Located where the San Joaquin Valley meets the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bakersfield is one of the largest cities in California. Mountainous and beautiful, Bakersfield boasts a strong agricultural background and a historic music scene. Considered the "Nashville of the West Coast," the city is home to the "Bakersfield Sound," a twangy style of music that focuses on steel guitars, fiddles and drums and was popularized in the 1940s by Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.

The dry climate produces hot summers and mild winters and is perfect for those who want to be outside all year round. Residents enjoy countless options in Panorama Park (aka The Bluffs) for walking, jogging and enjoying the beauty of the California Coast. Of course, the close proximity to the Sierra Nevadas allows for incredible hikes, with many trails available to both beginners and experts. Bakersfield is also very friendly to bikers (a 30-mile bike path leads into the downtown), with many people choosing this mode of transportation for everything from leisure to commuting to work. The lovely outdoor weather is also the backdrop for a huge horse scene, with dressage and racing at its core.

Those looking for urban activities will find what they’re looking for in downtown Bakersfield. The food scene in Bakersfield doesn't disappoint, with styles and experiences that run the gamut, the largest offering of Basque-style establishments in the country and a wide range of bars and cafes. Shoppers will delight in the many locally owned boutiques and the multitude of antiquing options.

Homes cost less here than in the surrounding areas. Bakersfield real estate offers a cost of living three times lower than that in LA. Many homes feature pools and professional landscaping — perfect for those fond of hosting outdoor parties. The median housing cost hovers around an accessible $260,000, with a solid inventory that indicates that buying a home in Bakersfield is actually quite accessible to those in a wide range of socio-economic groups. Because of this, the area has a decidedly young demographic, excited to raise families in a growing local community.