StBloomSF

  • Local Expert 12,176 points
  • Reviews 45
  • Question 1
  • Answers 268
  • Discussions 0

Reviews

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

"Like the Alamo: Unforgettable and a Bit Dangerous"

Just down the street from the Painted Ladies (on Steiner) is Fulton Street, the lane that marks the northern end of Alamo Square. The four blocks that make up Fulton Street in Alamo Square are also filled with fine examples of stick style Victorians. These 19th Century constructions are characterized by bay windows and cornices and look out onto Alamo Park.

You definitely can’t beat this location. Fulton is right on the northern border of Alamo Park and right in the middle of the action in terms of all the San Francisco fun that is nearby. Not that you have to leave Alamo Square to find great restaurants. There are a ton of tourists that come by here--especially in the summer, but they are mostly focused on Steiner and the Painted Ladies that they know so well from Tales from the City and Full House.

The typical home along Fulton sells for between $500K and $1 mil. A 2-bedroom around here goes for about $3500 and a 1 for about $2500. In other words, this is pretty typical for SF generally though it would be expensive for most of the rest of the Bay Area.

Part of the reason for the “moderate” prices is the relatively high crime in the area. Though there haven’t been any murders recently in Alamo Square, there have been nearly a half dozen assaults every month and well over 200 burglaries and robberies in the last six months. Basically these are happening on the daily here, and Fulton gets its fair share.

Schools are a mixed bag with good nearby choices on the north and not quite so good choices to the south. There are also a number of private school choices around here.

Overall, this seems like a pretty good place to live if you are single and willing to share it with one or two other people. Or if you are a young couple with high income jobs.
Pros
  • Beautiful Condos
  • Right by the Painted Ladies
  • Close to the Action
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Very Expensive
  • Lots of Tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
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 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Nice Quiet Kensington Street"

Running parallel to Arlington Avenue on the east, Amherst Avenue is a narrow leafy street that happens to be home to the most expensive home in all of Kensington. The home--a beautiful terra-cotta roofed Med style home built in 1925 though clearly renovated--is a 4 bed, 4 bath 3000 ft. beauty with a wonderful airy feel to it. It sold for $1.2 mil at the end of November.

Most homes along Amherst are not quite this expensive. A home across the street, for example, sold for almost half the price despite being larger and younger (built in 1947). This other home also has a beautiful view of the bay.

So what accounts for the differences in price?

The more expensive home had clearly been renovated recently and simply had a newer, more luxurious look to it. There was nothing wrong with the other home with its classic cozy look.

The schools here are solid with Kensington Elementary, Portola Middle and El Cerrito High having APIs of 10, 6 and 6 respectively. Not amazing on the higher end but perfectly workable.

Overall a pretty nice neighborhood, great for professors with families who want a little bit of distance from Cal but still to be able to be there in 10 minutes.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Quiet and Relatively Safe
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • A Little Out of the Way
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Great but Super Expensive"

For those singles and young couples who have the wherewithal to aspire to such things, Russian Hill is one of the most desirable locations in all of SF. And of the streets in this highly affluent area, one of the most attractive to residents is Chestnut, where you will find one of the very most expensive home sales in the entire city in the past year--a 3-story Victorian that went for nearly $5 mil.

One of the attractions of Chestnut is its variety. On the far western end is Van Ness Avenue, Chestnut Avenue climbs up from that busy avenue, crowded on either side with the 3-story Victorians that are so attractive and so typical of SF. Bay windows and first floor garage doors are the rule of the day here.

After two blocks however, Chestnut gives way to the Chestnut Street Steps which climb up through a small woody area. (This is, of course, just one of several such steps in SF, with the Vallejo Steps perhaps being one of the most famous.)

On the other side of the steps, Chestnut picks up again, though the character of the street has somewhat changed just on the other side. The feel on this first block is much more like what you find in Nob Hill to the south. There are tall residential buildings of the kind you find in metropolitan centers like New York, but that are less typical of SF. This section of Chestnut has a very European feel to it, with buildings being recessed behind high walls with gated entrances and having private green spaces also enclosed within; or, varying the 3-story structures with balconies and cornices rather than bay windows. You are just one block north of the famous Crookedest Street in the World at this point and there is in fact a set of stairs that will lead you right to the street. (Which also makes this a very highly frequented section of Chestnut.)

