4.5 out of 10

Alum Rock

Ranked 12th best neighborhood in San Jose
37.3744205066842 -121.828442632305
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Clean & Green
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
Not great for
  • Nightlife
  • Eating Out
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Tourists


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Schools 3/5

"Foreclosures and modest San Jose living"

Nestled at the base of the Diablo Range foothills, Alum Rock is a modest, but comfortable residential San Jose neighborhood. It spans about 1.2 square miles of flat, middle to upper middle-class terrain stretching from Penitencia Creek Road to Story Road (north to south). Although the neighborhood is saturated with home-owners, the are has been hit hard with foreclosures in the past five years. As a result, the community has taken a step back in community aesthetics. Demographically speaking, the racial makeup is pretty diverse, and dense. Of the 15,000 residents, 42% are white, 15% are asian and 35% are of mixed race.

Alum Rock’s residential terrain is almost split into micro-neighborhoods. Towards the northern end of the district, there is a sense of polished, upper middle-class aesthetics that escape the rest of the community. Most homes are rather large, two-stories in size and have a two (sometimes three) car garage with upstair windows peaking out into the front yards. Many newer homes were built here during the Silicon Valley boom and have also aged well. There are also a couple nice, luxury cars parked out in front of every other home.

Towards the center of the neighborhood, homes are usually of the single-story ranch home style and can be rather dull and/or plain-looking. They are laid out in the same floor plan, one after another, making for a kind of suburban anonymity. These homes tend to be clustered tightly along blocks, leaving little room for spacious front lawns and other amenities. In some cases, cement driveways take up most of the front lot, which can be pretty pathetic. As a whole, typical house listings circle around $1 million, but many northern homes can go for a lot more. Estimated household incomes are around $66,000/year.

For young families, parents usually send their children to James Lick High School or Independence High School, both of which are managed under the umbrella of the East Side Union High School District. For commuters, Alum Rock is situated right next to Highway 680. Elsewhere, the San Jose County Country Club skirts the eastern border for recreation.
  • Affordable
  • Close to San Jose
  • Little Nightlife
  • Poor Schools
  • Run Down Houses
Recommended for
  • Professionals
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5

"San Joses Arm Pit"

Alum Rock, San Jose—both considered a neighborhood and a separate city onto itself—is yet another of these locations that has been hit hard by the Foreclosure Crisis. 80% of homes that are currently on the market here—and there are hundreds of them—are on the market due to foreclosure.

The median home price in Alum Rock is ~$325K—quite low for the Bay Area. So it is the typical mix of ranch homes here (except for in the hill where the homes become increasingly more expensive). Unfortunately many of these homes really do show some fairly extreme signs of age. Yards are rundown and homes are simply not well cared for—with lots of property damage and that sort of thing. The area simply does not feel like it is part of the affluence we associate with San Jose and Silicon Valley in general.

One of the problems with Alum Rock is that the schools are simply not as strong as in other areas of San Jose and especially the Peninsula; James Lick High, for example, is a below average school.

There are a fair number of restaurants in the area including lots of East Asian places like BoDa (a mix of Chinese and Vietnamese food). For nightlife you will mostly have to go into San Jose—the only bar in the immediate vicinity that I know of is Heaven Lounge.

Overall, this is not the best place to live. There are certainly much better places in nearby San Jose.
  • Close to San Jose
  • Affordable
  • Poor Schools
  • Run Down Houses
  • Little Nightlife

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Best Streets in Alum Rock


Golf Dr

"Nice neighborhood road for anyone"
37.3849879946391 -121.835775834305

Toyon Ave

"Nice Apartment Buildings"
37.3881400450989 -121.831182342713

Unranked Streets in Alum Rock

"Quiet street, rural street"
37.3725226581752 -121.819074418657

Clearview Dr

"Nice Berryessa residential area street"
37.381276953626 -121.850566158748

Mabury Rd

"Old street but lots of class"
37.3816965100172 -121.845399303999

Mabury Sq

"Gem of Berryessa"
37.3802527148104 -121.851517949752

Modred Dr

"Value for Money in Silicon Valley"
37.3820435611053 -121.838641122619

Rose Ave

"There are some nice Condos on Rose Ave. "
37.3637356509018 -121.828504526239

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