Modesto made U.S. News & World Report’s list as the 99th “Best Place to Live.” Located in the agricultural Central Valley, it offers mild winters and dry, hot summers and is within two hours of San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. It is also cheaper than other California cities and thus attractive to young families. Many people work in government, healthcare and education, but agriculture is the biggest factor in the economy. Farms and ranches employ many locals, though those jobs tend to be seasonal. Other big employers are E&J Gallo Winery and Del Monte Foods. Six high schools have been recognized as top schools. The downtown area has been revitalized in the early 21st century and is surrounded by suburban neighborhoods. Fun fact: filmmaker George Lucas is originally from here.