Modesto, California

Tree City



Sunny Days: 260
49100 Affordability
85100 Schools
60100 Diversity
65100 Safety

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.

Agents in Modesto

Are you an agent in Modesto? Get listed on LookyLoo!

Illustration of a man and a woman looking for the perfect place to live.Contact Us

Living in Modesto

What is Modesto like?

There is a lot of hate for Modesto online, but it was my hometown for 28 years and I actually miss it a lot (I’m thinking about moving back).

Pros: Super close to Bay Area, close to Yosemite, close to Santa Cruz, close to central coast, close to Big Trees, close enough to Tahoe. Quick weekend trips to socal are do-able. Gallo center, MJC, agriculture, backyards with pools, good food, racial and political diversity, Graceada Park (summer concerts), ModShop, P Wexford’s, taquerias, huge houses for much cheaper than a lot of areas in CA. Also, Trader Joe’s and Sprouts.

Cons: lots of meth-users in certain areas, it gets hot as shit but if you have access to a pool and AC in your house then it’s ok, but the heat is not for everyone - it gets to 90-105 for weeks/months during the summers into “fall”. Everyone thinks they are nascar drivers, it is not walk/bike-friendly, public transportation is kind of scary, housing is getting ridiculous, gangsters, car theft, bike theft, everyone has raiders or 49ers all over their cars and clothes, people don’t seem to be too considerate of other people.

Everywhere has shitty people, but there are a lot of good people there too.

Turlock is nice near the college. Downtown Oakdale is ok, but it’s full of lifted trucks, cowboys and farmland. Ripon is a cleanish, newer city but I’ve never heard of anything very exciting going on there. Salida and Ceres don’t have much going on either, I’d personally not move to those. In Modesto, north and northeast is your best best for the safe suburb neighborhoods, but they’re pretty boring. You have to make your own fun. Graceada and La Loma area have beautiful neighborhoods but have a bigger homeless population that hang out around there. Don’t live anywhere near west/crows landing area or south of Yosemite, or near 9th street. Downtown apartments are pretty old and run down.

Neighborhoods in Modesto

View All

The Area

Modesto is in the Central Valley of California and is surrounded by rich farmland and the kind of pollen that anyone who has lived in a farming area knows can crush your spirit. The city is north in the central valley and so is geographically closer to San Francisco/San Jose than Los Angeles. It also sits roughly in the middle of the state on the east/west axis between the forests and mountains of Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite to its east and the cities and coast of the Bay Area to the west. As was noted in the “Why Move Now” section its either isolated, or conveniently located depending on your appetite for driving.

There is an airport in Modesto that has private and charter option types but if you need a major airport then Oakland or San Jose will be your closest options at roughly 75-90 minutes away when there is no traffic.


Young Professionals

Modesto is not a city that pulls in a lot of young professionals, given the remoteness of the city. That said, there is a downtown arts scene with plenty of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping. If you move here for work then most will choose to live in the neighborhoods downtown and surrounding area. A combo of apartments/condos and apartments in homes make up the majority of the housing options in these areas.

  • Downtown (or DoMo)


Young Families

Which neighborhoods are best for young families will vary based on your pricing appetite but anything surrounding Graceada Park is a great option. These are older homes, some of which are renovated, beautiful and expensive, but some are older and can be had for more reasonable prices. The proximity to the park makes them ideal for walking the little ones over for playtime. Additional options to kick off your search include Coffee-Sylvan, East Modesto, and Northeast Modesto. Pricing in these areas average in the mid to high 200’s, which for California is pretty reasonable.

  • Coffee-Sylvan
  • East Modesto
  • Northeast Modesto

Del Rio Country Club

Established Families

Go North or East to find the fancier digs of Modesto. The Del Rio Country Club neighborhood is primo real estate and where we’d recommend starting if you’re looking for bigger homes, great lawns and the amenities of a country club area. Dutch Hollow and Tuscany are also really nice neighborhoods with newer construction of larger homes, big lawns and plenty of parks and sidewalks for the kids to ride their bikes around the areas. These three neighborhoods are the launching pad for your search.

  • Del Rio Country Club
  • Dutch Hollow
  • Tuscany