8.8 out of 10

Charles Hill Pl, Orinda

37.8935616986039 -122.17041930534
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
  • Childcare
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Pest Free
  • Shopping Options
  • Cost of Living
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"Best Area for Orinda Renters"

The Charles Hill neighborhood, along the hills just off the St. Stephens exit from Highway 24, is perhaps the most affordable area of Orinda for renters. Largely this is because the Charles Hill neighborhood encompasses the Orinda Woods section of Orinda where all of the tiny single occupancy apartments stand overlooking the highway as it winds up towards the Caldecott Tunnel. The rents here can be as low as $900, which is amazing given that the views of the valley leading to the tunnel are quite amazing. The apartments are tiny but offer Tennis Courts and pleasant hill top sidewalks perfect for walking, jogging or even biking. (There are a couple of artificial ponds up atop the aptly named Altarinda as well.)

Of course, many rents rise up much higher as well. Along Altarinda Rd. you will also find many of the Orinda City offices like the police station and several office buildings. (There is a Blood Test lab here—for example.) This is also the home of Holden High School, a tiny, but very well-liked private high school attended by a few Orinda teens and an extension of JFK University. Montessori also has a school here.

This may seem counter-intuitive given that the neighborhood is right by the freeway, but the homes here tend to skew younger than the homes in other neighborhoods in Orinda. Most of the homes in the area date to the 70’s and 80’s—even though many of the homes farther away from the freeway in other Orinda neighborhood date to the 50’s. Unlike the apartments that tend to have only 2 to 4 rooms total, the homes here are fairly large, most having 9 or more rooms, pools and large yards. You will find a lot of redwood shingles and street side garages bordered by heavy bush cover curtaining off the homes beyond.

The drawbacks of the Charles Hill neighborhood are fairly obvious. It is very expensive to own a home here and renting an apartment means living in a very confined space, which may be okay if you are single but definitely would be cramped for anyone with kids.

In addition, this is hillside living for those who own homes and that means the usual hillside problems: narrow lanes with no side walks (not good for kids to bike or walk), erosion during the rainy season, fire during the dry, wild critters who eat roses and tip garbage cans, and an Orinda city that puts a fair amount of responsibility on the shoulders of owners to care for private roads and sewage problems.

That said, this is a great place to live. If I were single and childless at my age, I would feel lucky to live in one of those little tiny apartments looking over the 24.
  • Great Little Apartments
  • Great Schools
  • Nice Tennis Courts/Views
  • Not Good For Renter with Families
  • Hillside Problems
  • Expensive for Owners
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish

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