FlowerGirl

  • Local Expert 12,877 points
  • Reviews 51
  • Questions 0
  • Answers 453
  • Discussions 14

Reviews

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

"French Restaurants and Dive Bars"

It is not super fancy but it does have a pretty good array of choices in terms of dining options. Restaurants worth visiting here include Cafe Brioche (a French place great for Sunday brunch), Palo Alto Sol (a Mexican place), Mediterranean Wraps, Jade Palace and my favorite among them Baume. Baume is an amazing French restaurant right at the end of the street--by the Amtrak station. I think this is actually a Michelin grade restaurant. Last time I went I had the lamb, which I would highly recommend.

But it is not just about the restaurants, the bars aren’t too bad either--in specific I would recommend Antonio’s Nut House which believe it or not, is a true blue dive bar in the middle of Palo Alto. I know it is hard to believe, but if you step inside this place you can almost imagine a Charles Bukowski type sauntering in and making his way to the end of the bar. And, of course, everyone’s favorite, a sign in the men’s urinal that reads “Please Don’t Throw Cigarette Butts in the Urinal; I Makes Them Soggy and Hard to Relight.” (Don’t ask me how I know what the sign say in the men’s urinal.)

Of course, these are not the only places along North California Ave. You get the usual kind of places you might expect, like a chiropractor and massage therapist, an office supply place and an optometrist--basically the usual sorts of places that you need to get your daily work done.

Overall a pretty good spot--totally my fav in Palo Alto.
Pros
  • Antonio's Nut House
  • Good Restaurants
  • Excellent Transportation
Cons
  • Expensive Area
  • Not Great for Shopping
  • Crowded at Lunch
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Hustle and Bustle and Fun of the City"

You really feel like you are in a big city on this section of the San Francisco. I haven’t really been to a lot of other cities having been born and raised here in the Bay Area, but this is probably one of my favorite sections of SF--a part of the city where you really feel like you are in the midst of the hustle and bustle.

Mission starts just one block south of the Ferry Building, feeding off Embarcadero. Much of this stretch of the Mission is packed with high rises but what brought me to this place was not the high rises but the Americano, a first floor cocktail bar and lounge right on the end of the Mission. (You can actually see the Ferry Building clock tower from through the Embarcadero side windows.) It is very cool and stylish and great place to bring in the New Year if you can manage it.

The other great restaurant here is Boulevard, the French restaurant right across the street. Be sure to try the filet mignon. There are also some other joints like Mixt Greens and even a Subway along this stretch but by far the best restaurants are down by the water.

I don’t know all the companies that have businesses in these offices but I know a couple of the big ones are Marin Software--some kind of big wig in the business software world, and the Forex Capital Markets.

Anyway, for me this place is all about the hustle and bustle and fun that is nearby. Even when I work nearby I used to more pass by the rest of the area rather than actually stay here. But you definitely need to make the big bucks to come here often.
Pros
  • Great Restaurants
  • Great Businesses
  • Great Transportation
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Heavy Traffic, Terrible Parking
  • Crowded and Noisy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"The Hungry Eye and the Basque Hotel"

Romolo Place is right off the heart of San Francisco’s Red Light District. Think of it as a little aneurysm. Okay, so that metaphor doesn’t quite work.

Romolo Place is basically an alleyway that climbs up off Broadway--less than a block from the corner with Columbus. If you know this section of San Francisco at all, you know this is where you will find all the strip joints.

Why is this alley worth a mention?

Because it is also home to two pretty cool places: the Basque Hotel, a really cool bar that feels a lot like a speak easy. If you happen to be in North Beach and want to get away from the crowds, this is a good spot to hide away for awhile. Unfortunately you will still get your share of drunk ass fratboys all hopped up from having seen T&A down by the Hungry Eye.

Overall kind of fun every so often though. Worth a visit.
Pros
  • Cool Bar
  • In the Heart of North Beach/Telegraph
  • Cool Victorians on Top End
Cons
  • Too Many Drunk Fratboys
  • Strip Joints and Some Crime
  • Overcrowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Berkeley's Frat Row"

I am surprised no one has reviewed this section of Berkeley before. The Panoramic Hill section of Berkeley is basically Frat and Sorority row. It is just to the southeast of the college, located right up against the hills and the now old football stadium (it was the stadium when I was there).

In addition to Sigma Pi and Alpha Delta Pi and the like there is also the Oscar Wilde House which is not a museum to the famous author but a residence specifically for LGBT students--a pretty cool idea I think. This is also where you will find the Clark Kerr Campus with it amazing looking Spanish style architecture. There are tennis courts and a big Olympic size pool up there.

Just above the fraternity houses there are large older homes, many of which are about a century old. These homes are along narrow winding streets and have street level garages and a tight feel that is more European than North American. You can see Coit Tower from here and I assume you get some pretty good bay views from the upper balconies and windows as well.

This is great spot to live if you are student since you can be on Campus within 5 minutes and since you are so close to action. I suppose I would love to be in one of those big homes as well. A pretty nice spot.
Pros
  • Close to Campus
  • Cool Older Spanish Style Homes
  • Oscar Wilde House
Cons
  • Packed with Frat Boys
  • Parking and Traffic
  • Party Noise
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"The Best Street in the East Bay Part Two"

Anyone who knows me knows how I love College Avenue. I’ve talked fondly of the stretch that you find in Berkeley and I’ve talked about how much I love Rockridge too. So what could be better than College Ave in Rockridge. And the answer is, not much!

Whether it is having brunch, meeting friends for drinks, getting some good eats to bring home, shopping for clothes or browsing books, this stretch of College from Claremont to Broadway has you covered. In fact, there is hardly enough time to do justice to all of the cool little joints there are here on College. And that is just what is here currently. If you have been coming back to College Ave for years on end like I have you probably now have a mental map not only of the current establishments but of all the memories you have of the places that used to be here.

But I will resist the pull of nostalgia and try to stick to what there is on College Avenue now. So let’s start with eats. Here are just a handful of restaurants you will find here: the Claremont Diner; Barney’s Burgers, the Crepevine, and Zachary’s Pizza of course; A Cote, a French place; Flavors of India, Wood Tavern and Rikyu, a sushi place.

You can also find some pretty good watering holes as well such as Barclay’s, McNally’s, George & Walts, and of course, the Graduate (which apparently is a mandatory bar name for every college town). I want to give a special shout out to the Conga Room, which has a Tiki bar decor and a good corps of loyal regulars that make sure it is always well attended and has a cool vibe.

And as far as places to shop for cool women’s clothes, you can go to Iniam, Fit, Chic, Crush or Bella Vita to just name a few. And if you’re just looking for a good book, be sure to try Diesel or Pegasus Books.

Does all this make you want to live here?

Well, first you should consider what it costs to rent here: a one bedroom around here will run you around $1500 and a two-bedroom around twice that much.

Of course you can’t beat it for the commute. College has its own BART station, which makes it a great spot for commuters--just in case you can’t get enough food and fun living here.

Put simply, College Avenue in Rockridge is just as great as it is in Berkeley. One of the best lanes in the world imo.
Pros
  • Great Boutiques
  • Good nightlife
  • Great food
  • Great public transportation
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Very Busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Work Hard, Play Hard"

This is the section of Oakland people head out to to take care of business. And I don’t just mean the kind that brings in money--I also mean the kind where you throw back a few and unwind some of the stresses of the week.

I worked down here at a temp agency for awhile and sometimes after work we’d head down to the Bar Three Five Five, which is a cool divey sort of hipster bar with a classic saloon look to it; or to the 19th Street Station, a slightly more business class bar. There are also a ton of little hole in the wall eateries and stores around here that feed off the local businesses.

19th Street is pretty ugly and not the sort of place that you want to loiter after dark unless you are looking for trouble. But it is also a very active stretch filled with high rises. You could literally work in a building for years without meeting or even seeing half the people in your building.

Part of what makes this a popular location for businesses and organizations is that it is right by the 19th Street BART station, which makes it easy for commuters from as far away as Pittsburg and Daly City to pop over without worrying about facing rush hour traffic. Driving is also not convenient here because of the parking situation--basically you have to pay for parking, and though not as expensive as SF, is still pretty expensive.

They other nice thing about this stretch of 19th Street is that though not in the Lakeside neighborhood it is still within walking distance of the Merritt Lake and the nearby park, a good spot for a walk or for lunch during the day.

The weather is fairly cool and there is a lot of activity, but there are also a fair number of homeless folks around. It is the big city, and if you aren’t used to it and can be a little intimidating.

And in case you think that it is all suits here, this is also the home of Oaksterdam University, whose central topic of research is cannabis. This is basically one of those streets where you feel the pulse and flow of commerce of all kinds.

I wouldn’t want to live around here, but I definitely miss working in a place like this.
Pros
  • Great for Business
  • Has Its Own BART Station
  • Cool Bars
Cons
  • Dangerous, Especially After Dark
  • Dirty and Noisy
  • Lots of Traffic and Overcrowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Trappist and Expensive Gentrified Apartments"

The big attraction to this section of 8th Street in Oakland is the Trappist Bar--good eats, nice selection of beers and a good place to chill with friends. It is one of those pubs that actually looks like a pub with brick walls and nice mahogany bar, except that they have an amazing selection of beers and pretty cool bartenders as well.

If you happen to live in the area you also might like the Go Sports Bar--which is not really my scene but I can imagine other people liking. You are also close enough to Chinatown that you get some East Asian businesses here, such as Kai’s Japanese Restaurant and the New Star Chinese Restaurant. There are also a number of offices and other businesses here.

Mixed in with these businesses and often housed in the floors above the storefronts are apartments and condos. Many of these are the typical 3-story Victorians that anyone who lives in SF or the East Bay is quite used to and some are those new fangled 3-story buildings in dark stucco pastel colors. (These newer constructions have become emblematic of the gentrification that has been taking place in Oakland for the last 20 years.)

I took a quick look at one of these newer condos one block over on 9th to see about what one costs and this what I found. A 770 ft. one-bedroom will run you $1800. At those prices you almost are better off living in the city.

Or you could buy one of these newer condos for about $300,000. (The older ones are about $200,000.)

I don’t know if any of that is really typical--that is just what I found when I took a look at some of the rental boards.
Pros
  • Cool Bar
  • Nice Newer Condos
  • Good Transportation
Cons
  • High Crime Area
  • Expensive Newer Condos
  • A Little Ugly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Nick's, the Mothership and the Vault"

For me, this section of Adeline is all about Nick’s Lounge. I don’t come to it all the time but every so often when I’m in the neighborhood I might drop in to chill a bit. They also have these pretty cool open mic nights that used to do local poets and that sort of thing--its a very college sort of atmosphere which sometimes makes me feel like I’m still an undergrad but lately more often than not makes me feel over the hill. They are actually doing an open mic for jazz singers which I am looking forward to this weekend.

The other nice thing about this stretch of Adeline is the it is right by the Ashby BART station, which makes it great for commuters. There are a butt load of cool places here too, including the Black Repertory Group, which you can think of as the Berkeley Rep with a focus on African Americans arts; Turtle Island Integrative Health, one of those New-Age Acupuncture massage sorts of places,and the really fabulous Mothership Hackermoms workspace--which is completely amazing. Mothership Hackkermoms is this place--with onsite childcare--where moms can come and explore their creativity and entrepreneurship. Very cool and very, very Berkeley.

There are also stores like The People’s Bazaar--a semi-furniture/antiques shop where you can come across some really cool stuff if you take the time to look hard enough.

As far as places to eat be sure to check out Chen’s Garden, the local Chinese food joint and Vault Cafe, the place to go for breakfast.

Overall this is pretty good stretch and far enough of the UC campus where rents are pretty reasonable. Also with BART nearby, commuting is a cinch.
Pros
  • Great Bars and Restaurants
  • Cool Businesses
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Noisy
  • Lots of Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Parlare and a Capitol Time but not for Living"

Came here to 10th Street in Downtown Sac to go to the Parlare Euro Lounge, it is one of those classy dimly lit joints with couches you can lounge on and bottle service. It’s one of those joints that has a dress code: you know, no baseball caps or saggy jeans. Basically, no gang-banger types. But they seem to enforce the dress code very selectively. There is no cover to get in so this place was totally packed and the dance floor was like a sardine can.

Enjoyed it anyway. As to the rest of 10th Street in Downtown, it has lots of other things going for it as well. It stretches from Highway 50 (W Street) to F Street, so it crosses over a lot of blocks. Other notable watering holes along 10th include The Fox and Goose, an English Pub/Restaurant that definitely trends older, and The Social Night Club, which is great dancing fun if you can get by the door and don’t mind waiting for a bit; and a couple of restaurants.

You also have some hotels here--the Shasta and the

Like most of this western part of Sacramento, there are a lot of pre-WWII homes here--lots of bungalows and those older wooden planked buildings. There are also a lot of barred windows and metal screens on doors, so crime is probably pretty bad. Although I should say that when I lived down here I did not really feel particularly in danger.

If you prefer newer looking places, you might try around Discovery Park, where you will find a number of apartment buildings that were created more recently. A one bedroom along 10th can run as little as $625/month. A 2-bedroom would be about $1000.

Also along 10th is the California Museum, a big and fairly dull museum about California. This is also where you will find Capitol Mall and City Hall, so you should expect to have occasional traffic from protests and other kinds of gatherings.

Overall this is nice spot to go clubbing or stage a protest, I am not so sure it is a great place to live.
Pros
  • Good Clubs
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Good Restaurants
Cons
  • Crime Worries
  • Dull Museum
  • Too Many Capitol Buildings
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Venus, Pegasus and Beta"

There is one main reason to come to this 2-block stretch of Durant Avenue in Berkeley: the Beta Lounge. The Beta Lounge is a very cool, slick looking little watering hole with a real modern look to it. Like every else near campus, it is pretty low key and laid back. (Yeah, that’s right both--it is also chill, so there redundancy police!) But it is packed with Cal students out on dates so you are just as likely to hear Heidegger brought up in casual conversation as Paris Hilton--just my kind of place to get my buzz on.

But it is not the only thing worth visiting on this two block stretch. You are right on Shattuck and just around the corner is Venus--a great place to go for breakfast. On the corner with Shattuck you will also find Pegasus Books, which would be a good place to browse for books if it were not so messy. There is also a Staples there if you are looking for office supplies. Okay those aren’t that exciting.

The main part I would stay away from is the Berkeley High end of the street--especially just when they get out; that’s when you get your occasional out of control street brawl. Ahhhh, high school in the big city, such sweet memories.

Overall though this is nice place to go for dinner and a drink. (Maybe even go over and catch a movie at one of the many movie theaters. or a play at the Berkeley Rep.)
Pros
  • Great Bar and Restaurant
  • Good Bookstore
  • Close to Downtown and Transportation
Cons
  • Busy and Noisy
  • Rowdy High School Students
  • A Little Dangerous
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"For Eating, Working and Playing"

Townsend Street is in the SoMa neighborhood where I used to work for a while. Me and the BF came here to go to District, a wine and tapas bars that caters to the Yuppie types which populate this part of SF. The wine selection was amazing and the food too! We loved it.

Marlowes is also on Townsend. I would love to try it, as I hear it has “the best burger in SF.” I am reserving judgement until I get the chance to go there and try it out.

Townsend however is mostly about the hip businesses that have their headquarters here. I am talking about a place like Playdom, a video game maker with titles like Avengers, City Girl and Armies of Magic. They are a little like Zynga, with games that are made for mobile. There are also a couple of radio stations here: Star 101.3 and KMEL.

As far as living here, there are some pretty cool looking modern apartments and the typical SoMa lofts--for which this area is known. Prices are way out of my (and most people’s) price ranges. I took a quick look to see what prices were like these days and this is what I found: a 2-bedroom condo around here will run you about $4000/month.

Yes. This is where you live if you are within reach of the 1%. So if you are the founder of a successful start-up, you might live here. Your workers, however, will have to commute up from The Mission or even farther. Luckily for you with BART and MUNI, SF has a pretty good public transportation system.

This is a pretty busy, urban street so it is a bit on the noisy side and you will get a fairly big number of homeless folks. Overall, it is prety cool though, as far as I am concerned anyway.
Pros
  • Great Restaurants
  • Cool Businesses
  • Right in the Middle of the Action
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Crime
  • Noisy Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"The Matrix, Million Dollar Condo and Much More!"

Came here with the BF to dance the night away at the Matrix. It had been a little while since I had really gotten down to a night of fun and booze quite like this. I was really happy to be back in the city after a being stuck in the East Bay boonies for a while.

Here’s what to love about Fillmore Street in Cow Hollow. Let’s start of course with The Matrix--it is one of those cool couch be-clad lounges where the SF young people go to party down and work off the week’s work stresses.

But Matrix is only one of the beacons that draw people to this section of Fillmore. If you are hungry after working up a sweat at the Matrix, you can get burgers at the City Tavern, crepes at Castagna (a French place that is currently closed due fire), a very pricy night at the Atelier Crenn, or the hearty meals at the Balboa Cafe.

If you have the disposable income, there are also a number of boutiques on Fillmore, including Simply Chic, Bubble and a Child’s Delight. And if all that shopping wears you out, you will also find a one or two spas here just to re-charge your spirits. There are also all the usual things you would want in a neighborhood, a corner grocery, a notary, paint stores and all that kind of good stuff that you might want if you were making a life for yourself here.

And if you are an architecture buff, this is also one of those gorgeous San Francisco streets packed with old Victorian walk-ups whose bay window stare out at the street and well, at the bay--more specifically the entrance to the SF Bay just past the Golden Gate.

What would it be like living on Fillmore in Cow Hollow. Well, you should know that Cow Hollow is generally known as a young couple neighborhood. Lot’s of SF corporate climbers here, often in the early stages of marriage or just having had their first kids (think of it as a jr. Pacific Heights which is just up the slope to the south).

Of course, that means high rents and cost of living. I took a quick look and a two bedroom on or around Fillmore will run you between $2500 and $5000 per month. (One bedrooms seem to go for around $2500 as well.) So basically, you can expect to spend at least $30,000 on rent if you live here.

What about buying? I took a quick look into that as well. Basically any little condo here starts at $1 million. You might be able to shave off a hundred thousand from that if you get lucky.

Put simply, if you aren’t some kind of business executive type, you are not going to be able to afford living here. Heck, I felt outpriced just looking at the listings.

If you can afford it though, you can’t beat the fun. And for those of us who can’t we can always visit once and awhile and pretend to be one of the classy up-and-comers.
Pros
  • Outstanding Nightlife
  • Beautiful Victorian Condos
  • Great Restaurants
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Terrible Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
Just now

"Go for the Wine, Leave the Rest to the Tourists"

People who know me, know I am no big fan of tourist traps and would normally not be caught dead on the Wharf. It is like if you live near Disneyland and have to go every time a relative visits. The first couple of times you are caught up in the wonder of the Magic Kingdom, but by the fourth or fifth time you go you start to just be bored by the same rides and long lines. That’s the Wharf. If you are just visiting SF for the first time it might be like going on Space Mountain, but if you grew up here like I did, there are are only so many times you can hear the Peruvian flute players and chalk faced mimes.

That said, there is a reason to visit Jefferson Street in the Fisherman’s Wharf and that is the Winery Collective. If you don’t want to head up to Napa but want to go wine tasting and then enjoy the city with a bit of a wine buzz on, you can’t beat this little joint. It basically has the widest selection of wines that you could hope for. And even though you have to brave the touristy crowds to get there it is worth it.

That said, I would really not want to be on Jefferson for any other reason. Parking is terrible and even in the off-season it is packed with tourists. And don’t even bother trying in the middle of the summer in the height of the season. It is just terrible then.
Pros
  • The Winery Collective
  • Good for Taking Visiting Friends
  • Good for tourists
Cons
  • Bad Parking
  • Overpriced
  • Too many tourists
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Where People Got Sloshed Even Before This Guy Was on the Fifty"

I love Grant Ave. on Telegraph Hill! (Even if I have always thought of this as North Beach.) If you want to feel the pulse of the city and be around a bunch of young up and comers, come here on a Saturday night in the summer. It is just packed with people--from twenty-somethings just out of college to tourists looking for the more adult pleasures the city has to offer.

It starts for me with The Saloon, one of the oldest bars in all of SF. (Dates to the Civil War.) This is just a super cool bar with live music and lots of old burnouts. Tope Cocktail Bar is also a good alternative if you are looking for more of a mixed drink sort of a vibe, as is Tupelo and Maggie McGarry’s. There is no shortage of places to get sloshed here. (I told you I loved it!)

There are also a ton of restaurants like the Greek joint right by Columbus, Estia; Ristorante Ideale (an Italian joint obviously) and Mo’s Burgers (if you want to keep it nice and simple) are also good choices as is North Beach Pizza as well. (Overrated imo, but you can decide for yourself.)

Of course, you can’t mention Grant Ave without giving a shout out to Caffe Trieste, one of SF’s most famous coffee houses. (You may have seen it in movies like 40 Days And 40 Nights.) The Steps of Rome (another famous North Beach eatery) is also right there on the corner with Columbus.

And it is not just the eats here, you also get great shopping delights like Ruby’s clothing store, Alla Prima Lingerie (for your special BF occasions gals) and Lola’s of North Beach.

There are also a lot less interesting places that are still vital if you happen to live on the second or third floors above these places along Grant. (Had friends who did that--it’s a blast if you can afford it!) There is a cleaners, a grocery store, a pilates place, a barber shop, nail salon and a mechanic’s shop.

North of Filbert (where Coit Tower and Pioneer park loom), Grant becomes purely residential with three story Victorian walk-ups with great old bay windows that look down on the street. Parking sucks but if you don’t have a car or store it in a garage you won’t miss your wheels--despite the hills, this is one of the most walkable places on Earth.

A block up from Filbert you hit the top of Grant and from there you get nice views of the bay as Grant drops down to the Wharf. Most days you get a cool ocean breeze and even the occasional scents of bakeries and restaurants. Despite the summer crowds it is the kind of place that you can’t help but be in love in.
Pros
  • Great Bars
  • Great Restaurants
  • Cool Old Victorian Walk-Ups
Cons
  • Crowded and Loud
  • Expensive
  • Terrible Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Jug of Wine and Loaf of Bread"

Came here to me old stompin’ grounds for a little trip down Amnesia Lane--sometimes called San Pablo Avenue. Specifically, we came to visit the Albatross--ye nice old dive bar on this part of San Pablo. Oh the memories I would have of this joint had I not been far too drunk to remember most nights.

