million inhabitants in the city area and nearly 18 million in the Greater Los Angeles area, is certainly regarded as the Californian metropolis. Best known for the film and TV industries in Hollywood, LA is popular thanks to its sunny weather, kilometres-long beaches, endless sights and attractions, fantastic restaurants, contemporary architecture, high concentration of museums, and one of the hippest art scenes in the country. Exclusive villas, chic detached houses and fine luxury apartments are always for sale. However, it is hard to find the right one, as all quarters of the city compete with so much character and charm that choosing is the biggest challenge.
With a population of 800,000, San Francisco is significantly smaller but no less popular. Locals, immigrants, and tourists form a unit–being different here is normal. This unusual atmosphere, which is something of a living reminder of the Hippy era, characterises this city more than any of its world-famous visible attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge via the cable cars, the Fisherman’s Wharf dock quarter, and the former prison island of Alcatraz. Almost totally surrounded by the sea, the city is located on steeply undulating hills, guaranteeing wonderful views of the sea and the city to the visitors and locals. Be it the heart of the city that never sleeps, with its old town, Union Square, Financial District, dock quarter and Chinatown, or in a quieter area like the green Forest Hill, the classy Pacific Heights with its luxury boutiques, or the unconventional Haight-Ashbury with its Victorian-style houses, San Francisco definitely meets all the criteria for a perfect location.
Santa Barbara is popular not just with tourists from the world over–American celebrities too like to visit the city on the Pacific, with many of them making it their home. Around 90,000 people live in Santa Barbara today and the city is the most expensive place to live in the USA. The Mediterranean climate, which it has to thank for its nickname, “The American Riviera”, and the Spanish-American appearance of the city make Santa Barbara extremely popular. Between the buildings with white façades and red roofs, one’s eye is caught by colourful houses in Victorian style. The lifestyle here is relaxed, and the famous State Street with its boutiques, cafés, and theatres is perfect for exploring on foot. If you do this in spring, you will be overpowered by the delicious scent of the lilac-coloured blossoms of the many jacaranda trees.
San Diego is the second largest city in California with a population of 1.4 million. The pleasant climate, which is not marked by extremes in temperature, and its location right on the sea have earned San Diego the title of “America’s Finest City” with the locals. The city’s rapid population growth is due not only to the sunny weather, but also the prosperous economy, primarily in telecommunications and biotechnology. Along with financial security, families can find a great variety of leisure activities here: three famous zoos, SeaWorld, a water park, the Air & Space Museum, and beaches ideal for swimming and surfing. For some years, San Diego has been undergoing a transformation: away from an industrial atmosphere to a modern, environmentally friendly ambience that is attracting ever more people to make this their home.
San Jose is home to one million inhabitants and is the main city in Silicon Valley, the bastion of IT and high-tech industries. Because most companies are located outside the city, San José has the reputation of being a dormitory town. This designation is not entirely accurate, however. Indeed, San José possesses a pretty city centre that boasts architectural highlights such as Odd Fellows Building, dating from 1833, and various buildings in Spanish-colonial style. There are also several exciting museums here, including the Tech Museum of Innovation, and the Children’s Discovery Museum, both of which immerse visitors in the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley. Full-time professionals and beginners let off steam side by side at California’s biggest skate park, and everyone can find their favourite meal in restaurants featuring worldwide cuisine, with wine connoisseurs enjoying the wines from the nearby den Santa Cruz Mountains. In short, the city is lively without being hectic, and offers a friendly home to a growing number of incomers.
Palm Springs, as the main city of the Coachella Valley, is without a doubt the California holiday destination of the elite–and this has been so since long before the annual world-famous music festival attracted stars from all over the world to the desert valley. Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra both bought their second homes here, soaking up that 350-days-a-year sunshine whenever they wanted. The 45,000 inhabitants live at the foot of the San Jacinto Mountains and enjoy both city culture and leisure facilities within breathtaking natural surroundings; the San Bernardino National Forest, the Joshua Tree National Park and the desert of the Coachella Valley are very close by. The exciting Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the largest rotating aerial tramway in the world, transporting its passengers to a unique Alpine wilderness at nearly 2600 metres above sea level.