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8 Things to Know Before Moving to Stockton, California

By: Jessica Stone

Situated in California’s Central Valley, the agricultural heartland of the state, Stockton is home to approximately 310,000 residents who enjoy some of the lowest housing costs for a city of its size. Although Stockton has gotten a bad rap in the past for its crime rates, there is still much to love about it. So, if you’re considering a move to Stockton, California, the city may appeal to you for a number of reasons.

Convenient access to the Bay Area, a low cost of living, numerous golf courses, and the annual Lodi Wine & Food Festival are just a few of the many reasons why Stockton can be a wonderful place to call home. Continue reading to learn the ins and outs of Stockton, California, including the top eight things you should know before moving to this vibrant city.

  1. Cost of living is low and homes are affordable.

For a city of its size, scope, and location, Stockton has some of the most affordable housing. In fact, one of the main reasons that people relocate to Stockton is for the fact that you can get more house for your money. Consider the following factors that play into Stockton’s overall cost of living:

  • Median home price: between $350,000 and $400,000, compared to over $1.5 million in San Francisco.
  • Average rent: between $946 and $1,493, depending on the specific location and size.
  • Transportation costs: monthly transit passes in Stockton cost roughly $65 on average.
  • Taxes: the combined sales tax in Stockton is 9%.
  • Utilities: the average cost of utilities in Stockton for a 915 square foot apartment is approximately $135 per month. This includes gas, electricity, water, garbage, and recycling.
  • Internet services: ranging from $40 to $100, depending on the provider. You can choose from Xfinity, AT&T, and Frontier FiOs in Stockton.

Although Stockton is considered a bedroom community, you may be drawn to the thought of escaping from the hustle and bustle of larger cities in California – especially when it means getting more bang for your buck!

  1. Stockton is on the rise!

Back in 2012, Stockton became the biggest city to file for bankruptcy in the history of the country. This came after many years of fiscal mismanagement and a housing market crash. Although the city has seen some pretty hard times, Stockton is fiscally healthy again and is actually ranked number four in the country for fiscal health.

They’ve increased police patrols, particularly in ‘hot zones’ to address the crime concerns. In recent years, the city has also assembled to increase Stockton pride via mural projects!

  1. Stockton’s Miracle Mile is a must-visit.

The Miracle Mile in Stockton is one of the many sources of evidence supporting the city’s revival. This strip of pedestrian-friendly dining, entertainment, and shopping opened back in 1921 but is still very popular today. Located right in the heart of the city, the Miracle Mile encompasses ten blocks with yoga studios, cocktail bars, a wide array of restaurants, chic clothing boutiques, and much more.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Stockton Empire Theater on Miracle Mile. This post-war era establishment has changed ownership many times over the years, but a recent renovation has made it a destination for live shows, movie screenings and a host of musical performances. The Bob Hope Theater, known by locals as ‘the Fox,’ is another excellent venue on Miracle Mile. It hosts stand-up comedians, dances, live musicians, and movie screenings.

  1. Crime rates are high in the city center.

Over the years, Stockton has been known for its high crime rates. However, most of the crime tends to be found collected in areas in and around the city center. The closer you get to the city center, the more reported crimes there are. Whereas, the outskirts of the city and numerous pocketed neighborhoods throughout Stockton can be very safe. So, just because the city gets a bad rap regarding crime, there are still plenty of safe neighborhoods to choose from in Stockton.

  1. Tons of neighborhoods to choose from.

There are a number of wonderful neighborhoods in Stockton to settle down. The following areas are some of the most popular places that Stocktonians like to call home:

  • Pacific: Stockton is home to the University of the Pacific (UoP), one of the top 100 universities in the country. If you are a student at the University, this is the neighborhood you’ll want to live in. Situated just north of downtown, Pacific is home to more than just the university. It also has American Legion Park, and an abundance of restaurants and bars down Pacific Avenue for locals and college students alike.
  • Lakeview: A very renter-friendly community, Lakeview is considered one of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city. While it is mostly residential, the neighborhood has tons of amenities, including Sherwood Shopping Mall, many grocery stores, and Hammer Ranch Center, as well as Quail Lake and San Joaquin Delta Community College.
  • Spanos Park: With a crime rate that is 87% less than the rest of the city, Spanos Park is considered to be the safest neighborhood in Stockton. This charming community has excellent schools and is home to the Elk Grove Regional Park, a green space that spans 180 acres and features a lake for paddle boarding and fishing, a disc golf course, and picnic areas.
  • Valley Oak: Another safe neighborhood in Stockton, Valley Oak is primarily residential but has plenty of amenities. It is situated just northeast of downtown, boasting tons of local grocery stores, big box stores, and a movie theater. Valley Oak’s location directly next to Highway 99 makes it an ideal place for commuters.
  1. It gets hot in Stockton.

If you’re not a fan of winter, you’ll be pleased to learn that winter’s in Stockton see average lows around 48 degrees and there is never any snowfall. Though, summers get pretty hot in Stockton with highs averaging about 93 degrees. This is when residents crank up the AC or heat out to the Delta and San Joaquin River to go boating. So, if you enjoy summer and prefer mild winters, then you should definitely consider moving to Stockton!

  1. Tons of fresh produce

Being located in California’s Central Valley, there is no shortage of fresh produce available. The downtown area hosts weekly farmer’s markets every Friday from May to October. You’ll also find farmer’s markets in virtually every town and city in the entire Stockton area, so residents get to enjoy a true farm to table experience. The agricultural area that Stockton is located in is where more than 200 different crops are grown.

There are over 15,000 acres of farmland dedicated to just asparagus. In this spring, you’ll also find blueberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, cherries, and plums. Come summer, you will have access to melons, grapes, figs, tomatoes. In Fall, it’s pear and pomegranate season, and by wintertime you’ll get to enjoy almonds, apples, squash, and walnuts.

  1. Convenient public transportation options.

The San Joaquin Regional Transit District delivers bus services to the Stockton itself, and also the neighboring communities. This system has routes that can connect you to towns like French Camp, Lodi, Tracy, Lathrop, Woodbridge, Ripon, Manteca, and even the BART system in the Bay Area. Or, if you need to get to San Jose or Santa Clara, you can hope on the Ace Rail train.

Not only does Stockton have its own regional airport, there is also an Amtrak train that operates in the city as well. So, wherever you need to travel to from Stockton, there are plenty of transportation options to get you there!


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