San Pablo is not generally my favorite part of Berkeley in terms of appearance--it is a bit on the dumpy side, even for Berkeley. It also just has way too much traffic and is a bit out of the way from all the other fun parts of Berkeley. But this particular section of San Pablo is an exception to the rule, mainly because of the Albatross, whose claim to fame is being the “oldest bar in Berkeley.”

Of course, being that this is where University meets San Pablo there are a fair number of stores around including a Pet Food Express and a Midas Tires. There are a number of auto body shops and repair shops and check cashing places.

Which is not to say that the only highlight of this strip is the Albatross. (It is only the most salient given my particular inclinations.) It is also where you will find Acme Bread--the perfect place to go early in the morning for some truly fresh bread and a cup of joe. You can also find some pretty good barbecue joints here.

Oh yeah and there is also a pilates place that one of my friends went to for a while and says is pretty good.

Are you into Edward Fitzgerald? You know, the whole Omar Khayyam thing? “A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and you, my love...”--well with Acme Bread, the Albatross and a significant other, this is definitely the place for it.
Pros
  • The Albatross Bar
  • Acme Bread
  • Affordable Rents Nearby
Cons
  • Crime
  • Traffic
  • Dirty
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
Just now

"Hookahs, Hondas and Homes"

Came here with the BF and friends to have some fun. There’s not much to the part of West Stockton Blvd that I saw. We came here to go to the Hookaholics Hookah Lounge. Now, this is not really that much of a hookah lounge--at least not of the kind that I have been to. Most hookah lounges that I have been to are little hole in the wall places with the kind of drinks that you feel pounding in your head for a few days afterwards. The Hookaholics Hookah Lounge is pretty big and more of a dance place than anything else. Not that I am complaining. Me and the BF really got down. Loved it!

Hookaholics is right at the western end of West Stockton Blvd in Elk Grove. I lived in Sacramento for a while but I must say that I don’t ever remember coming here. It is located in a strip mall with a restaurant called Lollicup, a taqueria, a pizza place and a supermarket called Food Co (which I have never heard of).

From what I saw of the rest of the street there are some housing communities to the south of this where West Stockton runs parallel with Highway 99. I have no idea what these cost but given their seeming isolation and proximity to a noisy highway, I assume you can get them for a discount, though they do look nice and clean and relatively new. (Maybe built in the 80’s or 90’s?)

Farther down West Stockton before it just breaks into open fields you can also find a bunch of car dealerships: Honda, VW, Nissan, Dodge and Toyota. I guess this is where you come to buy some wheels.

I don’t know what it is like living here but it seems pretty nice.

I did look up the schools here and they all have API’s of 7, which is pretty good.
Pros
  • Cool Hookah Lounge
  • Good Schools
  • Good Place to Shop for Cars
Cons
  • Noisy Highway
  • A Bit Out of the Way Feeling
  • A Bit on the Flat and Unattractive Side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Brewsters Place"

Okay, so until a couple of weeks ago when I stopped by here with the BF on one of our many rambles, I’m not sure I even knew that Galt existed. I may have but I could not have pointed it out on a map. I have only been here once, but I thought I would give you the skinny on what I found.

There is, as far as I’m concerned, one reason to go to Galt, and that it is to visit Brewsters. It is a very cool saloon-like bar smack in the middle of Galt. But this is not the kind of saloon you will find in your typical one-horse town (which Galt with barely a population of 20,000 definitely is). This is a big bar with really cool upstairs area with red velvet coated chairs and a ceiling high glittering back bar filled with liquors of all varieties. (I had a great Manhattan.)

They also have big meaty burgers.

Now I don’t know what it would be like to live here. You are sort of out in the middle of nowhere. Galt is in-between Stockton and Sacramento (on the southern end of Sacramento County). It is pretty much farm country.

The usual things that you would expect given what I said so far seemed to be true about Galt: home prices are pretty low. (These mostly looked like Ranch style homes--at least that is what I saw.) Schools look good and crime is pretty low these days.

Unless I worked here or in Stockton, I don’t think that I would choose to live here, however. I’m just too much of a city girl. But if you happen to be planning a visit to Brewsters, I am totally in.
Pros
  • Great Bar
  • Good Schools
  • Quiet and Family Oriented
Cons
  • In the Middle of NoWhere
  • Low Property Prices
  • Mosty Boring
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not Too Bad"

The section of Bancroft Road in Concord goes from David Ave. to Hookston. On its southern end, Bancroft Road is mostly made up of Ranch Style homes. On its northern end as it curves towards Hookston you get some shoebox apartment buildings and businesses like Encore Gymnastics.

This is one of those wide busy streets that tempt people to drive fast and is a bit of pain for crossing if you are with old people or children.

Homes on and around Bancroft can’t possibly sell for too much given the neighborhood is in Concord and I bet you can get one of those condos on the northern end for less than $100K.

Unfortunately, you still get some pretty bad schools even if you are on the border with Walnut Creek.

Overall, not too bad a place to live, if you have a family.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Affordable Apartments and Condos
  • Close to Pleasant Hill Entertainment Center
Cons
  • Fast Traffic
  • Terrible Schools
  • Kind of Average
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Cheapest Mansions in Cali"

You can sort of think of Morada as a pimple on the nose of Stockton. It is just to the northeast of its much larger neighbor.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying this in a negative way. This is actually a fairly affluent area. With large homes and even an outright mansion or two. The roads though have a sort of country feel to them and remind you that you are just a hop, skip and jump from farmlands to the east.

This is the case in most of Morada but you will find some spots in other parts of Morada near Hershey Lane where you get more Ranch homes on streets that feel more typically Stockton. Although homes around Hershey are sweetly priced at typical Stockton prices I’m told that the larger newer homes in Morada can run up to 3 quarters of a million dollars.

It kinda sucks that the schools aren’t very good around here, though. Most of them are average or slightly below. You probably also have to worry about crime living in this area.

Overall though it is probably one of the cheapest spots in California to buy a mansion. If that is what you are into. Most people would probably rather have an average house in Walnut Creek than a mansion in Stockton--but maybe that is just my big city gal prejudice.
Pros
  • Affrodable Large Homes
  • Close to Stockton
  • Relatively Quiet
Cons
  • Nearby Stockton Crime
  • Below Average Schools
  • Some Rundown Looking Spots
Recommended for
  • Professionals
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Affordable But Not Family Friendly"

Campbell Lane just off San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante is basically one of those spots where it is all apartments. Most people use San Pablo Dam Road as a shortcut to and from the Lamorinda area, but this is also a nice little spot to live as well. The rents at the apartments around here are fairly low--about a $1000.

There is some crime in the area from what I understand--the occasional assault--but nowhere near what you find to the wes of here. You are also pretty close to the Hilltop Mall and are not in too bad a position for starting a commute.

Of course, you also have to contend with the traffic on San Pablo Dam Road, which is fairly constant and filled with speedsters.

It’s also pretty cheap to buy a house around here, with nearby houses selling for between $150 to $250 thousand.

Schools are pretty bad around here though--De Anza High having a pretty reputation in terms of test scores. So families would probably not want to live here.
Pros
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Good for Commuters
  • Close to Mall
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Bad Schools
  • Too Many Speeding Cars
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Small but Okay"

The BF had to make a stop here to pick something up so I got to experience life in Linden for a couple of hours. Now this is not the smallest of towns in this area--it has more than 1000 residents which is a lot more than Farmington--but this is pretty much a small farm community. You can drive through it in less than minute on your way up into the Sierra and never even realize that it is a town onto itself.

Being a city gal, I have a hard time imagining life in a place this small, where there are literally fewer total people than at my high school. It seemed nice enough though. There are some shops like a hair salon, a martial arts and yoga place, and a roadside restaurant that we stopped at.

You would definitely not want to make the commute into anywhere farther than Stockton from here, but I could see why someone might like to get away from it all. Property values for one thing seem a lot more reasonable. Most homes, even newer ones from as late as 2007, seem to be selling for between $150 and $300 thousand, which is pretty impressive.

Schools are pretty good too, with Linden High being above average.

So, I guess as long as you don’t mind the boredom of small time life or are willing to make the long jaunt into Stockton, this could be an okay sort of life.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Small Town Feel
Cons
  • No Nightlife
  • Somewhat Remote
  • Highway Traffic
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not Where I'd Want to Nest"

Robin Lane is a short, two block street in Concord just a few blocks off Monument. I have a friend who found a really cheap place to live here, which is what brought us here over the weekend.

This is basically boxy apartment row with one shoe box shaped building after another. They almost all look to be about 50 years old and are a bit on the dreary side. The rent is definitely affordable, but you do get what you pay for.

The only break to the buildings is a trailer park at the south eastern end of Robin.

The area around here is not very appealing, being along the section of Monument right by the freeway, which is fairly downtrodden. And my friends mentioned they thought the schools around here were not very good either. They said they wouldn’t have moved here if they had kids but that it was good cheap alternative for now.

Overall, I would rather pay $100 to $200 more per month and live in a slightly nicer spot, but maybe I am just getting un-adventuress as I enter middle age.
Pros
  • Very Affordable
  • Close to Walnut Creek
  • OK for Commuting
Cons
  • Ugly Boxy Apartments
  • Crime Worries
  • Poor Schools
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Don't Blink Or You'll Miss It"

Farmington is the kind of town that you would barely consider a town at all. There are probably more people living on your block than live in Farmington. In fact, it is actually getting smaller. There are barely a hundred residents now.

If you are a Peter Fonda fan, you may recognize it as the setting for part of Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry--but otherwise there isn’t much to it.

That said they do have a general store and some authentic looking western buildings. So they can’t be all bad.
Pros
  • Great For Farmers
  • Away from it All
  • Setting for some old movies
Cons
  • Very, very small`
  • Remote
  • Shrinking
Recommended for
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Affordable"

Woodbridge, just to the north of Lodi, is best known for being the home of the Robert Mondavi Winery. More than ⅔ of the population of Woodbridge lives in South Woodbridge.

South Woodbridge at this point is basically an addendum to Lodi. Though most of the homes here are newer, the property values in South Woodbridge are actually lower than they are in Lodi. Most of the homes here date from the 70’s and 80’s. They are relatively nice Contemporary style homes, but they sell for around $150K because there is not much going on in South Woodbridge these days.

One place where things are okay for South Woodbridge and Woodbridge overall are the schools, which are relatively strong.

Crime is about average and commute times beyond Sac are pretty bad, but overall this is an okay place to live.
Pros
  • Good Schools
  • Affordable
  • Small Town Feel
Cons
  • Moderate Crime
  • Kind of Dull
  • Not Good for Commuting
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Solidly Middle of the Road"

I had never been to Lodi before this weekend. Frankly, I knew there was a place called Lodi and that it was in NorCal but before this weekend if you had asked me to point it out on a map I would not have been able to.

So here is what I found out about it and my general though limited impression. Lodi is a relatively small city with less than a 100,000. I guess Blue Shield is the major private employer here. (That’s who my BF’s friend works for.)

It is an older middle class looking sort of place, with lots of Ranch style homes along flat grid-like streets. The homes here were mostly of the older 50’s variety in the neighborhood we were visiting. We drove around though afterwards and I did notice that there were some really nice looking newer neighborhoods on the southern end of Lodi with nice newer, Contemporary style homes from the 80’s and 90’s. (A little cookie cutter, but still pretty nice.)

At the bbq, I overheard someone saying that there was a big difference between east and west Lodi, and that one was nice and the other one pretty bad, but I didn’t notice that. (Seemed more like a north-south divide to me actually.)

Lodi also has a pretty cute, very authentic downtown. Sort of like the place from “What a Wonderful Life” but paved of course. And Lodi is also the hometown of Robert Mondavi.

I also did a little research on some other figures:

In terms of crime Lodi is about average compared to the national average. It gets about 1-2 murders per year.

The average home here sells for around $200K--though in can rise to twice that in the really nice spots.

I guess where you really see the class divide in Lodi is in the schools. Schools on the east side of town like Liberty High and Washington Elementary get really bad ratings, while schools like Lodi High and Larson Elementary are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

As far as commuting goes, you can only really manage Sacramento and Stockton from here.

So I guess overall I would say that Lodi is an okay place to raise a family if you have a job there--but I am not sure if I would chose it for myself otherwise.
Pros
  • Small Town Feel
  • Nice Main Street
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Bad East Side Schools
  • Some Crime
  • Too Far for Non-Sacramento Commutes
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not Much of a Country Club"

Usually when you think of country clubs Stockton is not the first place that comes to mind. But if you look up Country Club, California, the Stockton neighborhood is what you get. It does have a nearby golf course, but you would probably not call this neighborhood, “Country Club” if you were just visiting it for the first time.

It is not that this neighborhood is ugly. It just doesn’t have that sort of posh feel that you expect from a place you associate with country clubs. The neighborhood is mostly made up of older 1950’s style Ranch homes, with worn lawns and sidewalks that are actually pedestrian friendly. (Something that is pretty rare in the newer burbs.)

This is not to say that there isn’t a nice well kept feel to some places in Country Club. The section to the west of Highway 5 is actually fairly nice, and you can see the foundations for a rather nice neighborhood. What do homes cost around here?

About a $100K. That’s what I hear. So pretty much rock bottom like the rest of Stockton.

The reason for this has to do with a lot of factors starting with the bad schools. People don’t want to start lives in a spot where they don’t feel they can send their kids.

The other issue throughout Stockton is crime. There have been about 4 dozen assaults in Country Club in the last 6 months, which though not terrible is not promising either.

That added onto the city government’s bankruptcy and the high unemployment rate here explains why this is one country club people are not clamoring to get into.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Good Sidewalks
  • Close to Golf Course
Cons
  • Bad Schools
  • Crime
  • Depressed Economy
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Affordable Apartment Right by Freeways"

Saranap Avenue in Walnut Creek is right at the border between Walnut Creek and Lafayette. It slips off Mt. Diablo Blvd. and skirts the southern end of Highway 24. This is pretty much apartment row in this section of Walnut Creek. You get what looks to me like 30 to 40 year old apartment buildings, all pretty much set up in the long boxy row format with parking spaces on the ground level and one to three levels of apartments above. (Some of the places do feel a little bit like motels because of their set-up but some of the complexes are fairly nice--it varies complex to complex.)

Had friends who lived in one of the so-so places here. Apartment was okay but a bit thin walled, so you pretty much knew what your neighbors’ TV habits were and whether they snored (or did anything else) loudly at night. You are also right at the spot where Highway 24 and Highway 680 meet, so there is a bit of traffic noise when you are outside, though I do not remember it while I was inside their apartment, so I’m not sure if this is much of a problem.

This section of Walnut Creek is also on the southwestern end of the the highway crisscross, so you are not right by the heart of Downtown Walnut Creek, though you could still walk there in probably 15 minutes or so.

That said, you still get all the benefits of living at the border of Walnut Creek and Lafayette. You get basically a safe residential area with great schools--if you have kids, most people here are single I think--and you also get nearby dining, entertainment and nightlife. (Walnut Creek does not, of course, compare with San Francisco but it probably is the central destination for those seeking bars, movies and shopping in Contra Costa County.) As I mentioned in earlier blogs about Walnut Creek, I used to work here, and can tell that it also has a lot of office buildings and jobs, for those looking for work.

The walk to BART might be a bit too much for most people but you could probably bike there. This is an okay place to begin a commute from if you don’t happen to work in the area.

Overall, I would say this is a pretty good, fairly affordable place to live. (I think I saw a one-bedroom for $1200 around here, which isn’t too bad for this part of Walnut Creek.)
Pros
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Close to Downtown
  • Safe and With Good Schools
Cons
  • Some Apartments a Little on the Boxy Side
  • Thin Walls
  • Lots of Traffic Nearby
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Cool Spot, Close to Downtown"

Carmel Drive is a short winding street to the north of the Safeway Supermarket in Walnut Creek. Like Alta Vista Drive and Mt. Pisgah Road this whole section of Walnut Creek is basically just a bunch of apartment complexes. I am not sure if it was intentionally designed this way or if this just happened naturally because of the proximity of Downtown Walnut Creek.

These are mostly older apartment buildings in this area (some of them maybe from the 1950’s?). These are very square but well kept apartments. Pretty much shoeboxes with windows and occasionally, recessed balconies.

The main draw of the apartments on Carmel Drive is the location, of course. Not only are you within walking distance of the supermarket. (You really wouldn’t have to ever worry about running out of something when the supermarket feels like it is a pantry for your apartment.)

You are also within walking distance of the heart of Downtown Walnut Creek, so you have all the shopping, restaurants and entertainment that you could hope for in a location. It is the kind of location that is perfect for singles who like being right in the middle of the action but still want to be in a relatively safe area. It is also perfect for single parents because of the great Walnut Creek schools, so it is sort of the best of both worlds in that sense.

Rents around here are about average for Walnut Creek apartments as well. You pay about $1400 for a one-bedroom.

Overall, this would be a pretty cool place to live if you like the sort of fun you can find in Walnut Creek.
Pros
  • Nice Apartments
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Close to Downtown Amenities
Cons
  • Older Apartments
  • Lots of Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Great Little Street, Close To Mild Fun"

East Street is a tiny little dead end street in Lafayette. It is easy to miss even if you have lived in Lafayette your whole life. This, like most of Lafayette that is not on Mt. Diablo or Moraga, is a residential area. But this part of Lafayette actually has a lot of apartments nestled in between the homes.

When I was in college I used to date a guy out here at one of the apartments hidden away at the end of this street, so spent my share of weekends out here. It is actually a great spot. You can, first of all, walk to just about anything, from the supermarket to the shops. And Lafayette has gotten a lot nicer since I lived there with a lot more shops and restaurants.

It is also a great spot for commuters since the BART station is nearby as well. Me and the old bf spent many a Sunday morning get coffee and hanging out at nearby coffee shops. Lot’s of fun, though a little on the slow side.

Lafayette is also a great spot if you are an outdoorsy type and like to go for hikes that sort of thing. The Lafayette Reservoir is a favorite spot for locals on the weekends.

The great Lafayette schools and suburban safety also make this the perfect spot for single parents needing a pad.

Overall this is a great little spot to live, even if the apartments on this street are a little run down and on the ugly side.
Pros
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Close to Downtown
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Apartments a Little Run Down
  • A Little Boring
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Most Affordable Place in Orinda"

Brookwood Road in Orinda is probably the only place that anyone of moderate income can afford in Orinda. Well, at least one half of the road is. I visited a friend who lives in one of the apartment complexes that line the northern end of Brookwood, right by the rumble of the freeway. They are happy to be here because of the great Orinda schools, so they are willing to pay the extra hundred bucks or two to rent an apartment here. (Basically $1500 for a 1 bedroom.)

The apartment is kind of cavernous even though it has two big sliding glass doors that lead out onto the balcony (with its view of nothing in particular). The apartments are okay, I suppose. The location really is the main appeal of this location. As I already mentioned Orinda schools are great by all accounts.

The other great thing about these apartments is that you are a 5 minute walk from the quaint downtown area of Orinda where there is a movie theater, some restaurants and a little shopping area. It is really nice.

The other great thing is that the Orinda BART is right there as well, so if you are commuting to work--as you most likely are since Orinda is not known as a big commercial center, then you can walk right to your train. (You can be in Berkeley in about 25 minutes and in SF in about 45 minutes, I think.)

On the other side of Brookwood Road, it is practically a different world with million dollar homes with beautiful leafy entries. Brookwood road itself is also particularly attractive, with lots of tree cover and an appealing look to it.

I can see why my friend likes living here and was willing to pay the extra $2000 a year to do it.
Pros
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Close to Downtown
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Expensive Area
  • Slightly Dingy
  • Next to Freeway
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Too Much Crime"

The Lincoln Village neighborhood in Stockton is just to the north of the Pacific Neighborhood. History buffs will really love this neighborhood as I believe the streets here are named for Lincoln’s famous “Team of Rivals,” the cabinet Lincoln assembled to get him through the Civil War and which were filled with giant egos.

Homes here sell for a little bit more than some neighborhoods to the south with places averaging maybe $150,000. Homes here date largely from the 1960s and look to be in okay though not great shape. It definitely does have a sort classic 1970’s suburban neighborhood feel to it, with older cars and so-so maintained front yards.

Unfortunately this neighborhood still has the same level of high crime as most of Stockton. In the last 6 months there have been 4 murders right at the edges of this neighborhood. There have also been more than 200 assaults. Put simply this is just a dangerous neighborhood.

So even though this is in the supposedly safer northern end of the Stockton, I just don’t see this neighborhood as a serious option for anyone who values their safety.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Close to UoP
Cons
  • Very High Crime
  • Homes are Only So-So in Terms of Wear/Tear
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Rock Bottom"

Okay so lets begin with the crime problem here in Garden Acres in southeastern Stockton. Crime in this neighborhood is actually pretty mild with only the occasional assault. The problem, though is that if you go just to west of here over Highway 99, you are suddenly in a very crime ridden area where there have been 2 homicides in the second half of last year and more than 2 assaults per month during the same period. So, if you are worried about living close to a crime ridden area you will not want to live here.

That said, however, Garden Acres itself, as far as I can tell from the handful of times that I have been here, actually seems like a fairly chill neighborhood with older Ranch homes and a sort of semi-rural suburban feel to it. (Though I would not really call this a rural area by any means--I only mean that it feels like the kind of neighborhood you would find in a small, 3000 person town like say Arbuckle.)

Probably because of the terrible economy and nearby crime, houses here are rock bottom in terms of prices. The median home price is less than $100,000. In fact, few homes here go over that amount and you can actually find homes here that sell for $35,000. Now these are not very nice homes. A 1960’s Ranch home here can look like it is a 100 years old because of poor maintenance, and realtors don’t seem to bother to try to fix them up for sale--probably expecting the ROI would not be high enough to justify it.

The school system doesn’t help matters either. Most of the schools around here are well below average--often with bottom basement API scores. Franklin High School is an exception with a solidly average score.

