Simi Valley, nestled in the valley of the same name, is a quaint and charming city located about 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Along with being a commuter’s haven, the SoCal city is a great place to raise kids. With friendly people, close-knit neighborhoods, highly rated schools, and an assortment of stellar outdoor activities, career opportunities, and more, the City of Simi Valley is a diverse and welcoming community that offers an escape from congested, high-cost urban living.
Incorporated in 1969, Simi Valley has a long history. Home to the Chumash people, and then inhabited by Spanish settlers in the 1700s, the city has grown into one of California’s best (and most affordable) suburban towns. Along with offering great amenities for hikers, golfers, equestrians, and more, the city is close to high-population areas for convenient commutes and trips. Oh, and it’s less than 60 minutes from sandy beaches. No wonder it’s considered one of the happiest cities in America!
Living in Simi Valley, CA: What to Know Before Moving to Simi Valley
The City of Simi Valley, with a population of 126,000, is the 48th most populous city in California. Situated 44 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles, it’s a popular LA suburb (especially for families, young professionals, and hiking enthusiasts). If you’re looking for a refreshing escape from the concrete jungle, but still want proximity for commuting and day trips, Simi Valley is a great choice!
Pros and Cons of Living in Simi Valley
- Excellent weather: Southern California cities close to the Pacific Coast have some of the most gorgeous, year-round weather around, and Simi Valley is no exception!
- Low cost of living: Relative to many other parts of Southern California, this city is a bargain. The median selling price is $595,200, with a median household income of nearly $90,000.
- Family-oriented communities: Along with being an excellent suburb for professionals, the city is full of family-friendly neighborhoods that provide a strong sense of security and safety.
- Job opportunities: Yes, the city is known for being a commuter’s haven and neighborhood community, but there are local opportunities in healthcare, education, and more.
- Outdoor fun: There are no less than six golf courses, and the area is a paradise for hikers and equestrians. On top of that, it’s less than an hour away from beautiful beaches!
- Low crime: Coming in at #23 among California’s 50 safest cities of 2020 by SafeWise, Simi Valley consistently has a low property crime rate and an unusually low violent crime rate.
- Flat economy: Though it’s deemed one of the “best cities to work in,” Simi Valley (and Ventura County) have been dealing with flat to negative economic growth.
- Struggling small businesses: Due to high taxes, government regulations, and low sales revenue, it can be hard for restaurants, shops, and other small businesses to thrive here.
- Limited nightlife: When it comes to restaurants, entertainment, and nightlife, there’s room for improvement. For a fun night out, check out surrounding communities.
- Lack of four seasons: With all this beautiful, temperate weather, there’s no snow. Chances are you’re not too concerned with the lack of cold winters, so this might be a big plus.
- Property tax: According to the Overview of Property Taxes by SmartAsset, the average county tax rate is 0.742%. Average property tax is $4,452 (assessed home value of $600K).
- Sales tax: The state of California has a base sales tax rate of 7.25%. Currently, the 2020 minimum combined sales tax rate (state, county, local) in Simi Valley is 7.25%.
- State income tax: The state currently has ten separate tax brackets. Rates range from 1% to 13.3%. A resident’s rate depends on income and filing status (single or married).
The median home selling price in Simi Valley is currently $599,622. Compared to the median home value in Los Angeles ($723,783), this presents affordable options to prospective buyers. No wonder 72% of residents own their homes. According to RentCafe, the average rent price is $2,050 per month for an 823-square-foot apartment (or $24,600 annually).
Here are the cheapest neighborhoods to live in Simi Valley:
- City Center
- Santa Susana Pass Rd / Kuehner Dr
- Alamo St / Yosemite Ave
- Community Center
- Alamo St / Kadota St
Cost of Living
According to the Cost of Living in Simi Valley by BestPlaces, the city has a cost of living index of 149.9. This index is higher than the US average of 100 (but lower than the L.A. average of 173.3).
Here are some examples of separate costs (relative to the average of 100): Groceries (107.4), Health (107.4), Housing (250.3), Utilities (101.7), and Transportation (110.3). The median household income in Simi Valley is $89,595 per year. This income level is higher than the US median of approximately $62,000.
Average monthly expenses in Ventura County for a family of four:
- Housing = $1,739
- Food = $860
- Childcare = $1,290
- Transportation = $1,390
- Health Care = $1,109
- Other necessities = $1,049
- Taxes = $1,336
- Total = $8,772 per month or $105,269 per year
Weather & Natural Disasters
Approximately 44 miles northwest of Downtown Los Angeles, along with being in proximity to the Pacific Coast and sandy beaches, Simi Valley offers a climate that’s hard to beat!
