If you’re in the market for a home in Santa Cruz County, CA , then Watsonville is decidedly one of the cities that should be in the running. Located in the iconic Pajaro Valley, this city along the central coast of California is home to some of the finest real estate in California.
The City of Watsonville is named after Judge John Watson, one of two men who laid out the town in 1852.
The area where Watsonville now stands was first inhabited by the native American peoples known as Costanoans (coast dwellers), later called the Ohlone. These native peoples were largely displaced by European explorers in the late 1700s.
Following the Mexican-American war from 1846-48, California was ceded from Mexico to the United States. The California gold rush subsequently brought an abundance of settlers to the area. Three decades later, in 1889, Watsonville was officially recognized as a city; it was chartered in 1903.
The Pajaro Valley Historical Association and the Agricultural History Project museums are two of the most popular museums in Watsonville where you can learn more about its history.
Beat the heat
Considered one of the coolest places in California, Watsonville beckons with a comfortable Mediterranean climate for at least six months of the year. Residents say the most pleasant months are from July to September, but temperatures are pretty much a steady 60 to 70 degrees throughout the year. And when it does get hot — a rare occurrence — you can always cool off on one of its many pristine beaches.
While it has a largely Hispanic population, Watsonville is home to an amalgamation of cultures: 37% of residents are foreign-born, among them Sikhs, Filipinos, Croatians and Japanese.
Not surprisingly, its population of 54,098 (2017) celebrates diversity. Many of the residents are under the age of 30, making it an ideal place for young couples to put down roots and raise their kids.
Watsonville prides itself in its strong sense of community. The various cultures come together harmoniously in a place that has a lovely small-town feel.
The economy and employment
Watsonville is known for its strong agricultural roots, with farming being a vital part of the economy. The production and distribution of crops like strawberries, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce and raspberries to different parts of the world help spur growth.
There are plenty of employment opportunities in a variety of industries. Some of the top employers include the school district and community hospital. Target and West Marine are other notable employers in the city.
Watsonville has the distinction of being the 3rd Healthiest, Happiest City in America according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Those fortunate enough to live in this gorgeous area enjoy lots of amazing activities throughout the year.
Foremost among the events the town is known for is the annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival at Monterey Bay, considered as the premier strawberry event in the United States. The festival was founded over 25 years ago to help downtown Watsonville recover from the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Additionally, in September each year, when fall migration is at its peak, the city also hosts the spectacular Monterey Bay Birding Festival, which brings in flocks of birding enthusiasts from all around the world. Immerse yourself in all things birds with a stellar line-up of presentations and workshops that help make for an unforgettable birding festival experience.
Things to do
The summer months tend to be hugely popular, with an influx of tourists pouring in for some downtime at the beach. The Sunset State Beach west of the city is a favorite. It has a fantastic campground with nice facilities and a long, wide stretch of sand.
The city has many green spaces, the better for residents and visitors to enjoy the beauty of nature. A paradise for the active, the city boasts 28 parks where one can have fun skating, playing soccer or tennis, or walking, jogging, hiking and biking along the trails.
If gallivanting all over has helped you work up an appetite, you’ll be happy to know that there’s a ton of specialist restaurants to choose from. Mexican cuisine is hugely popular.
Overall, Watsonville gives off a friendly small-town feel with the amenities of a vibrant urban city. This is definitely a place where you can enjoy an exceptionally high standard of living.
No one knows the homes for sale in Watsonville CA better than me, Amber Melenudo. I proudly hold several prestigious certifications and designations, including a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation, and Luxury Home Marketing Specialist and Senior Real Estate Specialist certifications.
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