In a nutshell then, high nearby crime, rock bottom prices for run down homes, and bad schools add up to a pretty lousy neighborhood that I would not recommend for anyone.
Pros
  • Inexpensive Home Prices
  • Close to Civic Center
  • Okay High School
Cons
  • Close to High Crime
  • Very Rundown Homes
  • Mostly Terrible Schools
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Industrial Wasteland"

The Kennedy neighborhood in Stockton is just a big industrial area where you can find things like trucks and industrial yards. Basically you have places like a Reddaway Trucking yard, a fencing place, a crane place, and a junkyard that sells used parts. This is just one of those ugly, very manly sorts of places where all the dirty gritty stuff that cities need to get done, gets done. That’s about it.

It is however well placed being near the highway and not far to the north of the airport--so you wouldn’t really want to have too many homes here, anyway. (Though there are some just outside of this neighborhood anyway.)
Pros
  • Good for Spare Part Hunting
  • Close to the Highway
Cons
  • Ugly and Industrial Looking
  • Airport Noise
  • Nothing Much Here
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Looks Like Poughdunk with Oakland Crime"

The Taft-Mosswood neighborhood is one of these neighborhoods on the far south of Stockton. It’s the kind of neighborhood where there are no sidewalks, the asphalt just giving way to the dirt or grass of homes. That, combined with the fences and the fairly unimpressive set of Ranchers that make up much of this neighborhood give this area its rural feel.

This is definitely not Kansas, however. Not with the level of crime you have here. I was looking at a crime reporting website to see if what I had heard about the crime rate in stockton is true and it looks like it definitely is. There has been at least one murder in this neighborhood in the second half of the 2012, and there has been another 8 more within a mile to the north most in the afternoon during the heat of summer. Those are the kind of crime rates you expect in somewhere like Oakland.

This is not the heart of the crime problem but it is definitely close enough where I would feel a little unsafe. You also get about 2 dozen assaults in this neighborhood and more than 200 in the neighborhoods just to the north. And there have also been more than 300 burglaries and robberies in the area.

Schools are also pretty lousy around here. Edison High is a bit below average and the local elementary school, Taft Elementary is pretty much bottom of the basement.

One thing this neighborhood does have going for it is home prices, with no home selling for more than $100K. Some even falling as low as $25K. These are actually homes. (Granted they are kind of old and ugly.)

I guess, however, you get what you are paying for. The added costs would be the price of living in a crime ridden neighborhood with terrible schools.
Pros
  • Cheap Houses
  • Close to Transportation
Cons
  • High Crime
  • Terrible Schools
  • Older Homes
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Bankrupt and Crime-Ridden"

Okay, so let’s start where you have to with Stockton: crime. It’s high. More than twice the national average. That is on a par with San Francisco. Of course, the difference is Stockton does not have everything going for it that SF does.

They get about 40 murders a year with a population of 300,000. Rapes are even worse. There are consistently more than 100 rapes. And assaults are over 2000 year after year. (So if I am doing my a calculation right, you have a 1 in 50 chance of getting assaulted there if you live there for two years.) I’ve lived in some place with crime problems like Berkeley and SF, but this is pretty awful.

Okay, but let’s say you want to roll the dice and take a chance on Stockton. The other problem is that Stockton is just a mess financially now. They declared bankruptcy this year, becoming the largest city in American history to do so. On the way to doing so they got rid of a quarter of their cops and a third of their firefighters and they still couldn’t close the gap.

Now there are a lot of newer, nicer homes in Stockton that were built since 2000 when Stockton was riding the good times. But unfortunately, these houses are exactly what has pulled Stockton down. I read somewhere that Stockton has the second highest foreclosure rate in the entire country.

It is actually pretty depressing for Stockton which felt it was finally going to pull out of its problems. And Stockton does have a lot to build on. It is a major port, and it is from here that California’s agriculture ships out. It does have a strong business community.

University of Pacific is also in Stockton. It is considered a good school for getting a degree like dentistry. The area around the university is a pretty nice college town and one of the best places to live in Stockton.

The Downtown area has a lot of potential too. Stockton has a pretty solid museum, the Haggan Museum. And they have the Asparagus Festival, of course. (Like the Garlic Festival in Gilroy.)

They also have some okay bars like Basil’s and Taste Ultra. And they have an okay selection of restaurants.

Overall, however, with the current crime and financial problems combining with the horrible reputation Stockton has gotten as the 10th most dangerous city in the country and being listed on the Forbes 25 list of worst places to live, I don’t see many people taking a chance on Stockton anytime soon.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Port Business
  • University of the Pacific
Cons
  • Crime!
  • Bankrupt
  • Filled With Foreclosures
Recommended for
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Guns, Germs and Chocolates"

French Camp is a small town just to the west of Stockton Airport. It is a pretty typical town, except for the fact that two thirds of the population is male.

Why male?

Because a third of the population is locked up in a men’s prison there. That makes up a full third of the population, thus explaining the two guys for every girl demographics of the place. (Of course, unless you like your guy to have a strict curfew and only be able to see you for conjugal visits, not so sure it is really such a panacea for single gals.)

French Camp also has a hospital--San Joaquin County General, I think--and an arms depot to the south, which doesn’t seem like a great combination to me. (Generally, I wouldn’t want my prisons close to my armory myself.

Okay, but my reason for liking French Camp is neither the attractiveness of a bad-boy behind bars (a bit too unavailable even for me) or the chance mass mayhem offered by having a local armory nearby. No, what I like about French Camp is the Ghirardelli Factory Outlet. It is the ideal way to enjoy Ghirardelli chocolates for me: sans Fisherman’s Wharf tourists! You should definitely check this place out if you are in this neck of the woods anytime soon, as I was recently with my bf. You will loooooovvve it!

Okay, but what is it like living in this little town and is it worth it just for the chocolates?

I actually have little idea but I can imagine that it would pretty much suck. For one thing, Stockton is trying to annex you so that they can get more tax revenues and aside from the things I mentioned there really isn’t much to do here. For restaurants and entertainment you have to drive either to Stockton or to Lathrop, and let me tell you, if you look up to Stockton for entertainment and culture, you definitely don’t have much going on.

So my recommendation is come here for the chocolates; but then go back home somewhere else.
Pros
  • the Ghirardelli Factory Outlet
  • Inexpensive Homes
Cons
  • Prison and Armory and Airport
  • No Entertainment or Nightlife
  • Bad Schools
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 1/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Crime, Bad Schools and Dirt Cheap Homes"

August is the kind of place where houses have bars on the windows and chain link fences around their front yards. This is one of the easternmost sections of Stockton. It has an old timey sort of feel in that it doesn’t really have sidewalks so feels like it sprung up “naturally.”

You will not find a cheaper place to buy a home than this. Homes typically sell for less than $100,000. These are not trailers in trailer parks. (Though there are some these here as well.)
These are actual full-fledged houses. Some are a little worn out but most fairly promising. The age of the homes here is pretty mixed. You have a ton of 1950’s Ranchers, but mixed in you will also find a fair number from every decade, even homes built within the last decade, even though they only sell for about $100,000. What is strange is that even the newer homes just don’t feel all that much newer. They just look like someone has refurbished one of those older Ranchers--which is perhaps what they have done.

Of course, whenever you have low home prices in an area which has a bad reputation you start to look for crime and bad schools.

And this is pretty much what you find here. Crime is high. In the last six months the area (and the area just to the west of it) has experienced:

1 murder
250+ assaults
200+ burglaries
100+ robberies
dozens of rapes and attempted rapes

In Stockton overall, the crime rate is more than twice the national average and has been for a while. Looks like this may be a typical Stockton neighborhood in that sense.

Schools are similarly, from what I have heard, beyond terrible. Completely dysfunctional.

None of this, of course, is helped out by the fact that Stockton appears to be in the process of declaring (has declared?) bankruptcy. Will definitely not put more cops on the street.

I only passed through here once. Would definitely not want to live here.
Pros
  • Very Inexpensive Homes
  • Okay Looking Houses
Cons
  • Soaring Crime Rates
  • Terrible Schools
  • City is Going Bankrupt
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Pizza Plus Nice Town"

So Ripon is another one of these tiny San Joaquin towns. (It is pronounced “Rippin’” by locals, as in, “I had a rippin’ good time in Ripon.”)

Okay so I am hardly a local. My entire knowledge of this quaint little town comes from having lunch at Pizza Plus on their main street, talking to people from nearby towns and a touch of internet research. People are really high on this pizza and so we dropped in to try it out and see what all the hoopla was about. It is very good pizza, and I guess if I lived near Ripon and had nothing better to do, I might drop in to grab some pizza on my way by. Not sure it is worth the trip just on its own, but if you’re on the way somewhere else and happen by, why not?

The “downtown” area is authentically historic, not like a lot of these downtowns where they try to make if feel quaint in a sort of classy way. This actually feels like it has been like this for a while. Which means that it isn’t super attractive, but it is nice. And there are some nicer older buildings.

What I saw of the surrounding residential areas was pretty nice too. Very much like a 1950’s style middle class neighborhood, wide streets, nice lawns. Lots of older Ranch homes. But really nicely kept.

I don’t know if it just when I was there, but the streets felt a little empty. This is not altogether surprising, I mean the total population of Ripon is less than you can fit in the stadium for a College basketball game.

On average homes here sell for $300,000--which is actually higher than I expected for somewhere so far out in the middle of nowhere. (Could it be the pizza?) My BF tells me there are a lot of big newer homes on the outskirts of town which accounts for the high prices. But I still don’t know where people are getting their money out here. The commute to the Bay Area just seems undoable from Tracy, much less from even farther.

In fact, it will take you more than an hour to make it just to Livermore during rush hour. (Sacramento is more than an hour away, too.) So who knows how people manage to rake in $80K living here, but if the census is right, that’s what they make.)

Schools are really strong here too, so that probably has a lot to do with it. Though I think I saw Ripon High on Main Street and it didn’t look like much. (There were also like 3 churches, so you certainly won’t lack in soul saving--you could get yourself saved at least three times over on your way to getting a pepperoni slice.)

Overall, I don’t know if I would recommend Ripon, but I can see why some people would like it.
Pros
  • Pizza Plus
  • Nice Older Looking Downtown Residences
  • Nice Newer Houses on Outskirts
Cons
  • In the Middle of Nowhere
  • No Real Nightlife
  • Hot in Summer, Foggy in Winter
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"The Boonies"

Okay, so Escalon is the kind of town where when you look it up on Google Maps, Starbucks is a major landmark. That gives you a sense of the scale of this one-horse town. (Btw the horse is name Sal--he’s the second landmark. That’s a joke, but I’m not kidding. This is a small place for a city gal like me.)

Came here over the long holiday weekend to check out the bf’s childhood home. Supposedly Escalon has put the brakes on new housing developments, but I saw tons of new homes there including one of those adobe walled, red tiled roof neighborhoods that are so popular now. Big wide streets; clean, clean clean--just that very nice look that is so appealing now. So I’m not sure if they just slowed down growth or what?

Anyway, homes here in Escalon are even cheaper than in Manteca--probably because it is too far from the Bay Area for commuters. It is, however, just 10 miles or so north of Modesto, which has its own charms. The average home here barely reaches $200,000. Very cheap.

As to schools, they are pretty strong with Escalon High school being well above average and the middle school that feeds into it being just so so.

There are some drawbacks to living in farm country however. One is the weather. Fog for what seems like weeks on end in the winter. (Another reason you don’t want to try to commute from here if you value your life the other being that Sacramento is more than an hour away and San Jose, San Francisco, Walnut Creek even are more than 2 hours away.) Then the summers are hot as hot gets--no cooling coastal winds out here. The other reason you might not like the climate here is that you will get your fair share of pesticides and such as well. During the summer when the crops are being reaped, if you get a windy day you will definitely find out if you have any allergies, because all sorts of stuff will blow into town. (I have seen people in Davis, CA resort to surgical masks during the spring and summer to protect themselves.) That just comes with the territory.

So that is pretty much it. Not my kind of place, but okay if you have a job in the area and are married with kids I guess.
Pros
  • Very Inexpensive
  • Good Family Environment
  • Close to Modesto
Cons
  • Boring
  • Too Far for Bay Area Commute
  • Weather--Fog and Allergens and Heat
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Family Town; AKA DULLSVILLE, USA"

Okay, so Manteca is not really my sort of town. I was there over Thanksgiving weekend meeting my guy’s family and we hung out for a while. DULLLLLLSVILLE!

So, let me put it another way. It is like when I saw Terms of Endearment when I was a kid. Now I know it is supposed to be a great movie and got some Oscars and all that, but at 8 or 9 or whatever age I was when my moms rented it for us to watch, it was a snoozer. Because I was 9. Not the right audience, right?

Well Manteca is pretty much the same way for me now. Although I am to the point in the relationship where I am meeting his family, I am definitely not to the point in the relationship where I am thinking about a nice place to settle down. And even if I was, there is settling down and then there is putting your enjoyment into a box and burying it forever to raise your kids and Manteca feels more like that.

Manteca is by design all about raising the kiddies in as safe and boring an environment as possible. It makes Leave It to Beaver seem like Mean Streets. (Okay maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but still.)

So what do people like about Manteca?

It is pretty simple actually: good schools and cheap houses within reach of San Jose and SF (if hubby is willing to commute for 5 hours every day, anyway).

How cheap are homes here? The average home around here is probably less than $250,000. Maybe less. And there are basically no homes that go for more than $500,000. For people used to unbelievable prices in the Bay Area, this sounds like pocket change.

These prices probably have a lot to do with the Foreclosure Crisis, which probably affected Manteca more than other places since so many of the people here came into (and then out of) their homes in the last decade. (Manteca grew about a third larger during the last decade--raising incomes though not reaching the California average--people here still make a lot less.)

A lot of the homes here are newer homes from housing developments that popped in the last 30 years or so to keep up with Manteca’s explosive growth. You can actually see the homes expanding outward from the little town that once was, with the oldest 1950’s and earlier homes in the middle and newer and newer homes the farther out you head. There are tons of houses trading hands actually.

Okay, and schools?

Schools, I’m told, have a similar pattern to the homes. The farther away from the center of town you get, the better the schools seem to get. So Manteca High in the center of town is pretty awful, but Sierra High is pretty great! (Or at least well above average.)
They have malls and all the usual suburban deals but that is pretty much it. No one heads out to Manteca for a good time.

Crime is about average in Manteca. I forget where I was seeing this stat but I guess they get maybe one murder per year.

Oh yeah, and in terms of nightlife here, I got a taste of it and it didn’t have a great aftertaste. We went to the Rusty Hook one night. I am not kidding, the one pub in town is called the Rusty Hook. Not exactly a name that inspires you to want to taste the peanuts, if you get my drift. But heck, after a couple of drinks, the inappropriate jokes at expense of the bar’s name actually started to seem funny.
Pros
  • Affordable Newer Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Relatively Quiet
Cons
  • Very, very boring
  • Lots of Foreclosures
  • Did I Mention How BORING It IS?
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"New and Growing"

Lathrop is close to being part of Red California. For those that don’t know California, you might say that there are 2 Californias, the ultra-liberal Coastal California where you will find San Francisco and LA and Silicon Valley; and the inland and central sections of California that are lot like Latrhop: agriculturally based with manufacturing and industries that we more typically associate with the Midwest and South. The politics is also quite more conservative in these less populated sections of California.

Lathrop, however, is more Purple than anything and becoming bluer all the time, narrowly electing Bush in 04, Obama in 08.

On the south, Lathrop is mostly an industrial area--pretty ugly, but it is the economic engine of the area. And if you love McDonald’s French fries, you may be interested to know that the fourth largest employer here in Lathrop is SimpLot. Idaho based Simplot, who invented the frozen French fry for the Golden Arches, has one of its 16 facilities here. These are the kind of employers you will find on this southern end of Lathrop.

This is also a bit of a one-horse town. It was big news, for example, when Target opened up a store here in 2009. But once the economy starts picking up again, I think that Lathrop will also start growing again--I don’t think it has the problems that led next door Stockton to declare bankruptcy.

Lathrop is also a very new community in terms of growth. The vast majority of homes here were built this Millenium and because of the housing crisis, prices here are really low. You can get a house built after 2000 here for around $200K.

There are some real drawbacks to living here, however. One might be the schools, which are mediocre at best, with middling API scores at the high school level and worse at the lower levels.

Crime is another issue. South Stockton is known for its gang problem and residents of Lathrop complain that there is a lot of spillover. I have not seen too many signs of it myself, but I will take the locals word for it.

Summer temperatures this far inland and the allergens that blow in during the harvest from the surrounding areas are also nothing to sneeze at. It you don’t like warm summers, you will hate it here.

If you are looking for an alternative to the high property prices in the East Bay, Lathrop is probably too far away. It will easily take you an hour just to get to Pleasanton from Lathrop during rush hour. Heading the other way is a little better: Turlock and Stockton are within an hours reach--but not Sac.

Overall, Lathrop is a little bit of gamble, but with such low property prices it might be one worth taking if you situation is right for it.
Pros
  • Lots of Newer Homes
  • Affordable
  • Growing
Cons
  • Mediocre Schools
  • Possible Gang Problems
  • Too Far for Bay Area Commute
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"If Not for the Soul Killing Commute..."

Tracy’s biggest selling point is the really low cost of living as compared with the rest of the Bay Area. (Pssst, it’s not really part of the Bay Area; it’s in San Joaquin County.) That largely explains the explosive growth of Tracy that has almost tripled its size in the last 20 years. The median home price here is $250,000--which is no doubt the bait that hooks so many families to live out here. Livermore just to the east over the infamous Altamont Pass has median home prices of $425,000. (Ceilings are also much higher with barely any homes breaking the $750 mark in Tracy, while $1 million is closer to the ceiling in Livermore as far as I can tell.)

Renting here is also much easier. Whereas in Livermore the median for a 3 bedroom or larger is around $2300/mon, in Tracy the median is probably closer to $1500/mon. (It’s hard to say because there are so many rentals available, sorting them down can be a problem.)

The median household income has grown as well, aligning it more with Bay Area salaries (about $80,000/year from $62,000 a decade ago.)

Usually these kinds of low prices in the Bay Area mean that crime and schools are a problem. This is not really the case here.

Schools here are pretty good, being average to above average for the most part. Tracy Joint High and Merrill J. West High, for example, both have APIs of 7, which is firmly above average.

Crime, though not non-existent, is below average. You get maybe 2 or 3 murders in a year here and maybe 5 dozen reported assaults in a year.

Actually, the biggest drawback of all to living in Tracy as a solution to the high cost of living in the Bay Area is the commute. It will take you an hour to get from Tracy to Hayward. You can’t even make it to Walnut Creek in an hour. So if you intend on live in Tracy and work anywhere farther away than Pleasanton, you are probably looking at 3 to 4 hours every day in commute. That is like having a second part time job called commuting, and for this job you get to pay for it in gas, automobile wear and tear and lost family time. Not sure the extra cost is worth it with gas prices at over $4/gallon currently.

On the other hand if you are commuting in the opposite direction, to Stockton or Modesto, Tracy might not be too bad. Unfortunately that is not usually the direction people are going.

As to what there actually is to do in Tracy itself. I don’t really know; I have never actually been out to eat anywhere in Tracy, though I have driven through the main section of town. This central part looks a lot like it did 50 years ago I suspect: very old buildings, kind of western cowboy feel to it.

There is a theater and some restaurants down here, which I hear are good (though most people who work out in Pleasanton stay out there for their date nights and such). This is a very working class place--which is fine, but nowhere that you would go for weekend entertainment if you didn’t already live in town.

In a nutshell, I would say that Tracy might be a reasonable option only if you can handle the commute. I don’t think I could, but then again, I’ve always been the sort of gal that likes to keep it simple--live close to where you work, and have more time for actual living. Then again, I don’t have any little puppies in tow, that might make a big difference in terms of the economics of the decision.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Nice Modern Homes
  • Pretty Good Schools
Cons
  • Terrible Bay Area Commute
  • More than a Little Boring
  • Blazes Boiling in the Summer
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Quiet Little Neighborhood"

The El Cerro neighborhood is a cute little neighborhood on the northern end of Danville straddling--you guessed it--El Cerro Road. It is a very pleasant, bushy neighborhood--the kind of place that just feels sheltering, and almost bucolic in spots.

One of the drawbacks of this neighborhood is that there are no sidewalks, making it harder for walks and bike riding. Though the streets are wide enough that most people should be okay walking in most cases. Also because these streets are not very busy and are gently curved, cars tend not to speed through the neighborhood. (I would still prefer sidewalks, however.)

Homes run in the near one million dollar range.

Overall this is a pretty nice little neighborhood for families if you can afford it and if your hubby doesn’t mind the commute.
Pros
  • Quiet, Almost Bucolic Streets
  • Nice Big Houses
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Terrible Commute
  • Expensive
  • Kind of Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not So Hidden But Nice"

The Diablo Road neighborhood is one of those communities where the streets stretch out onto mostly green hills and make you feel you are right at the edge of the town or city. (Though in this case, you are still fairly contained within the bounds of Danville on all sides.)

On the far eastern end of the neighborhood is Hidden Hills, a planned community where all of homes are built in basically the same style--in this case it is the Mediterranean style, with its adobe walls and red tiled roofs. There are bigger homes for families and smaller homes for “empty nesters” as the real estate person for Hidden Hills on YouTube put it. They are really beautiful, but I’ve never been a huge fan of conformity, which cheapens them for me a bit. Though not for realtors and buyers, apparently, given what these homes go for on the market. I guess people just like the security of it.

Definitely one of the benefits of Hidden Hills is that it is set up as a series of cul-de-sacs, offering customers not only great views, but quiet streets where kids could, in theory, play outside. (Though frankly, I’m not sure people let their kids play outside anymore.)

I personally actually prefer the other parts of the Diablo Road neighborhood, on the western end where the big, low lying homes have sidewalks and variety. These are homes dating from the 70’s I think, but they are really pretty nice. Single story, so they are good for young kids and older folks who may not be as mobile as they once were.

The schools here, as in the rest of Danville are strong and crime is virtually non-existent. On the other hand, the commute from here is pretty terrible, there is no public transportation, and the cost of living is pretty high.

Overall, I would still recommend it for families though.
Pros
  • Nice Big Homes
  • Quiet Cul-De-Sacs
  • Good For Families
Cons
  • Car Dependent
  • Terrible Commutes
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"A Totally Brady Neighborhood"

Greenbrook is the neighborhood just to the north and west of Crow Canyon Country Club. It has Crow Canyon Blvd. not far from the southern border of the neighborhood and Highway 680 as its western border.

