Senior Resources » Best Places in Northern California for Retirement

Best Places in Northern California for Retirement

Northern California consists of the San Francisco Bay Area, which includes cities such as Oakland, San Jose, and of course, San Francisco and Sacramento. Also in Northern California are Yosemite Valley, Mount Shasta (the 2nd highest peak within the Cascade Range), part of Lake Tahoe, and Central Valley.


Ever since the California Gold Rush, the northern part of the state is diverse in science, culture, and economics. It’s home to major companies such as Google, eBay, Apple, and Hewlett-Packard. Northern Cali is also home to the state’s largest Air Force base, Travis Air Force Base. Northern Cali is one of the best places to consider for retirement. Small towns in the northern part of the state attract many residents for their charm and close-knit communities. Here are the best places to live in northern California for retirement!

Best Places in Northern California for Retirement, Sacramento

Mendocino, CA

Mendocino is located 9.5 miles south of Fort Bragg. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 894 people. So this is without a doubt, one of the areas that are the best, to live within a close-knit community. The town is popular with tourists because of its scenic location near the Pacific Ocean. The climate in Mendocino has cool summers with temperatures in the upper 60s and lower 50s. Wintertime rarely sees any frost or snow because it is so close to the ocean. Mendocino is well known for its large number of bed and breakfasts as well as the downtown area for its art shops.


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St. Helena, CA

St. Helena is a town of just about 6,000. It is located in Napa County, California. The town has major employers such as St. Helena Hospital, Meadowood Napa Valley, and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. St. Helena is a popular visitor attraction because of its beautiful downtown streets. In fact, the nice, downtown streets have been a feature of some architectural and urban planning publications. The town is relatively quiet since the police department does not allow loud motorcycles and regulates the use of leaf blowers.

Grass Valley, CA

Grass Valley was originally called Boston Ravine. It is located in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain area. The climate in Grass Valley consists of hot and dry summers with cool and rainy winters. Although snow is rare, it does occur at times. The town is rich in history with several designated historical landmarks. These landmarks include the Home of Lola Montez, the North Star Mine Powerhouse, and the Empire Mine State Historic Park.

Sebastopol, CA

Sebastopol is a town that is located in Sonoma County and about 52 miles north of San Francisco. It has a population of 7, 379 residents. The town is known for its small-town charm and liberal politics. It was originally an area for growing plums and apples and now most of that area is vineyards instead of orchards. There are several notable residents that hail from Sebastopol including Charles Schulz, the cartoonist, actress Karen Valentine, and Johnny Otis, the famous blues player.


Lodi, CA

One of the best places to live in Northern California is Lodi! Lodi is located in San Joaquin County in the state’s Central Valley. Lodi has been called the “Zinfandel Capital of the World” because it is the center of wine production. The music group Credence Clearwater Revival had a song named after the town, which gave it national recognition. The top employers in Lodi include General Mills, Target, and Cottage Bakery. Museums and theaters are popular in the town with the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum being the biggest complex in the county. The Lodi Musical Theatre Company staged shows including “West Side Story.”

Marysville, CA

Marysville is in Yuba County in Northern California with a population of just over 12,000 residents. Rich in history and culture, Marysville has 10 historic sites including Packard Library, the Bok Kai Temple, and the Forbes House. Marysville sees mild and rainy winters with hot and dry summers. The town is served by the Marysville Joint Unified School District with four high schools including Marysville Charter Academy for the Arts. Marysville is also known for having some of the best neighborhoods in the county

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Originally published January 30, 2024


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