Modesto, California

Tree City

There are so many different challenges California has; it’s the greatest state in the greatest country in the world. Hasta la vista, baby!
–Arnold Schwarzenegger

Best Part About Modesto?


Now, for the record we’re comparing Modesto to other California cities. Given that qualification we will say that Modesto has some beautiful neighborhoods, like the Graceada park or Coffee-Sylvan areas, with cool, older renovated homes. What’s more, these homes are priced incredibly reasonably compared to other options closer to San Francisco. If you’re looking for a beautiful, historic home, at a reasonable price Modesto could be your spot.

Here's a local with a summary of what living here is like: I have lived here 28 years having moved from the Bay area We didn’t intend to stay, however we found an old home we loved in a beautiful neighborhood and it grew on us. Modesto has changed a great deal in that time including: a revitalized downtown with more than a few absolutely wonderful restaurants; our own new performing arts center with 2 world class venues; our own symphony orchestra (the longest continuously performing symphony west of the Mississippi); a successful small opera company; the State Theater (a renovated art-deco theater showing art films and revival films as well as live music; a thriving art community with galleries, a beautiful 100 year old park with an outside theater hosting free summer concerts; Modesto City College, a very highly rated 2 year college.

For more reviews of Modesto from locals check out: The Buzz

Worst Part About Modesto?


If you’re a wfh’er then one of those beautiful homes we were just talking about will work out just fine. If on the other hand you’re moving here and then have to commute, just about anywhere, you will hate your life. Modesto to San Francisco is a nonstarter. DO NOT DO THIS. Even Modesto to Sacramento or Modesto to Livermore are all rough ways to make this work. We highly recommend Modesto only in the case of a circumstance in which you move here, buy an old home in a beautiful neighborhood and stay put.

Here's a local on the commute to Bay Area: My advice. Don't do it. Do whatever you can, however you can to get out of making that commute. The toll it takes on you mentally and physically isn't worth it. You are burning money in gas and vehicle upkeep. There isn't a "route" or time that you can use that will make it worth it.

Lifestyle of Modesto

For being kind of in the middle of nowhere Modesto has a lot going on. The revitalized downtown has great restaurants, a performing arts center with 2 amazing venues, a symphony orchestra, an opera company, a repertory theater company and several theaters showing new and independent movies and live music. There is also a thriving art community, a majestic park with an outdoor theater for free summer concerts.

This is really how the people of Modesto live in these walkscore friendly neighborhoods. Enjoying the “downtown” activities of a city that created its own scene to accommodate the distance to other metros.

If you want to see what locals get up to in Modesto check out the calendar of events:

Workstyle of Modesto

Modesto is truly an agricultural center of the United States. The area produces 8% of the entire agricultural output of the country so expect lots of local workers to depend directly or indirectly on farm production. The corporate business here is also connected to the food industry. Foster Farms and Save Mart Supermarkets (operate Lucky’s, FoodMaxx and Albertsons) are here.

The world’s largest winery, Gallo, is here. And finally you have Blue Diamond Growers, an almond processing business, headquartered in Modesto. If you aren’t in the food biz or the local service economy, then you’re probably coming here to work from home. As was noted in the best part of Modesto, that can work.

Why You Should Move Here Now?

The Comeback Kid

Our sense is that if you insist on living in a big metroplex like San Francisco or Los Angeles then you probably won’t have Modesto on your list. On the other hand, if you’re a work-from-homer and you want to live approximately two hours from everything: San Francisco, Yosemite, The Sierras and more, then Modesto might work for you. Think of it as a quiet home base that serves as a launching pad when the mood strikes you to hit the city, the national parks or the slopes.