That beautiful cusp of a New Year brings so many exciting things to the table: the allure of possibility, the hope for a great year and, of course, the college football bowl games—a tradition that’s just as ingrained in New Year’s convention as champagne and resolutions. While teams like Alabama and Florida State may be leading the pack in rankings, California still has some college football power with UCLA and USC in the top 25. And yes, we’re not playing in any of the major bowls (Rose Bowl honors are with Florida St. and Oregon) but we’re still going to do some honoring of our own by taking a closer look at the hometowns of our most renowned college football teams.
1. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins
UCLA is set within Westwood, a highly desirable Los Angeles neighborhood in the Westside region of the city. With fantastic restaurants, great shopping, gorgeous homes and an ideal location, UCLA has one of the most popular campus settings anywhere in the nation. Not to mention, it’s the site of many-a-film-premiere, which makes for stellar celebrity sighting opportunities.
Population: Approximately 56,735
Westwood Median Income: $68,716
Westwood Average Home Price: $820,000
UCLA Mascot: Joe and Josephine Bruin
School Fact: UCLA is the most “applied-to” university in the United States.
City Fact: Westwood includes the prestigious Holmby Hills area, which is part of the famed Platinum Triangle (Beverly Hills and Bel-Air complete the triangle)
2. University of Southern California (USC) Trojans
USC is located just outside of Downtown Los Angeles in its own private oasis from the city. DTLA is a mecca of activity with L.A. Live, Staples Center and Nokia making up the vibrant sports and entertainment district, while hipster neighborhoods such as Silver Lake and Los Feliz are within 8 miles of campus and feature eclectic dining hotspots, shopping boutiques and recreation (i.e. Griffith Park).
Population: Approximately 34,811 residents in nearby Downtown L.A.
Los Feliz Median Income: $84,408
Los Feliz Average Home Price: $1,232,200
USC Mascot: Traveler the white horse
School Fact: USC opened in 1880 with only 53 students and 10 teachers.
City Fact: Walt Disney built a “fairy-tale”-inspired home in the hills of Los Feliz in 1932.
Best Bet: This chic architectural property at 3842 Shannon Road is only 10.5 miles from USC in a prime Los Feliz location. With 2,584 square feet of interior space, the home features 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a spacious cook’s kitchen and a sublime master suite with fireplace. The price is $1,300,000.
3. San Diego State Aztecs
San Diego State’s mid-city campus is ideally situated to get the most out of living in one of Southern California’s greatest cities. It’s a straight 11 mile shot to the always-entertaining Mission Beach, the San Diego Zoo is just 8 miles from campus and Old Town San Diego is also just an 8-mile jaunt. If you’re looking for more hustle and bustle, the Gaslamp Quarter is also a quick 9-mile ride away with its dynamic scene filled with world-class restaurants, shopping and more.
San Diego Population: Over 1.37 million residents
San Diego Median Income: $84,408
Average Home Price: $445,000
College Mascot: Aztec Warrior
School Fact: San Diego State is oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego area.
City Fact: San Diego has 70 miles of gorgeous beaches.
Best Bet: Fifteen miles from San Diego State, you’ll find this breathtaking 6 bedroom/6.5 bath estate at 10794 Edenoaks Street. The 5,615 square foot interior features an open concept design with soaring ceilings and amenities including a billiard room, 1,000-bottle wine cellar and a master suite with spa & steam room. The yard is adorned with an incredible pool with waterfall and a 1-bedroom guest house. Priced at $1,800,000.
4. Stanford University Cardinals
For those who can afford the price tag, Palo Alto is the ultimate gem of a city. Its unbeatable location, fantastic schools, thriving economy, socially responsible atmosphere, dynamic culture and diverse environment have made it one of the most livable cities in the nation. In fact, it ranked in the top 5 most livable cities in Livability.com’s 2015 top 100 list.
Palo Alto Population: Approximately 66,642
Palo Alto Median Income: $122,482
Average Home Price: $2,136,000
College Mascot: No official mascot
School Fact: Stanford is a Platinum-level “Bicycle-Friendly University” with over 13,000 bikes on campus daily.
City Fact: Movoto ranked Palo Alto as the second richest small city in the nation.
Best Bet: Stanford fans will fall in love with this spectacular 4-bedroom/3-bath Palo Alto home, set just 3.0 miles from the university. Located at 3725 El Centro St., this 2,440 square foot home defines elegance with beautiful hardwood flooring, high ceilings, two fireplaces and abundant natural light throughout. Priced at $3,095,000.
5. Fresno State Bulldogs
Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles is Fresno, home to Fresno State University. One of the prime advantages of this location is the convenient proximity to some of California’s most beautiful natural attractions with Yosemite National Park only 57 miles from campus. Fresno also has a number of well-regarded dining spots, retail destinations and entertainment hub, especially in its lively downtown area.
Population: Approximately 955,272
Median Income: $45,563
Average Home Price: $214,999
College Mascot: Bulldog
School Fact: Fresno State operates “the first commercially bonded winery on any U.S. university campus.”
City Fact: The raisin industry started in Fresno when grapes accidentally dried on the vines.
Where is your dream college-town city? Let us know!