Family friendly areas in San Francisco - any advice please! (San Jose: houses, neighborhoods)
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The weather is great in California, but it is important to note, that the temperature changes a lot during the day. In the summer, the high and low will have a 20 degree spread. In the winter, it is more like 12. We don't have warm evenings, it is cool in the evening (and this saves you on your cooling bills in the summer.). Most places that have outdoor seating also have heating lamps.
In terms of your assessments on the housing prices, that is correct. Homes in nice neighborhoods are expensive. You need to decide what is most important to you: price, commute time, neighborhood feel? You'll find most "neighborhood personalities" on all sides of the Bay Area, but the price can vary.
There are TONS of great neighborhoods in the east bay (Oakland included), but they generally are an annoying commute a place like SSF. SSF is just a slightly weird location, and the only options to get there are coming from the north or south. In your situation, I'd recommend the Peninsula for a shorter commute. If you don't mind a longer commute, Alameda would be a good choice, and likely be faster than the nice parts of Oakland or other parts of the east bay that are further out.
I wouldn't recommend Lafayette for you, crappy commute. You'd be stuck in all of the traffic going to SF and the tunnel is packed.
I'd propose living in Oakland neighborhoods like: Rockridge, Montclair, Glenview, Trestle Glen Piedmont Ave or the city of Piedmont (which is basically between surrounded by all of those neighborhoods). All of these areas are nice ranging from well-off to affluent and offer great access to SF, the freeway and cute commercial districts (most of the best ones in Oakland).
The best fit for you is the Peninsula, but the cheapest areas are foggy and the non-foggy areas are expensive.
The Bay is an amazing place to live, and I can't think of somewhere else I'd rather be. But when (if) the time comes for me to raise a family, I am seriously worried about being priced out. I personally think it takes a $250k household income to live the sort of middle class lifestyle I want. California is out of money, and it take a lot to live in a neighborhood with a great school district.
In many ways, the Bay Area is like living in the NYC Metro: you need to make some sacrifices to make it, but you'll be rewarded with amazing opportunities.
It is generally very diverse here, there are lots of opportunities for professional development, and the level of talent and intellect here is extraordinary. You can almost travel the world by visiting different parts of the Bay Area, and the seasonless weather allows you to take advantage of being outside year round (but if you think summer = shorts and tank tops, you'll be disappointed if you live anywhere in the inner bay area). If you are a foodie, you'll be amazed at the quality of ingredients and restaurants. There are plenty of cultural attractions, and nature is easily accessible. If you can afford it, it is great.
Great posts jade408! Unfortunately I can't rep you again.
Kentmum, the San Francisco Bay Area has a place for eveyone who is open to the Norhtern California lifestyle. You may have to commute a bit if you want a large home. You may have to sacrifice for a smaller home if you want a shorter commute. It's all doable depending on what works for your family. Go ahead and check out the areas that interest you when your husband goes out for his interview and get an idea for yourself what is best for your famly.
- The Peninsula is basically what people say to refer to San Mateo County. Daly City and Pacifica are on the coast and are definitely chilly most of the time. But anywhere from around Millbrae and south is warm and sunny in the summer, like in the 80's when Pacifica would be more like 60.
- The Peninsula would be the best place to commute to SSF from and has lots of nice towns with good schools, the problem is expense, San Mateo County is basically a bedroom for San Francisco AND Silicon Valley so it's very expensive. 900K and up homes are common. But maybe there are decent deals somewhere like San Bruno? Again I would just bite the bullet and rent here for a year and see how you like renting and San Mateo County, you could probably find what you are looking for if you rent, but if you buy you might be priced out unless you can do a million (!!!) for a really average house.
- the East Bay is the best value anywhere near SF, there are places like Hercules where you can get houses for $200K, or places like Walnut Creek and Pleasanton where you can go more like 400-500K and get a nice new house. Unfortunately the commute is a drag to SSF, Alameda is the only place I can think of that would be a decent commute and wouldn't be horribly expensive and has ok public schools.
- anyone telling you to "avoid Oakland like the plague" is a moron. A lot of parts of Oakland are really great places to live, but the public schools are the one reason that parents with kids should avoid it, but SF has the same issue.
- also you have to realize that there are tons of microclimates in the Bay Area. The Pacific makes the coastal areas very chilly and windy yearround, but if you go further inland or to places that are shielded from the Pacific by mountains, you get warmer weather. Pacifica can be 60, SF can be 65, Oakland can be 70, San Jose can be 80, and Walnut Creek can be 90 on a typical summer day.
This would be my ideal scenario in order of importance:
Good local schools and good local community
4 bed single family home with garden
Period property if possible (Victorian / or Cape style)
We don't know yet what salary he will be offered but during his visit my husband will be getting a tour of various areas and has been told he will be shown properties between 1 and 1.5 million! ??
If you are willing to go up to 1.5M, you should be able to find a nice 4 bedroom home on the peninsula in one of the cities which has really good schools for elementary, middle and high school. I'd look at Millbrae, Burlingame, Belmont and San Carlos. With the exception of finding a victorian or cape code style home, Millbrae, Burlingame, Belmont and San Carlos meet all your other criteria.
hi Kentmum. Im a kent mum too! In similar situation heading out to SF with kids in a few months. Berkeley seems like a good option for families; good size houses, gourmet ghetto (restaurant area), walkable (dreading driving on the other side!) and safe. Alameda from what I've read seems a bit quiet. We live in Edinburgh and I get the idea that Berkeley is similar in feel which appeals. Be good to know what you've decided on. Cheers.
I am from the UK and my husband has an interview with Genentech in South San Francisco next week. I would really appreciate any advice on recommended areas to live so that if he is offered a job we can make a decision on whether its the place for us.
We are a family with 3 children aged 9, 7 and 5.
Go with Brisbane, CA. They have the most community feel right next to SSF, wonderful pool, elementary school, middle school & parks. I would feel safest having my kids there for commute to SSF. City of SF has big big problems with school system, we tried several times, and ended moving our primary home outside of SF for schools - we chose Pacifica to be near the ocean. But think Brisbane is the place to be near to SSF. 2nd choice would be just further to south - Burlngame.
I have to politely disagree with Brisbane. I worked there for over 10 years and never considered living there. It's very far from a 'european feel'. It's a great, safe city, but there is no vibrant downtown like Burlingame of San Mateo and if you need to do anything, even get gas, you have to drive to SF or So.SF. No grocery store, a few small restaurants. It's a little tame and I'm NO party animal.
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