You also start getting some amazing views of the waters just beyond the Golden Gate. As Chestnut starts making its descent that is where you find what appears to be a mission or church but is actually San Francisco Art Institute. Designed by the same architect who designed Coit Tower, the SFAI facilities are beautiful replica of the kind of architecture the Spanish brought here. They also have a mural by Diego Rivera here.

At the eastern end of Chestnut Street it crosses over Columbus. This is where you find Bimbos, the classic music venue made famous in the 60’s. It is just a very cool set-up inside. To give you a flavor of the kind of acts that perform at Bimbos, here is what is coming up next for them: they have a couple of nights with Sandra Bernhardt if you are into a night of amusing talk; if you prefer to rock like it is the Reagan Era, then come on one of the Tainted Love nights such as on the Stung night when they do all Police tribute songs.

Put simply, this is a pretty amazing run of blocks.

What does it cost to live here?


The average condo in and around Chestnut Street goes for around $1 million. As far as renting goes, 2 and 3 bedrooms run in the $5000 to $6000 range. A studio might go for $2500.

The schools in the area are also strong, with famous schools like the Yick Wo Alternative Elementary making its home here.

Crime is a little bit of a mixed bag. Although on Chestnut Street and in the immediate surroundings it is relatively quiet with only about a dozen burglaries and half a robberies in six months, the area is surrounded by high traffic, high crime areas where burglaries, assaults and robberies abound. Overall, however, you should be okay while on Chestnut itself so long as you use common sense. (No late night walks by yourself, or staring at your phone instead of being aware of your surroundings.)

You can’t beat this location however. You are right in the center of the best part of the city and within minutes of everything from a cool North Beach bar to a live theater event. It is one of the best places to live in the world if you aren’t quite ready to completely settle down yet and have a high powered (and high salaried) job.
Pros
  • Beautiful and Varied Street
  • Great Condos and Classic Buildings
  • Close to SF Fun
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Some Crime
  • Traffic and Density
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 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 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Oakland's Treetop"

Acacia Avenue in the Claremont Pines neighborhood has this distinction: it is the location of the most expensive single family home sale in all of Oakland in the last year. A large beautiful 1995 home sold here for $2.4 mil at the beginning of last month. Trulia believes the new owners overpaid estimating the value of the home at $1.8 mil. I am not so sure however. This really is an aesthetically stunning home--from its amazing bay views to its sunny interiors and marble countertops. It has 3 bedroom and 5 baths and more than 5000 ft of interior space on ¾ of an acre. It really is a mini-mansion in an amazing location.

Acacia is actually packed with large beautiful million dollar plus homes like this. Since most homes date from the mid-90’s, it is likely the case that most of the homes here were built following the destruction of the 1992 Oakland Firestorm. These homes are large, often in that attractive Mediterranean style with adobe toned walls and red-tiled roofs and seem to all have pretty amazing East Bay views.

Most people that live in this area can afford to send their kids to private schools, but the local schools are mostly alright as well, with Hillcrest Elementary having an API of 10 and Oakland Tech being a solid 6.

The area is about as safe as it gets as well with just a handful of burglaries and a couple of assaults in the last six months.

With Rockridge and Berkeley nearby and easy access to the city by car or BART, this is one of the best locations in all of the Bay Area. If you can afford it, of course.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Great Views
  • Close to Berkeley Fun
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Big House Problems
  • Hillside Fire and Erosion Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"There is a Doctor in the House"

Broderick Street in the Anza Vista neighborhood of San Francisco is best known for the Kaiser buildings that bookmark it on both sides. In fact, one of the tall Kaiser facilities interrupts Broderick at about the level of Geary.

Most of the rest of Broderick, however, is a largely residential street perfectly situated for doctors and nurses. You get a number of attractive 3-story Victorians along the street which, not surprising sell for some of the highest prices in all of Anza Vista, small as it is. Actually, the highest priced home sale in Anza Vista was here. A two-story Pink Lady with a drive down sub street level garage sold for $1.4 mil in the last quarter of 2012. (Rents are very high in Anza Vista and the surrounding areas as well, with the average 1 and 2 bedroom running around $3500/month.)

