The county seat for Stanislaus County, Modesto is the 18th-largest city in California. Situated on the banks of the Tuolumne River in the Central Valley, the community has a diverse population of approximately 200,000 residents. The city forms a part of the larger Modesto-Merced Combined Statistical Area. Surrounded by fertile farmland, the city plays a major role in California’s agricultural industry.
Along with historic architecture like the McHenry Mansion and several urban parks, the cityscape features museums, sporting events and performing arts venues. Along with nightlife and a vibrant food scene, Downtown Modesto hosts a weekly farmers market and the monthly Art Walk. The city offers a wide selection of housing options, including renovated turn-of-the-century homes and modern apartments. Modesto’s midcentury modern architecture has been featured in Museum of Modern Art publications.
Residents and visitors enjoy home games of the single-A Modesto Nuts baseball team at John Thurman Field. The city’s cultural scene includes the State Theater, a 1920s movie house showing a variety of independent and foreign films. The Gallo Center for the Arts host professional symphony, ballet and opera companies. Another point of interest in the city, George Lucas Plaza contains a bronze statue honoring the filmmaker who grew up in Modesto and based his movie “American Graffiti” on his childhood.
While slightly higher than the nation as a whole, Modesto features a cost of living that is 21 percent lower than the California average. It is home to the world-renowned E & J Gallo Winery. Economic opportunities are available in the agricultural, education and health care fields. Forbes magazine ranked the city in the top 50 on its list of “Best Bang-for-the-Buck Cities.” Modesto Area Express, known locally as MAX, is a public transit system that connects with the BART and Amtrak San Joaquin regional train systems. The city’s climate produces long, hot summers and mild winters. Onshore breezes in the evening moderate higher temperatures during the summer.
With a number of great neighborhoods, finding the perfect place to settle down in Modesto is not easy. We can give you a head start with our picks for the best places to live in Modesto. You can also customize your own search of places by population size, home or rental prices and other metrics and amenities that you find important, such as cost of living, education and employment opportunities. The unique search results will create a listing of the best places to live in Modesto that match your lifestyle and budget.