Why you might want to visit (or live) in Redding, California

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One more full day and we’ll be leaving Redding. Being here for a month has allowed us to learn a lot about this little city, and I’d like to share its merits.

Location:

Redding is surrounded by several smaller towns, but Redding itself is not very large either. Its current population is about 90,000. The Sacramento River runs through town and provides a source of activities including swimming, boating, and paddling. Within close proximity you can find Lake Shasta, Whiskeytown Lake and Mt. Lassen, which provides more lakes. If you enjoy water activities, Redding creates a good base camp during warm weather. Year-round average temperatures range from the low 30s to the upper 100s, which means that with the surrounding elevation you’re likely to get snow nearby as well during the winter months and enjoy some cold-weather activities.

Cost:

Average RV space rentals run $350 to $450 per month. Two-bedroom apartments go for $500-800 per month and many omes for sale for under $200,000. The unemployment rate as of May 2016 is 6.2% per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. City-data.com states that the mean income in Redding is $40,376. Per average rental rules that allow for 1/3 of your gross income to be applied toward rent, $1,121 should be more than enough money to get a place to stay in town–you could rent a house for that much, or stay in an apartment and save even more money. If your job is location-independent like mine, then you could make significantly more and really put some money away for…whatever you choose, whether it be paying off debt, getting a down payment, buying a boat to put on one of the nearby lakes…

To put things in perspective, if you made an average income in Redding and wanted to move to San Francisco, you’d have to find a job that pays $85,473 per year. If you apply the 1/3 rule to that salary, you’d need to find a place to rent for $2374 per month. That will likely get you a room for rent or a studio in San Francisco.

People:

I can’t remember the last time I was somewhere that I encountered so many polite and friendly people. Certainly not in the bay area. SF will always be the home I grew up in, but let’s be realistic: there are a lot of angry, rude, self-entitled people in that area. I’ve lost track of how many times Ryan or I have almost gotten hit by cars walking around or riding our bikes in the bay area. When I worked at UCSF, I had 3 co-workers who had been hit by vehicles–2 by cars and one by the N-Judah trolley. Crossing the street. Right outside the hospital.

People seem much more patient here. Maybe it’s the lack of heavy traffic. We’ve been out at all times of the day and night, and we don’t usually see the streets very busy. At this point anyway, there is enough room on the road for everyone. We haven’t had any major problems either driving the motorhome around or riding our bikes. Additionally, most of the people in stores and restaurants are friendly and attempt to be helpful, and the cyclists here aren’t all trying to race past you on the street, risking life and limb. We’ve also got some very friendly and courteous neighbors at the park we’re staying; even the overnighters tend to follow the rules.

Maneuverability:

We’ve been able to bike everywhere essential in town within 30 minutes. Most of the riding is flat enough that a beginner cyclist could handle it without much trouble. There are also buses, Uber and taxis. This is a small town, so not everything runs 24/7. But you can get to most places without needing a car.

If you do have a car, I-5, SR-273 (both running north and south), Highway 299 and Highway 44 (running east and west) all come through town in addition to many spacious roadways. We have had to drive our motorhome through town quite a few times during our stay and never had any issues with tight turns or narrow streets.

Why this isn’t our dream spot:
  • The heat. It is just too dang hot here right now. I’m also not a fan of freezing temperatures. I want my weather like Goldilocks wants her bed–just right. 60-80 is ideal.
  • Not enough to do. While I love being in and around the water, it gets too cold to do water-related activities year-round. Plus, if we lived here and wanted to go anywhere outside of town, we’d need to get a car because the buses are municipal, not county-wide.

I will miss being able to wake up and put on a pair of shorts and a tank top because the weather is perfect in the morning. I will not miss being trapped inside the house all day because I feel light-headed stepping outside for a few minutes. I haven’t been able to ride my bike in nearly a week because of the temperature, let alone take a decent walk. Some days I don’t even go outside at all. However, there are some definite positives to being here. It has allowed us to rest, get some things taken care of, and save a bunch of money on rent. I wouldn’t mind coming back through here again during a cooler time of the year.

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