Median home price (2006): $643,549
Average property taxes (2006): $2,834
Pros: Tight-knit community with topnotch schools
Cons: Poor air quality, high home prices
Thirty miles east of Los Angeles, Claremont came into its own in the early 20th century after the founding of Pomona College. Streets were named after prestigious East Coast schools, and residents were encouraged to plant trees.
Today, Claremont is called the City of Trees and Ph.D.s. The city has won the National Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA award for 19 straight years, and Pomona is part of a prestigious consortium known as the Claremont Colleges.
The downtown is a mix of hip boutiques and old-school businesses. And the historic College Heights Lemon Packing House is now home to the Claremont Art Museum, restaurants, a jazz bar and artists' lofts. And relative to much of California, it's affordable (emphasis on "relative").
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