8.6 out of 10

Livermore

Ranked 9th best city in California
37.6806275200393 -121.759877397816
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Childcare
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Clean & Green
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
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Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Oct 19, 2015

"Cowboy wine country... down to earth place with something for every age"

Moved here 10 years ago and stayed because of the friendly people, the wide open spaces, the proximity of things to do and the wine country vibe. Its really more of a home town than just a place to live.
One thing people don't know is that Livermore has been around since the 1860s and has a lot of history. The downtown has historic buildings and there are beautiful, old graceful homes in the old area of town. The oldest wineries are from this area; the first wine to win in the French exposition from California in 1884 was from the Cresta Blanca winery, now part of the Wente group. The clones of vines from 2 big Livermore wineries (Wente for chardonnay and Concannon for cab) are responsible for around 80% of vineyards planted in Napa at the present day. The mayor of SF even had a summer residence in Livermore, the beautiful Ravenswood estate. The vineyards have been designated as a protected area, and they are preserved in perpetuity and will never become victims of urban sprawl. There are around 50 wineries as of now and many have really good but affordable wines! Try out the Concannon wine bar, underdog, where they also have their old ancestral home which hosts Shakespeare plays once a year, or go to a Wente winemakers concert. Try McGrail and Steven Kent for their cabs! or any of the smaller wineries for a personal wine experience.
There are also beautiful, world class golf courses in the area (Wente, Poppy ridge). In the south, Lake del Valle provides fishing areas, while several preserves are good for hiking and biking (such as Sycamore Grove and Brushy peak).
The downtown area, which has been revitalized, offers a lot of food choices and small, local boutiques. On Friday and Saturday evenings, people stroll along and even the younger crowd can find places to go and have fun, with live music and dancing. Several wine bars offer a good place to hang out, and there are a couple of fancy places plus the ever popular Alehouse with local draft beer and fantastic burgers. There are a lot of artsy festivals (harvest festival, wine festival, artwalk) as well as a rodeo.
Shopping has recently gotten a boost with the opening of the high end outlets close to the freeway.
Schools are, in my opinion, OK. If you don't like public, there is a friendly, small Catholic school (St. Michael's) and also a Lutheran and a Montessori school, the kids who go to these all seem to be very well behaved.
Medical care is nearby, there are no hospitals in Livermore but Valley care (under the Standford group) has clinics and an ER there, plus the big hospital is 10 mins away in Pleasanton.
So far, house prices have been really going up and they sell like hotcakes! Its still a bit more affordable than other areas but if you want to move to this area, better hurry. You might even find a villa planted with some acres of vineyards for a couple of millions (that's pretty decent!)
Pros
  • Diversity economic profiles
  • Bang for your buck
  • Good downtown scene
  • Great parks and recreation
Cons
  • Traffic all around town
  • Far from San Francisco
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Good Silicon Adjacent Bedroom Community"

Livermore is a city to the east of Pleasant along the way to places like Gilroy. Like Pleasanton, Livermore is mainly a bedroom community for Silicon Valley workers looking for a relatively affordable middle-class suburban place to raise their families. Livermore, however, is not more upper middle class than middle-class with the medium income for a household here hovering around $92 K.

If you have heard of Livermore and live outside of the Bay Area, it is probably in relation to the nuclear program. Lawrence Livermore Labs which was heavily involved in the nuclear program throughout the Cold War (Oppenheimer was a UC Berkeley professor) is located just outside the town limits.

But Livermore isn’t really about that these days. These days, in addition to being the above mentioned bedroom community, Livermore is home to more than a dozen wineries on its southern end, the Wente Wineries being its most famous and probably largest.

You can kind of see the growth of Livermore by circling out from the center of town and watching as the homes get newer and newer. You can actually find a good number of early 20th Century homes right near the center of town. These older homes are really small—we are talking less than 1000 sq. ft.

These homes are mostly surrounded by 40’s, 50’s and then 60’s style Ranch homes, again with the newer ones circling out like ripples from a stone in a pond. These are mostly smaller style homes with small backyards.

As you get away from these central Livermore areas, you get a lot of newer Contemporary style homes, more like the kind that you find in Pleasanton. Nice but so similar to each other that they would be impossible to distinguish if you didn’t have house numbers.

The schools here are fairly strong as well with the worst ones still being on the upper end of average. Granada High is probably the strongest, getting an API of 10, while the worst is East Avenue Middle School which is still pretty strong.

There are all the usual things you expect in a mid-sized suburban town of this kind, including a movie theater and even a couple of pretty nice restaurants in the downtown area. For those looking to have a meal in town I would recommend the Kabob House on Railroad, Sansar (an Indian joint), Dimitri’s (a Mediterranean place) and Terra Mia (an Italian place)—all of the later one are on 1st Street.

Livermore also has a decent community college, Las Positas College.

Overall, though kind of on the boring side, Livermore is a pretty good place for those Silicon Valley workers looking for a place to raise their families.
Pros
  • Good Schools
  • Bang for your buck
  • Good downtown scene
  • Great parks and recreation
Cons
  • Kind of Boring
  • Extreme summer/winter temperatures
  • Far from San Francisco
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
2yrs+

"Bay Area...ish"

Livermore is hot in the summer, cold in the winter, suburban, and kind of far from San Francisco and the coast, but it is good for one very unique thing - it provides a reasonably affordable place to live that is safe, comfortable, and in the Bay Area.

There are some other perks to this town, including wineries, proximity to Mount Diablo, Rose Peak, and other great outdoor activities, and lots of sunshine. The downtown area is actually pretty cool, and all things considered, traffic isn't too bad. 580 can get you right to Oakland in a half hour, and is a gateway to Yosemite and the Sierras.

If you are looking to live anywhere in the Bay Area and are on a tight budget, you may want to consider Livermore.
Pros
  • Bang for your buck
  • Great parks and recreation
  • Good downtown scene
Cons
  • Extreme summer/winter temperatures
  • Far from San Francisco
  • Some cell phone dead zones
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers

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