Fertile soil and abundant sunshine give Salinas the fitting title "The Salad Bowl of the World." An economically sound city, Salinas once had the highest per capita income of any city in the U.S. and still provides for a $2 billion agriculture industry. Fans of John Steinbeck might know that the author was born in Salinas and may recognize the city as a location often highlighted or mentioned in his novels. You can even get lunch at The Steinbeck House, served by staff in Victorian garb. Only minutes away is Monterey, which boasts gorgeous seaside vistas and the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Outdoor lovers will find their happy place at Toro Park, a gorgeous expanse of hiking trails just minutes from the city. Toro boasts some challenging hikes, including the "1800," which is the most strenuous climb but also the most rewarding, with stunning views of the city. If you'd prefer to meander, the Oldtown Salinas Farmers Market is where you'll find the best local produce and artisanal fare. Each July, Salinas welcomes the American Professional Rodeo Cowboy's Association tour, which showcases the best bull riders in the country who compete for big money prizes.

Wine reigns as the drink of choice in Salinas, with many local and national wineries producing wines from the standout varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. After a day spent touring Salinas' many vineyards, head downtown to experience world-class dining at one of the city's unique restaurants. Residents love Patria, a "real deal" European bistro, with comfort foods like brown butter spaetzle, as well as the beloved wine and craft beer bar the Farmer's Union Pour House.

The median value of homes in Salinas hovers around $500,000 and a well-stocked market is holding steady in terms of value. Buyers have many choices when it comes to style, as Salinas offers everything from the historic Victorian in the downtown area to Spanish style ranches that dot the hillsides. Buying a home in Salinas is perfect for people looking to invest in a warm, historic community that's continuing to grow and change.