With the exception of the condos on the far western end of this neighborhood (that go for around $300,000) most of the homes here sell for more than $500,000 (averaging $700ish if I had to guess). Just about all the homes here date from the mid 60’s through the 1970’s. So what you get is a lot of larger sized Ranch homes on big lots--usually a ratio of 2000 ft or so to 9000 to 10000 ft. lots.

That, of course means plenty of space for pools and nice big back yards. As you get farther up into the hills on the east, not only do you start to get some views but the houses just seem a lot more nicely kept--more Contemporary style homes as well, I think. (Not sure if that is what they are called.)

Of course, here like in other parts of Danville the schools are great, there is virtually no crime and everything is clean and fairly quiet. You are close enough to the shopping center area on Crow Canyon that you could walk there--but nobody walks anywhere around here. And there is not too much in terms of nightlife to do--but that’s what you would expect--you are in the ‘burbs, after all.

There are a few nearby restaurants and all of your basic needs are taken care of to the point where you rarely have to leave town to go find something you need (other than variety). So, overall, this is pretty nice suburban neighborhood--maybe a touch on the boring side, like most others.

But if you are in a family way and hubby doesn’t mind the soul crushing commute to SF of San Jose then this might just work out. (Even better would be if hubby works in Walnut Creek or Pleasanton--two often overlooked centers of commerce in the Bay Area that are way closer than Silicon Valley or the City.)

Overall, a pretty nice spot--the kind of neighborhood where you expect to see Greg or Marsha Brady to come walking up at any minute.
Pros
  • Quiet and Safe
  • Close to Some Restaurants
  • Close to freeway but quiet
  • Great schools
  • Older homes with charm and good-sized lots
Cons
  • Terrible for San Jose or SF Commute
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Homes can be dated and old
  • Low ceilings and floor plans not as open as new homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Pretty Typical Danville Neighborhood"

Green Valley Road is the Danville neighborhood that straddles Green Valley Road. (Duh!)

Okay, now that I have established my expert credentials showing that I am a mistress of the obvious, let me tell a few other things about this neighborhood that anyone with access to Google Maps can tell: it is just to the west of Diablo Country Club and has both Monte Vista High School and Los Cerros Middle School on its western end.

Monte Vista, in case you are curious (and I know you are--why else would you be here), is one of those high achieving schools that are par for the course in affluent locations like Danville. According to the Great Schools website, they have an API of 10 (out of 10), and their test scores are consistently in the 90th percentile overall. Basically, if your kid is capable of learning, he or she will learn in this environment and head off to a great college, etc.

But what are the houses like here you ask?

Well thank you for asking; you just provided me with the perfect transition for talking about the amazing houses in the Green Valley Road neighborhood. Okay, so I would say that about half the homes in this neighborhood date back to the 50’s; so you know what that means: Ranch homes galore. These are okay looking, pretty much like most Ranch homes. (Don’t expect them to be cheaper because of this, you will still pay north of $500,000 for just about any home in this neighborhood. Even the dog houses never fall below $300K around here.)

The other half of the homes (and the ones that are more likely to sell for close to $1 million) date from the 70’s and 80’s mostly. There are some newer homes here and there--like this one house in sort of a Spanish style with a round towerlike part--but these may just be renovations.

This is a fairly hilly area and some of the homes do have a pretty good view of the valley. I’ve never been here in the summer, but I suspect that it gets pretty hot here, even though they are hilly.

In a nutshell, here is how I would put it: good schools, no crime, no nightlife, definitely a car culture. That’s this neighborhood and most of Danville as well.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Nice Houses
  • Pleasant Neighborhood
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No Public Transportation
  • Kind of Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"For the One Percent"

Most of the hills on the southern end of Blackhawk Road are undeveloped, so the homes that do exist in this area have backyards that open onto open hillsides. Of course, that in combination with the fact that this is Danville/Blackhawk make this some fairly prime real estate, commanding the sort of prices that you would expect from such real estate.

Many of these homes are definitely in million dollar price tag territory. These are large homes with pools and that pricey look to them that you would expect from an area like this. Although most of these homes are in the fairly typical Contemporary style that you would expect, there are also some homes here that are also some uniquely designed homes up here in classic styles which are a little more interesting than you your usual run of the mill house.

This is basically one of those out of the way spots where rich folks place their homes so that they can “get away from it all” when they get home.

There is also a big mansion up in this neighborhood—up, hidden away on top of a hill. I am not sure whose it is, but they clearly must be totally loaded.

This is a great spot without question—but way out of the league of most of us.
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Big Attractive Homes
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Bad Transportation
  • A Bit Dull
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Life and Death and a Bit In Between"

Danville Boulevard is home to San Ramon Valley High School and the Alamo Cemetery, so you could say that you get both sides of life here, those that are just starting out and those that are stepping out of this life.

San Ramon Valley High School, which I think I mentioned in another review as well, is an excellent school with high achievements in academics and athletics—although that is pretty much par for the course here. A very good school in a safe area which is the big attraction of a place like Danville. It is also relatively well located for the San Jose commute—though not so much if you have to go SF or the Peninsula.

As to the cemetery, Alamo Cemetery is one of the most historic spots in all of Danville dating back to just after the Gold Rush—1850, when Danville must have been in its infancy. The cemetery doesn’t take new families though it still takes members of families already buried there, and there is a museum there too—though I must admit it doesn’t sound like much.
It’s actually a pretty nice looking cemetery, as far as cemeteries go—very leafy and park like.

What about actually living here?

In between the cemetery and the high school, there is a pretty nice neighborhood made up of very nice—expensive—homes. These mostly look like large really well-kept Ranch style homes—though there are also a lot of Contemporary style homes too—and they are on really quiet streets. It is pretty much the kind of idyllic neighborhood that you might expect to find in a place like Danville.
Pros
  • Great High School
  • Really Nice Homes
  • Historic Cemetery
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Kind of Boring
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Average for CA, Below Average for Danville"

La Gonda, which is just to the east of “Downtown” Danville, looks like a pretty average California neighborhood for the most part. If you are familiar with California you know that that means lots of Ranch style homes on flat leafy streets. And that is pretty much what you get here. Highway 680 forms the eastern border of the neighborhood, but the streets to the west of the freeway are pretty sleepy and peaceful.

You will also find a fair number of apartment complexes and condos here and spill over from the “Downtown” area as well—such as the Presbyterian Church on La Gonda Way. This is one of the least expensive neighborhoods in Danville, with homes well out of the million dollar range (though they are probably mostly still above half a million). Rents here stay pretty close to the same however with a typical condo here running you around $2000/month, or just shy of that amount.

Overall, this is an okay area, especially since you are so close the “Downtown” fun, but the housing choices are more than a little bit on the bland side. I don’t think I would want to buy here—though renting an apartment would probably be okay, if my work were nearby, etc.
Pros
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Good Schools
  • Close to "Downtown" Fun
Cons
  • A Little Bland
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Bad Spot For Commuting to SF or SJ
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"White Picket Fence Neighborhood"

Wrapped around Del Amigo High (a continuation school for older students) and San Ramon Valley High School, the Del Amigo neighborhood is one of those places where you will literally find the occasional white picket fence. This is one of those flat neighborhoods where you find these immaculate streets where you expect the 21st century version of Leave to Beaver. San Ramon Valley High is the standard bearer for the great Danville Schools, and most famous in my book for being the alma mater of Jim Bogios, the drummer of Counting Crows. Ahhh! The 90’s.

Like much of Danville, this is definitely million dollar home territory. Big homes dating to the 60’s mostly. You do get a few condos near Danville Blvd., but that is more the exception than the rule. For the most part these are long squat homes with big front yards and lots of tree cover. You can tell that you are in a super affluent neighborhood by how well everything here is maintained.

As I have mentioned before, commuting from Danville is not ideal. There is no BART station here, so in order to use public transportation you have to drive to it first. So this is a total car culture, if you want to live here.

One of the things that does make this area desirable is that you can walk to “Downtown Danville,” where you can find a number of restaurants and stores. This is another Danville neighborhood where I wouldn’t mind living one day, if I ever come into a ton of dough.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes and Streets
  • Great Schools
  • Close to "Downtown"
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Bad Spot for SF and SJ Commuters
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Great Upscale Hillside Neighborhood"

Las Trampas Hills is the place to come for gated mcmansions and nice valley views way out to Mt. Diablo. This is the kind of place where homes have turnabouts around fountains in the front, pools in the back and a tennis court or two just for good measure. The kind of properties where small armies of gardeners and maids ascend every day to help maintain the beautiful properties while the tennis moms go out to get their lessons.

Am I painting too luxurious a view of this location? If so, not by much.

This is without a doubt million dollar home territory. In fact, it is more like multi-million dollar home territory. It is the kind of place where senators come to raise money, as Feinstein did this weekend (netted $3 million).

A lot of the homes here are perched on little winding roads that don’t look like they are going anywhere and in many cases you feel as if you are out in the middle of the country. The Las Trampas Hills neighborhood is bordered by the Las Trampas Wilderness Park on the west and south.

I like this neighborhood though it is one of those places that I will never be able to afford to live.
Pros
  • Big McMansions
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Nature
Cons
  • Super Expensive
  • Critter and Hillside Living Problems
  • Poorly Positioned for SF and SJ Commute
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Pleasant Mix of Homes and Apartments"

For a long time, I only knew this area from having driven through it when I didn’t feel like sitting in traffic on Highway 680. You can take Sycamore Valley Road to Camino Tassajara and sneak all the way down to Livermore—I don’t think it actually saves you much time unless there is really some seriously messed up traffic on 680, but at least you have a feeling of forward progress.

Anyway, up until recently, that is all I knew about this area, but I have a friend who lives here now, thanks to BF so I have been checking out this area a bit. Here are my thoughts:

This is a pretty pleasant suburban neighborhood, but it is pretty densely packed for a residential area like this. There are lots of fairly nice Ranch homes and Contemporary homes on the winding streets and cul-de-sacs here—which all seem fairly well kept—as you might expect given this is Danville. This is mostly not, however, million dollar home territory although it’s pretty close. I doubt many homes in this area sell for under half a million.

There are also a fair number of apartments and condos here as well. I took a quick look at what rents cost around here and looks like you can get a 2-bedroom apartment for $2K. That is not too bad. (Homes, of course, are way more expensive—pretty much double in most cases.)

The other draw to this neighborhood is Osage Park, which is one of those parks with a ton of soccer fields—I think it is technically a part of Charlotte Wood Middle School, but I think I heard someone say they play soccer matches and that kind of thing there on the weekends.

Good schools, clean streets and a nice little short cut to exciting Livermore—what else could you ask for in a neighborhood?
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Mid-Range Apartments/Condos
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not Great for Commuters
  • Terrible Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Good Place for Raising McMansions"

El Pintado is Danville’s most northern neighborhood. It is tucked away into the rolling chaparral of the Contra Costa hills and still has pretty much a rural feel—not unlike some areas in affluent Alamo just to the north.

The roads in El Pintado are narrow and have no sidewalks, for the most part. They face fields with overgrown grass (unless someone’s cattle has recently chewed them up or there has been a grass fire—both not uncommon around here).

You will definitely find your share of McMansions tucked away up here as well. Million dollar homes are more the rule than the exception in El Pintado. And there is still a lot of room for development, so I would bet that we will soon be getting even more McMansions up here.

Overall, given the great schools, big houses and safety I certainly wouldn’t mind living here if I could afford it.
Pros
  • Nice McMansions
  • Bucolic Feel
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Not Well Situated for SJ or SF Commutes
  • No Sidewalks
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Okay Neighorhood But Not Too Good for Commuters"

This is really just one small strip of San Ramon Valley Blvd., which is much longer than this, but I guess they just weren’t that sure about what to call this area other than the San Ramon Valley Blvd. neighborhood.

It is not so different from the Town and Country neighborhood to the west of it, except for the fact that there are some condos and apartments here that you don’t really see in the Town and Country neighborhood. (Renting btw costs around $2000/month around here.)

You still do get a fair number of Ranch homes, though they are a lot more average looking than the ones in the Town and Country neigbhorhood.

There really is not much else to this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Good Schools
  • Close to "Downtown" Danville
  • Nice Ranch Homes
Cons
  • Not Good For Commuting
  • A Little Boring
  • High Cost of Living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Suburban Living, But Maybe Not so Great for Commuters"

Town and Country is on the far western end of Danville—which of course in Contra Costa means it’s a hilly expensive area with some relatively new looking houses. I don’t know if you would call these Ranch homes, exactly—they just seem longer and squatter than most Ranch homes that I have seen. There are also a lot of Contemporary style homes up here. This is the kind of place with wide streets and sidewalks where the hills are mostly soft enough and the streets quiet enough where you see people on early evening walks. People have big lawns here and nice brickwork.

Or, to put this another way—this is definitely million dollar home territory. With the central part of Danville just to the northeast, this is definitely a great little spot. If I were making bank, I might consider living here.

One drawback to this area is traffic. If you have to commute to San Jose or San Francisco, this is actually a pretty lousy starting and ending point. Neither one is within an hour’s commute time during rush hour—even worse if you intend on taking BART (you will only get as far as Orinda in an hour, probably).

Other than that it is pretty much a great, slightly boring suburban area, with strong schools, no crime, okay nearby restaurants and good shopping. Kind of boring, but really nice if you are into suburban living.
Pros
  • Nice Houses
  • Great Schools
  • Close to "Downtown" Danville Attractions
Cons
  • Bad Commute Traffic
  • Kind of Boring
  • High Cose of Living
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Unusual 80's Houses and Future McMansions"

At first sight, the Danville Ranch/California Chateau neighborhood looks to be just another residential Danville neighborhood. Contemporary houses, nice clean, quiet streets, the usual things you expect from a Danville neighborhood.

But really, you can roughly break this neighborhood down into 3 different sections marked off by the two circling streets on its eastern end and by the one long ridge top lane, Peter’s Ranch.

By far the least expensive homes here are the odd looking homes down on and round Ridgeland Circle. These homes date to 1983 when this entire section of this neighborhood was built out. What makes them unusual looking to me is the odd placement of the windows. They just look like tract homes from the period. The windows are square and placed up on the roof with cut out sections for them. I assume this might have been some kind of momentary fad that didn’t catch on, making these homes look a bit like odd ducks.

The Fountain Hills Circle section of Danville Ranch was clearly planned by a developer with a similar aesthetic but it seems that by the end of the 80’s they had developed it into something a little bit more appealing. These homes just feel much more luxurious and provide in many cases better views of the valley than many of the other homes located lower on the hillside.

Where you will find the real McMansions are up by Peter’s Ranch where only a couple of them have been built so far. This is where future mansion will rise up to stare down at us from on high.

It’s an odd little neighborhood really.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Good For Commuters
  • Unusual Houses
Cons
  • Expensive Homes
  • A Bit Homogenous
  • Maybe Too Close to the Freeway
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Great For Single Commuters"

This is spot right by where Crow Canyon hits the freeway, so it is a very busy area—especially along Crow Canyon Road. On the far eastern end of the neighborhood right by Crow Canyon, there are some condos dating to the early 80’s and there are some more (dating from 90’s) to north of Costco, which is perhaps what the area is best known for.

You can also find a smattering of single family homes—mostly Contemporary style homes of the kind that are quite popular in Danville. I guess its proximity makes it perfect for commuters who want to be able to hop right on the freeway right away.

There really isn’t much else to it.
Pros
  • Close to the Freeway
  • Great Schools
  • Nice Condos
Cons
  • Traffic
  • Not Very Attractive
  • Somewhat Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Four!"

In college, I used to live at the Roma Café. I used to say that they should charge me rent there. The baristas who were sick of seeing me certainly thought so.

The Crow Canyon Country Club in Danville actually gives you the opportunity to say you actually live at the country club without any irony. The Club, which seems to target the Lipiflow and dentures set, has condos separating the 18 hole fairways, in addition to 13 tennis courts, and lots of conference rooms named after writers associated with Northern California (e.g., the Jack London Room, the Mark Twain Room etc.).

The Crow Canyon Country Club Home Association seems to offer mostly condos. I would tell me more, but since they don’t let just anyone in—it is a club after all—I can only tell you that they seem nice from the outside.
Recommended for
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Really Nice Tract Homes"

Ironically, Sycamore Valley Road turns into Camino Tassajara just where it hits the Sycamore Valley. A lot of people use Camino Tassajara as a shortcut into the Livermore area when 680 is too congested. I don’t know if this actually works but a lot of people swear by it.

The Sycamore Valley neighborhood is actually one of my favorite neighborhoods in this section of Danville at least in the sections north of the Sycamore Valley Road. South of Sycamore Valley Road at Crow Canyon there is an ugly gray condominium complex next to a strip mall with a McDonalds and Starbuck’s in it, which I do not find terribly appealing.

To the west of this area there is a sprawling patchwork or tract home neighborhoods—all them homogenous within themselves but different from homes in the adjacent neighborhoods. These are really nice Contemporary style homes however, built in the past generation and having been well-kept despite many of them being on the market due to foreclosure.

The biggest most luxurious homes, however, are north of Sycamore Valley Road. These are large sprawling homes which are immaculately kept and invariably have large front lawns, perfectly trimmed. (Though they too are still tract homes.)

This is also a pretty good spot for commuters—especially for those heading up to the Walnut Creek area (less so, due to traffic for those heading to Silicon Valley or to SF, since you will hit the rush hour traffic head on if you have a typical schedule.

Overall, a pretty nice place to live while you are raising kids and that kind of thing.
Pros
  • Nice Houses
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet and Safe
Cons
  • Boring and Bland
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Very Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Tract Homes--No Really!"

So this is another one of those homogenous Danville neighborhoods where the tract houses all look somewhat alike. Unlike the impression that you may have of tract houses, however, these tract homes were clearly made for an upper crust clientele—really nice looking and big, big, big (over 3000 ft. as a starting point).

Here is the basic essence of the houses: a drive way that leads up to a two door garage on one side (the doors are different sizes, one just big enough for a single car the other big enough for two cars). The front door is in the middle of the house and it has a high entrance area with a window on the floor above the door that sometimes has a little Romeo and Juliet style balcony. The living room to the other side of the front door usually has big panorama style windows and are close to the windows on floor above. Sometimes the fireplace is up front, sometimes it is on the side of the living room inbetween homes.
Other rooms are also above the garage.

They vary everything from colors to tile types to window types but the floor plan seems to be pretty close to this throughout.
It’s nice. It would be good in case you need to borrow some sugar—you can just let yourself into your neighbor’s house and head right over to kitchen. You will know in advance where everything is—no guess work necessary.

You are right by Blackhawk here, so you will definitely have to pay for it, but if you can afford it, you might like it here. It seems like a good quiet—somewhat boring—place to raise kids.
Pros
  • Nice Big Tract Homes
  • Very Safe
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Bland
  • Very Expensive
  • Boring and Exclusive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Med Homes But a Little Bland"

The Lawrence Road neighborhood (so named because Lawrence Road forms the spine of this long neighborhood as it stretches south from Camino Tassajara at the far eastern edge of Danville) is one of the high end tract housing neighborhoods where all the homes look similar enough that a visitor would not be able to find a home without the numbers of the address.

I came here for a little “dinner party” sort of thingy. The insides of the homes are very luxurious in an upper middle class sort of way—a way that I have had difficulty seeing myself following since I am still basically a Berkeley Girl at heart.

It is definitely a lovely neighborhood though. The homes are in the Mediterranean style with red or tan tile roofs and adobe walls—often with a bit of decorative brick work. They date from the 90’s and I’m sure they fetch somewhere in the $500 thousand to 1 million dollar range. Homes here have more than 3000 ft. of space as a rule and big back yards, often with pools.

If you head far enough up Lawrence Road you can still see an occasional barn and get a little sense of Danville’s rural past, before White Flight made it what it is today.

Of course the schools are great and there is virtually no crime.

It is pretty much your modern vision of suburban life.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Expensive Homes
  • A Bit Out of the Way
  • Bland
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not Your Average Suburban Downtown"

To those who think that you can’t have a romantic dinner without making the trek into the city, I bring you Downtown Danville. I know, this doesn’t sound thrilling on the face of it but you would be mistaken. I have been to not one but three dinners down here over the summer, and I can vouch that there is indeed life this side of the Contra Costas.

Trust me, I was surprised too!

And I don’t mean a late night trip to Taco Bell. I may occasionally be accused of being a cheap date, but not even I am that cheap.

Here is what I mean:

---The Amber Bistro: I went here on a first date and really liked it. It is one of those fairly traditional restaurants where they serve hamburgers, pork chops, fish, that kind of thing but done really well. My date had the filet mignon, which I got a bite out of—delicious, but for $32, I didn’t want to send him to the poor house. So I stuck with the halibut, which was okay too.

--Incontro (“meeting” or “date” in Italian) is really well named. We came here for my birthday. It is definitely the most romantic restaurant in Danville, with warm stone and paintings like the Birth of Venus on the walls, this place definitely knows how to set the mood. It is basically a really fancy Italian place.

---Martini Sky: Love that name. Martini’s are great---so is the bivette steak.

There are bunch of other eateries here too—those are just the date spots that I have been to.

I’m not as big a fan of the bars like Elliot’s and That Bar—a bit on the hooky bland side for me. They just feel totally suburban. Meener’s has live local music of the playing guitar with your eyes closed variety, but if you really want to dance and have a good time around here it is probably better to head down to the ShBoom Room in San Ramon, as far as I am concerned.

But I don’t want to give the wrong impression, Danville is hardly North Beach or even Noe for that matter. It is still basically a little commercial oasis in the middle of a suburban dessert. It is just looking to cater to the desires of those who may not want to take a half hour drive for a nice night out.

There are a bunch of cute shops here and there are also your share of banks, supermarkets and all the things that you expect in a little suburban town where the median household income is well over $100K.

You will still have to get out of town to have fun on a consistent basis. I am just saying that if you only head out once a month for a nice meal because you’re a soccer mom the rest of month or you guys just have completely exhausting schedules—then Danville has you covered on nights you don’t want to hassle it.
Pros
  • Nice Restaurants
  • Good Shopping
  • Safe
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Mediocre Bars
  • Too Car Centered
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Lots of Green--Much of It in Wallets and Purses"

Blackhawk is known as one of the most exclusive areas in Contra Costa County. It’s the kind of place where even the movie theater and outdoor shopping area exude wealth. This is the kind of place packed with newer hillside homes within gated communities. It is very much like an extension of the Dougherty Hills section of San Ramon, just to the south.

