Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-24-2009, 03:35 PM
 
24 posts, read 83,871 times
Reputation: 20

Advertisements

Hi all,

Would San Francisco make a good place for a family with a young child? How about schooling/childcare? What annual income would we need to put ourselves in a good area?

What would make a good alternative outside of California if we want the place to offer good access to watersports like surfing/windsurfing, art and culture?

Thanks a lot!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-24-2009, 03:51 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 26,629,167 times
Reputation: 6776
Depends on what you mean by good. The city itself has tons of kids (at least in certain neighborhoods), and there's lots of things to do: Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, walking along the water, exploring the various neighborhoods, tons of local parks, nice storytimes at the libraries, lots of family-friendly cafes, etc. I've heard some public schools are quite good, but currently the application process is pretty complex and confusing. Childcare is expensive, and some of the preschools have really long waiting lists. Some parents get really into the "hyperparenting" mode, although that's true everywhere (although I think it's worse in SF than in many places). There also seems to be a lot of people coming and going; the playgrounds are filled with conversations about moving elsewhere. Some people move to other areas of the Bay Area where they can possibly afford a house, or a bigger apartment, or because they don't want to go through the public school lottery system but don't want to pay for private schools, while others (like us) end up moving out of state, in part because the economy is bad right now and a lot of people are facing unemployment or reduced hours.

SF is also very expensive. Annual income needs would depend on your needs and expectations. Generally, though, it takes a lot of money to live a middle class life in San Francisco. If you get sucked into wanting to bring your kids to all the various classes offered (like the $20 music sessions for toddlers, etc., that seem to be so popular) it will cost even more.

Still, the pluses are that your kids will grow up in a very diverse city, be able to ride on cable cars (a favorite activity for our toddler), watch dolphins in the Bay, among other things. It's a great city for young children, IF you can afford it.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 05:26 PM
 
197 posts, read 973,707 times
Reputation: 94
IF you can afford it, anywhere is good.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Alaska & Florida
1,629 posts, read 5,366,523 times
Reputation: 837
Quote:
Originally Posted by Busyfornature View Post
Hi all,

Would San Francisco make a good place for a family with a young child? How about schooling/childcare? What annual income would we need to put ourselves in a good area?

What would make a good alternative outside of California if we want the place to offer good access to watersports like surfing/windsurfing, art and culture?

Thanks a lot!
If you think you can do surfing/windsuring on a daily basis in San Francisco, you must have never been here. The ocean is FREEZING! Only hardcore surfers actually surf in NorCal. It's also not a good city to raise a young child, the public schools don't have the greatest stats, there are homeless everywhere...don't get me wrong it is a GREAT city, if I could move back to SF, I would in a second, but it's too expensive.

An alternative for what you are looking for would be South Florida, specifically Fort Lauderdale, I'd live in Weston, FL which is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale. It's very nice with great schools. You are near Fort Lauderdale which has art, culture, and the BEACH, that you can actually swim in without a wetsuit.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 06:44 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,981 posts, read 8,952,831 times
Reputation: 4723
I think it USED to be a wonderful place to raise kids- back when it was middle class and more socially diverse. Even my family considered moving back to our roots, but most of our old friends talked us out of it- told us their were no families anymore. They don't know their neighbors anymore (this is the Sunset)

But then the housing bubble happened and the people that seemed to invade the City in droves were child-hating dinks/yuppies etc.

Taking a child (and from my experiences- even just stepping foot into place with kids in tow- restaurant/supermarket/anywhere) seems to be begging for singles to glare, roll eyes, tsk tsk (for destroying the planet"breeding") Tons of holier than thou PC types that have taken liberal to a new extreme altogether.

I think if you are in the "Avenues" in either the Sunset or Outer Richmond areas, it's mostly fine. But step into a more hip, youth, wealth oriented area and it becomes sorta hostile. Strollers not accepted- crying baby-no way. Tired toddler- people will stare angrily at your lack of parenting skills.

As someone that grew up in the City, it's just not a family friendly or family acceptable/oriented kind of place anymore.

As for the schools, well there are some good ones, but since many parents tend to look at the API scores etc- many schools look bad on paper. San Francisco does have the lottery system where you don't necessarily get to walk across the street to your local elementary school. Many children (including mine at the time) go into a school across the city! So for us, the private school route was the only way to go (but in many cases ((esp, with the Catholic schools)) it can be about your "status" as a Catholic, how much money you put in the basket, where you're from/who you know etc).

As for the activities, well yes, there is plenty to do (we were never bored!)...surfing probably won't be on the list though- honestly, the beaches are incredibly dangerous with the rip currents and freezing ocean, so only the most experienced surfers tend to venture out down the coast.

