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Old 08-21-2011, 06:53 PM
 
6 posts, read 53,389 times
Reputation: 11

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I'm 28 and new to the Bay Area (I come from NC) and am looking for a place to live in the Bay Area. Actually I am still not 100% settled on living here just yet, but my decision on whether or not to stay depends on finding a good place to live. My job lets me work from home so I have flexibility in picking a neighborhood.

Here are my main criteria:

* Studio or 1br, rent range from $900-$1100
* Cats welcome (I plan to get a cat one day)
* SAFE - I am a single female. I don't want to be near thugs or bad neighborhoods
* Walkable - I don't have a car. I'd like to be able to walk to grocery stores, shopping, etc.
* Near BART if possible, so that I can get to SF when needed
* Good for young professionals - so I'm not big on the partying/club scene. Would be nice to live around other young professionals and/or grad students if possible, ages 25-35

Not required but would be nice to have:

* A city with warmer weather...I miss the warm NC weather. I love SF so far but the cool weather would eventually become tiresome. I love NC's hot summers. Any Bay Area cities that are warmer?

That's about it. Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

ALSO: I'd like some insights on my situation. This would be my very first home of my own, after moving out of my childhood home. I've been staying with a relative in the Bay Area for about 2 weeks now and I've all of a sudden become very homesick. I love what I've seen of the Bay Area so far, but it doesn't feel like HOME. How can you know for sure if it's just homesickness or if you should give it more time? Did you experience that when you first moved out of your childhood home?
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:06 PM
 
43 posts, read 104,319 times
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Downtown San Jose? It's warm, there's a Caltrain station, walkable, San Jose State is there for the grad students... San Jose in general is really safe so I'm assuming downtown is.
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:57 PM
 
6 posts, read 53,389 times
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Thanks for your suggestion. Wow, fast response! I didn't know San Jose was in the Bay Area. I will have to check it out. How is San Jose in comparison to SF and other Bay Area cities?
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:42 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 13,076,984 times
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San Jose blows, the downtown is ok but outside of it it's endless suburban sprawl.

Berkeley, SF and Oakland are really the only places you can really live without a car easily in the Bay Area. Berkeley and Oakland would be easier if you had a bike to get around, the local bus system doesn't run that often.

In SF you won't easily get a studio under $1100, maybe more like 1200-1400 now. Also most landlords in SF don't allow pets. In the nice parts of Oakland you can get a studio for around say $750-900, and a 1br around $800-1200. Berkeley is probably going to be a bit more expensive, the college kids there really dominate the real estate market there so it can be competitive to find a place.

In Oakland I'd look at Rockridge, parts of the Temescal (some of it can be kind of seedy), the Piedmont Ave area, Adam's Point, Cleveland Heights. All should be pretty safe but like anywhere in the urban Bay Area you'll need some street smarts. In Berkeley mainly avoid the SW corner of the city, I'd mainly look at areas near downtown Berkeley or near the North Berkeley BART station.

Alameda and Albany might also work as other options but I think living in either without a car would be trickier.

And you haven't made the Bay Area your home yet so of course it won't feel like home. Only move somewhere new if you don't like where you are. I wouldn't want to live somewhere in the South like NC but that's just me, I grew up in Florida and while I like going back there to visit I'd go crazy if I lived there. I like living in cities so after college I moved to Chicago then made my way out here after a couple years and haven't looked back.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:56 PM
 
Location: San Diego, California Republic
16,588 posts, read 27,384,877 times
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I agree with mayorhaggar for the most part. Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco are really the only places where you can live without a car. I would actually say that AC Transit in Oakland and Berkeley really aren't that bad. The areas in Oakland suggested are perhaps your best bet. Oakland has more pet friendly areas than SF and is generally warmer than SF. However this doesn't mean hot summers. The summers are mild to warm, at times can be cool with a good sea breeze.

For the list you have, where ever you go you'll be giving up something but Oakland seems to be the place that comes closest.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:10 PM
 
6 posts, read 53,389 times
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Thanks guys for the info. Hmm, I'm a bit bummed that there aren't many walkable areas in the Bay Area after all, I thought that it was mostly walkable. I'll look into the Rockridge area of Oakland. I've never been to Berkelely so I'll look into that as well.

Now that I think about it, it might be time for me to do some serious thinking as to whether or not I want to live here, in a walkable area with lots to do....but very expensive...or move back East, buy a car and get an apartment that would be more "bang for my buck". It's a trade off, I'm seeing. Do I want to spend extra money on rent or a car? Decisions, decisions.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:24 PM
 
Location: South Korea
5,242 posts, read 13,076,984 times
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Chicago is the only really walkable big city in the US with excellent public transit that is particularly affordable, maybe check it out if you want to live the urban life on a smaller budget--though really if you are living without a car and have any decent office job in the Bay Area you'll live about as well as you would in Chicago, and you'd be spared the horrible winters and hot summers there. If you don't really care about the urban lifestyle then I dunno, maybe you wouldn't like being in the Bay Area, but you do say you want to live somewhere walkable.

And no the Bay Area outside of SF is not really walkable. Oakland and Berkeley have walkable areas but are more spread out. Once you get out of those three cities it's suburban sprawl and centered around car travel...some areas are denser than others but by and large you really need a car outside of SF/Oakland/Berkeley.

And Gentoo, AC Transit has nicer buses than Muni but their buses just do not run frequently enough to make it a better alternative than riding a bike, they show up like every 20 minutes a lot of the time which is just silly. Some lines like the 1 or 51 run about every 10-12 minutes most of the time which is a drag compared to riding in SF, but it's manageable...but often they'll randomly skip a bus run or two so you end up waiting like 40 minutes for a bus.
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:56 PM
 
10,920 posts, read 6,908,243 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Part Feline View Post
Thanks guys for the info. Hmm, I'm a bit bummed that there aren't many walkable areas in the Bay Area after all, I thought that it was mostly walkable.
Well, most of the towns have "walkable" areas (all of the peninsula towns, for instance, have a walkable downtown area, often centered around a Caltrain station). And all of SF, and of Oakland and Berkeley are very walkable. However, I think what you're getting at is living car-less. This really can only be done in SF, and maybe Berekely and Oakland. And honestly, there are only a few places in the country where you can do that easily (probably just NYC, Chicago, Boston, SF in my opinion). Personally, I couldn't live car-less, even if I lived in SF, as I need to be to places all over the bay area for various reasons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Part Feline View Post
Now that I think about it, it might be time for me to do some serious thinking as to whether or not I want to live here, in a walkable area with lots to do....but very expensive...or move back East, buy a car and get an apartment that would be more "bang for my buck". It's a trade off, I'm seeing. Do I want to spend extra money on rent or a car? Decisions, decisions.
Yes, it is more expensive here; but if you can live without a car, you would save lots of money. I would seriously consider the trade offs of what you want, though.
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Old 08-22-2011, 03:42 AM
 
43 posts, read 104,319 times
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Well, this is the blog of a woman who lives in downtown San Jose, has a job, and doesn't have a car, so...

http://sanjoseday-by-day.blogspot.com/

Also, Oakland is by no stretch of the imagination safe.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Los Altos Hills, CA
36,656 posts, read 67,506,468 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sustainovation View Post
Also, Oakland is by no stretch of the imagination safe.
The solution: Dont live in the hood.

See how easy that is?

LOL
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