What's it like to live in Visalia, CA?

Profile written by local expert:

Alexis Espinoza

Smack dab in the middle of California’s Central Valley lie Porterville and Visalia. Although the two cities are separated by only 30 miles, each offers unique dining opportunities, thriving businesses and plenty of shopping choices. With major surrounding cities like Fresno and Bakersfield roughly an hour away, living in Porterville and Visalia offers an abundance of recreation, education, culture and nightlife. 

Porterville streets are lined with military banners honoring those who have served or are serving in the armed forces, and the annual Veterans Day parade draws massive crowds. Visalia, a small city with a big-city feel, is home to a multitude of arts celebrations.

Both cities are a melting pot of ethnicities and offer many family-friendly amenities. The development of housing, which is growing, draws in families and young professionals seeking a place to settle down.

See all the best places to live in California.


U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Visalia, California is ranked:

#149 in Best Places to Live

#144 in Best Places to Retire

#10 in Most Expensive Places to Live

#14 in Best Places to Live in California




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Visalia, CA Quick Stats

  • 460,477

    Metro Population

  • $42,700

    Average Annual Salary

  • N/A

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 30.8

    Median Age

  • $228,642

    Median Home Price

  • N/A

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 9.6%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $904

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 22.7 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What is there to do in Visalia, CA?

The Visalia-Porterville metro area offers plenty of recreational opportunities, from a thriving nightlife to walks through national parks.

These two cities are known as the gateways to the sequoias. Highway 190, or “The Mighty 190” as it’s known locally, runs directly through Porterville and leads into the Sequoia National Forest. Eagle Mountain Casino is a short drive from Porterville to the Tule River Indian Reservation, but the casino plans to move into city limits in the future. The Barn Theater in Porterville offers year-round live productions by local actors for audiences of all ages. The Porterville Historical Museum provides a glimpse into the city’s history, and the annual Iris Festival brings in vendors selling handcrafted items or blooming flowers. Porterville also has a Veterans Day parade, which includes more than 100 patriotic themed entries every year.

Visalia is a city that truly celebrates the art and artists within it. With annual events like the Taste the Arts Festival, Visalia showcases local artists by promoting their work downtown. The Fox Theatre brings live entertainment to the city all year, hosting musicals, comedians and more. The nightlife in the city is booming, with a concentration of nightclubs located downtown. Roller Towne preserves the groovy feel of past decades by offering roller skating. Visalia is also a short drive from both Sequoia National Forest and Kings Canyon National Park.

What's the cost of living in Visalia, CA?

The average sale price for a single-family home in the Porterville and Visalia area is lower than the national average, and the housing market is predicted to be on the rise. 

Homeowners in the area pay county property taxes.

Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Visalia, California, or Porterville, California.

Value Index

Index Score: 4.6 /10

How we calculate this.

Visalia offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2019



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Porterville, CA and Visalia, CA.

What's the weather like in Visalia, CA?

While the summers and winters in the Visalia-Porterville area can be vastly different in temperature, the weather is hardly ever too extreme. Summers across California’s Central Valley, especially in the Visalia-Porterville area, are hot and humid, while winters are a perfect time to bring out warm sweaters and jackets. The air that settles in these areas during the summer and fall is not always the best to breathe in as the wildfire season ramps up and lack of rain allows smog to settle into the Central Valley, but the quality of the air typically clears up and is better during the winter and spring.

What's the best way to get around Visalia, CA?

The Porterville-Visalia area is rich with different forms of transportation. Porterville has a fleet of zero emission electric buses for public transportation. The city of Visalia also offers buses that make stops all around the city. Dial-A-Ride services and Tulare County Area Transit, or TCaT, buses offer public transportation in the area as well. 

Many people who live in these areas choose to ride their bicycles around town. In Porterville, it is not uncommon to see large groups of cyclists out enjoying a ride together. 

Both Porterville and Visalia have private airports with space to store small personal airplanes. 

Personal vehicles have a presence in both cities as well, making parking sometimes difficult to find. Traffic does get a little hectic in the mornings and during the evening rush hour. 

The Porterville Rails to Trails Parkway gives pedestrians and cyclists a safe route to explore the city.

Commuting in Visalia, CA

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

22.7 minutes

3.9 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Visalia, CA?

The Porterville-Visalia area attracts a variety of people. Since there are colleges in both towns, people eager to pursue their education at a reasonable cost are attracted to this area. As young people are choosing to reside in the area to attend the local colleges, older residents are choosing to settle here to retire. 

Prevailing cultures in the two cities include Hispanic and Native American influences. Porterville is the home of the Tule River Indian Tribe and reservation, allowing the city an accessible glimpse into the history of Native Americans in the area. Many people of Hispanic descent settle here for the farm work opportunities the area provides. The two cities are a vital part of the agricultural center of California.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Visalia as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.