I grew up in San Jose, Ca (and still have family there), lived in Sacramento, CA for a few years while active duty in the USAF, lived in a suburb of Dayton, OH after graduating from college, lived and raised my family in Modesto, Ca, and am currently living in Reno, NV.
There's not enough money in the world to get me to move back to San Jose. Even if you can afford it, it is still ridiculously crowded with constant traffic.
Sacramento wasn't bad when I lived there but it was a lot smaller back then. Although hot in the summer, it is pleasant the rest of the year. There are plenty of job opportunities and the cost of housing is much lower than the bay area.
The most important thing I learned living in Dayton was that plenty of people live full and complete lives even though they can't surf and ski in the same day. It was definitely not an exciting town with lots of wealthy people and great weather like San Jose but I still liked it.
I had moved back to San Jose when I was offered a job in Modesto. I jumped at it and, like Dayton, was able to live a full and complete life in spite of it being a cow town in the Central Valley.
We ended up in Reno when we followed our oldest son who went to UNR. We love it here but ultimately will probably end up wherever our children land. Reno is a small city so there is little traffic. Because it is the gateway to the Lake Tahoe area and a gaming town, there are a lot more entertainment options than you would expect for a city of its' size. Being close to Lake Tahoe, there's world class skiing, lots of water sports, hiking and mt bike trails, camping, etc; definitely an outdoor paradise. The biggest downside to Reno is there just aren't that many jobs. Pinball wise, we only have one significant arcade (Press Start) although we're about 2 hours from Sacramento (in good weather!). No state income tax, sane gun laws (for a little longer), and more freedom oriented citizens are just bonuses.