I lived in Redding for 20 years too long and I watched it go from boring to seedy to just plain bad. Glad I got out when I did.
*Drug use, especially meth, is prevalent and wide spread. Lost a lot of friends to this problem.
*There are a lot of homeless people here; disturbingly, many of these are mentally disabled people with no caretakers and no place to call home.
*Education system in Redding is terrible. "Higher education" is the local community college, unless of course you travel 3 hours south to Chico.
*As a previous poster mentioned, there are a lot of weird religious groups here; mostly consisting of protestant Christians. These groups have become larger in number over the past several years & are considered to be radical in their practice by many.
*No diversity. Redding is not the place to come to unless you ascribe to the religious beliefs mentioned above and are white as well. The city is an unfortunate mix of old, set-in-their-ways folks, drug users, and a few regular folks just struggling to get ahead.
*Not a lot of nightlife/shopping/unique restaurants here. They have a little mall, a lot of chain restaurants and that's about it.
*No jobs. Expect to find food service/retail to be about the only options here
*The area itself is plentiful in natural beauty and lots of opportunities for outdoor activities...hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, lake-going...lots of stuff to do outside.
*Those who like a change of seasons will find that the area gets more rain and snowfall than southern CA does.
Unfortunately, that is about it. You couldn't pay me enough to move back...the area is slipping fast.
I have liven in Redding my WHOLE life and I can tell you this.....this city is HOT, but does boast all seasons. The lakes (Shasta & Whiskeytown) are nice. We have Mt.Shasta (approx 1 hour away) close to ski/snowboard. Lots of outdoor activities.
However....lots of meth, disability/social security....job prospects are limited. Shopping is meek at best, however there is a little Macy's at the mall.
Downtown area is cleaning up and getting a nightlife-esque feel.....not many things for people to do here, unless you join into an outdoor club of sorts.
It can be difficult to meet people in this town unless you are affiliated with a church it seems. Very clicky sub groups of people....lots of people come here to be "big fish in a little pond." Many new people to town describe this town as one that has champagne taste on a tap water budget....I suppose this is everywhere?
You need to have thick skin and sunscreen to love this town.
One of my most memorable family vacations was to Redding, California. While it seemed like a strange final destination at first, Redding provided a great jumping off point for all kinds of adventures. We went whitewater rafting on the Sacramento River, checked out the caves at Mt. Shasta (very cool!), and toured Mt. Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is home to boiling mud pots and geysers in California's answer to Yellowstone. The best part is that, because a lot of these places aren't as famous, there are a lot fewer visitors. It was much easier (and cheaper) to make reservations out of Redding.
Along with being a beautiful gateway city to northern California, Redding is a great place on its own. There are a number of wineries in the area which are well-worth a visit, and a couple restaurants are absolutely delicious. (Try the steaks at Jack's Grill for delicious local fare.) We stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was comfortable and affordable, and that seems to characterize most of the town. Redding is the place to go for outdoor adventure and a reasonably priced vacation.