Simi Valley experiences the hottest temperatures in July and August, with August seeing an average high of 85°F and a low of 60°F. On the other end, the coldest months are December and January, with an average high of 65°F and low of 40°F in December. Not exactly frigid temps in winter, but we can safely assume you won’t mind (especially if you’re escaping cold winters)!
As far as downsides, like most parts of Southern California, there isn’t much in the way of significant seasonal variation here. It doesn’t snow, and the city receives about 17 inches of rainfall annually.
As for natural disasters, earthquake activity is the biggest concern. To be prepared for natural, manmade, and technological disasters, visit the City of Simi Valley’s Emergency Services page.
Economy & Job Market
With a job market increase of 1% year-over-year, Simi Valley (and Ventura County as a whole) doesn’t exactly have a booming economy. That said, the unemployment rate is only 3.1% (compared to the US average of nearly 4%). Experts anticipate future job growth of more than 28%.
Significant industries include retail trade; manufacturing; finance and insurance; healthcare and social assistance; educational services; mining and quarrying; oil and gas; and information.
Here are the Top 10 major employers in Simi Valley, CA:
- Rexnord Aerospace
- Adventist Health Simi Valley
- Simi Valley Schools
- The City of Simi Valley
- Xmultiple Technologies
- Special Devices
- Standard Adhesives
Traffic and Transportation
When it comes to public transportation, there are a couple of options in Simi Valley. These include Simi Valley Transit (fixed-route bus service) and Simi Valley Metrolink. As for air travel, there’s Hollywood Burbank Airport (Burbank, 25 miles away) and Los Angeles International Airport (LA, 31 miles away). Ride-hailing is another popular option, offered by the likes of Uber and Lyft.
As with many parts of SoCal, Simi Valley is a car-dependent city. If you drive, you’ll want to get familiar with major routes. State Route 118 (north-south) runs through the town and connects with the 405 and the 5 to the west, which provides access to major hubs like Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. Also, Highway 101 is just south of Simi Valley (connected by north-south State Routes 23 and 27).
According to Living in Simi Valley by Walk Score, the city receives a score of 36. The City of Simi Valley has minimal public transportation, low walkability, and not enough bike lanes.
Alright, so back to the traffic. SoCal congestion is notorious, and the area surrounding Simi Valley is no exception. Commuters to and from Los Angeles and other nearby cities have to deal with significant bottlenecks, especially on routes like Highway 101 and Interstate 405.
What to Do
Nestled in the valley of the same name, Simi Valley offers a nice assortment of activities and things to see. From breathtaking scenic hiking to fascinating museums to family-friendly festivals & events, there’s something for nature lovers, history buffs, and growing families!
- Let’s start with a fav: hiking. Some of the most popular spots to stretch your legs include Mount McCoy Trail (five-mile, out-and-back), Corriganville Park & Trails (filming site of 3,500+ movies!), Chumash Trail (2.5 miles long with rock formations and gorgeous views), Rocky Peak Park (situated on 4,800 acres and home of the Rocky Peak Trail, Hummingbird Trail, and Las Llajas Trail), and Long Canyon Trail.
- Are you looking for top destinations? If you like skateboarding, you have to check out the Skateboarding Hall of Fame & Museum (SHoF). Into presidential history? Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum celebrates the 40th president of the United States. Santa Susana Depot Museum & Model Railroad is perfect for all ages and showcases a miniature replica of Simi Valley.
- As for sports, the City of Simi Valley doesn’t have any pro teams. Fortunately, some of the world’s best sports organizations are in neighboring Los Angeles. These teams include the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA), Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), Los Angeles Chargers (NFL), Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB), LA Galaxy (MLS), Anaheim Ducks (NHL), and many other popular teams.
- As for other popular tourist destinations and local activities, there are plenty! Visit Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village to explore buildings made of glass and bottle fragments. Lazertag Extreme is a family favorite, offering a multi-level laser tag space (along with arcade and ax throwing). As for festivals, popular ones include Simi Valley Days and Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival.
Schools and Universities
Simi Valley Unified School District (SVUSD), which provides education to approximately 17,000 students in the Simi Valley area, has a graduation rate of 85% and average SAT and ACT scores of 1230 and 28, respectively. Overall, public K–12 schools in Simi Valley are highly rated.
Top public schools include Santa Susana High School, Thousand Oaks High School, EARTHS Magnet School, Los Cerritos Middle School, and Moorpark High School. For private education, top picks include Grace Brethren Junior / Senior High School, Grace Brethren Elementary School, Phoenix Ranch School, Simi Valley Montessori School, and Good Shepherd Lutheran School.