Though many of the buildings here date from the first quarter of the 20th Century, there are some newer, unusual looking buildings. One particularly unusual one, has garages on street level and then high second floors.

The barred doors and windows on street level are clues to the crime worries in the area given its proximity to the crime ridden Tenderloin. Although there is a moderate level of crime in the area, however most of Broderick and Anza Vista are spared the worst of it. There were only about three dozen burglaries and robberies and a handful of assaults in the vicinity of Broderick in the last six months. (Very moderate for the city and a world away from the level of crime just to east of here.)

Schools in the Anza Vista area are a bit of a mixed bag with those on the northern end being strong and those on the southern end weak.

Overall, a pretty nice spot if you happen to be a doctor or have the salary of one.
Pros
  • Close to the Hospital
  • Nice Older Victorians
  • Right in the Middle of the Action
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Some Crime
  • Terrible Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"The Lyon's Share of Pre-Quake Homes"

Lyon Street in the Presidio Heights neighborhood of San Francisco runs down south just off the end of the Presidio right on the border between Presidio Heights and Pacific Heights. Obviously that means that this is some pretty high priced real estate.

One of the most expensive homes to sell in the area sold here on Lyons. It is a large 1902 home with with more than 3000 ft of space, 5-bedrooms, and 4 baths. The home sold for $4.6 million last August--a 3-fold increase from its 1996 price tag of $1.4 million.

In general, Lyon Street homes are big and old, dating in many cases to before the big 1906 Quake like this one does. They were then at the western edge of the city, the Quake being to impetus for the westwards expansion into what are now the Richmond and Sunset Districts.

The location can’t be beat offering access to the best of what SF has to offer, from the Presidio on the north, to the North Beach and Civic Center areas to the west, to Golden Gate Park on the south.

The schools here--both public and private--are also excellent. And crime, which is of course a worry in any big city, is relatively low with only an occasional nearby assault to worry about and the usual burglaries that are commonplace throughout the nicer areas in SF.

Overall, this is a pretty good street if you happen to have a large family and the money to afford living here. You would, of course, have to be the CEO or CFO of your company to manage it.
Pros
  • Beautiful Old Homes
  • Close to Everything
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Some Crime
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Very Nice but Not Million Dollar Territory"

Ordway Street is on the eastern half of Albany where the bay city starts pushing up against the Berkeley Hills. Although Ordway is on the part of Albany that does begin to make its ascent up into the hills, this is not one of those winding hillside roads where you are guaranteed a stunning bay view from your back deck. You won’t find many decks here and I doubt many of them have much of a view.

Most of the homes on Ordway date to the Jazz Age. These are very nice bungalow walk-ups, one of which holds the distinction of being the highest priced home sale in Albany in the last year. A rather shabby looking bungalow here sold for $1.2 million in March--definitely a good sign for the housing market given that less than a decade ago the same home sold for half a million. In my opinion this isn’t even the best home on this block, much less in Albany.

Most homes along Ordway don’t quite reach this level. A couple of other very attractive bungalow style homes sold for $684K and $745K respectively.

It is the location that people really like about Ordway. It is in a thoroughly residential area but you are relatively close to Solano Avenue--a great Sunday morning brunch site and to Berkeley, so if you are a professor or just like to have a nice time every so often you are well situated for it.

Another draw to Albany is the amazing schools that serve the area. From Marin Elementary and Cornell Elementary to Albany Middle School and Albany High, all the schools on this eastern half of Albany have APIs of 10.

As to crime, it is really low on Ordway and the surrounding area. All you really get is 3 or 4 burglaries per month--not much of anything really.

Overall, however, I would say that although I like this area, I do not think of it as million dollar territory.
Pros
  • Nice Jazz Age Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Great Location
Cons
  • Old Home Problems
  • Occasional Burglaries
  • Some Overpriced Homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 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 1/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Takes a Lot of Green to Live on Green"

Green Street is a residential street that crosses Cow Hollow east to west--basically from Van Ness to the Presidio. My favorite part of Green is probably the section farthest to the west, near the Presidio. There are lots of really beautifully maintained older buildings here on this end. That and the combination of the tree-lined street gives this a very cozy sort of residential feel that makes it feel less like a harsh city than a tightly knit community. You can imagine that it looked much like this nearly a century ago.

