So, our little family lives in Fresno, CA now. Yes, that's right, Fresno. Though not as undesirable as Bakersfield, it is not exactly a part of California where people are clamoring to live. We have been here just over two months, and here are my impressions so far:
- We live in a neighborhood with all the basic conveniences very, well, conveniently located: Target, Costco, several grocery stores, Trader Joe's (one of only two in the whole area!), all within about 10 minutes.
- There are tons of great parks, several within walking distance. We spend several days a week at the park.
- The weather! Similar to Phoenix, the winters are moderate, with highs in the 50's and 60's. This allows us to get outside nearly every day all year long. And while the summer highs can reach well into the 100's, they almost never have temps over 110, and even then, the evening lows drop down into the 70s. This is a huge improvement over 90 degree lows in Phoenix!
- Because Fresno is a less desireable part of California, the cost of living is considerably lower than the rest of the state. We were able to afford way more house here than we would have anywhere else in the state, including a backyard (which, thanks to the nice weather we can enjoy all year long), and a garage.
- My dad and step-mom live three hours away.
- There is a Winco here. (yes, this is exciting for me).
- Fresno has a really nice little zoo that is far cheaper than anywhere else I have lived.
- There is a state university here, Fresno State, so we have sports teams to root for.
- As far as I can tell, there are very few affordable options for kids in this city. The city of Fresno offers no community centers with kids classes, no indoor park options, etc. There is no YMCA or similar option, and there is no Children's Museum.
- We have no family directly in Fresno. In fact, we didn't know a single person when we moved here.
- There is no Sprouts/Sunflower. Produce prices are really high, and the produce quality just isn't that great at the regular grocery stores.
- Despite the fact that so many things are relatively close to us, everything seems to take far longer to get to than it should. It might be the fact that there are major intersections every .5 mile instead of every mile. It just slows things down.
- There is not a lot of character in Fresno. The restaurants are almost all chains. There is a downtown, but it is the saddest excuse for a downtown I have ever seen. There are no restaurants, no cute shops, no independent retailers, just plain no character. There is a giant convention center, but no hotels anywhere nearby. It is, quite honestly, confounding.
So far, Fresno is not a bad place to live. Hopefully it will only get better with time.