As for higher education, Simi Valley doesn’t offer direct choices. It is, however, surrounded by high-population areas with a great selection of universities, colleges, and trade schools. These include UCLA (Los Angeles), USC (Los Angeles), Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), California Lutheran University (Thousand Oaks), and Moorpark College (Moorpark).
According to Crime in Simi Valley by BestPlaces, the city has a property crime rate of 21.7. This rate is quite a bit lower than the national average of 35.4 and CA average of 37.1. The violent crime rate (which includes four types of offenses: murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) is only 10.7, which is significantly lower than the US average of 22.7 and CA average of 25.2.
- Electric service: Southern California Edison is the primary electricity provider for Simi Valley. To get things going, go to the company’s Turn Your Service On and Off page.
- Gas service: As for natural gas, Southern California Gas Company provides this service to the city. Begin gas service by going to SoCalGas’ Schedule Service page.
- Water service: There are two suppliers – the City of Simi Valley / Waterworks District No. 8 (805-583-6736) and Golden State Water Company (800-999-4033).
- Trash pick-up/recycling service: G.I. Rubbish/Waste Management Service haul off the city’s trash. For more information, check out the Waste Management page.
- Internet/Cable service: The major providers for cable and internet include AT&T, Dish Network, DirecTV, Frontier Communications, Spectrum, Viasat, and Verizon.
Best Neighborhoods in Simi Valley, CA
The following communities are among the best places to live in Simi Valley:
Built in 2005, the neighborhood of Big Sky sits in the northern tip of Simi Valley with Lost Canyons Dr cutting through the middle of it. The community predominately features larger homes on lots that average 36.5 acres. Nearly 80% of residents are homeowners.
Approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Downtown Simi Valley (and north of Ronald Reagan Fwy), Big Sky It’s also home to Big Sky Park and Simi Dog Park. The Marr Ranch Open Space is just east of the neighborhood and offers four moderate trails that range from three miles to nearly five miles long.
In search of a peaceful, well-maintained neighborhood with gorgeous homes on large lots? Big Sky provides all the spacious living that you’ve been wanting!
- Population – Under 6,200 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from 725,000 to $1.3 million
- Rent Prices – $1,250 for studio and $2,150 for 2BR place
- Schools – Simi Valley High School, Hillside Middle School, Atherwood Elementary School, Township Elementary School
Bridle Path, a smaller neighborhood about 2.4 miles south of the downtown area, is found south of Ronald Reagan Fwy. First Street runs through the western side of the community, with Trough Canyon to the south. An overwhelming 94% of residents own their homes.
Established in 1977, Bridle Path offers a variety of midsize homes (1,465 to 3,300 sq. ft., 3–6 bedrooms, 2–4 bathrooms), mainly on 0.75-acre lots. The current median selling price is about $872,000. As for things to do, Challenger Park sits in the southwestern corner. It’s ideal for parking, relaxing, and hiking. Amenities include a bike rack, kiosk, and equestrian trails.
Quiet and dog-friendly, Bridle Path offers pleasant suburban living.
- Population – Under 1,800 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $525,000 to $1.06 million
- Rent Prices – $1,800 for 1BR apartment and $2,145 for 2BR place
- Schools – Royal High School, Hillside Middle School, Sinaloa Middle School, Madera Elementary School, Crestview Elementary School
As an older neighborhood – it dates back to 1965 – Hollow Hills offers several high-value, midsize condos and townhouses (with two to five bedrooms and two to five bathrooms) situated on quarter-acre lots. 85% of residents are homeowners.
Situated about 2 miles southeast of downtown, Hollow Hills is east of First St and bordered by Fitzgerald Rd in the north and Hudspeth Ave in the west. The neighborhood is home to Hollow Hills Elementary School, while Sycamore Park is to the east, and Assumption Catholic Cemetery is to the west. There’s a wide range of home values, with current selling prices between $420,000 and $700,000.
Just north of Bridle Path, Hollow Hills is a friendly, safe, and affordable neighborhood.
- Population – Under 6,800 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $400,000 to $1.2 million
- Rent Prices – $2,150 for 2BR apartment and $2,700 for 3BR place
- Schools – Royal High School, Hillside Middle School, Sinaloa Middle School, Madera Elementary School, Berylwood Elementary School
Indian Hills Ridge
Indian Hills Ridge is a well-established neighborhood that continues to draw folks looking to relocate to Simi Valley. Found east of Las Llajas Canyon and seven miles northeast of the downtown area, this is another neighborhood with a resounding majority of homeowners at 97%.
