These Are The 10 Snobbiest Cities In California

We analyzed over 500 cities to determine which California cities probably think they’re better than you.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out.

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When it comes to being a snob, there are all types. You’ve got your Wine Snobs, your Book Snobs, and of course, your Clothes Snobs. Then there are the Technology Snobs, Car Snobs, and yes, even City Snobs—as in, I’m better than you because I live in (insert snooty city here).

Especially in California, which is the snobbiest place of all. In certain places, you’re judged by you area code. And a lot of the people in California think they’re better than the rest of the country just because they live in CA.

Enjoy the video below. The article and the research follows if you scroll down after the video.

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And, by the way, the only people who call it ‘Cali’ aren’t from ‘Cali.’ They just want to be from ‘Cali.’.

How can we tell which California cities are the snobbiest? By measuring snobby things, that’s how.

After analyzing more than 500 cities, we’ve firmly decided that these are the 10 snobbiest cities in the state of California:

  1. Mill Valley (Photos)
  2. Palo Alto (Photos)
  3. Malibu (Photos)
  4. Los Gatos (Photos)
  5. Beverly Hills (Photos)
  6. Lafayette (Photos)
  7. San Carlos (Photos)
  8. San Anselmo (Photos)
  9. Newport Beach (Photos)
  10. Laguna Beach (Photos)

This list probably wasn’t a shocker for anyone who lives anywhere but in Mill Valley. In fact, the snobs there are probably wincing, because now we all know that they think they’re better than the rest of us.

You can’t hide from us, we’re the snob hounds.

And to be clear, we didn’t form this list based on our own biases — we relied on the cold hard data.

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How we determined the snobbiest places in California

If you’re feeling a bit haughty about these rankings, calm down. See, we relied on facts and figures to create this list not just our opinions of those cities.

We started by making a list of every place in California over 10,000 people based on the 2013 American Community Survey. That left us with more than 500 places in California.

We then looked at the following snob-tastic criteria for each of the places on the list:

  • Median home price (Higher is snobbier)
  • Median household income (Higher is snobbier)
  • Percent of population with a college degree (Higher is snobbier)
  • Private schools per capita (Higher is snobbier)
  • Theaters per capita (Higher is snobbier)
  • Art galleries per capita (Higher is snobbier)

Time to put on your monocle and go through these snooty places.

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1. Mill Valley

Source: wikipedia

Population: 13.931
Median household income: $116,983
Median home price: $1,237,400

There are snooty places, there are snobby places, and then there’s Mill Valley. Wait…where? Yeah, we had to look it up, too.

Mill Valley is a smallish city tucked away into the rolling hillsides just past the Golden Gate Bridge, north of San Francisco. And boy are these people loaded. You can bet 100% that they look out over the bay area from atop their verandas and porches and think, “I’m better than they are.”

They have the best, biggest most grandiose homes in the state and they know it. They have a golf course, water access and live among the redwoods. CNN and Forbes have called it both the ‘best’ place to live and the ‘most expensive’ place to live in America.

Famous writers, actors and business people have made it home through the years. We could go on and on.

Would you really want to live there and have these snobs as neighbors? Actually, yes, we’ll take it.

We’ll just close the blinds, thank you very much.

2. Palo Alto

Source: wikipedia

Population: 64,514
Median household income: $122,482
Median home price: $2,028,300

Poor Palo Alto. Only the second snobbiest city in the state. They’ll most likely turn their noses up at this ranking and insist that they are ‘better’ than the people in Mill Valley.

And they’d have a point. This Bay Area city has it made. If you can afford it. There are all sorts of private schools, theaters and artsy events here all the time. The stuff snobville is made of. Oh yeah, and right next door is Stanford, one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

And don’t even try and get into a debate with someone from Palo Alto about anything. They’re the 3rd smartest city in the state.

Does living in 2 million dollar homes make you a snob? Only if you brag about it.

3. Malibu

Source: wikipedia

Population: 12,743
Median household income: $135,530
Median home price: $2,331,100

We’ll give you a hint as to why Malibu is snob central. It’s starts with M and ends in ONEY. Yes, the people in Malibu are loaded, they live in the biggest, most fantastic movie worthy homes, and they know they’re better than you.