The houses here are an interesting mix. There are, of course, the three-story Victorians that are a mainstay of northern SF. But there are also homes in what I think is the classic Italianate style--at least as far as I can tell with my very basic architectural knowledge. These are really attractive homes with cute European style balconies and top floor terraces that offer views and fresh air opportunities.

It is right around this location, just as Green starts descending down towards the North Beach area that you get the most expensive home to have sold in this area, a 3-story 1922 home that sold for $4.2 million. Most homes along Green do not sell for that much but a $1-million dollar home or even studio is not at all uncommon around here. This is not surprising since Green is the border between Cow Hollow and Pacific Heights.

And then you will also find large 6-story brick buildings like the one near the western end that is the home of the Russian Consulate (only slightly northeast of the Little Russia area of the Richmond District). There are a few buildings like this that look more like old fashioned office buildings or maybe slightly more unusual apartments.

Green flattens out to the east of Pierce. This is where you will find the Catholic St. Vincent de Paul Church and Gym. This is also where you start to find a lot more 3-story Victorians very much in the style of North Beach and where you get a lot of older pre-World War II apartment buildings (kind of like the San Francisco of Hitchcock). By the time you reach Van Ness it pretty much feels indistinguishable from North Beach.

There aren’t a lot of stores or restaurants on this section of Green, but with Union just to the south and Van Ness on the eastern end you should be well within walking distance of a number of restaurants and stores, no matter where on Green you find yourself.

Green Street and the Cow Hollow/Pacific Heights is a relatively safe point in northern SF, which does have some rough spots. Though there is a ring of violence that surrounds the area, roughly overlapping with high traffic areas, Green Street itself has only had one assault in six months. Unfortunately the neighborhood is not immune to crime altogether. Burglaries are commonplace all along Green and throughout the entirety of both Cow Hollow and Pacific Heights. This is basically the price of living in the city.

One of the big benefits of living in this section is that you have a number of very good schools, so if you happen to have kids and don’t want to raise them in the boredom of the suburbs, this area is one of the better options the city has to offer--especially if you are willing to shell out the big bucks for a private school.

Overall, I would say this is great spot to live in the city. A little oasis of charm and relative safety.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Great Location
  • Great Transportation and Schools
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Lots of Burglaries
  • Very Dense
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Berkeley's Most Expensive Street"

Alvarado Road is probably the most expensive real estate in Berkeley, boasting not just the highest price home sale in the past year, but the top 2 highest priced home sales of the past year. Alvarado slips off of Highway 13 as it makes its way up towards the Caldecott Tunnel. This is a very leafy European looking area right by the section of the Berkeley hills where the Firestorm of 1991 started.

In fact the second of these homes--which sold for $2.3 million--was built in 1998, probably on the ground of a home that did not make it through the fire. In fact, Trulia estimates this 5000 ft. home at $2.8 million and given that is both newer and has the better view, I would have to agree. It is an amazing home.

But really most of the homes along the zig zag stretch of Alvarado are pretty worthy of the props I am giving them. These are large mansion like homes with half timbering and amazing yards.

This is a favorite area for super successful intellectual types, such as those who create computer languages or start environmental movements. The hills of Berkeley are filled with famous authors and Nobel prize winners.

This is a great location if you are associated with Cal or if for commuting into the city and or throughout the Bay. Overall, I would love to live here.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Nice Views
  • Close to Berkeley Fun
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Old Home Problems
  • Fire Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"As Expensive as a Palace"

Bay Street runs intermittently right through the heart of the Marina in San Francisco. It is home to the most expensive home to sell in the Marina and is filled with pretty amazing older homes and apartments on its western end by the Palace of the Fine Arts.