If/when my kids grow up and move out, I might be tempted to go back to be with my friends. But I wouldn't trade what I've got going on now out in the exurbs of the City (where all the ex-San Franciscans/Oaklanders live!)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 07:07 PM
 
10,629 posts, read 26,629,167 times
Reputation: 6776
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrzod View Post
IF you can afford it, anywhere is good.
I can think of a lot of places I wouldn't live, even if I could/can afford it. I think SF has a lot to offer, but the high price tag is a major consideration.

And clongirl makes a really good point about the bias against kids found in some parts of the city: it's not in all neighborhoods, but there are certainly some places where you feel like having a kid makes you a second-class citizen. Sometimes it felt like dogs have more rights. (nothing against dogs; I like them, too.)

San Francisco is also the only city where I've repeatedly had the experience of getting on a packed bus and initially not having anyone give up a seat so I could sit down with my too-young-to-stand child. Someone always has in the end, but sometimes not until the bus started and I started to wonder how I was going to manage.

We ended up in the Richmond, which I liked a lot. Very kid-friendly, with strollers everywhere (and older kids, too). plus easy access to Golden Gate Park and other amenities. But the lottery system for the schools is a really big issue. The schools may be good (and many of them are), but for us, too, the thought of potentially having to trek across town to school doesn't sound appealing, no matter how good the school.

If you're the kind of person who is stressed about keeping up with the neighbors it's also a rough city. It might be about getting into the "right" school, or it might be about only feeding your kid organic food from the "right" store (because heaven forbid they eat something as terrible as a ritz cracker).

There are many nice, non-competitive, more easy-going parents in the city, too, of course, and we really did find the Richmond to be a great place to have a young child. It's a very family-oriented place, without the pretentions that you can encounter some of the other neighborhoods, and our place was within walking distance of China Beach (wouldn't swim there, though). But you will pay a premium for everything from housing to food to to daycare, and that does squeeze a lot of middle class families out, even the ones who would like to stay. That bothers me as a middle class person, and it would also bother me if I was making $500,000 per year because a city without a solid middle class risks losing some of its soul.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 07:20 PM
 
12,823 posts, read 24,284,909 times
Reputation: 11039
Quote:
Originally Posted by uptown_urbanist View Post
The city itself has tons of kids (at least in certain neighborhoods)
That "certain neighborhoods" qualifier should read a couple or three neighborhoods. SF has become the USA's most childless city. It's even more childless than NYC. And this is no longer limited to the City proper. Inner burbs, especially the ones on the Peninsula, are becoming quite childless. We had only 5 trick or treaters this year in what is supposedly a "child friendly" San Mateo county enclave.

FWIW, as someone who was once a kid in SF / its burbs, the golden age of Bay Area childhood was the 1970s. The full impact of the baby bust had not yet taken hold, and yet, unlike the 50s or 60s there was already a lot of stuff to do here. A happy medium. Now, there may well be more things to do than 30 years ago but barely enough kids to do the activities. I realize there are enclaves in the S and E Bay where there are still tons of kids, but for how long?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-24-2009, 07:30 PM
 
12,823 posts, read 24,284,909 times
Reputation: 11039
Notes about surfing, sailboarding, diving etc. I started such activities at about 10 or 11. But I am an excellent swimmer and very, very comfortable with open water swimming. So, you will see a few youngins out in the water here. But with the typical helicopter parent phenomenon, it's increasingly rare.

A bit more of an ubiquitous surfer culture in burbs like Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, (plus more kids than in the City), you might want to check them out.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-25-2009, 10:09 AM
 
334 posts, read 1,062,717 times
Reputation: 236
SF is not a child friendly city at all. Don't move to the city with kids. You will be miserable and an outcast most of the time when you have your kids with you. If you move to the inner burbs like Marin, peninsula or east bay you will be within 20-30 min of SF, and then you can go home w/ your kids to an area more family friendly w/ better schools and safety. East Bay even has a subway (BART) to drop you off in various parts of the city and is stroller friendly.

If you want beaches and swimming in the ocean, move to San Diego. Very family friendly, good schools, and tons of surfing. They have some arts etc. in downtown. LA also has good surfing in Malibu and Manhattan Beach, and EXCELLENT arts everywhere. Theater, Music, Opera, tons of museums, whatever you want.

SF is great to do weekend activities w/ your kids, but not for living there full time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-25-2009, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,129 posts, read 31,123,949 times
Reputation: 6920
Quote:
Originally Posted by BayAreaHillbilly View Post
Notes about surfing, sailboarding, diving etc. I started such activities at about 10 or 11. But I am an excellent swimmer and very, very comfortable with open water swimming. So, you will see a few youngins out in the water here. But with the typical helicopter parent phenomenon, it's increasingly rare.
So does this mean us old-timers will soon have the waves all to ourselves? Yippeeee.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Settings
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:48 AM.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top