The people in Malibu’s car payments are about as much as your mortgage payment. And, they aren’t just money snobs, either. There’s some actual culture here. Plays, art galleries, you name it.

if you’re from Malibu, you make sure everyone KNOWS you’re from Malibu. Plain and simple.

4. Los Gatos

Source: wikipedia

Population: 29,522
Median household income: $121,933
Median home price: $1,444,900

Back up the bay area we go. Los Gatos is a snooty place for sure, when you look at the sheer wealth in this place. Sure, homes are way overpriced here, but you have to be really successful in your career in order to live here.

Does working among the elite in Silicon Valley make you a snob? Most likely. So does having a half dozen private schools, a museum, several art galleries and folks like John Steinbeck and Steve Wozniak as your neighbors.

5. Beverly Hills

Source: wikipedia

Population: 34,215
Median household income: $85,918
Median home price: $2,703,000

Aw yes. Beverly Hills. The good ole’ 90210. Sure, we don’t even have to justify why this city is snobsville. But what’s interesting here is the income versus home price. A lot of the city lives normal lives like you and I.

And about 10% of Beverly Hills lives like kings. Big giant, snooty kings in homes more splendid than, well, anywhere you’re ever gonna live.

6. Lafayette

Source: wikipedia

Population: 24,073
Median household income: $136,438
Median home price: $1,224,700

You can bet the people in Lafayette don’t use A-1 on their steaks and listen to Nickelback on the weekends. No siree, they are much too refined than that.

Lafayette is plain loaded. Located in the central valley (Contra Costa County, near San Francisco), they’ve got 4 private schools and a handful of other snobberific amenities like art galleries and theaters to enjoy.

Oh yeah, and Hall Of Fame quarterback Joe Montana used to live here. You know residents are quick to bring that up at every opportunity.

7. San Carlos

Source: wikipedia

Population: 28,455
Median household income: $120,112
Median home price: $927,000

Homes in San Carlos average ‘only’ $927,000, which means in the bay area, these folks have some work to do if they want to move on up the snob totem pole.

They call their town, “The City of Good Living,” which means they sure aren’t hiding the fact that they think they’re on a different level than other cities. Barry Bonds, Dana Carvey and Rachelle Leah all make San Carlos home.

What? You haven’t heard of Rachelle Leah? She will be SO offended.

8. San Anselmo

Source: wikipedia

Population: 12,363
Median household income: $100,625
Median home price: $816,900

The Town of San Anselmo is another smallish, exclusive city in the Bay Area with needlessly large homes for the oversuccessfully rich. We’re not dogging them because of those facts. We’re kinda’ jealous, actually.

Any town that has organized ‘baby and toddler storytimes’, coloring nights for adults (really?) and pancake breakfasts downtown has it all figured out. Sounds like they could throw themselves a parade and they wouldn’t even care if you and I came out and threw confetti at them.

9. Newport Beach

Source: wikipedia

Population: 85,323
Median household income: $109,677
Median home price: $1,347,000

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without a couple of Orange County beach communities on it, right? Newport Beach is probably a lot more laid back than some of the other coastal towns in Southern California. But they’re for sure pretty snobby.

Wouldn’t you be too? Thousands of people fight traffic and struggle to park just so they can lug their stuff and sit right outside your back door every day. They might invite you inside, but they’d probably worry that you’d track sand into their house.

10. Laguna Beach

Source: wikipedia

Population: 22,873
Median household income: $109,677
Median home price: $1,347,000

If you can afford a home in Laguna Beach, you are LOADED. This place is definitely snob central. Not only because there’s wealthy banker types and successful businessmen, but they’ve got a huge art scene here.

Laguna Beach might have more art venues than anywhere else in the state. Wanna see some real snob-tastic stuff? Go to a Laguna Beach art gallery opening, get a free glass of wine and observe.

Just don’t ask anyone if there’s any real estate for sale in the area. They’ll take one look at your shoes and know you’re a fake.

Summing Up The Humble Pie

Well there you have it, the places in California that needed a piece of humble pie, with Mill Valley in particular being called out as the snobbiest place in the state.
So sure, we may call you guys a little ‘snobby’. But it’s only because we’re jealous.

