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Old 06-01-2011, 01:51 PM
 
4 posts, read 20,202 times
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My husband is in discussions for a new job in downtown San Francisco. We currently live in the Phoenix, AZ suburbs and have a 2 year old and due with a newborn very shortly. We also have two cats and a small dog. I am a stay at home mom.

All of our extended family is in the midwest or southeast parts of the country, so this will put us further away than we currently already are from family. I would eventually like to move back closer to family, so I imagine we would only plan to stay in the Bay Area for a few years at most.

Assuming the compensation and relo package is lucrative enough to make a move worth it, is it a good city for a young family? We currently enjoy our lifestyle with lots of activities for young children, lots of mom groups/activities, safe neighborhoods with parks, easy to get around, etc. Will a more urban city make things difficult with young children? Is it easy to meet other families since we will not know anyone in the area?

Also, since we are not very familiar with the area, where are good areas for a young family to live? We would likely look to rent since we aren't planning to stay there long term. Budget is somewhat TBD, but probably in the $2500-4500/month range and would be looking for a min 4 bedroom (or 3 bedroom plus den/office/loft space) single family home in a nice, safe, child friendly neighborhood. Community amenities such as a park, rec center, pool, etc. would be nice but not a requirement. We aren't afraid of suburban lifestyle or warm temperatures since that is where we currently live. However, since my husband's position would be located downtown, a commute under 45-60 minutes at most would be preferred. Especially if it could be on a train line, so he could potentially go through email and multitask while commuting.

Thanks for any insight!
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
17,336 posts, read 12,350,376 times
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Your best bets are Dublin, Pleasanton, Walnut Creek, "Lamorinda" (comprised of the cities of Moraga, Lafayette and Orinda). All of these areas are suburban, have good schools and are about 45-50 minute train ride away from downtown SF (or less). You should be able to find suitable options in your price range. I'd skip Danville, Alamo, and San Ramon: the BART (train) is pretty far away.

If you want something more walkable try Albany or Alameda. These areas do not have BART options, but have commuter buses to downtown SF that are typically far less crowded than BART and some have wifi. The bus ride would be 35 minutes or less (Alameda is less than 20 minutes.)

All of these areas are family friendly with good to excellent schools (by CA standards), with typical amenities. The top list is more suburban with strip malls and big box stores. Lafayette/Orinda/Pleasanton/Walnut Creek have downtown "main street" shopping districts as well. Albany and Alameda have mostly "main street" style shopping and better restaurants that feel more urban. They are also very walkable.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:45 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,921,019 times
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Yeah go with jade's recommendations. I think you will find what you are looking for in those places. Walnut Creek and Dublin/Pleasanton should be a bit more affordable than the Lamorinda area or Albany or Alameda plus they have warmer weather which you might prefer. Walnut Creek is 35 minutes to downtown SF on BART, Pleasanton is about 45.

And San Francisco is a small city and people make a distinction between SF and the suburbs here. I do not think you'd want to live in SF, it's very dense and crowded and expensive and the schools aren't very good, it's just not that welcoming to families with kids. It can be done but you need a certain temperament to live there with kids.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:48 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle, originally from SF Bay Area
14,871 posts, read 18,293,404 times
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I grew up in Lafayette and benefited from some of the best schools in the country there. With the BART station, the commute is a lot more tolerable than it was when my father drove to San Fancisco every
day. Sounds like schools are not going to be an issue if you leave before the 2 year old is 5, but will still be the safest with the most activities for kids.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Northern California
3,480 posts, read 9,193,800 times
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Look towards the peninsula south of San Francisco. Towns such as Burlingame, San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos or Redwood City would work out well. With a few exceptions, it's all safe, middle class suburbia with mostly good schools. All these towns are on the Caltrain commuter line caltrain.com The weather is not anywhere near warm by Phoenix standards but is warmer compared to San Francisco.

I don't recommend San Francisco itself. It's crowded, windy, foggy and the schools are not that good.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:35 PM
 
804 posts, read 1,270,402 times
Reputation: 503
Quote:
Originally Posted by tn1171 View Post
My husband is in discussions for a new job in downtown San Francisco. We currently live in the Phoenix, AZ suburbs and have a 2 year old and due with a newborn very shortly. We also have two cats and a small dog. I am a stay at home mom.

All of our extended family is in the midwest or southeast parts of the country, so this will put us further away than we currently already are from family. I would eventually like to move back closer to family, so I imagine we would only plan to stay in the Bay Area for a few years at most.

Assuming the compensation and relo package is lucrative enough to make a move worth it, is it a good city for a young family? We currently enjoy our lifestyle with lots of activities for young children, lots of mom groups/activities, safe neighborhoods with parks, easy to get around, etc. Will a more urban city make things difficult with young children? Is it easy to meet other families since we will not know anyone in the area?

Also, since we are not very familiar with the area, where are good areas for a young family to live? We would likely look to rent since we aren't planning to stay there long term. Budget is somewhat TBD, but probably in the $2500-4500/month range and would be looking for a min 4 bedroom (or 3 bedroom plus den/office/loft space) single family home in a nice, safe, child friendly neighborhood. Community amenities such as a park, rec center, pool, etc. would be nice but not a requirement. We aren't afraid of suburban lifestyle or warm temperatures since that is where we currently live. However, since my husband's position would be located downtown, a commute under 45-60 minutes at most would be preferred. Especially if it could be on a train line, so he could potentially go through email and multitask while commuting.

Thanks for any insight!
I would look at Burlingame. It's a short commute to SF (by train, or drive over to Millbrae and take BART), and either way it should only take about a half hour or so to get into San Francisco.

Burlingame has a huge mom's club [url=http://www.burlingamemothers.org/] for mom's of kids 5 and under. They have a real nice recreation center with lots of kids programs and a real nice park (Washington)http://www.burlingame.org/Index.aspx?page=33 . The community has a pool, Burlingame Aquatics, which has recreation swimming, lap swimming, swim lessons, club swim/water polo for older kids and master swimming/water polo for adults. They have two nice downtown areas, Broadway and Burlingame Avenue.

It appears you don't plan to stay long, but Burlingame also has excellent schools from elementary, middle on through to high school.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:35 AM
 
415 posts, read 351,361 times
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Since your husband will be working in downtown SF, another option to consider is Marin County - Sausalito, Tiburon, Mill Valley etc. He can either drive over the Golden Gate bridge (traffic and bridge toll) or take the Ferry. I have lived in San Rafael and commuted to d/t SF many times. It took me around 30-35 minutes to commute 3-4 years back. Don't know if things have changed since then.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:48 AM
 
49 posts, read 77,978 times
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As a born and raised SF native, I think San Francisco was a great place to grow up.

I don't know how people say that the schools aren't that good. Yes, I understand that it's an exception, but Lowell high school, a public school and my alma mater, is ranked one of the best in the USA.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:25 AM
 
Location: South Korea
5,245 posts, read 6,921,019 times
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Because it's hard to guarantee your kids will ever go to Lowell.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,163 posts, read 4,649,035 times
Reputation: 2936
Quote:
Originally Posted by turbored View Post
As a born and raised SF native, I think San Francisco was a great place to grow up.

I don't know how people say that the schools aren't that good. Yes, I understand that it's an exception, but Lowell high school, a public school and my alma mater, is ranked one of the best in the USA.
You said it yourself---it's the exception. Although public, it's acceptance policy is more like a private school--most kids don't get in despite good grades.
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