I’ve not done a scientific study or anything but I am sure that the average home here goes for more than a million dollars and that the farther up you get into the hills, the higher the cost. Down near Camino Tassajara you will find a lot of condos and lots of homes all with the same semi-Mediterranean look to them.

Blackhawk Plaza is the one non-residential area in Blackhawk and it is here that you will find the Blackhawk cinema and an opulent shopping mall with a central pond like area. They are home to store like Anthropologie and See Jane Run. It is all very posh.

If you don’t have a six figure job though—or aren’t hitched to someone who does, this place is not for you.
Pros
  • Beautiful Newer Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Good For Commuters
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Kind of Bland
  • A Little Snooty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"NorCal's OC"

This is a pretty affluent area, with lots of newer Contemporary style homes cropping up all along these gently rolling hills as they crop up on the northeastern end of San Ramon climbing towards super affluent Blackhawk. This is one of those places where all the homes were designed in roughly the same style and where the lawns are immaculately kept by the homeowners association so that property prices don’t drop.

I looked it up, and apparently the median home price here is more than $750,000 and even though not that many homes break the million dollar barrier here, that still seems like a lot of clams to me. Quite frankly, to me it feels like living on a golf course, but what do I know, I’m just part of the 47% who thinks of ourselves as “victims” according to old Mitty.

That said, some of these homes are pretty beautiful and I can certainly understand some of the attraction to them—what I can glimpse from beyond the gates that keep riff-raff like me out anyway.

Put simply, this is Orange County, NorCal style. ‘Nuf said.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Close to Shopping and Movie Theaters
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • More than a Little Snooty
  • Looks Like a Country Club
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Supermarkets, Chain Restuarants and Dentists"

This is basically a big shopping area for San Ramon. It is where Crow Canyon meets Highway 680. Back when In-N-Out Burger was not that common in northern California, this was one of the earliest ones to make it up into the Bay Area. Among my So Cal transplant friends this was a big deal and they used to come out of their ways out here to get themselves some “animal” fries.

Mostly this is a pretty straight forward strip mall style area on all sides of the freeway. You get a number of chain restaurants all around this junction, including TGIF’s, Zachary’s Pizza, Chili’s, Carl’s Jr., and a Nation’s Hamburgers—just to name a few. There are also a number of restaurants that seem like they could be part of chain, but that I’m not sure that they are: Max’s Diner, Uncle Yu’s Szechuan, Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop, etc.

Overall this is the kind suburban commercial hub that packs in tons of stores that you can find in 100’s of cities around the West.

There are also some hotels here, supermarkets, repair shops, gas stations—basically all the practical stuff that keeps upper middle-class suburbia humming.

As far as the office park that surrounds the shopping area, it has a number of law offices and dentists (my dentist was here). Diablo Valley College used to have an extension out here, but I think they have moved their facilities to Dougherty Station now.

Oh yeah, there is also a big movie theater, a sports bar (The Outpost) and even a dance club, The ShBoom Club, which apparently is known as the club where divorced people in their 40’s go to feel young again. (Can’t figure out if that tragic or not but I guess I will find out in about 10 years.)

Because of all the stores and offices around here this is one of those areas that just gets a ton of traffic and the accompanying traffic noise along with it.
Pros
  • In-N-Out Burger
  • Supermarkets and Practical Stores
  • Close to Freeway
Cons
  • Traffic and Noise
  • Very Commercial Looking
  • Not Very Unique in Any Way
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"HQ's and Lunch Joints"

The Bishop Ranch “neighborhood” of San Ramon is where you will find the all the corporate HQ’s that make their homes here. The area is basically a giant set of office parks including the AT&T HQ, a big UPS hub which also has a 24-Fitness right next door—very cool—and Chevron, whose HQ here is just as large as AT&T.

Of course, wherever you get a bunch of offices all packed into a space like this, you also get restaurants to serve the area and Blackhawk is no exception. You can find restaurants like Baja Fresh and Extreme Pizza and stores like Whole Foods here.

This is one of those clean corporate areas where people go about the business of making money for themselves and for their corporations. That is pretty much the whole thing in a nut shell.
Pros
  • Good Place to Work
  • Well Placed Gyms
  • Clean
Cons
  • Nothing but Offices
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
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
Just now

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

"Ranch House Paradise"

South San Ramon is one of those really nice suburban neighborhoods that used to be par for the course in California not so long ago. Now many of them have been run down and newer neighborhoods have replaced Ranch style homes that were once so popular with homogenous looking bland Contemporary style homes. This neighborhood has a significant proportion of Ranch Homes still.

These are the older style of Ranch homes from the early 50’s but they are so well kept that they don’t really look their ages.
A lot of the homes in this neighborhood have swimming pools. My favorites though are the Ranch homes with the thatch roofs, which I find really quaint and attractive.

To the west of Highway 680, it sloops a bit as the San Ramon Valley starts giving way to the Contra Costas. On this side of the freeway, the homes are almost all Contemporary style homes.

As always in this area, schools are great and crime is way below average.

So what does it cost to live here in Ranch house paradise?

Homes here run from about $500 K to just over $1 million, though the median home sales price is probably only around $600 K.

So you have to be relatively well off to live here.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Nice Ranch Homes
  • Very Safe
Cons
  • Kind of Boring
  • No Night Life
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Affluent Little Pocket of Peace"

Dougherty Valley is an outpost of San Ramon and Dublin, just the next phase of development in an area that has been continually growing now for several decades. For those who wondered where White Flight was going—well here you are.
This is one of those neighborhoods that was built for those needing to get farther and farther away from areas that were now deemed too dangerous for bland middle class living.

Even with the Housing Crash and the Foreclosure Crisis this place has continued to do pretty well with homes going for between about $700 K and just over a million. These are those newer Contemporary homes built in the 90’s. This is a slightly hilly area where lawns are so immaculately manicured that it feels like almost every blade of grass has been perfectly placed.
You get some minor views as well and each home seems to have a fairly distinct look to it, unlike a lot of the more homogenous looking neighborhoods you find just to south of here.

Also, you are just far enough away where you still see rolling green hills which have not yet been developed. This gives you a bit of a bucolic feel and an openness that residents must find very rejuvenating.

I especially like Bridle Court, which has a really unique look to it, with homes that have a sort of Mediterranean look to them and this sort of faux rustic stonework that really makes them stand out.

Now this is really a place for family living. If you are single, you will definitely not enjoy yourself here. And the cost of living is also very, very high, so it you don’t make bank you really will not be able to make a life here.

Of course, I don’t even need to mention that the schools are terrific and that there is virtually no crime here either.

But if you are married and doing really well in Silicon Valley, this might be the perfect spot for you.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Quiet
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Some Critter Problems
  • A Bit Remote
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Jail Birds, Shopaholics and Suburbanites Galore"

Want to have the prototypical suburban shopping and entertainment experience?

Well, this is the place for it. East Dublin is a fairly typical suburban shopping experience. From movie theaters to outlets, East Dublin has a bit of all of it. Here are some of the stores you can find here in East Dublin: Barnes and Noble, Babies-R-Us, Old Navy, Pier One, Any Mountain and Bed Bath and Beyond.

And here are some of the restaurants: Tomatina, Black Angus, Applebee’s, Five Guys Burgers and On the Border Mexican Food. Pretty much, if it is a mid level chain restaurant, it probably has an outlet here.

As to entertainment , there is the Regal Max 21 which is also an IMax theater. 21 screens of fairly middle of the road entertainment aimed at teens mostly. Right now for example they are playing The Dark Knight Rises, the latest Diary of a Wimpy movie, The Campaign and the latest Bourne Identity movie. Their only nod to something more serious is the Right Wing reactionary film, Obama’s America.

Given the bland, middle of the road food, shopping and entertainment options that I have listed here, as you might expect, it is stuffed to gills with locals every weekend. You could hardly tell that the economy is not booming from being here on a Saturday.

The area is also packed with car dealerships all along the 580 corridor from here to the junction with 680.

East Dublin is not just about popcorn, hamburgers, stonewashed jeans and the latest Grisham novel, however. There are some businesses that make their home here as well. Taleo, the automated talent recruitment company has its headquarters just off the freeway, as does the data management company Sybase. Carl Zeiss MediTec has offices here, and Avaya the communications and collaboration company has an office here as well.
In support of both the companies in Dublin and those in Livermore to the south of Highway 580, East Dublin also has a number of hotels, including a Hyatt and an Extended Stay.

Of course, one of the biggest employers and housing facilities in Dublin are the police services on the northern end of Dublin.
That is where you will find both the highway patrol and the Santa Rita Jail.

Sandwiched in between the shopaholics and the jail birds are loads of model homes, apartments and condos. The model homes on the far northern end of this neighborhood go for close to a million dollars. They are new—built this millennium for the most part—and have that somewhat homogenous look that such modular neighborhoods take. They are still pretty attractive, however.

There are also a lot of condos and apartments close to the freeway. Rents run from about $1400/month for one room apartments on the southern end to $5 K for some of those homes a little bit farther from the freeway. These are pretty nice but not very suitable for kids as the walls are fairly thin.

Overall, I would say that this is the heart of Dublin in the sense of being what Dublin is at its most authentic self—a very commercial, upper middle class city.
Pros
  • Tons of Stores
  • Good Schools
  • Big Movie Theater
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Very Commercial and Suburban
  • Very Little that is Truly Local
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Library, Trails, and Non-Descript Office Buildings"

The Scarlett Drive neighborhood runs right along the northern end of Highway 580 to the Highway 680 interchange. This is mostly a commercial neighborhood with flat low-lying office buildings which house local companies like Sierra Roofing and Solar, Del Monte Electric and MCE Electric.

Right by Highway 680 there are a half dozen soccer fields where you can, just about every weekend, see matches in progress. The Dublin Public Library—a super modern, attractive looking facility—is here as well, right next to a number of car dealerships.

The Alamo Canal Trail and the Iron Horse Trail with their adjacent trails make up the borders of the Scarlett Drive neighborhood. It is a good spot for a morning run or bike, though the residents here are more fitness club types than open trail runners as far as I can tell. Except on weekends, I can’t recall ever seeing one of them here.

As far as residences in this neighborhood there are a number of townhomes here that sell for around $400 K, they are pretty nice but small. As far are renting these babies, they go for about $2250/month.

At those prices and given the high traffic nature of this neighborhood, I am not sure I would want to live here—but if I lived here, I guess I could do the soccer mom thing in this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Good Soccer Fields
  • Nice Library
  • Nice Running/Biking/Horse Riding Trails
Cons
  • Flat, Unappealing Office Buildings
  • Overpriced Town Homes
  • Too Close to Freeways
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Dublin's Residential Heart"

Central Dublin is basically just a large residential neighborhood at the heart of Dublin.

Homes here go for somewhere around $500 K—maybe a little bit less. You get a lot of Ranch homes on the western end of the neighborhood and as you go farther east the homes get newer, mostly having been built in the last 20 years. There is also a lot of room for more development. Home prices, as you would expect, get higher the farther east you go as well—here you get those newer mass produced homes which all sort of look like each other. The newer homes are right by the undeveloped hillocks of green farmland that used to cover all of Dublin. You cans still spot (and occasionally smell) some actual cows and such up here.

This is the kind of throwback neighborhood where you get people working on their homes on the weekend, teaching their kids to ride their bikes, or washing their cars. Inside their garages you see everything is orderly and well-kept.

Front lawns are well maintained and usually completely green, the sign of a neighborhood where people really care about what they have.

This is a really nice community, close to BART with good schools and low crime. Not much more you could ask if you are a Silicon Valley worker looking for a place to lay down roots.
Pros
  • Nice Homes on Quiet Streets
  • Great Schools
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • A Little Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Shopping, Restaurants, Bars and more Shopping"

This is the heart of Dublin’s commercial engine. Complementing the more traditional mall to the south of Highway 680, Downtown Dublin is basically just a giant shopping area with dozens of stores and restaurants. This is where you can find stores like Burlington Coat Factory, Petsmart, Orchard Supply and Big 5 Sporting Goods—basically the kind of stores that you can find in virtually any suburban city like this. You can also find some lesser known retailers like Bassett Furniture and Aquarium Concepts.

The story is pretty much the same when it comes to restaurants—lots of big chains have franchises here: Panera Bread, Outback Steakhouse, Elephant Bar and kid favorite Chuck-E-Cheese. Lesser known places include Amakara (a sushi joint—I tell you people love sushi around here, there is one on every corner); a half dozen East Asian places, and Franky, Johnny and Luigi Too (an Italian place, in case you are a touch clueless). Those are just some of the places—there are a ton of others.

Nightlife? Yeah there is some of that as well. This is where you will find the Dublin Sports Pub, Evie’s and my personal favorite, Gallagher’s. There is also a Hooters here for you boys who might be staying at Holiday Inn near the freeway on business.

Anyway, that is pretty much it. If you like to shop, then you have found your part of Dublin.

This is also where the BART station is for those who want to make the most of their time by commuting into work in SF or the East Bay. Unfortunately, they haven’t extended it into San Jose, which is where most residents around here work in the tech industry.
Pros
  • Lots of Shops
  • BART Station
  • Lots of Restaurants
Cons
  • Very Little that is Distinctive
  • Not Very Attractive Aesheically
  • Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Waiting For the Housing Market to Come Back"

For the most part and especially on the eastern end, this is one of those totally classic California ranch home neighborhoods—the kind with the long single story ranch homes with a garage on one end a long yard, with the front door in the middle and the living room windows on the other end. It is the kind of neighborhood where there are sidewalks and which are quiet enough where you can probably let the kids play outside without too many worries. (Not that the helicopter parents around here would ever let their kids do anything on their own.) These are 1950’s Ranch homes, well-kept and often having pick-ups in their front yards.

The farther west you go in West Dublin, the nicer kept the Ranch homes get and the more contemporary style homes start to creep up. It is also a lot hillier in this area. The homes are more likely to have decorative touches here than in the eastern part of the Dublin.

On the far western end of West Dublin you get one of the newest sections of Dublin—so new, in fact, that you have a whole series of empty courts and streets where they were clearly setting up for new home but which they haven’t yet built. They are just streets and courts with no houses on them. I assume that they were planning to expand this community when the housing bubble burst and that they stopped at that point. So, we will probably know when the housing market has returned by the return of the construction crews here.

Homes around here, I am told, go for around a half million dollars, which, given the inflated Bay Area real-estate prices seems okay.

The neighborhood is totally family friendly as well. It has a ton of parks like Dolan Park and Shannon Park. The schools are really strong here as they are in Pleasanton, as well. West Dublin also curls around the big mall where you can find tons of the kind of stores you find in most any big suburb.

Overall, a pretty good suburban neighborhood.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Good Parks
Cons
  • Too Many Foreclosures
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Kind of Bland
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Run of the Mill Pleasanton Neighborhood"

Country Fair is a pretty typical Pleasanton neighborhood with lots of cul-de-sacs and contemporary style homes. It is just to the Pleasanton Tennis Park with tennis, basketball and beach volleyball courts. There is certainly no lack of parks in any of Pleasanton, but it could be argued that in Country Fair you are right at the epicenter of these kinds of this recreational area.

Of course, it goes without saying that the schools here are great and that crime is low—that is the draw here. The only reason for having a police force here is teenage boredom.

The neighborhood is right by a little shopping area that has a few restaurants, a Rite Aid and even a little sports bar that I keep meaning to check out but never seem to get around to.

The homes here are pretty nice newer contemporary style homes and a bit on the expensive side from what I understand.
They are close to a million dollars each. Even for a nice neighborhood like this, these prices seem a little bit on the high side.

Overall this is pretty nice little neighborhood, like most other neighborhoods in Pleasanton, boring but good for families.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Parks and Recreation
Cons
  • Over Priced
  • Boring and Bland
  • Not Good for Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Great Cul-de-Sac Neighborhood"

Just north of the Fairgrounds and south of Foothill High School is the Del Prado neighborhood in Pleasanton. It is another one of these neighborhoods that is packed with newer contemporary styles homes that look like they date from around the 90’s. These are really nice, super clean streets that make you feel completely safe and totally bored all in one big wallop. These aren't million dollar homes but they are definitely upwards of $500 K

Schools are great and you have the usual things you would expect from the burbs—a smattering of restaurants, grocery stores and places to catch a movie and all the usual things.

The Del Prado neighborhood is anchored by Del Prado Park which you can find at its center. (This kind of park centered suburban planning is the rule in Pleasanton.) The real organizing structure of this neighborhood though is the cul-de-sac.
The neighborhood is set up so you get as many of these as possible, which is nice because of the advantages that cul-de-sacs bring—namely that they make for quiet little enclaves where you can let your kids play basketball outside while you and your neighbors watch them from your homes without worrying about some car running them down.

The other nice thing about this neighborhood is the Pleasanton Tennis Park is just to the northeast. It has 10 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, and a pretty big children’s paly area.

Schools are strong here as well as throughout Pleasanton and crime is low. This is just a nice boring suburban area, perfect for raising kids. Pretty nice for what it is.
Pros
  • Quiet, Safe Cul-de-Sac
  • Nice Houses
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • A Little Boring
  • Expensive
  • Car/Commuter Center
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Not Much of a Knoll, but Pretty Pleasant"

Foothill Knolls is another pocket neighborhood on the far western end of Pleasanton. The name “knolls” is a little misleading here. This doesn’t look very much like a knoll to me at all—pretty flat actually. These are nice big contemporary style homes, with very well kept yards and a fair number of quiet cul-de-sacs where you will find roll out basketball backboards. I have seen very many pick-up games on these cul-de-sacs, but given the obesity rate in this country it is definitely not a bad idea.

Just about every home here also has a pool, which is a great addition given the boiling summer temperatures you get here in Livermore. (Temperatures which, I might add, are probably only going to become more unbearable as Climate Change begins to take it toll.)

On the southern end of this neighborhood there is a nice park as well, one of many such parks that put the “pleasant” in Pleasanton. In addition to the usual play area, it also has a basketball court and “beach” volleyball court with sand so people can really get into it.

I assume these are pretty much million dollar homes as well.

A pretty nice spot as far as the suburbs go.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Big Homes
  • Clean, Pleasant Streets
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A Touch Boring
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Pocket of Nice Homes"

Yet another little outcropping of DotCom mcmansions tucked away just off Foot Hill Road, Foothill Place is barely more than three lanes. Nice big contemporary style homes are the invariable norm here. Each home is slightly different—this is not one of those completely homogenous neighborhoods, although there does seem to be some basic rules to all the homes: they are all about the same size and all very well kept. It is as if they were planned to be individual, but all individualized in the same way.

These are, of course, million plus dollar homes, with big yards and nice pools.

Arroyo de la Laguna—a gully with a canal in it--is on the far eastern end of Foothill Place and marks the border of this pocket neighborhood. You have to go over a little iron bridge to get to the freeway. It is almost, though not quite, quaint.
Pros
  • Nice Big Homes
  • Removed from Pleasanton Itself
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Expensive
  • Overly Prestine Maybe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Foothill McMansions"

Deer Oaks is a tiny Pleasanton neighborhood just to the west of Foothill Road where Bernal meets up with it. It is so small I could fit it into a shoe box. Okay, maybe not that small, but still, it is only about a half dozen lanes or so and they don’t stretch up into the hills very far. This area is mostly undeveloped green space, with attractive, usually green Contra Costa hills filled with trees. Very nice as a backyard view.

Although you will find the occasional barn up here still, this area is now basically made up of McMansions. Big homes tucked away behind iron wrought gates and stonework. It is really quite nice, in that sort manicured antiseptic sort of way.

It goes without saying that these are million dollar homes, of course. Maybe even half way to two million dollars.

All the amenities are close by, like Safeway and that kind of thing, but you have your own little corner of Pleasanton for you and your McMillionaire buddies. What else could you ask for?
Pros
  • Nice Big McMansions
  • Great Schools
  • A Little Bit Away from the Madding Crowd
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Hillside Problems
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now
Editors Choice

"For DotCom Millionaires and Reagon Era Condo Lovers"

Golden Eagle Farms is a little mcmansion neighborhood just to the north of the Castlewood Country Club. The only reason I call these mcmansions and not just mansions is because I have a harder time thinking of a home as a mansion when it was built like tract housing as part of a planned neighborhood. When I think of mansion, I think of homes that were built by the owners on top of a hill to meet their specific likes and dislikes, not that a developer set out along a neighborhood of 2 dozen.
Also most neighborhoods like this are farther up into the hills, but this is one is mostly down near Foothill Road along the flatter portion of the neighborhood.

On the western end of this Golden Eagle is Bernal Park, one of those green spaces that is great for hiking and that sort of thing.

You can roughly divide Golden Eagle into three sections: the hilly western section, the mini-neighborhoods just east of Foothill Rd., and the mcmansion area between Foothill and Highway 680.

The hilly western section of Golden Eagle has a somewhat rural feel, with large though not particularly luxurious looking homes along the rise. You get some pretty good views of the Pleasanton valley area from here. (If you go up into Bernal Park you will get some even better views from spots.) There are some newer mansions built up here as well. These seem more like what we think of as traditional mansions, though they were still clearly built by one developer and have a certain homogeneity to them, with adobe walls and pale tiled roofs. This mcmansion area is a gated community. To enter, you have to be invited and get by the security detail down at the bottom end—I guess that is one way to keep the riff raff like me out.

Down by Foothill Rd., you get another couple of planned communities though much less posh—much more 80’s—than the ones that surround them to the east and west. These are kind of smaller, uglier condos that were fairly popular when Ronnie was president but which are kind of ugly now. This is still a solid place to live, though not very attractive imo.

On the eastern end of Golden Eagle you get more mcmansions, these not so exclusive that you can’t take a drive through.
These are large Med style homes that are big like mansions. They come in various styles, often incorporating columns and having the symmetry of classical architecture in an attempt to quote previous kinds of stately buildings. The effect is individually fairly impressive. When you place a bunch of them on the same street however, the homogeneity and closely packed nature of the neighborhood diminishes the effect somewhat.

Don’t get me wrong, this is still an impressive neighborhood that exudes wealth. But it still feels a little bit like they are faking their wealth—like they just made their dotcom fortune yesterday, bought their way into this neighborhood, and that they might lose it all tomorrow, and move out again.

