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8 Things to Know Before Moving to Grass Valley, CA

Grass Valley, CA Written by Aislyn Hobbs

If the American Southwest is known for anything, it is the gold mines in Grass Valley. An unassuming town in the Sierra Nevada foothills, this settlement dates back to the latter half of the nineteenth century. Grass Valley is a beautiful place, but its historical significance during the Gold Rush has overshadowed its beauty. The city has two of the most lucrative mines in all of California, which made its past some sort of a golden age.

Grass Valley is a great place to stay if you’re in search of a small-town atmosphere, one in which the importance of both community and family is balanced on a fine edge. Here are eight things to know before moving to Grass Valley, CA!

1. A greater than average cost of living

Grass Valley has a 52% greater cost of living than the U.S. average. As a general rule, housing costs account for the bulk of most American families’ budgets. While the median property price is $529,000, the average monthly rent in Grass Valley is $1,831. The cost of housing in Grass Valley is 26% higher than the national average. 

In Grass Valley, you should expect to pay a 33% premium on groceries such as fresh and dry food staples. When compared to the national average, healthcare is 20% more expensive in the city. However, the actual cost to an individual will depend on factors such as their location, age, health status, and insurance coverage.

2. It offers the best of small-town living

Grass Valley is a nice tiny town if that’s your thing. A slower pace of life, a closer relationship with nature, or a desire for a less complicated existence are all attractive selling points for this area. Another reason people move here is the desire to spend less time commuting. 

Despite its diminutive size, Grass Valley provides easy access to larger cities like Sacramento and Truckee as well as scenic natural landmarks like Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada. Retirees would also find Grass Valley to be an attractive place to settle down.

3. Get a job in the tourism, agriculture, or tech industry

Grass Valley is home to a diverse range of industries, including tourism, agriculture, the local school district, and retail giants like Safeway, Starbucks, JCPenney, and Nevada Memorial Hospital. 

Although it may come as a surprise, Nevada County is also home to a surprisingly large number of technological enterprises. Companies in the digital media industry have also settled there in large numbers. 

4. Visit one of the city’s local wineries

While Napa and Sonoma receive the lion’s share of the attention when people think of California vineyards, Grass Valley also has a thriving wine industry. 

Here are just a few of the local wineries: Smith Winery, Sierra Winery, Lucchesi Winery, Avanguardi Wines, Naggiar Vineyards, Montoliva, Double Oak Vineyards, and Coufos Cellars.

5. Enjoy the outdoors at Rollins Reservoir or Lake Wildwood

More than 100 acres are dedicated to parks in Grass Valley, some of which allow dogs. There are a number of camping options around Grass Valley, including Nid Recreation, Peninsula Camping and Boating, and Rollins Lake. A couple of other nearby outdoor spots include Rollins Reservoir, Lake Wildwood, Lake of the Pines, Scotts Flat Reservoir, Harry Englebright Lake, and New Bullards Bar Reservoir. Lake Tahoe is the largest and most famous of all the lakes in the area. However, getting there takes some time in the car (about an hour, give or take depending on traffic).

6. Attend Foothills Celebrations or Car Show

Grass Valley is a bustling community with frequent events. 

Foothills Celebrations is an event that features food and desserts prepared by local chefs and wine from over 50 local vineyards. Grass Valley, like most American communities, celebrates the 4th of July annual event with a variety of festivities. 

At Car Show, hundreds of classic and unique automobiles are on display, during this yearly event held in April. Cornish Christmas is an event where carolers, a chorus, musicians, Santa Claus, and a few dancers all take over the streets. There will be a variety of stalls selling handmade goods, food and drinks, roasted chestnuts, and more.

7. Explore beyond the city’s walls

There’s a reason the town is called Grass Valley. Gold wasn’t the first thing the miners saw when they stumbled into the City; grass was. Along with the beautiful scenery and cool summer swims provided by the South Yuba River, the city is framed by a thick wall of unexplored evergreen forests. The South Yuba River is a great place to hike or ride a bike while taking in the beautiful scenery of Northern California’s mountain ranges. 

Explore the city’s nearby trails like Osborne Hill Loop Tail, Grass Valley Wolf Creek Trail, and Hardrock Trail.

8. The city’s crime rate is double the national average

Both the violent and property crime rates in Grass Valley are much higher than the national average. The city has a violent crime rate of 40.7%, about double the national average of 22.7. In addition, Grass Valley’s property crime rate of 76 is significantly higher than the national average of 35.4. 

This indicates that Grass Valley has a substantially higher crime rate than the average American city.

Final Thoughts

Grass Valley offers a small-town feel, with a naturally beautiful environment, welcoming community, thriving economy, and lots of opportunities for outdoor exploration. However, the city also has a high cost of living, and the crime rate is quite high.

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