8.7 out of 10

Knickerbocker Ln, Orinda

37.8714702230738 -122.18422107242
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Public Transport
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Pest Free
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • LGBT+
  • Country Lovers


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"Orinda Apartments and Hill With a View"

The Knickerbocker neighborhood continues the tradition begun up in the Sleepy Hollow neighborhood north of the freeway. Knickerbocker is also an allusion to the author of the Legends of Sleepy Hollow.

The Knickerbocker neighborhood is just to the south of Highway 24. One of the features of the neighborhood that is unusual for Orinda is the presence of boxy, 1960’s style apartment buildings and condos hugging the tree line of the freeway. These apartments are really quite unpleasant looking and probably overpriced because of their location. It is however, a pretty great location. From these apartments, it is only a short walk to Downtown Orinda, where you can get a latte, go to one of the handful or restaurants or catch a movie at the Orinda Theater. In addition, you can make it to the Orinda BART in about the same time or catch the carpool into the city from the traffic circle behind the theater. Basically, you could give up your car and save on maintenance and insurance—a pretty good deal, overall and you’d be doing your part for the environment.

Of course, the neighborhood is not just the apartment buildings along the freeway. It is also made up of a web of streets covering the north facing hill. Most of these homes date back to the 50’s and 60’s but they are not just the typical ranch homes. Opposite the apartment complexes, for example, you can find some attractive woody Craftsman style homes in the Maybeck style and something like two story prairie homes. The houses here take advantage of the hillside topography to create an attractive appearance, placing garages down at street level and having winding steps leading up through the branchy yards to the front doors.

The farther you make your way up into the hills the larger the homes become and the better the views north towards the St. Stephens area. Most angles obscure the freeway, making it seem as if you are in a much woodier and less populated area.

This is, like most of Orinda, a highly affluent area, where front drives are usually occupied by Mercedes and where there is almost always someone along the street doing some remodeling, placing new stonework out front or remodeling their decks. On the other hand, there is a bit of a rural feel here (kind of a faux-rural feel, really, because of all the perfectly landscaped yards and giant homes) but enough of one that you can occasionally see a rope ladder leading up to an observation coop atop a tree and even the occasional makeshift tree house itself.

Of course, with leafy hillside living come the usual drawbacks. Narrow drives make it difficult for delivery trucks for example. Often it takes a special smaller truck, or residents have to go to pick up their own items. You will also get a fair amount of wild life, mostly of the cute variety, but also not quite so cute when they eat your roses or knock over your trashcan on trash day. If you live here, expect field mice, deer, raccoons and skunks.

You also have to watch out for mudslides and erosion during the rainy season when heavy rains can make the idea of hillside living seem like a bad idea. Homes must be maintained and decks periodically checked. In the summer, fire fears take over as the hills seem to pick the smell of burning wood from miles and miles away.

The lack of sidewalks is also a consideration when trying to raise kids here, as it means that they will not be able to play outside or walk down into town from most of these homes.

That said this is a nice little nook of neighborhood that is centrally located and contains a variety of options for residents. If I had to commute into work every day, I would definitely want to live right about here.
  • Nice Views
  • Very Leafy
  • Big Homes
  • No Side Walks
  • Hillside Worries
  • Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • LGBT+
  • Country Lovers

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