In fact, one block of Bay Street borders the southern end of the Palace. The homes that look out onto the artificial lagoon and the swans are slightly unusual for Bay--they are old neoclassical looking homes dating from a century ago, during the period just after the Great Quake of 1906. It is on this stretch, looking out over the lagoon that you will find the highest priced home to sell here in the past year. A nearly 3000 ft. 4-bedroom 3-bath dating from 1929 sold here for $4.3 million in November. (It has last sold in the late 90’s for under $1 million. Quite an appreciation.)

The rest of Bay along this western section of the Marina is made up of three and four story buildings not altogether unlike similar buildings that you find in North Beach and other sections of San Francisco, with street level garages underneath attractive bay windows. There are actually a fair number of apartments along this stretch, which is perhaps a touch surprising for the Marina which is mainly known as a swanky family area.

Bay dead ends at Scott St. and then picks up again at Fillmore St. where it has a fairly different feel having Marina Middle School on its southern end and then Fort Mason on its northern end about midway through. Along this section it is mostly apartments and as you get near Fort Mason they are actually of a newer variety, the 3-story Victorians giving way to modern looking redwood shingled buildings on the western end of the fort.

Fort Mason, like the Presidio on the western end of Bay, is no longer used for military purposes and now is home to some private enterprises, including the classy vegetarian restaurant, Green’s.

What will renting one of these condos on Bay cost? Prices run from $6000 to $20,000 per month for a two bedroom. (That is right--I didn’t put in an extra zero on one of those.) I even saw a 5-bedroom going for $45,000/month here. That is more than half a million dollars a year for a home you won’t even come to own. You can however find a one-bedroom for just under $3000--a steal, I guess.

Unfortunately, the Marina really isn’t so safe of an area to live. In the last six months there has been one murder and more than 150 assaults in the Marina. There have also been nearly 300 burglaries and robberies. Given how much people pay to live here, it is a little surprising that crime should be this high here, even with the high density.

Overall, I think the price and crime worries make the Marina not the best value. Even though you are right by the Presidio and have tons of other nearby entertainments, I can’t really recommend this as the ideal location for setting down roots.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Close to Presidio and Bay
  • Good Schools
Cons
  • Crime
  • Very Very Expensive
  • Tourists and Crowds
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Not Very Notable"

The tiny Tamarack neighborhood in Hayward basically has two different things that characterize it: it is home to Mission Hills Middle School, and it has a small residential area. Mission Hills Middle School is a private middle school with extended day care. Because it is a private school, I really don’t know how good it is on an objective level. (No APIs and all the rest of it.)

The rest of the neighborhood--basically just a handful of square blocks--is also not very distinctive. It is made up 1950’s style Ranch style homes of the kind that is pretty typical of Union City. They look fairly run down and the streets have that flat unappealing looking that so many neighborhoods in this area of the East Bay do. In the last year, the four homes that have sold in this neighborhood have sold for $265K, $271K, $355K, $356K respectively--also pretty typical for this location.

Though there have been about a half dozen nearby assaults and maybe a dozen robberies, the neighborhood is relatively safe. It is an okay area as far as commuting goes, being situated in a location that gets you to virtually anywhere in the Bay Area in a relatively manageable amount of time.

Overall a pretty average neighborhood.
Pros
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Not Bad for Commuters
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • Rundown Looking Homes
  • Average Schools
  • Not Very Distinctive
5/5 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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Feels More Like Sherwood Forest or Twin Peaks"

Forest Hill Extension is exactly what it sounds like, an extension of the fairly prestigious SF neighborhood just to the southeast of the Taraval/Montalvo turnabout.

It has very attractive architecture but it is not quite on a level with what you find in Forest Hill. In fact, it feels to me a lot more like the adjacent Sherwood Forest neighborhood or maybe even the Twin Peaks area. The homes here are smaller and more modest--relatively speaking anyway--but they are still very beautiful. Actually, it is only because I am comparing it to Forest Hill that this neighborhood requires qualification.

The homes here are probably about a century old and tightly packed along softly curving streets with very squat front yards. These homes are squarish sometimes Bungalow style homes with large paned windows some with views down towards Daly City. On the north eastern end of Forest Hill Extension you can see the towers of the La Honda medical facilities.

The median home here is selling for about $1.1 million currently. In the past year homes have sold from between $450 K and $1.7 million--though the vast majority were in the $800K to $1.5 million range.