Okay, maybe too much projection on my part, but that is just the feeling I get.

As to the price tag of living here and other practical considerations?

Well the condos are obviously the cheapest place to live. These go for under $300 K mostly. The most expensive areas are the sprawling hillside mansions. If you want to live there, expect to pay multi-millions. Down by the mcmansion neighborhood, those homes just go for around $1 million each.

All the usual things about Pleasanton apply here: good schools, low crime, the usual suburban amenities.

Overall a nice place for dotcom millionaires and condo living.
Pros
  • Attractive Newer McMansions
  • Great Out Door Space
  • Affordable Condos
Cons
  • Ugly Condos
  • Expensive Mansions
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Counrty Clubs and Med Style Homes"

Castlewood is the southern most neighborhood in Pleasanton.

The most prominent feature there is the Castlewood Country Club, which is, of course, a popular golf venue, but is also often used for weddings and occasionally proms. It’s actually got some pretty good views over Highway 680 and across the hazy valley.

Mixed into the country club are some residential roads, which is a little bit weird but seems to work alright. These posh homes come in a mélange of styles from modern Med style with its red tiled roofs and adobe walls to more classical styles.
They are large and exude wealth. The Med style works especially well here because there are a lot of palm trees around here and this gives the area sort of a vacation feel.

Things feel a lot more arid down by Foothill Blvd. on the western end of the neighborhood. Homes here are still pretty large.
I suppose these are basically the McMansions people are always talking about.

Overall, I suppose this is an okay place to live. Definitely way outside of my price range.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Attractive Country Club
  • Good Wedding Venue
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Out of the Way
  • Kind of Snooty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Just for Fun"

For a little tiny Downtown area, this is actually a lot of fun. This is especially surprising given how bland and flat most of the rest of Pleasanton is.

What is there to do here?

First there are the restaurants:
--Barone’s: a seafood joint.
--Sushi Hanabi
--Oasis: a Mediterranean B & G
--Nonni’s bistro
--Chianti’s: An Italian place which is great for dates
--India Garden


Then there are the bars:
--Redcoats Pub
--Main Street Brewery
--Past Time Pool


Then there is the shopping:
--Prim
--Lotus
--Therapy
--Celebrity Bound


And then there are an assortment of other places. For example, where else can you get fit while learning how to pole dance like you can at Twirly Girls.

Put simply, this is a fun little spot to go on dates and on the weekend. It tends to have a lot of kids and families—if you really want a strong singles scene you do have to go at least up to Oakland, if not the city, but for Pleasanton it is pretty good.
Pros
  • Good Restaurants
  • Good Bars
  • Good Boutiques
Cons
  • A Bit Small
  • Too Many Families and Kids
  • It is still Pleasanton
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"My Favorite Neighborhood in Pleasanton"

I’ve always liked neighborhoods like Belvedere. First of all there is the name, which has a kind of pleasant quaintness. (Probably why those 80’s TV people choose it for their show.)

This neighborhood also stands out because it is a little bit older than other Pleasanton neighborhoods. The Ranch and Eichler style homes here seem to date back to at least 60’s. They are well kept though, so that when you drive through this neighborhood you feel not like this is an 80’s neighborhood, but rather that you are transported back into the 80’s. Or to put this another way, you don’t really see the signs of age in Belvedere. The streets are really well maintained.

I can tell these homes were built before 1980ish or so because these home embody that 1960’s and 70’s ethos of individualism. Unlike more modern neighborhoods where each home is almost an exact replica of the home next to it—here, each home takes on its distinct individual style. There is nothing homogenous about this neighborhood.

Take Croce Court, for example, a cul-de-sac with just 6 homes on it. You get a nice little older home with garage and stairs leading up to the front door on the corner. Next to this is high roofed home whose cathedral style windows make it look like church. Next to which is another high roofed home but this time with a square patterned garage with a touch of brickwork and a side front-door walkway, with spaced stone steps and high columns. This is next to a more modest looking home with adobe and brick and a tree (it is almost like a transition home mixing styles from each side of its street). This home is next to a home with a recessed garage and long driveway whose front yard is so covered in foliage that you cannot even make out the house from the street. Completing the circle of the cul-de-sac is a contemporary style home with a pattern of circular topiary surrounding the brick steps that lead up to front second story front door; the first story garage is located below. (And I could go on like this to describe the house across the street from the cul-de-sac that has a white picket fence and a wooden arch along the sidewalk…)

My simple point being that each home here is distinct. It is the kind of neighborhood where you can say: “our house is the one that looks like a church” or “our house is the one with the wooden fence and so much tree cover you can’t see what it looks like.” This is not the kind of neighborhood where you could on an absent minded day walk into your neighbor’s house accidentally, have dinner with his wife, put his kids to bed and only notice you had made a mistake when he comes home late and pushes you out of bed while getting in himself.

It’s the individuality of this neighborhood that really appeals to me. It’s an individuality which is in short supply in bland, flat Pleasanton.

Which brings up another thing about this neighborhood, which is that it is on a hilly portion of Pleasanton which doesn’t give you too many views, but does give you a bit of variation from the perfectly flat spaces that inspire grid-like neighborhood design.

On the eastern end of the neighborhood you get a couple of churches: St. Augustine’s (a Catholic Church) and St. Mary and John’s which is a Coptic Orthodox Church.

But Belvedere is not just a residential neighborhood with some churches. On its western end, Belvedere borders Main Street and that whole section of “Downtown” Pleasanton which is by far the most attractive for the young and young at heart. So you could basically walk from your house to one of the restaurants or bars downtown.

Put simply, this is my favorite spot in Pleasanton and if I had the money and wanted to settle down in Pleasanton, this is where I would move.
Pros
  • Eclectic Houses
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Downtown
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Older Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nice Med Homes, Cool Hilly Spot"

Bode Ranch is located on the hilly southeastern edge of Pleasanton. It is basically an outcropping of faux Med style homes along maybe a half dozen streets. They are really nice million dollar homes whose tiled roofs and adobe walls vary in shades from the usual red clay look to darker grays. The streets are wide and well kept, and because there is no outlet to other neighborhoods, relatively traffic free. You could actually have a pick-up game of b-ball at one of the outdoor community hoops you find in the cul-de-sacs without being interrupted on most days.

It is the sort of neighborhood where people are out and about on weekend mornings going for walks and that sort of thing.
On weekdays it is a workplace for maids and gardeners who drive up here (there is not really public transportation) to maintain the appearance of perfection.

These are not really mansions—you get pools at some homes but not tennis courts, but you are right along the hills in a nice enough spot where the developers could have developed mini-mansions instead. Because you are right along the hills you probably get some wildlife coming in and eating flower gardens and that sort of thing.

The other thing about living in a spot like this is that it is definitely a car culture. You basically need to hop in your car every time you need something in town.

Overall though, this is a pretty great spot if you have a family and can afford it here.
Pros
  • Quiet Streets
  • Nice Homes
  • Attractive Streets
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Somewhat Remote
  • Possible Wildlife Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Flying High Over the Pleasanton Riff Raff"

Like Foxbrough, Eagle Ridge Estates is another nest of mini-mansions perched atop another slight elevation to get a bit of view of the surrounding valley. I went to a pool party at one of these giant homes and got a sense of how the “upper half” lives. These are really spacious homes, many with around 5000 ft. of floor space.

And they have private pools, tennis courts and in some cases their own mini-vineyards.

The lawns are perfectly manicured and the streets are wide. It is at the edge of the valley so no one drives through your neighborhood on their way somewhere else.

The down side, I guess is that you are sort of away from it all. So every time you want to get some groceries or get anything at all done, you have to get into your car and drive to it. You probably get a bit of wildlife up here as well since you are right on the edge of town. I bet they probably get their garbage cans knocked over when they put it out the night before.

Which is terrible, because then their maids or butlers probably have to go out to the curb to clean it up for them. I kid. But I am just saying that this is a really rich area: million plus dollar homes and all that.

When I win the lottery I will be sure not to spend it all here getting one of these homes.
Pros
  • Attractive Mini-Mansions
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet and Secluded
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Remote
  • Possible Wildlife Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Where the Foxy Fatcats Live"

Foxbrough Estates on the far eastern end of Pleasanton is a pretty posh suburban niche. It’s not a very big neighborhood but it stands out because it is filled with a clutch of mini-mansions all in one spot. These are big newer homes with long driveways and perfectly manicured front lawns. They are bigger than most of your homes in Pleasanton and exude that “we’ve made it and have extra money to burn feel” of upper class neighborhoods.

Each home is fairly distinctive here, though all of them are in that newer Contemporary style. These are totally million dollar homes, many probably selling for closer to $2 million. If these homes were not in Pleasanton but in the Peninsula or some high property value place like that these home prices would probably sore into the multi-million dollar range.

As it is, this is definitely where the Pleasanton elites live. This is also one of the few places in Pleasanton that is not flat—the Foxbrough streets (all with “Fox” in their names, Gray Fox Circle, Gray Fox Court, etc.) are on a bit of an up-cropping or bluff, so that you get a bit of a view of the valley.

Schools are, of course, really strong here. Vintage Hills Elementary having top scores as do the other Pleasanton grades.
Crime is pretty much non-existent here as well.

Basically, it is like living over by Palo Alto but not having the sky-rocketing prices. Just a million or two for your home—pocket change, really.
Pros
  • Attractive Mini-mansions
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet and Somewhat Secluded
Cons
  • Expensive, of Course
  • A Bit Out of the Way
  • Probably a Little Snooty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Prototypical Pleasanton Neighborhood"

First of all, “California Reflections,” doesn’t sound like a neighborhood at all. It sounds more like the name of a picture book—the kind that you might find on someone’s coffee table.

So what do you find in this spike shaped neighborhood to warrant this kind of a name?

What you find is a pretty nice looking but fairly stereotypical Pleasanton neighborhood, perfectly manicured and filled with homogenous Contemporary style homes. In this case, the homes are of the kind where the bedrooms are located right over the garage and the roof sloops down over the first floor living room.

Front yards here are more for show than play—a bit too small to really be made use of, and really just there because they are expected—as if the builders were checking a box, Front Lawn: Check. There are nice wide streets, sidewalks and enough of a lack of traffic where basketball can be played in the street without too much worry, should the local kids have a party or organize a little pick-up game.

Prices run around $500,000 which is okay for Nor Cal.

Overall, this is solid suburban living—perfect for people raising kids.
Pros
  • Quiet Streets
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Poor Public Transportation
  • Bland, Homogenous Neighborhood
  • Kind of Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Boring Joys of Suburban Living"

With a name like Amador Estates, you might expect this neighborhood to be one of those snooty sorts of places where you will find lots of luxury cars and high roofed homes with white columns. You know, the kind of place that projects its wealth right in your face to make sure you are properly intimidated.

This is far from what you find at Amador Estates, however. This is actually the prototypical looking California suburban neighborhood with tons of Ranch homes on well-kept streets. It is the kind of place where people spend their weekends mowing the lawn and cleaning the rain gutters, in between shuttling their kids to soccer practice and sleepovers. It is basically the middle class ideal of suburban living—an ideal which the Great Recession and Housing Crisis have made increasingly more difficult to achieve, but which still survives relatively intact here.

What’s the price tag for living this middle class life style?

Around $550,000, which is actually not too bad—relatively affordable. A lot of people actually choose Pleasanton and the surrounding areas for their commutes to their Peninsula jobs because of its affordable prices and safe, suburban living. And that is exactly what you get when you live here. Nice lawns, backyards and sidewalks for kids to bike on.

You also have some okay restaurants nearby and all the usual conveniences of the suburbs. It is nice quiet suburban living—the kind of boredom that makes kids strive to want to leave and do the usual mischief of youth but which is unlikely to get them killed.

All in all, an okay place to settle down and be bored.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Nice Homes
  • Safe and Supportive Neighborhood
Cons
  • Boring
  • Bland
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Nice Homogenous Community"

Danbury Park is where my ex-boyfriend’s mom lives. We used to drive all the way out here from Sacramento to visit her so she could see my her grandson. She lives in this little house in one of those planned neighborhoods where all the houses look pretty much alike. There seem to be a ton of them here in Pleasanton and all of Danbury Park is basically one of them.

They are right by Orloff Park, which has good play areas for both younger and older kids and basketball courts. It is a pretty long park stretching all the way across the neighborhood and mostly surrounded by quiet low traffic streets—which is exactly what you want from a park where little kids play. On the one side where it meets with Santa Rita Road, there are barriers and it is well away from the play areas so kids are just unlikely to venture to it.

This is basically suburban living, with all the usual conveniences nearby.

Homes here go for around $450,000.

It’s a nice quiet spot. Schools are strong and crime is low and crime is low, so it is a good spot for families.
Pros
  • Good Schools
  • Quiet Spot
  • Nice Park
Cons
  • Boring
  • Homogenous
  • Smaller Homes
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Little Bit Better than Most Pleasanton Offerings"

To break up the monotony of having one Contemporary style home after another, every other home here in Heritage Valley is actually a Ranch style home. Also the Contemporary style homes here in Heritage Valley have a slightly different look to them. They have high roofs whose apex is off center right over the second story main bedroom that is, in turn, over the garage, and then the roof slopes all the way down the home from the second to the first story, giving the entrance to the home this really high front stoop—a look that was really popular in the 1980s when I was just a wee gal. When you are in the main bedroom, the automated garage warns you that people have gotten home because you feel the garage door opening—useful for naughty teens and housewives. I still find the look rather comforting, but this may simply be because it is tinged with childhood nostalgia for me.

The front yards in this neighborhood are also a bit more individualized—yards have unique lawn decorations and layouts. So one yard has a little bench and lawn chair there, as if the residents are going to hang around the front lawn and shoot the breeze in an old timey sort of way. Others don’t use grass at all, opting for white stone decorations. These touches of individuality make this a slightly better neighborhood imo than in a lot of other neighborhoods in Pleasanton.

The average home price here is maybe around $500,000 I’m guessing. Maybe a little lower.

Overall a pretty nice neighborhood: quiet and dull in a way that is perfect for raising kids.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet and Safe
Cons
  • Boring
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Just Like Most of Pleasanton: Bland and Boring"

Amberwoods/Wood Meadows is the little tiny neighborhood just to the east of the playing fields and to the south of the little waterway that bisects the northern part of Pleasanton. (This waterway has a nice bike trail on it where you can go for a ride and stay in shape—it’s very nice.) It’s funny that it should have two names; it is such a small neighborhood it barely deserves to have one name.

Not to mention the fact that it is hardly distinct from the neighborhoods around in it. Here you will find Contemporary style homes, galore, yet again. These are basically the staple of Pleasanton. I suppose the only thing that makes them a touch on the unique side is that one of the streets at least has some palm trees in front of some of the houses and some bushy, willowy trees that add a bit of individuality. (As in, “Yeah my house is the one two houses down from the house with the bushy, willows.”) Just something to provide a contrast to the bland uniformity which is Pleasanton.

Otherwise this is par for the course in terms of neighborhoods in Pleasanton: nice quiet streets, a little boring and fairly expensive. I am guessing house around here cost in the $750 K ish range.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Safe
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Boring
  • Bland and Uniform
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice and Boring"

I mainly stop by this neighborhood before jumping on the freeway or to gas up. But I took a little drive around here the other day and it actually looks like a pretty nice neighborhood. Verrrrrrrry Pleasanton, which basically means that there are lots of big contemporary style homes with red-tiled roofs on every other house. Clean wide residential streets with an abundance of cul-de-sacs which are perfect for kids riding their bikes and doing that sort of thing because it slows down traffic a bit.

I guess I shouldn’t overgeneralize. This neighborhood—just because it is obviously one of those planned sort of neighborhoods--is not all the same. On the far eastern end, the tiles are a lighter shade than in the middle of the neighborhood. More ash colored tiles sort of. See, it’s like a whole different universe over there.

The overall feeling is sunny and wholesome.

Homes here aren’t really million dollar homes, I don’t think, but they probably are above $500K I’m guessing. On average anyway.

If I had a family I suppose I would like a neighborhood like this, nice and quiet and boring.

In terms of commuting its nice too: you are right next to the freeway so you can hop right on and get stuck in rush hour traffic right away instead of having to negotiate surface streets before finding your place in the Silicon Valley parking lot which is the everyday commute.

You are also really close to all the shopping just north of the freeway—you can catch a movie, get a book, get yogurt or just generally do all the adding to GNP sort of thing which is the central joy, as far as I can tell, of living in the suburbs.

In the neighborhood itself you can find a MacDonald’s, some gas stations, a car wash, and, of course, the required Thai place (there must be a law in Pleasanton that requires every neighborhood to have its own East Asian food joint).

And Trader Joes is where, 3 times a week, you can find me with all the other displaced earthy crunchy types.
In a nutshell: good neighborhood, but way out of my price range, like everywhere else in Pleasanton really.
Pros
  • Big Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Safe
Cons
  • Boring
  • Bland Homogenous Home Styles
  • Poor Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
Just now

"Horse Hitchings, Marriage Vows and Golf Links"

So Pleasanton used to be some sort of farming town in the past, I say ignorantly. The Fairgrounds are a big reminder of this.
For example, in August they will have a yearling sale here.

Apparently, people also get married here. After all, where better to get hitched then where you hitched that yearling to your truck last year? I kid.

The other thing about the Alameda Fairgrounds is that it reminds you that Pleasanton is in Alameda not Contra Costa County. This area always feels more like Contra Costa County to me—more like Walnut Creek and Concord than Oakland and Berkeley.

There is also a big golf course on the eastern end of the neighborhood.

So pretty much, there is not much here for me.
Pros
  • Good For Farmers
  • Good For Golfers
Cons
  • They Are Just Fairgrounds
Recommended for
  • Country Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Birds, Szechuan, and Soccer"

Just moved here to be closer to work after living in West Sac for a year. My mom thinks this is an improvement over dirty old, crime ridden West Sac. I’m not so sure, but it does beat sitting in my car for hours on end to get to and from work.
This is called the Birdland neighborhood—though people don’t really think of it in terms of neighborhoods here in the way people do in say Berkeley where you can say you live by the Gourmet Ghetto or in the Elmwood neighborhood and people know what you are talking about. Anyway, the Birdland neighborhood has a bit of an aviary theme going with street names like Mallard, Blackbird, Hummingbird and Woodthrush. My former English major self really digs that. Very poetic, even if there is nothing particularly poetic about the streets here.
They are the typical grid. There is nothing wrong with these streets. Most of the homes here are from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
So these are nice wide streets with some trees—though they are not really shady. Just about every house seems to have a pool and yard which is nice because summer here is as bad as over by Sac. When I was moving in earlier this month I thought I was going to die—I was soaked through with sweat by the time I finished. Felt like I had already jumped in the pool.

My living situation here in is a little awkward. I am renting a room in a big house. It is just the dad and his 20 something kid who goes to the local community college and pretty much just hangs out. So I haven’t quite gotten used to it—still feel like the guest who never leaves. But it is a good arrangement for me—I help them keep the place clean and they give me a big discount on the rent.

But the house is really very nice. The kind of house that is now, and probably always will be, way outside of my price range as a single gal.

Just to the north of Birdland is the Pleasanton Sports and Recreation Park which is basically a bunch of sports field.
Apparently, the families of Pleasanton are obsessed with keeping their kids physically active and so on the weekends out come the Soccer moms to cheer their kids on and hope they can achieve some local glory. This is definitely the kind of area where people have pick-up trucks and boats and love outdoor recreation.

On the western end of the neighborhood is Hopyard Road—one of the main north south drags. There you find a Tennis Club—can’t get enough fitness; it is not enough to have a miles worth of sport fields, you also have to have a half dozen tennis courts, and a bunch of stores all with a faux Spanish style office park aesthetic: red tiled roofs and fake stucco walls.

There is a Rite Aid here and that sort of thing. There are also some restaurants. Apparently, Pleasanton residents really like East Asian food, it seems like every other restaurant in Pleasanton is either a sushi place, Szechuan joint, or a Thai place.
There are 2 Japanese and one Chinese restaurant here. There is also a little Italian place that seems passable as a date kind of a place. There is also a Mr. Pickle’s sandwich place which I have to go to simply because it is called Mr. Pickle’s. I am a sucker for ridiculous names on restaurants.

There is also a bar here: Epic Lounge. I will probably check it out at some point but haven’t gotten the chance yet.

On the other end of the neighborhood you get even more Asian food joints: a sushi place, 2 Korean places, 2 Chinese places, 1 Thai, and a Vietnamese place. Now I love Asian food, but how many joints like this do you really need. And how do they stay in business with so much competition. I am guessing I must be the lunch rush from the load of nearby office
parks.

There is a sports bar on this end of the neighborhood as well.

Anyway, that’s my new neighborhood. It still doesn’t feel like home yet but that will come with time. I guess I’m going to be a suburban gal now?
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Suburban Amenities
  • Lots of Recreation Facilities
Cons
  • Hot, Hot Summer Temperatures
  • Kind of Bland
  • Not Very Good in Terms of Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Gates and Offices"

Right at the convergence of I-80 and I-5, Metro Center is basically an office park on its eastern end, with several apartment complexes in its center and uncultivated fields, just waiting for further development to the west. You are right on the northwestern edge of Sac with long stretches of farmland to the west, and you definitely feel as if you have reached the edge of Sac’s little civilized world.

The office park is made up of law offices, engineering firms and regional HQ’s (I believe Ikon and Comcast both have offices here). There is also a fairly strong health care presence here with the Huntington Disease Society having an office here, as well as yet another Sutter Health office (related perhaps to the Sutter Health down in Gateway Center to the south.

Both the University of Phoenix—the well-known private business and trade college—has a campus in the office park, as does Art Institute of California (though the office parks manicured lawns, symmetrically placed trees and extensive parking lot are anything but inspirational).

Three gated communities make up the rest of Metro Center, each with its own wrought iron gates blocking their only entrances—like medieval villages weary of strangers. Each of the three communities has its own architectural style with the one at the western edge having slightly older, block-like two story homes with variously shaded tile roofs, the northeastern community having gray roofs and pleasant green spaces interspersed throughout, and the southern community having red tile roofs in a faux Spanish theme, palm trees and a swimming pool and tennis courts at its heart.

What does it cost to live in one of these complexes?

