Sunnyvale is more of a chill city than a party city. The beach is only about half and hour away.
Employment rates are good in general. Of course it also depend on what field of work you are looking for. Even though you are an artist, most likely you'll end up working at a high tech company if you live in Silicon Valley. I know artists and English majors who work in graphic design, training, etc. at various high tech companies in the area.
Sunnyvale is a great city to live in but not a party city.
Down town is still struggling to come around since development was halted.
A great place to live will be around Santana Row in San Jose or on the Santa Clara side
Behind Valley Fair.
If you however like the beach and a great and vibrant young down town then Capitola or Santa Cruz comes to mind. A great town with shops, bars, proximity to work etc. Will be both Los Gatos, Campbell and Palo Alto.
If you were to live in Los Gatos you can quickly go over the hill to the beach.
Do go to my web site and avail yourself to the Town web sites as well as home prices.
It will be prudent for you to stay with family and then getting yourself a room, or shared housing.
Steve gave you some great links and Grace good insight as well. Our communities vary and you are sure to find an area fitting for you.
If you want an active city close to the beach there is Santa Cruz. The commute over Highway 17 can be a knuckle cruncher. Downtown San Jose is our big city with some high rises, and night life. Willow Glenn located in San Jose has a downtown walking area with restaurants, shopping, some night life without the high rises. The same for Campbell and Los Gatos. The demographics vary among those these areas.
Visit these areas in the day time, nighttime, and weekends to get a feel for which one calls to you.
What's right for one individual isn't necessarily a good fit for another.......
Your best source of information is you......we wouldn't recommend moving to any location without first visiting it and forming your own opinion of it.
I would suggest you explore Sunnyvale based on all the aspects that are important to you (must have, nice to have, donâ€™t care, for example). Here are a few links that might help you in making a decision:
Given that you're still in school and probably looking for opportunities to meet and party with other students or young adults, I would not necessarily recommend Sunnyvale as a city full of night life. I grew up in Sunnyvale and, frankly, when I was your age, it was a pretty boring town. Certainly there's Rooster T. Feathers comedy club for some evening entertainment, but real entertainment, dancing, dining, music, sports and great bars were best found in San Jose and San Francisco.
However, here's the good news...what Sunnyvale lacks in night life, it more than makes up for during the daytime with community and great living areas.
For night life, San Jose is only a 15 minute drive from Sunnyvale, and San Francisco is only a mere 40 minutes away by freeway, so it's extremely easy to find great dining and evening entertainment even if Sunnyvale is bit "quieter" than young adults may like. Concerts which are held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose or at the Shoreline in Mountain View are easy to get to by car from here. There are also excellent dining spots in downtown Sunnyvale and in the downtown locations of nearby Los Altos, Palo Alto and Mountain View. During the daytime, its a short 45 minute drive from here to Santa Cruz and the beach boardwalk. Sunnyvale is a pretty laid back town with a higher population of young families than singles, but the community is great and the municipal facilities (library, public utilities and shopping areas) are well maintained and easily accessible.
Employment opportunities in the Bay Area will depend greatly on your skills. Technology is the booming business here, and programmers as well as professions affiliated with high-tech are the most in demand. Sunnyvale is close to Yahoo!, Google, Cisco, Sun, Intel, HP and many other large companies so the commute can be very convenient. However, because the cost of living in the Bay Area is very high compared with other areas of the country, I would strongly recommend saving at least 6 months of rents and security deposit or securing a job before attempting to move to California to ensure that your living arrangements don't cause undue stress on your education or lifestyle.
As for housing, I will have to admit that housing prices as well as rents for any home along the "peninsula" (the fingerlet of land that runs between the southern part of the bay and San Francisco) will be higher than in San Jose, Milpitas and parts further south. The average rent in the area is high compared with what you may be used to paying in Minnesota. One bedroom apartments at the Avalon, an upscale apartment community, start at $1600 per month. Rents for other apartment communities can be slightly less, but the average 1 bedroom apartment is about $1300-1800 per month.
If you'd like a bit more excitement in your life and more opportunities for entertainment with less housing cost, you might try the City of Santa Clara and parts of San Jose. Two large colleges are located in Santa Clara (University of Santa Clara) and San Jose (San Jose State), which is why both cities have a larger and wider scope of entertainment than might be found in Sunnyvale. Home prices are also slightly lower, with smaller homes or rooms for rent available in these areas due to the larger number of college students.
Most importantly, Abbi, stay with friends for a bit while you get oriented here in California before choosing a place to live and save up enough money to move comfortably and pay rent while you get settled in to classes and a job.
Good luck and welcome to California!
Grace Morioka, SRES
Area Pro Realty
Sunnyvale is the heart of Silicon Valley, very centrally located, with many-many employment opportunities within the cities and in the neighboring cities. You can hit the beach in less than an hour, either Santa Cruz or Half Moon Bay. One thing to understand is that our beaches are pretty darn cold! (so its not your typical warm water beaches) even in summer. Our cities are small in sizes, so things are all close by.
If you are looking for a town with lots of action, this is not the one. Sunnyvale is more of a family oriented place. You might be better off in San Francisco or down town San Jose. If you have never been to the bay area, you are in for a wonderful experience.
Good luck on your move.
Sunnyvale is a mostly suburban small city with a cute, but small downtown area. It is not close to the beach, unless you consider an hour drive close. The employment rates are pretty good and the city is clean and well run. It is not as much as a party city as San Francisco or even San Jose, but there are nice restaurants, library, shopping, and parks. It is less expensive than San Francisco, but not cheap, and compared to Minnesota probably very expensive. Are you going to the art institute in SF? If so Sunnyvale has a train stop that will get you to the city if you do not want to drive.
Welcome to the area!