All the other benefits of living here in the West Portal area hold true for Forest Hill Extension. The schools are just as strong: West Portal Elementary, Hoover Middle and Lincoln High have API’s of 9, 7 and 7 respectively, and this is also one of the safest and most quiet areas in the city.

Overall a pretty great place for young families, if you can afford it.
Pros
  • Nice Bungalow Style Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet and Safe
Cons
  • Old Home Problems
  • Very Expensive
  • A Bit Dull
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
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 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Catalog of Quaint Residential Architecture"

Hidden away on the western end of San Francisco right at the edge of the Sunset District, Forest Hill is just far enough away from the more hectic locations in San Francisco to give residents a certain feeling of tranquility and security, yet not so far away that you can easily be at a 5-star restaurants within 15 minutes.

There is nothing modest or muted about these homes however. The neighborhood is just a beautiful architectural tour-de-force; the kind of place that is like a architecture student’s dream neighborhood. Every home is unique and deserves an hour’s attention at least by those who love to study residential architecture. There are story book style cottage homes with curved faux rustic style roofs and perfectly selected multicolored brickwork. There are large mansion style homes fronted by giant redwood trees with eye lines that stretch out over the Sunset to the sea. There are even cozy half timbered French style cottages with attractively shaped topiary in the front yards.

The median selling price for a home here in Forest Hill in the past year was $1.4 million. Homes here barely hit the $2 million range on the high end so it is far from being in the same league as its western neighbor, Saint Francis Wood.

What accounts for this discrepancy? As far as I can tell, the main reason for this has to do with location. Forest Hill though it is nicely tucked away is a little bit outside of the prime areas where the filthy rich want to be. You have Golden Gate Park just to the north but you are not quite as conveniently located for getting to the northern part of San Francisco, which is the truly posh area.

At least, this is what I can make of it. The other thing too is that since Forest Hill has an ordinance against commercial offerings, schools and other businesses require you to leave the neighborhood. That is a bit of a drawback.

That said, the schools that are in the area are some of the strongest in San Francisco. Crime is very low and the public transportation system that can take you all over the city is more than adequate: you can get from here to the Financial District via public transportation in about a half hour.

Definitely not too shabby.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Good Nearby Schools
  • Quiet and Safe
Cons
  • A Little Dull
  • Expensive
  • Maintenance Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"For Wealthy Doctors and Their Families"

You will find not just one $4.5 million home on Cherry Street, but two. What makes this such a high cost area?

Partly it is, of course, the big old historic homes that are right here. This is a neighborhood that got built out in the decade after the Great Quake of 1906, and those that came here were largely the really well off. It has remained an area for those to this day.

That is why you will find large mansions occupying Cherry Street. From the Presidio to California Street, that is what you will find. These are those large beautiful imposing structures that feel like they could equally house offices as they could a rich family. As far as I know most of them here are residential rather than commercial.

This would actually be a good place for doctors who have made it and are teaching at one of the many medical facilities that are just at the southern end of this location.

Overall with the great schools and proximity to Presidio and Golden Gate Park, this is a great place to raise a family if you can afford it.
Pros
  • Great Big Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Close to the Hospital
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Big House Problems
  • Snobby Neighbors
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
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 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Beautiful Historic Homes for CEOs and Friends"

If you know anything about Presidio Heights, you know that it is one of those neighborhoods in San Francisco like Sea Cliff and Saint Francis Wood where the creme-de-la-creme, the richest of the rich, live. Presidio Heights in general and Washington St. in specific, does not have the amazing Golden Gate Bridge views of Sea Cliff, nor does is it tucked away quite in the way that Saint Francis Wood is--but what it does have going for it is truly historic homes largely built in the decade or so after the Great 1906 Quake, which brought many San Franciscans out to these then “peripheral” areas.

When a resident of Washington Street steps out of his or her house in the morning they find a lane that except for the modern cars and other modern additions looks much like it a may have a century ago. These are grand old manors with short front yards and beautiful walk-up entry ways. Some are quite ostentatious, with Doric or Corinthian columns book-ending the entrance, and palladian windows giving way onto tiny Romeo and Juliet style balconies. Some make use of the top floors (most of these are three story structures) to create open air verandas, perfect for sunbathing on that one day per year that the weather is clear and warm enough. Other buildings along Washington Street are a touch more modest, and look much more like the older buildings that you might find throughout the city.

