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Overview

Whether you're moving to California for a new job, a new tan or a new way of life, you're bound to find great apartments for rent and a Cali lifestyle that makes you want to shout the state motto, "Eureka!" (Greek for "I have found it").

What to Expect

California is a place of stark contrasts: The landscape runs the gamut from desert to ocean to mountain, green valleys to skyscrapers, sand to redwood forests, vineyards to office parks and everything in between. In the same day, if you're up for a drive, you can travel from hot, sandy Death Valley, the lowest point of the continental U.S., to cold, snowy Mount Whitney, the highest peak, with a stop in lush, gorgeous wine country along the way.

The diversity of the landscape and the lifestyle ensures a wide range of apartment rentals in various styles and price ranges. There truly is something for everyone in California, if you know what you want and you know where to look.

Where to Explore

While California offers many fine places to search for apartments, San Francisco and Los Angeles are two of the most popular cities to move to. Each city comprises diverse neighborhoods and attractions would fill several books—and has!—but here is a brief overview of what you'll find in these two unique cities:

San Francisco Apartments

The city by the bay, as San Francisco is known, is a cultural mecca famous for excellent restaurants, Victorian architecture, cable cars, rolling fog and the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. The city's expansive public transportation system makes it easy to get around without a car—a good thing, since parking can be difficult. Considering that the city is built on 43 hills, it's no wonder that the city streets are steep and curvy. If a spectacular view is what you're looking for, San Francisco's apartments have some of the finest.

San Francisco's numerous neighborhoods each have their own architecture and local flavor, and this often applies to their apartment rentals too: Many artists call Bernal Heights home. The gay-friendly Castro district hosts numerous cafes and an active nightlife. The Mission is traditionally known as the Latino quarter of the city and is home to artists and families. North Beach, famous for being the home of the Beat generation, is the city's Italian-American neighborhood&mdahs;and a great place to go for coffee. Cole Valley, near the historic Haight, features great restaurants and is popular among families and young professionals. Living in Pacific Heights means living near multi-million-dollar mansions and having great views of the bay.

Los Angeles Apartments

Despite what is depicted on TV, Los Angeles is more than just beaches, Beverly Hills and botoxed beauties. This large city is made up of dozens of varied communities and no true center, so you can create a lifestyle for yourself as rich as those you see in Hollywood movies. The one constant in this city, regardless of where you're looking for apartment rentals, is the need for a car. while there are buses and a subway system, a car is needed to enjoy all that the city has to offer.

The city's downtown is a growing area of lofts, luxury apartments and businesses, and is also home to many of the city's museums, theaters and historic landmarks. Hollywood defines the city for the millions of tourists who flock to the Walk of Fame and Mann's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. West Hollywood features the Sunset Strip, a stretch of Sunset Boulevard showcasing the city's hottest nightclubs and live-music venues, and is also the center of the city's gay and lesbian community. Family-friendly Santa Monica and funky, artsy Venice feature apartments looking out over popular beaches and the vast Pacific Ocean.

When you're looking for Los Angeles-area apartments for rent, don't forget about the San Fernando Valley, known as "The Valley" to locals. Valley girls and boys enjoy warmer temperatures and cheaper rents on apartments than in many other areas of the city, as well as a more suburban lifestyle. For a cross between the quiet neighborhoods of The Valley and the fun in the sun of a beach community, explore apartments in the South Bay, which includes Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach.

What to Evaluate

The diversity that these two cities offer will make you want to consider the kind of lifestyle that suits you best. While you look for apartments, keep in mind that rent ranges can vary drastically, depending on the area and type of environment you choose, so you may have to broaden your search to include more affordable options. Whichever area you choose, you're bound to find a way to make your California dreamin'. become a reality!

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