Rents are pretty standard throughout this area with 1 bedrooms going for around $1000/mo while 2-bedrooms hover at around $1300—slightly higher than neighborhoods to the south but not significantly so. Home prices are depressed by the real-estate troubles we’ve been having, with few home prices going for more than $300K. Most homes in the area were built in the last decade.

Nightlife is virtually non-existent here, but if you are looking for a quiet gated community or want to take some art-classes, this isn’t a bad place to set down roots.
Pros
  • Well Developed Office Park
  • Mid Range Homes
  • Close to Freeways
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • No Nightlife
  • Too Gated to Seem Friendly
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Nice Newer Neighborhood"

Nestled right up against the I-80 on the northwestern end of Sac, this is the kind of neighborhood where you are just as likely to see a motorboat parked up on the street as an automobile. The southern border of the neighborhood is the river, so thoughts of the river are never far from your mind when you are here.

The homes here are mostly stucco with red-tiled roofs throughout, but they do have a number of variations within these parameters. Streets are nicely kept and there are several parks where little kids can play.

The local schools are below average, however, which undermines the nice suburban feel this neighborhood would otherwise have.

Perhaps this partly explains the low home prices here with median being around $225K and no homes breaking the $500K barrier. The homes here are all relatively new with the two big building booms coming in 1980’s and since 2000 (more than half have been built in the last decade). As you would expect given what I have said so far, about half of the homes up for sale are foreclosures.

Other than homes there isn’t much here however. You have to head over to Gateway Center to find even fast food places and even then it is mostly the usual bland suburban selection of eateries. That said it is a relatively quiet area where you can definitely find some deals on homes.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Close to the River
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • No Nightlife
  • A Little Out of the Way
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Boring but Good"

Up in this newer section of northwestern Sac, you are basically in an area dominated by gated communities where only residents and their visitors can make their way into the surface streets. It is basically Sac’s own little version of Orange County in that sense--though not really in terms of the price. Rents here are only slightly higher than normal, with a typical one-bedroom going for around $900 and a two bedroom for $1200.

Typical of these kinds of communities all the lawns are well-kept and clean, so you feel as if you are in a safe, if a bit of a boring, environment. Homes are all fairly similar, though not so similar that you can’t tell them apart.

On the eastern end of the neighborhood is a commercial area, largely made up of motels like the Hilton and the Springhill Airport hotel, that take advantage of the nearby freeway and the airport some five miles north. You also have the headquarters for several businesses as well—many related to health, and coordinating with the big Sutter Health facility on the southern end of the neighborhood.

Another feature of the area is Northwestern University School of law near the river.

As far as eateries goes, there is nothing you won’t find in a hundred other communities like this with the highlight being the Chevy’s by the river.

Overall, this is a nice, quiet place that would be nice for raising a family if it were not for the below average middle school that serves the area. Boring but good.
Pros
  • Quiet and Clean
  • Affordable
  • Good Spot for Hotels
Cons
  • Boring
  • Below Average School
  • A Bit Homogenous
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Big Enough to Be Its Own Little Town"

East Sacramento is really a pretty big area that could be itself broken down into several different neighborhoods if you were so inclined. Some people break it down according to the parks: McKinley, Herschel, East Portal, and Lubin. In that way you can roughly get this expansive area broken down into smaller sections. This is not a bad way of doing it.
McKinley Park, itself, the actual park that is, is fairly large with tennis courts, a baseball field and a garden area. It is also home to Clunie Community Center which runs a pool on the park grounds.

McKinley Park is also fronted on the east by a number of very attractive Tudor style cottages which perfectly match the early Century style lamps that are a common feature of this older area of Sac. On the south it are larger manor style homes on palm lined H Street. On the north it’s a little California bungalow city and on the west? A Greek Orthodox Church and a bank just to break up the fun for residential architecture lovers.

The UC Davis Neurosurgery Clinic is on the far north of neighborhood. While Mercy General Hospital is on the southeast of what you could call the McKinley section of East Sac.

Despite the attractive homes in the area of McKinley rents through East Sac remain relatively moderate, with a two-bedroom home going for about $1250/mo on average. And you can find some absolute steels in the area.

The Herschel Park area sprawls out to the east surrounding yet another hospital, Sutter Memorial. The homes here are a bit more difficult to describe. There are a number of Ranch and Prairie style homes but then there are also a fair number of unusual homes with strange architectural features that you don’t see that often—such as a backyard garage whose driveway has an overhanging bedroom extension for the main house—or dormer windows and strangely sloping roofs. Kind of cool really.

The neighborhood is also unusual for having a number acutely angled corners on streets, so that you get pointy extensions, too narrow for buildings.

The East Portal Area borders Cal State Sacramento and is made up of mostly bungalows and Ranch homes. Kit Carson Middle School is here (test scores indicate this is a pretty awful school) and so is St. Mary’s—which, of course, is a private Catholic school, so who knows how good the instruction is.

And then there is the Lubin Park area on the southwest of East Sac, which is a residential area that is largely made up of bungalows and older homes. It is also home of Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Taken together, East Sacramento does have a few unifying characteristics. The streets, for example, tend to be slightly wider than in other neighborhoods, though the abundance of trees along sidewalks does not make it feel like a race track at any point. The homes through East Sac also tend to be of the older variety.

Home prices throughout East Sac vary quite a bit with most homes going for under $500K, but about 20% rising above that amount. You will even find a handful of homes for sale at over the $1 Mil range. ($3.2 mil is the high I recently saw).
The schools vary as well, which is one of the reasons why I can’t recommend the neighborhood for families.

What about nightlife and that sort of thing?

There are a number of bars in the area ranging from sports bars to places that dub themselves dive bars. There are also a number or restaurants in the area, ranging from Mexican to Italian, but also including a few more unusual choices such as Moroccan food at Café Morocco.

Put simply, this is a whole bustling little city in itself here. Very good spot to get a house if you can.
Pros
  • Beautiful Home Architecture
  • Relatively Affordable Rents
  • Close to Everything
Cons
  • A Bit of Extra Traffic
  • Poor Schools
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Great for Med Center Workers"

Being just to the north of the UC Davis Med Center, Elmhurst, Sacramento is a favorite neighborhood for people who work at the hospital and want a commute so short they could practically do it by foot. Unlike the North Oak Park neighborhood to the east this is not known as a gang infested neighborhood, though it is right on that edge where Sac starts to get a little sketchy.

Now, despite having some doctors and a fair number of nurses, this is not a fancy neighborhood. The majority of homes here date to about WWII—lots of Ranch homes--and are on the smallish side as far as I’ve seen. This is not true across the entire neighborhood, of course. For example you can find at least one one-million dollar home up for sale in the far west of Elmhurst, which has a patch of stately manors just by the Med Center. The average home here, however, is about $250K—pretty low.

The neighborhood has also been hit very hard by the Foreclosure Crisis with more than half the homes currently on the market here being due to foreclosure. Rents will probably start to climb again as the Real Estate Crisis ebbs.

The area, is, of course, dominated by the large hospital to its south, but generally has a pleasant, leafy feel—almost sleepy.

Although Elmhurst itself does not have a lot of restaurants and nightlife, you can perhaps give it a pass since it is so close to neighborhoods that do.

The Fairgrounds are also just to the south, so you will often get spill over from events held there.

Overall, Elmhurst is a great spot to live if you work at the Med Center and want to be able to walk to work.
Pros
  • Right Next to Med Center
  • Low Home Prices
  • Sort of Safe
Cons
  • Bland Homes
  • Not Much Nightlife
  • Weak Restaurants
Recommended for
  • Professionals
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Sacs Version of Oakland"

South Oak Park is pretty much the same as Central Oak Park in terms of being deep in gangs, except it is even worse here. It is pretty much a mess—boarded up houses, empty lots, police actions at night time. It is pretty much like Sac’s version of Oakland. Apparently putting the name “Oak” in a name makes it a magnet for gangs and crime.

Houses are inexpensive since few people really want to set down roots here but many of the homes are very old and definitely require fixing.

I pretty much would simply recommend avoiding this area if at all possible.
Pros
  • Dirt Cheap Homes
  • Close to the Freeway
  • Lots of Fixer-Uppers
Cons
  • Gangs
  • Ugly Old Homes
  • Run Down
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Central Gangland"

Just like North Oak Park, Central Oak Park is the beginning of Gangland Sacramento. South Sacramento pretty much has the rap of being a heavy gang area, and despite the recent additions of the UC Davis Medical Center and an influx of funds to try to revive this area of Sacramento, the gangs have pretty much remained entrenched.

The neighborhood is largely made of run down looking California bungalow style homes, with faded lawns and fenced yards.

Because of the gang problem, you will also find the least expensive houses in all of Sac with more than half of the homes in the area going for less than $100K.

But who is willing to come live in an area where you have to fear for your safety every day of your life?

Not for me, that’s for sure.
Pros
  • Cheap Houses
  • Close to the Hospital
  • Okay Restaurants
Cons
  • Gangs
  • Run Down Houses
  • No Nightlife
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"North Gang Land"

North Oak Park is the mostly residential neighborhood just to the west of the UC Davis Medical Center. It is at the junction of the El Dorado and Sacramento Freeways.

North Oak Park is home to Sacramento Charter High School—which I hear is a very good school though I don’t know for sure.

The neighborhood is also home to Underground Books—a bookstore owned by the mother of current Sac Mayor Johnson (whom those who are from this neck of the woods will know from his time as an NBA player).

The homes in the area have a somewhat run down feel to them. They are a mix of older style homes with ranch homes
being the newest of those that you find here. Prices here are rock bottom with the vast majority of the homes in the area going for less than $250K and many even dropping to less than $100 K.

There is definitely a crime problem here and to the south of this area, which partly explains the low rents. Generally speak, you want to avoid the area.
Pros
  • Rock Bottom Home Prices
  • UC D Med Center
  • Sac High
Cons
  • Gangs and Crime
  • Ugly Homes
  • Foreclosure Problems
4/5 rating details
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
Just now

"UC Ds Med Center"

Med Center is the location of the UC Davis Medical Center, probably the premier hospital facility in Sacramento with both medical and educational functions. Like most hospitals attached to universities it features cutting edge technologies and so is a prime destination for those looking for the latest in care.

Located right by the junction of the El Dorado and the Sacramento Freeways it gets a lot of traffic both for emergencies and long term care. It also attracts many hospital workers to live in the surrounding areas so they can cut down on their commute times.
Pros
  • Great Facilities
  • Latest in Medical Practices
  • Good Learning Facility
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Good Time to Move Here"

Curtis Park is the neighborhood just to the north and east of Sacramento City College. It is mostly a residential neighborhood except on the northern end where there are some offices such as the headquarters for Golden Credit Union. Broadway on the northern edge of the neighborhood has lots of fast food restaurants and there is also a smaller cemetery up there as well.

The neighborhood gets nicer the farther south you head, with lots of Tudors mixed in with the Ranch Homes on the southern edge. As you might expect the most expensive homes are on the south side of the neighborhood, where they can climb as far as $600K. Typically however, most homes in this neighborhood are in the ~$300K range, with about half all the homes here being sold due to foreclosure.

The proximity to Sacramento City College means there are a fair number of single rooms for rent in homes. One can also imagine that property prices would be higher in this neighborhood with the Bret Hart Elementary were a stronger school, but test scores are below average virtually across the board.

That said, the neighborhood is really leafy and nicely kept and it is clear that, despite being hit hard by the Foreclosure Crisis, this is still a neighborhood where people take good care of their homes and have a strong sense of neighborhood.
Curtis Park is an actual park on the southern end of the neighborhood. It is a long green space with basketball and tennis courts right in its middle section. As I alluded to, restaurant choices in this neighborhood aren’t great, with a lot of fast food dominating Broadway. But there are some better choices along Franklin on the western end of the neighborhood. There some Chinese and Mexican places, as well as a couple of crepe joints—so you definitely won’t starve. Not to mention you are close to Downtown and Midtown, so there are plenty of places there.

You can also find fitness places in the neighborhood, so Curtis Park definitely has a lot to offer.

Overall, this is a very nice, densely packed neighborhood, and right now, the foreclosure crisis has made it a good time to get in.
Pros
  • Nice Older Homes
  • Leafy Streets
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Mediocre Restaurant Choices
  • Hit Hard By Foreclosures
  • Weak Elementary School
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Towering Neighborhood"

Okay, so this is the home of the Sac Zoo, which is--compared to every zoo I have ever been to-- SMALL! How small? I have a Vet friend who has more exhibits in her house than this place does. Okay, so maybe I’m slightly exaggerating on that score. But if you have been to the SF Zoo or the Oakland Zoo, this place is really pretty pathetic in comparison. (Not to mention that really none of these places compares to the San Diego Wild Animal Park which is the best zoo in California, and probably on the West Coast, imo.)

In fact, the zoo is so small that the neighboring golf course is about four times its size. I guess if you can’t make the trip to Oakland or SF, that this might be an okay place to take the kids. They have a Fairytale Town, so the kids can have a bit of fun once in a while. I can’t say I recommend it though.

Okay, so now that we have established that the zoo is not the reason why I like this neighborhood, what do I like about this place. Well, my reason for coming here is the Tower Theatre on the northern end of the neighborhood—the Midtowners always try to claim it for themselves but it is technically on our side of the street. (So suck eggs, Midtowners!)

What’s so great about the Tower Theatre that I’m willing to not only start a turf war with those toughs the Midtowners, and to accept the Brit spelling for “theater” for a place with no live actors? Well, this is the place to see Indie movies in Sac.
Old timers, like my BF, speak fondly of the days when it was one giant movie palace and Tower Records used to be across, but it is still one of the few places devoted to showing the movies that didn’t cost the GNP of Belize to make. Right now, for example, they are playing the Johnny Depp/Hunter S. Thompson semi bio-pic, The Rum Diary; the latest Almodovar flick, The Skin I Live In; and a couple of other movies I would never have heard of if I didn’t frequent this joint.

Now Tower Records lives only in memory, but Dimple Records has moved into the spot across the street and taken up the mantle that Tower used to carry. Tower Café is still there as well—and packed as always—and so is Tower Liquors in case you want to drown your sadness about the remembrance of things that no longer exist; though I would recommend some of the cool bars down the street like the X-O Lounge for that purpose. There are also an assortment of restaurants there as well.

Okay, so there are some cool spots to spend the weekends on the northern end of the neighborhood, but what is it like in the residential section?

There are a mix of styles in this neighborhood, with the real highlights being on the southern end of the neighborhood where you will find a number of Tudor Style homes and English manor-house types. Really cool and, of course, super-expensive. (This is where the majority of near million dollar homes that make up about 10% of the offerings are concentrated.)

The other 90% of homes available in Land Park however, are far more affordable (though not as cheap as north of the I-80) with most homes going for under $400K and about half being victims of foreclosure. This is not much of a renter’s market here though you will find an occasional offering.

Oh yeah, and given all that there is in this neighborhood, I forgot to mention that this is also home to Sacramento City College—Sac’s best community college, imo. In other words, this is a vibrant neighborhood with a lot going on—which is yet another reason why I think Upper Land Park is due for a revival as well.
Pros
  • Tower Movie Theatre
  • Great Houses
  • Lots of Park Space
Cons
  • Expensive on the south side
  • Lousy Zoo
  • Foreclosure Hurting Property Values
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Dead But Ready for Rebirth"

On the northern half of Upper Land Park, you have the Sacramento Cemetery, a strange housing project like place, and an industrial area—none of which is terribly inviting for obvious reasons.

The cemetery is actually kind of nice. It’s big and old, so if you’re into that, its sort of cool. But, of course, it is a cemetery.

Just to the west of that there is the strange looking housing project that looks like a bunch of barracks. These look like one room apartments in non-descript brick shells with tiny front yards—about as inviting as a flea bag motel and just as weird. Not sure what those are or who lives there.

On the northwestern end of Upper Land Park is an industrial area that is home to auto-body shops, warehouses and the Sacramento headquarters for ABC News—the antenna for it is a landmark in the neighborhood. This is basically big rig and warehouse territory, all rust and dust.

On the western end of the neighborhood is Jedediah Smith Elementary and Health Professions High School. I don’t have any personal knowledge of either one, but I hear their test scores are less than spectacular.

To south of there on the western end are more of those strange looking housing units, this time not in brick but still as uninviting.

The overall southern triangle of the neighborhood takes on a very different feel from the rest however, with nice older homes with pools in the backyards and leafy streets. This part of Upper Land Park feels like it was once one of those idyllic 1950’s neighborhoods. It also feels a little bit like that was its height—it now feels more like your grandparents’ neighborhood than one that is quite as attractive for you.

Which is not to say that there aren’t signs of change. You do sees newer VW Beetles alongside monster gas guzzlers, and much of the neighborhood in this area is well kept. It has that sleepy Sacramento feel of a lot of this area but it also feels rather quaint and is very flat and walkable.

One of the real attractions to the area, I’m told, is the elementary school—Crocker/Riverside Elementary that does very well on its assessments.

As to the cost of living here? The area has been hit pretty hard by the Recession and the Real Estate Crisis so although there aren’t many homes for rent here there are a lot of good deals for those looking to buy a home. A number of the homes here go for as little as $200K. (Mostly due to foreclosure.) The most expensive home I found on a cursory look was one really nice place with a nice backyard for about $440K.

In terms of night life and restaurants, though there are some greasy spoons on the northern end of the neighborhood, this is not the neighborhood for that.

Supermarkets are few and far between as well with Muir Market being the local independent grocery store. It basically looks as old fashioned and sleepy as the neighborhood—though there is a Safeway north of the I-80.

Overall, I personally think that it is a neighborhood that is primed for a rebirth.
Pros
  • Low Home Prices
  • Good School on South
  • Quiant Feel on South
Cons
  • Ugly Industrial Area on North
  • Not so Good Schools on North
  • No Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"A Little Divey But Not Too Cool"

So this area of the city is one of the more dangerous areas in Sac in terms of crime, which makes it sound pretty bad, until you compare areas like this in Sac to Oakland or San Francisco which are both far more dangerous. You do get some assaults in this area—which is what you would expect for any place whose dive bars boast that they open their doors at 6 am.

Which brings me to the bars in Richmond Grove. It isn’t packed with bars, but there are definitely a couple of them—both fine representatives of the dive bar category. My favorite is the Flame Bar which is totally packed on the weekends with a cool college aged crowded, but is far more chill on the weeknights. If you prefer the kind of dive bar that might be a just the first stop on a trip to the hospital the Monte Carlo is your kind of place. It’s like being at a Raiders’ game. (And it opens at 6 am so you can start getting your drunk on with a true ‘early bird special’.)

In terms of restaurants, there are some pretty good sushi places and Chinese joints here. They are not amazing but they are good places if you don’t happen to go during lunch hour when they fill with government workers grabbing a bite to eat.

As far as living in the area, it is definitely affordable. You can rent a studio for around $650 here and you can outright buy most of the older homes in this neighborhood for under $300K.

I don’t know if I would rent here. There are just so many offices around here that in some ways it feels like more of a commercial area than anything else. Overall not that great an area unless you are heading for one of the bars.
Pros
  • Affordable Rents
  • Good Bars
  • Good Transportation
Cons
  • A Little Dangerous
  • A Bit Bland
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Hipsters
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Quiet but Close to the Action"

There are some strange looking houses in this neighborhood. They have a lot of roof and they sort of remind me of bungalows because they have the same kind of recessed, highly sheltering verandas. But unlike bungalows they are bigger and sometimes two-storied. This neighborhood also has a lot of those really ugly 1970’s style apartments—very square and ugly.

As to living here, the rent prices vary a bit going from about $800/mo to $1400 for a two-bedroom in the area. The price of homes here are a little higher than in some of the surrounding neighborhoods going for closer to $400K than $300K. They aren’t that much better but the neighborhood is somewhat quieter than the surrounding areas.

This is actually a pretty chill area. It’s residential so you’ll have to step out of the neighborhood to the north to go to a bar or get a bite to eat. This is kind of a good thing, if you live here, because then you can have less traffic and some peace and quiet.

Overall not a bad little place to live if you want to be within walking distance of the action in and around Downtown.
Pros
  • Quiet
  • Close to the Action
  • Good Transportation
Cons
  • Ugly Houses
  • Kind of Bland
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Monkey Bar and an Okay Neighborhood"

For me Midtown is mostly about the bars like the Monkey Bar and especially the Lounge ON20. There are a number of bars in the neighborhood and even a gay dance club or two. There are also a number of cool restaurants in the area, including places like Kru—as sushi place and Waterboy—a pricey French and Italian place that is a good date spot. My favorite restaurant in the area, however, Bombay Bar and Grill—a great Indian place that is wonderful.
It’s a pretty cool place to live too, and right now, because the area was hit so hard by the Recession, so if you happen to have the money you can find recently foreclosed homes for as little as $250K. But don’t be fouled. This is really a pretty mixed neighborhood in terms of prices. The proximity to the Capitol means that many government workers and lobbyist take apartments here. So although you can rent a studio for as little as $600/mo, you can also find a 2 bedroom for $3000/month. Similarly, some homes here go for as much as $900K.
As far as a family atmosphere there is a Winn Park, on the east of the neighborhood which has a nice play area for the kids. Moms will also be happy to know that there are Pilates and Yoga places, so you can definitely stay healthy here as well.
Pros
  • Good Bars
  • Good Restaurants
  • Cool Atmosphere
Cons
  • Erratic Rents
  • Very Close to Capitol
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Homes and Kitchens"

Okay, so Boulevard Park is little bit of a quaint little residential neighborhood on the northern end but also has a bit of restaurant activity on the southern end where it borders Midtown. So it’s sort the best of both worlds with really affordable rents to boot.

First, the homes here are mostly of the old wooden Victorian variety. You know the kind, where there are walk up steps and a veranda. There are also some bungalows and newer style homes sprinkled in, but for the most part it looks like the Berkeley flatlands in the East Bay.

Rents here in Boulevard Park are like those in the surrounding areas. You can find a one-bedroom for about $700 here and most homes go for less than $400K (though some are in the $400 to $600 range).

Being so close to Mid Town (often considered to be a part of it), this place is choc-full of restaurants, from a high end place like Moxie, to more moderately priced joints like the sandwiches at the Old Soul coffee house. Some of my favorites here include Michelangelo (for Italian obviously), Tapas the World (I love cheesy puns almost as much as I love a good tapas place), and Celestin’s (a Cajun place). There are also some more unusual places like Marika’s, a Hungarian place. (I have never been to Marika’s but I like that it is there should I ever get hungry for Hungarian.)

