City or Suburbs

I was responding to a post in a different thread, and was inspired by a different dialogue that was emerging from it. When I moved to the Bay Area in March, I considered several different living options - the East Bay, the Peninsula/South Bay, and the city. Ultimately it came down to roommate fit and I ended up in the Peninsula, but San Francisco was definitely an option that was high on my list. I decided not to live there for several reasons:

1. It is COLD

2. Parking is often difficult to find, depending on the neighborhood, and I am far too dependent on my car out here.

3. Pound for pound, it is more expensive.

4. I lived in Manhattan on and off for four and a half years. I've had the city experience. I wanted something different, and something California that offered me coastal access, sunshine, warmer temperatures, outdoor activities, while still being in a quintessential California area. Palo Alto fit the bill.

But this got me thinking - which is better, the city or the suburbs? Each one has its own charm, its own appeal, but there are drawbacks as well. Even as a young person, I prefer the suburbs if I am living in the Bay Area, but often envy city-dwellers for their proximity to so many things.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
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For me, at my current stage in life--middle aged and a parent--I couldn't imagine living in the city again. There is so much to worry about with kids as it is without also worrying about all the sorts of problems in the city--from homeless crazies to gangs to more ready access to drugs (yeah, I know, there are lots of drugs in the suburbs too).

And then there is cost as you mention and all the little problems the city brings. If you have more than two kids, like me, then public transportation is both costly and complicated. Finding parking in the city is a hassle--having to worry about your car gettting broken into if you park on the street all these little inconveniences make city living unthinkable to me at this stage in life.

Of course, I know some people pull it off, but definately not for me.

On the other hand, if I were single and unmarried, I suppose I might like the city--though I have no idea how I would be able to afford it, even with just me to worry about.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
FlowerGirl 2yrs+
I grew up in both and I would go with the city. Although, I guess it would depend on the city. I loved the time that I spent in Berkeley as a teen.

@Owl: I would say that the boredom of the suburbs will drive you to drugs sooner. I spent some time in Pleasant Hill as a kid as well, and I couldn't stand it. Lafayette was okay as far as suburbs go--I could always hop on BART and be with my old friends in Rockridge in fifteen minutes.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
Tracypie 2yrs+
I lived in Santa Clara when I first moved here, then I moved to Belmont, then to San Mateo and then finally 7 years ago to the city. And I finally feel like I am at home. I think it depends on where you are from as to whether or not you like the suburbs. I'm a city gal. I like the city, I like to be able to walk to things easily, and I love the hustle and bustle that a city brings. I love living in a city where people like to visit - I think that 's cool.

I think if you want to say that you live in the city but want the suburbia feel, you can live in Potrero Hill or the Richmond, or the Sunset, or Ocean Beach. All of those places are "technically" in the city but it's like a $20-$30 cab ride to get into the heart of the city from those places.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.
StephSF 2yrs+
Those places all seem kind of backward to me - city prices and city taxes (and city COLD in the cases of Richmond, Sunset, and Ocean Beach), but without the benefits that other SF neighborhoods have to offer. Although they are all very nice places, in their own right.

Of those choices, I would move to Potrero Hill, as it's a little bit closer to everything and on the right side of the city (literally and on the map!) This means greater proximity to cool places like the Mission and Union Square, fewer hills to climb, an easier bike ride, and slightly more sunshine. I am sure the price reflects all these factors.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of StreetAdvisor.

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