Well, Albuquerque (where I live) is really on the boundary of having "real fall"; mostly it's the cottonwood trees in the Bosque (riverside trees). Most of the rest of the area is Sonoran desert, so just brown and scrubby.
Looks like there are a few options if you have the chance to get out on a field trip:http://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/fall-colors-in-california.cfm
(Too late for this year, sadly.)
For me, moving from New Jersey (with a year-long stop in Louisiana) to the desert southwest (grew up in Las Cruces, NM) was a shock. And the dissonance of seeing the "standard" Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations (leaves and trees) in the face of "well, it's a bit cooler and a bit drier yet, so a dusty brown and green instead of a less-dusty brown and green"... sad.
Probably the closest to "real fall" I felt as an adult was the three years I lived in Fort Collins, Colorado (1998-2001). My apartment was in an older suburb, with a creek just a few hundred feet away, and a very nice walk/bike to the grocery store through another older neighborhood with trees, creeks, even a little lake formed by a dam: http://g.co/maps/ahtqz
Denver (1995-1998) had real winter, but I was in the dirty / not-much-snow section of town, sadly.
I too got bored with California coastal weather, so much so that I always looked forward to the 2-3 weeks of storms we usually got right after the New Year. Beats being able to say that you have the same weather every day for weeks straight...