Well I'm sure everyone has their view of where the best place to live. I loved the San Luis Obispo area while I was in college there, small town, near the beach (Pismo), close but not too far from bigger cities (halfway to LA and SF), but again for me Santa Cruz is laid back and a resort like little city.
I love San Diego, that is one sweet place to be (Mission Beach, Coronado Beach...loved it when visiting old friends). Santa Monica/LA not so much...too fake down in LA...weekends down there proved to me it was/is not the place for me at all.
Sac-town has it's cool spots and best of all it's close to Tahoe and Reno!
I love it here too, where else could you go skiing and within a few hours drive you can be at the coast? I love California!
Some more shots in Santa Cruz...
I'd love to be relaxing on this little ship.
Up at UC Santa Cruz looking across at Monterey Bay
i want in. what's the best mix (in cali) of a cool place to live combined with affordable housing/cost of living?
That's almost an oxymoron, it's expensive everywhere but it is getting cheaper to buy. Rents on the other hand are going through the roof. I would say Sac would be your best bet...cheap living and still close to stuff (close being a relative term as we Californians are used to driving a good 6-8hrs from Nor Cal to So Cal which is like driving through 2-3 States for you back East guys!