Nevertheless, the wealth in the area raises all home prices. The most expensive homes to sell in the last year in Presidio Heights have been within a block or so of the corner of Washington Street and Cherry Street. The one on Washington Street is a 1927 3-story home with more 3500 ft. of space and a beautiful back yard. It really is an amazing structure. I personally however much prefer the Mediterranean style home a house or two away that recently sold for $3.5 million. It was built in 1924 and has a really attractive open air deck on the top floor. The style also is much more modern in feel--very European in a good way.

That gives you a sense however of the the kind of neighborhood this is: multi-million dollar homes with luxury cars parked out front. You can’t beat this location either. You are a block away from the Presidio on the north and within walking distance of Golden Gate park on the south. The schools are also some of the best in the city and the commute to most other parts of the city is pretty good.

Overall it is great area to live if you are a CEO or CFO with a family who hates commuting or needs to be somewhat near the action of the city.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Close to Parks and City Fun
  • Very Good Schools
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Old Home Problems
  • Snobby Neighbors
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Market and Apartments--That's It"

This tiny square to the north of where Decoto Road and Alvarado Niles Blvd. meet is barely what can be called a neighborhood at all. The majority of this location is taken up by a strip mall with a big parking lot. You will find a Marina Foods which is a great Asian foods market and a Pho Thanh Long, a Vietnamese restaurant, and a handful of other East Asian places--which tells you about the diversity of the residents that make up Union City.

There is a also a Burger King, and an O’Relly Auto Parts.

Behind this strip mall is an apartment complex which makes up the rest of El Mercado. These are pretty typical apartments with carports and boxy looking two story structures arranged around the grounds. It isn’t wonderful and feels slightly overcrowded but I have seen far worse. A one bedroom here will run you around $1500 and two bedroom about $1700. (Which I think is expensive for a one-bedroom but about right for a 2-bedroom.)

As to schools, they are unfortunately average to below average in this section of Union City, with Searles Elementary, Chavez Middle School and Logan High having API’s of 4, 3 and 6 respectively.

As to crime it is fairly low with only a half dozen robberies reported in the last 4 months.

Overall I would say that if you have kids, this place is overpriced, but if you are single this place might be okay especially since the BART is pretty close by. Might be ideal for a couple that works in different parts of the Bay Area and needs a pad that is in between these.
Pros
  • Cool East Asian Places
  • Close to the BART
  • Good Spot for Commuting Couples
Cons
  • Schools Slightly Below Average
  • Apartments Slightly Overpriced
  • A Bit Over Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Cool Century Old Homes and Great Schools"

10th Avenue is where you will find the highest priced home sales in all of Inner Richmond in the last year. In fact, the two highest home sales happened here. (There were a couple of properties that sold for more, but they were multi-family homes, not single family homes the way these are.)

10th Avenue is a great Inner Richmond street running north south from Golden Gate Park in the south to Mountain Lake Park in the Presidio on the north. On the southern end of 19th Avenue where the mostly highly priced homes are is where the neighborhood also happens to be oldest. The old homes here are a century old, dating from the period after the Great SF Quake of 1906 which brought residents farther west and coincided with the SF World’s Fair of 1912.

That’s the period these most expensive homes date to. A couple of these homes along 10th sold last year for about $2.2 million. They are attractive older homes that stand alone (as opposed to being pushed up close to one another as many homes are here). These homes are usually two-story walk-ups but they have walkways in between them and generally feel more like individual homes than apartments.

Much of the rest of the street, however, is pretty typical of the Inner Richmond and much of the rest of northern San Francisco. It is basically filled with three story walk-up Victorians.

One of the advantages of living in the Richmond District are the strong public schools. McCoppin Elementary, Roosevelt Middle School and Washington High have APIs of 7, 8 and 7 respectively, pretty strong for any city really.