Sharing its western border with Chumash Park – this is an accessible open space situated on almost 53 acres – Indian Hills Ridge has an assortment of reasonably priced midsize homes (2,200 to 2,700 sq. ft., 3–4 bedrooms and three bathrooms) on quarter-acre lots. Simi Hills Golf Course (designed by Ted Robinson) is close by to the west, and Larsen’s Grill has some tasty steaks and more!
If you love hiking and golf, Indian Hills checks all the boxes and then some.
- Population – Under 2,300 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $739,000 to $869,000
- Rent Prices – $2,150 for 2BR and $3,400 for 4BR place
- Schools – Simi Valley High School, Valley View Middle School, White Oak Elementary School
Santa Susana (aka Santa Susana Knolls)
Located in the eastern tip of the city, approximately five miles east of downtown, Santa Susana is a former railroad town that’s now mostly situated with Simi Valley. Also referred to as Santa Susana Knolls, the neighborhood is south of E Los Angeles Ave and bordered by Santa Susana Pass Rad in the northeast. 86% of residents own their homes.
Dating back to 1925, Santa Susana is a diverse, family-friendly community. Houses (on average two bedrooms and two bathrooms) are attractively priced, with a current median selling price of just $554,000. It’s home to the Santa Susana Park & Railroad, as well as the Santa Susana Railroad Depot & Museum. There’s also Knolls Elementary School and Rocky Pointe Natural Park.
If you’re looking for a great neighborhood to raise kids, Santa Susana Knolls is a top spot!
- Population – Under 1,800 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $329,500 to $919,000
- Rent Prices – $2,695 for 3BR and $3,275 for 4BR place
- Schools – Simi Valley High School, Valley View Middle School, Katherine Elementary School, Knolls Elementary School
Texas Tract, nestled in the northeastern part of Simi Valley, is comprised of five divisions. Six miles northeast of Downtown Simi Valley, the community is bordered by Tapo St to the west and Alamo St to the south. Approximately 87% of residents are homeowners.
Considered one of the best neighborhoods in the city, Texas Tract is a peaceful neighborhood close to hills perfect for hiking and mountain biking. There are several 1960s ranch houses, and new development is currently under construction on the former Belwood school grounds.
Home to Big Springs Elementary School, and offering easy access to Las Llajas Canyon Trail and Simi Hills Gold Course, Texas Tract is a quiet place to call home for families, professionals, and retirees.
- Population – Under 5,900 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $605,000 to $1.43 million
- Rent Prices – $3,200 for 3BR place
- Schools – Simi Valley High School, Valley View Middle School, Big Springs Elementary School, Township Elementary School
Another well-established neighborhood, White Oak, is located seven miles east of the downtown area. It’s east of Yosemite Ave, bordered Ronald Reagan Fwy (north), Cochran St (east and south), and Picasso Ln (west). 72% of residents own their homes.
Built in 1990, White Oak offers a variety of condos and townhouses ranging from 1,070- to 1,440-square-feet. Homes typically have 2–3 bedrooms and 2–3 bathrooms. The neighborhood is home to Ansaldo’s Gourmet, specializing in premium prepared food, and north of Verde Park.
Offering excellent affordability and quick access to Ronald Reagan Fwy, White Oak is a unique neighborhood for first-time buyers, professionals, and smaller families.
- Population – Under 3,100 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $465,000 to $500,000
- Rent Prices – $2,145 for 2BR apartment and $2,695 for 3BR place
- Schools – Simi Valley High School, Valley View Middle School, White Oak Elementary School
Wood Ranch, which dates back to 1986, is about 4.5 miles southwest of Downtown Simi Valley. East of State Route 23, the neighborhood is bordered by Madera Rd (north), Long Canyon Rd (southeast), and Bard Lake (west). About 90% of residents are homeowners.
As the least populated neighborhood on our list, Wood Ranch is home to large, luxurious (yet reasonably priced) homes and Wood Ranch Golf Club, the City of Simi Valley’s only private golf course (and award-winning, too). It’s also home to Wood Ranch Elementary School and Sycamore Canyon Park.
If you’re an avid golfer and outdoor lover (plus love spacious homes), Wood Ranch should be at the top of your list of great places to live in Simi Valley!
- Population – Under 1,100 residents
- Home Price – Ranges from $425,000 to $1.4 million
- Rent Prices – $2,695 for 3BR and $3,400 for 4BR place
- Schools – Royal High School, Thousand Oaks High School, Los Cerritos Middle School, Wood Ranch Elementary School
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