"Not as expensive as San Francisco and close to the coast!"
You don't have to live in the heart of San Francisco to enjoy San Francisco. Besides that city is so expensive on my income I wouldn't even be able to afford a square footage. Five Canyons is a great alternative which is located in Castro Valley, for those times when you want to escape to the heart of San Francisco. Five Canyons is a great naturalist area with plenty of hiking trails and a wonderful park. Palomares Cafe is my favorite place to chill with a friend and just relax. The food has a wonderful presentation and it tastes great too! You should definitely check it out if you want to enjoy a relaxing but trendy atmosphere. Despite Five Canyons being small you won't be able to escape the tourists or the traffic. There are also plenty of dogs in the area. Be prepared to be either become a dog lover or a dog hater! A quick drive to the coast is always a great option of living in a place like Five Canyons.