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Old 03-15-2011, 08:12 PM
 
653 posts, read 741,812 times
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Hello,

Which part of the Bay Area / San Jose is the most walkable, safe, and vibrant/active for a mid-30s single female?

Does the city shut down at 5pm when workers retire to the suburbs, or are there still pedestrians shopping and dining?

I'm not a bar person, but I am looking for an area where I can walk out my front door after a day at the office and be around other professionals in a safe area. And if I could walk to work (and just drive on the weekend), that would be even better.

Thank you!
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Old 03-16-2011, 05:56 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
9,876 posts, read 6,609,568 times
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I'd suggest Mountain View as a good, vibrant walkable downtown.
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Old 03-17-2011, 01:13 PM
 
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San Francisco. You are really, really looking for San Francisco. The South Bay is generally average suburbia with little (.5 to 1.0 mile) downtowns here and there. There are some walkable areas in the South Bay, but they all have some downsides:

* Downtown San Jose - Has the most amenities in the South Bay by far (theaters, grocery stores, museums, movies, bars, restaurants, awesome library, lots of events, etc.) but is wild, drunken and loud in the middle of the night most nights per week. Crime is fairly high, but not really higher than a lot of San Francisco. Not much serious violent crime, but lots of fights. Check Myneighborhoodupdate.net. I wouldn't necessarily recommend a lot of walking around by yourself, at let's say, 10 PM. Actually is *much* more crowded at midnight than it is at noon, which is weird. It's not really much of a Downtown once you get more than about 3/4 mile from San Fernando or First. College crowd. $1,500 - $1,600 for a nice one bedroom, though there are some nice older places near 6th and San Fernando for less (no pets at these places). This is the most vibrant option in the South Bay, but not the safest or the quietest.
* Downtown Willow Glen - Safe and really nice surrounding neighborhood, but small at maybe .5 miles long. Pedestrian traffic is pretty slow after dark. Close to Downtown SJ, without the negatives of Downtown. Not much rental property. Family crowd.
* Downtown Campbell. Also pretty nice, also *really* small (4 blocks). On the bike trail, which is really cool, and has Trader Joes and Whole Foods nearby. Surrounding area is not nearly as nice as Willow Glen. Awesome Farmer's Market on Sunday.
* Santana Row - You're essentially living in a nice outdoor mall. Lots of pedestrian traffic, but at the intersection of two major roads, and no walkability at all outside the development/mall. Really expensive. $1,800+ (?) for a one bedroom. Some people view it as superficial.
* Downtown Los Gatos - Really nice Downtown - Very safe, about 1 mile long, more trees here, which is nice. On the bike trail, small movie theater, grocery store being rebuilt nearby. Mostly an older, moneyed crowd. Not a great location for commuting.
* Downtown Mountain View - One of the bigger Downtowns, at 8-9 blocks. Mostly restaurants, but good ones. Surrounding area is pretty nice, except for one little spot. The one set of newer, nicer apartments here are $2,000 per month for a 1 bedroom. Google/software developer crowd.
* Downtown Palo Alto - Bigger even than Mountain View, but even more expensive. Has a movie theater, Farmer's Market, grocery stores, etc. Stanford crowd.

By the way, I've written several versions of this post, so search my user name to find those. I'll give you the same advice I've given other people - visit these places and walk around over a long weekend to get a feel for them.

If you want walkability, life on the street and a no drive commute you want San Francisco or maybe Berkeley. You're only going to find small islands of it in the South Bay, and traffic down here is really bad (think 2-3 minutes per mile for your commute, unless you live in South San Jose, where it will be worse.)

Last edited by 511pf; 03-17-2011 at 01:27 PM..
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Old 03-18-2011, 04:11 PM
 
Location: South Korea
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The area around Mission Bay and the ballpark in SF. Yuppie/empty nester condoland. It's at most a 20 minute walk to where most offices are in downtown SF.
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Old 03-18-2011, 05:01 PM
 
Location: The High Seas
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I think the majority of Silicon Valley towns and Peninsula towns have decent and walkable downtowns. There are some exceptions like Los Altos Hills, where there is no town, but very rich folks who live behind lots of foliage. And, is it Atherton that houses the very rich on their mini-estates and has a downtown taken from a block in Tijuana?
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:01 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snort View Post
I think the majority of Silicon Valley towns and Peninsula towns have decent and walkable downtowns. There are some exceptions like Los Altos Hills, where there is no town, but very rich folks who live behind lots of foliage. And, is it Atherton that houses the very rich on their mini-estates and has a downtown taken from a block in Tijuana?
Atherton is all residential and doesn't have a city center. The "downtown" that resembles a part of Mexico is in neighboring Redwood City, which has a lot of shops, taquerias and the like that cater to Latinos. It's called Little Michoacan, and it's a great place to find a torta.
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Old 03-19-2011, 02:33 PM
 
Location: surrounded by reality
526 posts, read 995,782 times
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Not sure what part of Redwood City you're describing, but what I would consider downtown RWC doesn't quite fit that description. Broadway between Main and El Camino has fairly nice restaurants and shops (not that Mexico can't be nice). What you describe would probably be the area south(-east) of Woodside Rd.
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Old 03-19-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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I would offer to show you around san Jose, and there is pretty nice places, Santana Row and Los gatos, Palo alto, Great mall, and San fransisco, Just give me call 4084692774 we can hang around together or chat on yahoo (newspikeyege@yahoo.com)
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
9,876 posts, read 6,609,568 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peninsular View Post
Not sure what part of Redwood City you're describing, but what I would consider downtown RWC doesn't quite fit that description. Broadway between Main and El Camino has fairly nice restaurants and shops (not that Mexico can't be nice). What you describe would probably be the area south(-east) of Woodside Rd.
Correct - that part of Redwood City with the many Mexican businesses is adjacent to the Atherton town border, is quasi-industrial, and is not considered downown Redwood City. Sorry if I did not elaborate.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Newark, CA
2,165 posts, read 4,738,423 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by salemphi View Post
I would offer to show you around san Jose, and there is pretty nice places, Santana Row and Los gatos, Palo alto, Great mall, and San fransisco, Just give me call 4084692774 we can hang around together or chat on yahoo (newspikeyege@yahoo.com)

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