10 Largest Cities in California

By PropertyClub Team
Jan 31st 2024
Home to roughly 39.2 Million residents, California has the largest population of any US state. With so much ground to cover, California’s cities also tend to be large and densely populated. Read on to discover the ten biggest cities in California by population.

hash-mark10 Largest Cities in California (2024)

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Diego
  3. San Jose
  4. San Francisco
  5. Fresno
  6. Sacramento
  7. Long Beach
  8. Oakland
  9. Bakersfield
  10. Anaheim

hash-mark1. Los Angeles (Population: 3,851,000)

With close to 4 million residents, the largest city in California is Los Angeles. LA is renowned for its film and entertainment industry, palm-lined boulevards, and iconic landmarks like Hollywood and Rodeo Drive. Los Angeles is also one of the most diverse cities in America making it a cultural melting pot. 

In addition to its enormous population, the city also has a footprint of roughly 468.9 square miles, making Los Angeles the undisputed biggest city in California by both population and area. 

hash-mark2. San Diego (Population: 1,382,000)

San Diego is the second-largest city in California by population, with approximately 1.4 million residents. This city sits roughly 26 minutes from the Mexican border and is the state’s southernmost metropolitan area. San Diego has a landmass of roughly 325.9 mi2. Though this technically makes San Diego the least densely populated city on this list, its vast population and colossal circumference make it the overall second-largest city in the state. 

hash-mark3. San Jose (Population: 986,300)

In addition to being California’s third-largest city, San Jose is also the biggest city in Silicon Valley by population. Located towards the southern end of San Francisco Bay, this area is well known for its high-end museums, parks, theaters, and stunning natural scenery. These attractions make the area popular among locals, nearly 1 million of whom occupy the 178 square mile city. 

hash-mark4. San Francisco (Population: 815,201)

San Francisco is also one of the biggest cities in California. Known for its steep hills and historic cable cars, booming tech industry, world-class culinary scene, and famous landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, San Francisco city is popular among foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and tech professionals. While its footprint is only 46.90 mi2, the local population size is roughly 815,000, making it one of California’s most densely populated areas. 

hash-mark5. Fresno (Population: 544,510)

Another one of the largest cities in California is Freshno. Situated in California's Central Valley, Fresno is a vibrant city known for its agricultural prominence.  Located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, this area is home to rich soil, bountiful orchards, and some of the state’s freshest produce. With a local population of about 544,510 residents and an area of about 115 mi2, Fresno is the fifth biggest city in California by population. 

hash-mark6. Sacramento (Population: 525,400)

Not only is Sacramento the state capital, but it is also California’s sixth-largest city. Located north of San Francisco Bay, Sacramento is a popular destination for those who prefer a thriving city with a laid-back attitude. Its unique combination of top-tier restaurants, wineries, breweries, and outdoor activities helps keep the local population around 525,400 people. And, with a landmass of about 98 square miles, Sacramento has one of the largest circumferences in the state.

hash-mark7. Long Beach (Population: 456,062)

Long Beach is another one of the largest cities in California. This area is known for its year-round sunshine, food and music festivals, and harboring one of the state’s largest sea ports. Long Beach has a population of 456,062 residents. These attractions make the city popular for those who desire quintessential coastal living. 

hash-mark8. Oakland (Population: 433,950)

Oakland is another one of California’s largest cities. Home to the infamous natural saltwater lake, Lake Merritt, Oakland is a staple for outdoor recreation, a family-friendly atmosphere, fine dining, and alluring nightlife. With so much to offer its residents, Oakland may only have a footprint of 55.9 mi2, but its population is 434,000 people. This makes the city both densely populated and a staple for big-city living.  

hash-mark9. Bakersfield (Population: 407,955)

Bakersfield is one of central California’s largest cities. Located about two hours from Los Angeles, this city is known for being a center of country music development and has a wealth of music venues, dance halls, and country music inspiration. Additionally, its close proximity to Interstate 5 makes it popular among commuters, tourists, and travelers alike. With a local population of roughly 408,000 people, Bakersfield is an excellent choice for those who prefer a big city with a rich music scene.

hash-mark10. Anaheim (Population: 345,940)

Anaheim is another one of the biggest cities in California. Located in Orange County, Anaheim is best known as the home of Disneyland Resort. This attraction, along with the Anaheim Convention Center, the Los Angeles Angels baseball team, and the Anaheim Ducks ice hockey team, make this thriving city a family-friendly place to live. Clean streets and a welcoming atmosphere keep the local population close to 346,000 people, making it one of the most populous cities in the state. Also, if you dream of living in California, you have the option to check out our article on the cheapest places to live in California.

hash-markLargest Cities in California Comparison




Area (mi2)


Los Angeles

3.85 Million



San Diego

1.4 Million



San Jose




San Francisco












Long Beach