If you’re curious, here are the least snobby cities in California. Or the most down to earth, if you will:

  1. East La Mirada (Pop. 9,757)
  2. Mendota (Pop. 11,032)
  3. Arvin (Pop. 19,298)
  4. Farmersville (Pop. 10,547)
  5. Corcoran (Pop. 24,429)

We also wrote about the worst places to live in California if you haven’t seen it yet. Click here to read it.

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18 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Snobbiest Cities In California

  1. Jeez, Orinda is waaay snobbier than Lafayette. I should know, I’m from there. Orinda is home of the leaf blower ban and the “Stop the Housing Element Team”. We may have even invented the acronym NIMBY. Our roads are the worst in the Bay Area, just to keep casual drivers out. We’re too cheap to have many private schools or theaters – we just use Lafayette’s, Berkeley’s, Oakland’s and San Francisco’s.

    1. Of course Orinda is snobbier than Lafayette. They totally screwed the pooch by limiting their survey to cities with populations of 10,000 and up. They missed ALL the truly snobby places.

    1. Haha Mark, I hope you realize how ironic your comment is. If you read the article, you’d see that the author wasn’t trying to insult anybody (and if they did, it was in good humor).

      I thought this was an interesting piece. Obviously the title and the wording of the article was tailored as clickbait but really it was just a study on affluence, education, and culture. It’s nothing scientific and it probably took the author an hour or two of research, but it was an amusing and informative read nonetheless.

  2. Clearly you haven’t actually spent any time in the cities you are reviewing. One of my very first experiences as a new mother in Mill Valley involved a total stranger offering to run into the grocery store for me to pick up milk & eggs so I wouldn’t have to struggle with taking in my newborn and toddler. I was overwhelmed by the kindness of another mother who didn’t even know me. I have had other similar experiences over the years and our local public schools are fantastic (no need for private). You can’t judge the kindness of someone’s heart by the cost of their house. Shame on you.

  3. Stanford University is in the town of Stanford, not Palo Alto. Yes, it is right next door and it has a lot of influence on Palo Alto, but it has never been a part of that city.

  4. I live in Palo Alto, and I never doubted that we ranked high on snobbery. After all, not only do we have a community theater company and a community orchestra, but we have a community opera company as well.
    I don’t know where Palo Alto stands with this metric or how much it is weighted, but I take objection to your inclusion of private school density as a criterion. Firstly, the number of private schools in a city relative to that city’s population is not necessarily the best measure of how many eligible students in a city attend private school, as private schools may vary in size and often do not restrict enrollment to the residents of their host city. Secondly, while private school enrollment (if that were the metric used, which it isn’t) is an understandable measure to be associated with snobbery, given that in most parts of the country elites seek out private schools for the usually superior quality of education they provide, Palo Alto may be an exception that proves the rule. In Palo Alto, the quality of our public schools rivals that of many nearby private schools. Therefore, many Palo Alto parents proudly send their children to public school, deeming private school unnecessarily expensive for its relative value. Does this fact make us more or less snobby?

  5. FWIW, the Stanford University campus is not actually located in Palo Alto. It is located in unincorporated Santa Clara County, adjacent to Palo Alto.

    The Stanford Industrial Park, Stanford Shopping Center, and the Stanford Medical Center are within the Palo Alto city limits, but the academic campus, including the medical school, and student and faculty housing are not.

  6. Lived in Los Gatos for 15 years, and yes it’s a desired community but because of the exceptional school system level, the photo is the high school which is the most beautiful one I’ve ever seen and I’ve lived all over the states, with the best teaching staff in the country, and its facilities are like a university…I grew up in Ann Arbor, Mi. Which is a university town and gorgeous. I now live and have for 28 years on Catalina island, in Avalon which is the most mellow in the state, and beautiful… Location, location.

  7. I’ve worked in Palo Alto and San Carlos & live near Los Gatos. I like shopping there, the good stores are closer together than in San Jose and I’ve found it friendly. More so than San Carlos. Palo Alto isn’t a place I’d ever want to live. I watched pregnant women freaking out about getting their kid into the right daycare so they’d get into the right private school in order to get into the right college…their lives didn’t seem pleasant at all.
    But I’m weird. I’ve always preferred happiness to bragging rights.

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