3.6 out of 10


36.8533438114989 -121.395624245015
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Parking
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Clean & Green
Not great for
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Pest Free
  • Public Transport
  • Childcare
  • Nightlife
Who lives here?
  • Country Lovers
  • Families with kids


2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Schools 2/5

"Secluded farmland with lowly aesthetic appeal"

Set within the isolated countryside, Hollister is a repulsive city set within a bland central California setting. It is part of the irrelevant San Benito County, with strictly lower-class suburban aesthetics and a pathetic commercial district. The city spans about 7 square miles of underdeveloped residential terrain. Within its landscape is acres of surrounding farmland, which so happens to be Hollister’s main advantage--agricultural cultivation. Those that get to enjoy it are amongst a population of 35,000, most of which are from hispanic origins.

While Hollister is largely secluded, its residential quarters are humble at best. For the most part, the area is saturated with extremely small properties, stumpy, one-story shacks and old cars blemishing the streets. The typical homeowner likely pays somewhere around $400,000 (recent spikes in price are due to a newly constructed neighborhood in the southeastern reaches of the city), while renters fork out less than $1,000/month. Likewise, median household incomes are estimated at around $62,000. On top of the the lowly residential aesthetics and community vibe, Hollister records high crime-rates every year. If you want to live amongst the middle-class, head towards the southeastern corner where you’ll come across new, glamorous, two-story homes with attractive front yards and house fronts.

Hollister’s public transit options are comprised of only San Benito County Express, which serves the local community, but doesn’t travel outside of the district. Others use either State Route 25 (which runs northwestward) or State Route 156 which runs into Monterey Bay and down into the Central Valley. The city also encompasses Hollister Municipal Airport, which so happens to be for public use (but very rarely used by the local community). One of the cities most notable attractions is its annual motorcycle rallies which take place during the July 4th parade.
  • Affordable
  • Small Town Feel
  • Average Schools
  • High Unemployment
  • Nothing to Do
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"Only Unemployment is Wild Here"

Brando fans take note: The Wild One was based on the motorcycle rallies that used to take place here up until a few years ago. It was also pivotal in the creation of the Hell’s Angels and in the evolution of Hunter S. Thompson as writer.

That said, to say that Hollister is a one horse town, would be an exaggeration. The horse, long since moved to Salinas to get some action.

What I mean is, Hollister still looks pretty much like it did back in the day. Even as it has become a bit of bedroom community for commuters into Morgan Hill and San Jose, it has not really evolved in terms of giving any one anything to do—unless what you think of as a fun weekend is paint ball and the rodeo topped off by a bit of drunken midnight cow tipping. (Okay, I don’t really know about the cow-tipping—I only tip waitresses.)

The point being that, as Gertrude Stein put it about Oakland, “There is no there, there.”

That said, if you like a super-small town feel with leafy streets and the same homes you would expect to find 80 years ago, you might love Hollister. It is definitely that.

Unfortunately, unless you are a farm worker (and even if you are a farm worker), there really are not many jobs to be had in this area. The unemployment rate in Hollister, as of March 2011 (that’s the latest I could find) was 22%. So basically more than one in five residents of Hollister can’t find a job. That is basically twice the average in California which currently has the second worse employment rate in the country. (Second only to Nevada)

So in one of the worst states for employment, this is one of the worst areas.

If that hasn’t dissuaded you, the good news is that Hollister is very affordable. You can find a 3 bedroom house for $1500/month in Hollister. If you are looking to buy, the median home price is around $325K. Virtually no homes—even on the hilly outskirts—break the million dollar barrier. (Though there are some large lots and ranches on sale for these prices.)

The schools in Hollister are kind of a mixed bag, some have pretty terrible scores while others are okay. Hollister High is about average. In part this is due to the large number of migrant workers on the community that strain the ESL resources. Schools are still solid, however, despite this, which suggests to me they must be doing something right.

If you are a real estate speculator with an eye for the long term, this might not be a bad place to invest given urban sprawl. Once the economy picks up again Hollister may be the next stepping stone for Bay Area advancement. Think of what Livermore and Pleasanton were like 20 years ago versus now.
  • Affordable
  • Small Town Feel
  • The Next Livermore Maybe
  • High Unemployment
  • Nothing to Do
  • Average Schools
Recommended for
  • Country Lovers

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More