There aren’t a lot of bars in Boulevard Park specifically, but there are so many nearby that it doesn’t really matter.
I don’t really know what the crime rate is like here, but I don’t really feel in danger walking around during the daytime. Like any other city, of course, I wouldn’t feel as comfortable walking the streets in the middle of the night but it seems okay to me.

Overall, this is a cool little neighborhood in which to live.
Pros
  • Good Restaurants
  • Affordable Rents
  • Nice Victorians
Cons
  • A Little Crowded
  • Schools?
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Very Shady Bunglows and Old Vics"

I love neighborhoods like this. It is, first of all, not a “park” but a neighborhood—don’t be thrown by the name. That’s, of course, not what I love about it.

What I love about this neighborhood is that it has one of those classic American town feels to it. You feel a little bit like you have stepped into a 1950’s, a little bit like It’s a Wonderful Life before the parallel universe section. It’s not quite Mayberry, but it’s leafy and filled with really old, pre-World War II homes.

On the western side of the neighborhood, you get those old wooden Victorians (stick Victorians?) with walk-up steps in the front and sometimes verandas of the kind that no one really uses anymore but that you could maybe hang one of those swing benches from. On the eastern side of the neighborhood it’s Bungalow City—with a bunch of cute squat houses.
Really, really reminds me of Pasadena’s bungalow neighborhood in So Cal. I love those little houses—so cute and they just seem very sheltering in spots.

It’s also a very shady neighborhood. I don’t mean this in the slang way and I know this is the kind of observation you would just put in as a passing adjective—as in “the shady front yards” or “the leafy streets.” But that doesn’t really do it justice. I mean this is the kind of place that my red headed friend with fair skin could play outside all day long without getting burnt—that kind of shady. And if you have ever experienced the blistering summers in Sac you know that having a nice shady spot for a walk is the kind of luxury for which people will pay a high price.

The neighborhood is known for its bike trails and for the skateboard park created from the old recycling plant that used to be here. It is also home the B Street live theater, which doesn’t stick to tried and true classics like A Doll’s House, but actually puts on plays from contemporary playwrights. (The theater was founded by Sac native son and all round good guy, Timothy Busfield—the red headed guy from Thirty-Something and the West Wing.)

What I am constantly astounded by is how inexpensive it is out here compared to the Bay Area. Rooms in this lovely little neighborhood go for as low $400-$500 in spots and rents rarely rise far above $1000 (often with the landlord picking up utilities). And few homes in the area go for more than $400K to buy outright.

Now there aren’t any restaurants or nightclubs here but just to south you start getting into the heart of the midtown area, so though I take off a star from nightlife rating above, it is only because you’ll have to walk five minutes out of the neighborhood to finds lots of great stuff to do. (Of course, you can go to the B Street for a play first before doing any of it.)

Overall, I would say this is great little neighborhood for young people and college students. I’m not sure if you’re in the kids-and-minivan set you will find it quite as exciting. But no place is perfect.
Pros
  • Shady Streets
  • Cute Old Houses
  • Very Affordable
Cons
  • So-So Schools for Kids
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Connected and Inexpensive"

Alkali Flats is somewhat like its neighbor, Mansion Flats, except that many of the older buildings here really do show a lot of sign of age—faded and cracked paint jobs from who knows how many decades ago. This is not the case with the whole neighborhood however. There are some newer buildings and renovated residences that make the area look as if it is undergoing a rebirth of sorts, but it does look more uneven here than in other areas of the city.

You can even find a former mill—Globe Mills—that has been transformed into lofts, evidently with artists and hipsters in mind. Sac’s relatively low rents make it a little easier for artistic types who cannot really afford the cost of living in the SF Bay Area to the west.

Alkali Flat is also a nice spot for commuters because it not only has bus lines but an Amtrak Station—so those commuting to Davis to the west or the Bay Area have easy access to transportation.

Alkali Flat is also home to KCRA one of the local TV stations—whose transmitter tower can be seen from most of the neighborhood, and is close to the Down Town area with the Capital Mall and all that not too far to the south.

It’s not a great area but the low rents and the good transportation give it a lot of positives.
Pros
  • Good Transportation
  • Affordable Homes
  • Close to Downtown
Cons
  • A Bit Run Down Here and There
  • A Little Unsafe
Recommended for
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Affordable Downtown Residential Area"

One of the things people appreciate about Sac in relation to the Bay Area is that you can actually find affordable housing here. I mean where in the Bay Area could your find a five-bedroom home for rent for $1250 or a studio for $650. And to buy? The homes and apartments in Mansion Flats rarely rise above $500K (most are more in the $250K range).

As you might guess this is one of the poorer neighborhoods in Sacramento. Despite this the homes here are actually pretty big and though they are older homes they are not unattractive. They are basically large wooden block like homes of the kind that often populate the bad parts of cities, but they are relatively nicely kept.

In terms of crime, here is the deal as far as I can tell. The Sacramento Police depart doesn’t report any murders here in the last six months (though there is one in the surrounding neighborhoods). Sac overall is considered to be relatively more dangerous than the overall average city in the US, but despite the cheap rents and low incomes reported for the area,

Mansion Flats doesn’t seem like a particularly dangerous neighborhood. When you are walking down the streets, things seem relatively pleasant—leafy streets and bushy front yards, with people walking outside. (Public transportation, including light rail is plentiful here. You also have some attractive European style roundabouts.)

Down at the southern end of the neighborhood where Mansion Flats borders Downtown, you have the Sacramento Convention Center which is a really nice facility and which has attracted several restaurants to the area, including the Ella Dining Room, Momjii Sushi and Thirteen—all very nice upscale restaurants. My personal favorite in the area is the Melting Pot—a Fondue restaurant.

The Sacramento Community Theater is also in this neighborhood and there is an Imax Theater, so you will not be at loss for artistic and cultural events to attend if you live in Mansion Flats. You can also find some dance and live music places as well, Dream Ultra Lounge being an okay version of the first and the Torch Club being an example of the second. (Torch Club is actually a really cool place to chill to live music, I would highly recommend it.)

So overall, a pretty singles friendly neighborhood, great for college students and artistic types.
Pros
  • Cool Downtown Areas
  • Affordable Homes
  • Nice Restaurants and Nightlife
Cons
  • A Bit of Crime
  • Old Buildings
  • A Bit Crowded
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
  • Students
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 1/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Is this even a neighborhood?"

There is really not much here. This is barely even what anyone would call a neighborhood. It is mostly just some businesses like restaurant supply shops and mechanics stores.

The only other thing is the Elementary School which I don’t know much about.

Not much of interest here.
Pros
  • The School?
  • Good For Fixing your Subaru maybe
Cons
  • Nothing here
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Cops, Strippers and Bikers"

This is not much of a residential area, being known mostly as the home of the sheriff’s office, the highway portal, and a few hotels up on the western end. It is actually fairly empty around here, and not terribly inviting in terms of appearance. This is also where they keep the water treatment plant for Sacramento (or this part of Sacramento).

Part of Discovery Park is at the northern end of this neighborhood. So if you are a biker (of the peddling kind not of the Hell’s Angel variety) or boater you will be quite happy to have such a great place to go during summers.
As far as restaurants and that kind of thing, there is nothing much to write home about. There are a few taquarias and there was a diner called Stonebrooks but I hear they have gone under. The Monterey Cannery also runs a seafood place in the neighborhood but I have not heard good things about its quality. Other than that, it’s MacDonalds and Subway and that kind of thing.

Oh yes, and this area is also home to Club Fantasy—an “adult” club (basically what used to be called a stripper joint).

So, basically, the only reasons to come out here is for Discovery Park or the hotels, unless you happen to be a cop or into strippers (of cop that moonlights as stripper—heck you wouldn’t even have to change between shifts).
Pros
  • Outdoor Fun
  • Cheap Hotels
Cons
  • Empty
  • The Strip Joint
  • No Good Restaurants or Nightlife
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Stepping It Up Through North Beach"

Vallejo Street in North Beach to Russian Hill is one of the most walkable streets I have ever been on. There are steps on both ends, on Montgomery as you hit the eastern edge of North Beach and then again way at the other end, on the border with Russian Hill. In between you have one of the really fun streets in SF. For one thing, at the corner just east of Columbus you will find Café Trieste, which, if you can find a place to sit, is really one of the great little cafes in SF. It is always crowded. Across the street there is both a good pizza place and a great Thai Place.

If you move farther east along Vallejo and get away from Columbus, you come across some really beautiful, multicolored Victorians. Then when you reach Mason, you get the Vallejo Steps which are great also. You move through Ina Coolbrith Park and then as you reach the top of the steps you get a really nice view.

I would love to live anywhere on this street. It would be like a dream come true.
Pros
  • great for walking
  • great for sunbathing
  • nice architecture
Cons
  • not good with a hangover
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • not much shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Naan and Cocktails"

Jones Street is a long street that drops down from Nob Hill into the Tenderloin. I’m not that familiar with it in other areas but if you are into Asian food—especially Indian food—than this definitely the place to go. First, along the 500 hundred block, you will find at least four great, authentic Indian places—Pakwan, Shalimar, Chutney and Little Indian Deli. Shalimar is the best deal in terms of food and cost, but it is all authentic and fantastic.

Jones also has some great restaurants that stretch beyond Indian subcontinent. On the corner with Post there is Borobudor—an Indonesian Place, Tajine, a Morrocon place, and if you want a restaurant that defies national borders and mixes it all up in an eclectic blend, you might try the Millennium at the corner with Geary.

After you’re done with your meal, there are also a couple of really cool watering holes in the area. On the high end, right by the Indian places, you will find a classic speak-easy type establishment called, Bourbon and Branch (you have to make a reservation). If that is a bit too much hassle try the High Tide or Jonell’s Cocktail Lounge, two great dive bars that not only don’t take reservations but they post signs outside of their bathrooms threatening to break in if you shoot up in there—just another reminder that you’re in the Loin.

As for living on Jones, you would probably have to go up into the Nob Hill area to find a place. I don’t really know it that well, so my review is only based on the area around the Indian Food district.
Pros
  • great night spots
  • great restaurants
  • very cosmopolitan
Cons
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • busy, busy, busy
  • dirty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"A Taste of Europe"

Fifth in SoMa is a nice wide city street with lots of stores and hotels. It is just beyond the museum district but not yet into the gay leather section of SoMa or the more industrialized looking section. The Chronicle has its headquarters here in a big building that Minna carves through. You can also find a couple of hotels, the classic looking Pickwick with its Dickensian reference and overall charm; and the tall skyscraping Intercontinental with its tinted glass windows. I would recommend the first, just because of the nice name and outward appearance though I haven’t been in either one.

As far as I am concerned Fifth Street in SoMa is all about the Irish and the French. For the Irish, you have the Chieftain. I don’t mean to sound like a lush, but this is a great Irish Pub. The food is yummy and the atmosphere really does make you feel like you stepped across the Atlantic and into Ireland. (Of course, I’ve never been to Ireland, but my fantasy version of Ireland anyway.) The other reason to take a trip down Fifth is the French food. Le Charm French Bistro is one of the French places on 5th. It is a nice little place although the prices are a bit high and there is not much to look at outside the window, unless you like a bit of rundown looking section of street. Then there is Chez Papa, which is on a better part of the street but equally expensive. Both are good places to celebrate an anniversary, if your spouse likes French food.

Beyond these more Continental draws, 5th also has an Abercrombie and Fitch, just in case you were hooked by their naughty catalogue and if you would like to exercise, the SF Tennis Club is on the south side of Highway 80.

Much of the rest of the street is unremarkable. There is, for example, a place called Harvey’s Place down near Highway 80, but don’t be fooled, this is just a dingy liquor deli. It is not cool Bar and Grill in the Castro, though no doubt it is trying to capitalize on the name of the murdered representative, Harvey Milk. As you get close to Highway 80, the street also gets down right ugly. There are far too many parking lots.

I don’t recall there being anywhere to live on this street, but looks can be misleading in SoMa since so many of the apartments are lofts above the stores. All in all, I don’t think I would want to live right here anyway, regardless of how much I might like the Chieftain.
Pros
  • great hotels
  • good night spots
  • very cosmopolitan
Cons
  • dirty
  • not for walking
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • busy, busy, busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Annabelle's and the Carousel"

The two major features of 4th Street in SoMa are City College and the Metreon. This is one of the reasons why you will find so many young people in this part of the city. City college is not a great school but it is a good one.

The Metreon, on the other hand is little more than a very small, glorified mall with a very begin theater. It is little to write home about. There is an Imax theater, of course, so if you are into that sort of large screen experience go for it. As far as the dining goes you have stands like the Buckhorn Grill that serves fancy fast food basically, Jillians which is basically a pole joint that happens to server food (very bad food!), or Luna Azul that somehow finds a way to ruin Mexican food. Quite an accomplishment. Stick with Buckhorn if you are stuck here for some reason. Otherwise watch your big screen movie and take off.

If you are stuck you are much better off going to the Artist’s Alley gallery on Mission. It is just like a mini-SoMA—lot’s of really cool modern paintings that you can’t afford unless you are filthy rich. If you like to support education instead of the arts, you might try the nearby Educated Palate which the restaurant that is run by the City College students. A little bit like the students at the college itself, the food is a little bit hit-or-miss, pretty good some days, atrocious others. The best bet on the street in terms of food is clearly Annabelle’s Bar and Grill, a new place. They look like they are off to a great start but get there early or you’ll end up waiting. Definitely don’t try to squeeze it in before your movie.

The other highlight of the street is Yerba Buena Gardens which is definitely the prettiest place in SoMA. If you have kids the carousal should definitely be given a try. In fact, your best bet on the street is here. It is especially nice when it lights up at night—very Christmas in New York (or so I gather from the movies).
Pros
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • for artists and art lovers
  • very cosmopolitan
Cons
  • too much to do
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • busy, busy, busy
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Museum Point"

When you are on 3rd Street in SoMa, you feel as if you could be on any street in any major metropolitan city in the North America. There is no sign that you are in SF. No signature Victorians, so bay, no curving street or hills. In fact 3rd street has that big city feel that you might get in place like New York.

3rd Street at this point is about the arts. Along the street, you will find the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Museum of Modern Art (abbreviated MoMA) and the Museum of the African Diaspora. The MoMA is known for its ground breaking exhibitions that help continue to define and redefine art. If you want to have your notions about art challenged, just take a step inside. The YBCA is similar in that it too tries to blow your mind by challenging things like our notions of consumerism and progress. If you are in a bit of a rut, YBCA can really shake you up and get you going again. The Museum of the Africa Diaspora will shake you up in a different way. It is a museum devoted to art created when Africans were taken from Africa and brought to this country. Like the nearby Museum of Jewish history it will really bring the effects of history to life for you. All three are well worth the visit.

If these thoughts have shaken you from the appetites of your stomach, then 3rd street also has some great places where you can grab a bite to eat while you discuss what you’ve seen. I would recommend Pazzia, a moderately priced Italian food place with a nice clean atmosphere. If you are in a hurry or want to grab something to go and have your dejeuner sur le herb, then you can grab some Indian food at Chaats and take it to go. It is about as inexpensive as Indian food gets and delicious. On the other hand, if the exhibits have made you feel like you need a stiff drink in cozy familiar atmosphere, try Dave’s right by Market. Classic bar atmosphere.

This is also a good place to recommend for anyone who really wants to splurge on their accommodations during their visit to SF. I hear the St. Regis is a fantastic hotel.

As to living in the area? Right by the Yerba Buena there is a great east coast style apartment building that must rise to at least twenty stories even though we are in earthquake country. It is one of those modern buildings with interesting variations in the architecture and lots of magnificent views out over the baseball stadium and towards Oakland. I suppose if you just sold your dot.com and are set for life, this might be affordable to you. To other 99% of us, I suspect that anything in this area, even the more modest apartments over the stores across the street, will be completely out of reach. I am also not sure that if I did have that kind of money, that I would choose this particular spot. Lot’s of things to do, but not enough good old peace and quiet.
Pros
  • for artists and art lovers
  • very cosmopolitan
  • good lunch break street
Cons
  • busy, busy, busy
  • not for the shallow
  • a little dangerous late at night
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Great Place for a Lunch Break!"

2nd Street in SoMa is one of those truly metropolitan commercial city streets—the sort you can only get in a big city like SF. Back in my former life as a paralegal, I often used to find myself here during my lunch hour or after work. It was an excellent place to go for lunch because you had basically an international kitchen within a space of a few blocks. You could have a burger at Flames, Thai food at Osha’s or Hunan at Henry’s, spaghetti at Umbria, Indian at Mefhil’s or a burrito at Maya.

Then there were a couple of stand-outs, the Fly Trap and Eddie Richenbacher’s. The Fly Trap is a Mediterranean place just around the corner at Folsom. It was way out of my price range, but I got taken there by one of the young up-and-comers at the place I worked. It has a very cozy, classy appeal to it and the food is great. Little tables, white table clothes and little early twentieth century type curved lamps as wall fixtures over the tables. Great, but more as a nightspot than a lunch spot. Then there is Eddie Rickenbacker’s. The food is not so great but any place that has motorcycles hanging from the ceiling is worth a visit at least once.

There is also a small park/plaza like place, kinda a mini-Yerba Buena Gardens, that is nice to sun yourself at and have lunch on nice days, although it tends to get a bit crowded around 12:30 so get there early. There is a 24-hour fitness there, which one of the other girls in the office used to go to during her lunch break.

There are a few other cool spots on the street as well like the really cool mural right around the corner on Minna which can be fun to stare at for a fifteen or twenty—very detailed and colorful. Minna is less of a street than a glorified alley, but it has a certain attraction. The Minna Gallery is also there but I never went in.

If you would rather spend you lunch money on clothes or books rather than food—my favorite kind of diet—2nd street gives you a couple of fat reducing options beyond the 24 hour fitness. It is worth hopping over to the south of 80 to Jeremy’s where you will find a good selection of moderately priced heels, for example. The Alexander Book Company near Market is also a good place to find an interesting read if you would rather fill your mind than your stomach.

There are also a bunch of dot.com type companies on 2nd street like Zedo, Giga, and Friends of the Urban Forest, which means that you run across a lot of cute, creative techy types out-n-about. I happened to run across a guy from Honk!, a car review site that was just getting started last year, and when I got canned and had extra time on my hands I wrote some reviews for the Beta version of his site just for fun. So, it is a good place to network as well, if you are the go-getter type.

In short, 2nd street in SoMa is a great place to work and play.
Pros
  • good lunch break street
  • great for sunbathing
  • great restaurants
Cons
  • bad parking
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • a little dirty
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"The Old, the New, and Ice Cream Too"

Dolores Street is a beautiful two-laned street with a palm tree lined meridian and several elms along the side walks. It is filled with beautifully painted Victorians whose bay windows stare out onto the palms. This area of the Mission has been largely gentrified and is filled with young dot.com types—something that you can tell by the web and computer support stores that dot the street.

There are two central highlights to the street that attract people here. Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco is at the corner with 16th street. You will find the smaller older chapel there and the larger church. It is a beautiful building and well worth the visit for anyone interested in the history of the area. Several other churches and synagogues also call Dolores home and you can see them farther south as you move along.

The central highlight for the young, however is Dolores Park where sunbathers mix with residents from the nearby Castro and Latino families who like to barbecue in the park. The park is a great place to spend warm days. You will also find a great Ice Cream place—B Rite Creamery just off 18th—and a good little café, the Dolores Park Café on the corner.

There are schools in the area, including a magnet school and a couple of private schools, which gives parents in the area several choices in the education arena. Farther down the street, beyond the park the street is almost completely residential. The nearby stores and entertainment venues—like the Roxy Theatre that shows foreign films and classics—make Dolores a great place to live.

Crime in the Mission is unfortunately a fact of life so you should expect the occasional break-in to your car and hearing about a shooting on a nearby street on the nightly news every so often. This is as close as most residents come to experiencing actual violence however. In addition, the police have lately been focusing on reducing crime in the Mission so things are looking up.

Overall, a great place to live and visit.
Pros
  • great for walking/peoplewatching
  • great for sunbathing
  • nice architecture
Cons
  • a little dangerous late at night
  • not much shopping
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Beautiful Classics and a View from the Park"

Duboce really picks up at Duboce Park which is a long swath of grass that the three story fifties style buildings stare down onto. It is unfortunately a dog park—I say unfortunately because it smells in most spots like a dog park.

What you really admire after you pass the medical center are the homes here. They are classic three story beauties, well-maintained and all made up in burgundies and tans. The last three blocks after Castro Street are the highlights. As Duboce begins its final climb, you get these old fifties buildings of the kind you see in Vertigo, where Jimmy Stewart lives. Each and every home on these blacks has a picturesque appearance to it. If I were a painter, I could spend six months just painting aspects of these three blocks.

The final block tops it all though. You are at a fairly steep angle here and suddenly the street is lined by palm trees! Now I’m not really into palm trees—it is more of a So Cal aesthetic as far as I am concerned—but these squat beauties really work here. The two homes on the end are beauties too--especially the one on the south corner. It has all these great little details—its kind of an Italian style—very baroque—the more you look at it the more you see.

And then there is Buena Vista Park. You probably get the best views of the city from the top of these hiking trails--you can see the Golden Gate on one part, the Mission on the other. The lovely bay trees frame it all for photos as well. On the other side, you will find these cool stone steps that look like they came from a sword and sorcery film. When the fog hits these trails just right it must make for a transformative experience.
Pros
  • great for walking
  • nice architecture
  • great for sunbathing
Cons
  • a bit boring
  • not much shopping
  • slow for driving
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
Just now

"The Beach Without the Ocean"

Church Street at the border with Castro and Mission is all about Dolores Park. Dolores Park is the beach with everything except the sea. On warm days—which as true San Franciscans know doesn’t mean the summer necessarily given our finicky weather—Dolores Park fills with sun bathers looking for the perfect tan. People often knock Nor Cal for not having any good beaches, but So Cal does not have Dolores Park. I would argue that Dolores Park is better than any beach in Nor Cal for sun bathing.

Plus, what those other beaches north and south don’t have (except maybe Venice from what I have heard) is the diverse mix of people we get at Dolores Park. First, of course, you get the pretty gay boys that come over from neighboring Mission. The