San Ramon was the top ranked Northern California city and No. 21 in the nation overall in Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live 2016" countdown released this week.
The national publication lauded San Ramon for "its manicured cul-de-sac neighborhoods, plethora of parks and stellar schools," as well as for job opportunities, public and private amenities and low unemployment.
San Ramon was one of two Northern California cities to make Money Magazine's Top 50 list, coming in ahead of Fremont at No. 46. Two Southern California communities made the cut above San Ramon: Eastvale in Riverside County at No. 17 and Irvine in Orange County at No. 20.
Topping the nationwide rankings was Columbia, Md., situated between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.
The "Best Places to Live" list, which started with all U.S. cities and towns with populations between 50,000 and 300,000, was pared down to the Top 50 through methodology using 60 data points in categories such as employment, taxes, fiscal strength, housing, education, health, crime, arts and leisure, and ease of living, according to Money Magazine officials.
In their San Ramon overview online, Money Magazine writers said most local schools rank 10 out of 10 on their "Great Schools" scale.
They also point to the in-town corporate job options like Chevron and other Bishop Ranch-based companies as well as San Ramon's proximity to Bay Area employment hotspots like Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.
The magazine highlighted the planned City Center Bishop Ranch retail and residential project on Bollinger Canyon Road and nearby public amenities such as Central Park, the Community Center, City Hall and the under-renovation library.
"The big knock against San Ramon," Money Magazine writes, "is, not surprisingly, home prices. Anyone relocating from most other parts of the country will suffer sticker shock. Still, given the $1 million medians in other desirable parts of the Bay Area, an $825,000 median may seem like a bargain."
In its "At a Glance" statistics, the magazine cites San Ramon's population as 78,465 residents, property tax average at $8,273, unemployment rate as 4.9% and commute time as 30 minutes.