What Are The Pros And Cons Of Living In Monterey, CA?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Monterey is world-famous as a major beach town. It’s a place where surf life reigns supreme and where people love to go for whale-watching outings. As a major tourist area, it’s easy to see why people would want to live in Monterey. It’s got that old-school Cali vibe that people love. Of course, there are still going to be some pros and cons that you need to weigh if you want to move there…

As a major tourist hotspot, Monterey offers amazing views, great entertainment venues, awesome weather, and above-average schools. However, a high homeless population, high crime rate, and exceptionally high cost of living are going to make many people reconsider their decision to move here.

If you are curious about life in a place like Monterey, you are not alone. This article will help you determine whether or not it’s the right move for you.

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What Are The Pros Of Moving To Monterey, CA?

People love knowing that they are going to Monterey for a weekend trip, but living there is a wholly different issue. When you live there, you get so much more out of your experience. This includes these epic perks below:

Excellent Views

There is no way to argue it. Monterey is one of the most beautiful places you’ll see. There are tons of gorgeous beachside views as well as pretty locations that you can chill out at. If you’re open to taking a scenic walk every day, then you will be able to enjoy getting fit while you soak in the views.

The city itself has tons of cool places that you can explore. When you take a look at Monterey County, then the options you have multiply. There are so many places to go hiking, biking, or jogging. There are a ton of scenic parks to enjoy in and around the area. No wonder why so many people love hanging out in nature here!

Tons Of Entertainment Venues

If nothing else, people love to go to Monterey because there’s a ton of stuff to do. You can surf, swim, or catch some of the local wildlife in the sea. You can go to one of the many sports areas and practice your game. Or, if you’re a gourmet fan, you can get a better experience through one of the many, many Zagat-rated restaurants in the area.

People who are huge fans of the date night scene are also going to be happy to know that there are over 150 different wineries throughout the area. No matter how you look at it, there’s fun stuff to be had in and around the city.

Awesome Weather

This should come as no surprise to anyone, but it’s true. This one of the perks of living in SoCal. The weather in this area is sunny, warm, and best described as Mediterranean. That’s why there are so many vineyards in the area, and why so many people work so hard to make sure they can visit during the winter.

Above Average Schools

If you’ve taken a close look at a bunch of our articles regarding the quality of life in tourist hotspots like Miami Beach, you probably noticed a lot of areas that have great entertainment won’t have good schools. This is (surprisingly) not the case with Monterey city. The city has been lauded for being one of the better school districts.

Students here have an above-average high school graduation rate, as well as slightly above-average test scores. Good after-school activities also help ensure that kids get the most out of their time when they’re studying. It’s not unusual to hear of kids from Monterey getting into highly prestigious schools for their college education.

A Decent Economy

Admittedly, there are a lot of places where you can get better economies. However, Monterey isn’t that bad. The unemployment rate is 8.6 for the county, which means that there is some kind of struggle to get certain jobs. With that said, the median household income is a very respectable $80,694—almost $20,000 higher than the national median.

This suggests that the jobs around Monterey are ones that will pay well above the norm. That’s a great thing for most people, and that also suggests that you will be able to find a decent job here as long as you stick to it. For what it’s worth, several major companies are making moves to get closer to the Monterey area. So if you find a high corporate job, you can also expect to have a pretty reasonable commute.

What Are The Pitfalls Of Living In Monterey, CA?

Monterey is a great place to live, but only if you have the right factors in place. Before you make the decision to call a real estate agent, read about the pitfalls first.

The High Cost Of Living

All I can say here is yikes. The national cost of living index puts Monterey at 176.4, which means that you would have to have a salary of $176,000 to have the same type of lifestyle that most homes would have at $100,000 in a typical part of the country. Everything, even when it comes to things like groceries, is going to be noticeably above the national median.

When it comes to housing, you should expect to feel some serious pain in your wallet. The median home price in Monterey is $795,600. This means that you will be paying well over three times the national median just to get a roof over your head. This might be why most people tend to stick to Monterey as a tourist venue.

Find out how much a contractor can ask for upfront in California.

A High Homeless Population

From what we were able to research, this is more of a county-wide problem than something that is primarily a city-wide problem. Due to the high price of living in California, there is a higher-than-average homeless population. It’s not unusual to see people without homes in the area, and once in a while, it can become a kind of a nuisance.

To Monterey’s credit, city officials have been trying to work out a solution for this issue. They are trying, though it is an uphill battle. Homelessness is never a simple issue to solve, and it involves getting a lot of people a lot of help.

Higher Than Average Crime Rate

Here’s another thing that I need to be blunt about. For the price that you would pay to live in Monterey, you could definitely get a safer neighborhood. There. I said it. Niche rated Monterey as a B- for crime, and it’s safer than 9 percent of cities. The violent crime rate has been plummeting steadily since 2001, but it’s still high. Gang activity is partly to blame.

While the city does have above average violent crime rates, the bigger issue that people face in the area is property crime. The property crime rate is roughly double the national average. While you only have a 1 out of 361 chance of being a violent crime victim here, the property crime stats are worse. You have a 1 in 28 chance of being a victim here.

Much of the reason for the high property crime rate involves the area’s rampant drug addiction problem. Due to the high rate of addictions, many people who are desperate for a fix end up trying to steal for their needs to be met.

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Related Questions

Is it safe to swim in Monterey Bay?

It depends on your skill level. Most of Monterey does not have active lifeguards on duty, and the water can be pretty unpredictable. As a result, it’s best for kids, pets, and inexperienced swimmers to avoid entering the water. However, if you are a talented swimmer, then you might be able to enjoy swimming in the bay.A more popular way to enjoy Monterey Bay is to go boating. It’s the easiest way to check out some of the cool wildlife (whales!) in the sea nearby. Besides, it’s a safer and more inclusive option.

How far is Monterey from Los Angeles?

While it may seem close on a map, the truth is that Monterey is several hundred miles away from Los Angeles. As the crow flies, the distance clocks in at 270.79 miles. Obviously, most of us won’t fly in. The driving distance is even higher, at around 343 miles. This would make the trip between the two cities take around six hours to do by car, one-way.That’s also assuming that you would be driving at 60 miles per hour. That isn’t realistic, and you should check local travel times to get a better understanding of how long it’d take.

Is there a train from Monterey to Los Angeles?

One of the best things about living on the West Coast is the excellent public transit that you can have at your fingertips. There is a train from Monterey to Los Angeles. The trip, though, is a pretty long one. It will take more than eight hours to get from Los Angeles to Monterey via train, and that’s just for a one-way trip. However, it’s still an option.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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