As to crime, 10th Avenue is a relatively safe area for SF. The 2 dozen assaults that have taken place within half a mile of 10th in the last 6 months have taken place to the east of here and mostly along Geary. Burglary and robbery are more evenly spread with the 5 dozen burglaries happening throughout the neighborhood and the dozen robberies mostly taking place on Geary.

Given the great transportation system, the relatively lower rents of Inner Richmond (you can find a one-bedroom for $1800 and a two-bedroom for $2400), I would actually say that when you put it all together 10th Avenue in specific and Inner Richmond in general is one of the sweet spots in San Francisco where it is relatively affordable and actually livable for families.
Pros
  • Cool Older Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Well Situated
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Expensive
  • Fairly Crowded
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"BART and Nice Apartments and Townhomes"

The appropriately named Union District is the Union City neighborhood where you will find the Union City BART station. It is shaped somewhat like a right triangle with the majority of the neighborhood taken up by the BART station, its parking lot and a shopping plaza. The shopping plaza has a Safeway supermarket and the usual set of stores you expect to find in a suburban shopping plaza.

Just to south of this area, in the middle section of Union District are a grouping of apartment complexes. These are mostly made up of newer units in 4-story buildings decorated in dark beiges and browns and muddy reds. A one-bedroom in one of these apartment buildings will run you around $1600; a two, $2000; and a three, $2500.

On the far southern end of the neighborhood where it narrows to a point, Union District is made up of townhomes. These are also those newer kinds of townhomes made in the Spanish mediterranean style with adobe walls and tiled roofs.

The median price for one of these townhomes is $450K with prices ranging from $188K to $617K. Though most are in the $300K to $500K range.

Schools in the area are about average (except for the Chavez Middle School which is below) and crime is relatively moderate.

Overall, this is not too bad a place to live and relatively affordable.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Apartments
  • Close to the BART
  • Okay Schools
Cons
  • Kind of Bland
  • A Bit Bland
  • Traffic and Density
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Century Old Walk-Ups"

The most expensive single family home to sell in the last year in the Central Richmond neighborhood is right here on 17th Avenue. 17th Avenue is a pretty typical Central Richmond street. The home itself is pretty nice. It is in one of those walk-ups that usually gets converted into separate condos. In this case it has been kept together as one home, which would be ideal for a family with kids. This home was built in 1912, but it has clearly been renovated since then to make it look new. Very nice.

17th Avenue stretches from Golden Gate Park (by Snow Lake) to the Presidio, three blocks west of Park Presidio Blvd. (Highway 1). Home prices for other homes on or near 17th Avenue range from $850 to $1.5 mil, so the property that sold for the most is not way above the range that most homes sell for in this area.

The entire neighborhood here seems to date from about 100 years ago, probably part of the post 1906 Earthquake building boom and exactly matching up with the World’s Fair that built the nearby Legion of Honor and Palace of Fine Arts.

There is a strong Russian presence in this area--so much so that the northern end of Central Richmond is known as Little Russia.

Closer to the southern end of 17th Avenue, however, you get more multi-family homes--buildings divided up into condos--which tend to sell for more due to their rental value. South of Geary, much of the neighborhood dates from the 1920’s and is not quite as elegant as those to the north--these are the more typical 3-story walk-ups that are the default structure in places like North Beach.

Btw, if you are curious, a 2 bedroom in and near 17th will run you between $2200 and $3000. (I also saw a 3-bedroom listed for $5000/month. At the price you can buy a house in the burbs and commute in and have something to show for it at the end of the day.)

There are several benefits to living in the Central Richmond District. First, the schools here are some of the best in the city. Not only are there several private schools that are set-up to cater to the affluent residents of nearby Sea Cliff and Pacific Heights, but the public schools are equally strong with APIs of 7 and above.

This is also a much quieter area. Though there are some restaurants here, most of them are not the destination for tourists or foodies (though many will drive through here on their way to the Cliff House or the Legion of Honor).

Now, as far as crime goes, this is not the suburbs. You are definitely much safer than in neighborhoods like the Tenderloin or the Mission, but within a half mile radius of 17th Avenue in the last 6 months there have been 2 dozen assaults, 1 sexual assault, 1 solicitation, 6 dozen indecent exposure citations, 50 burglaries and another nearly 20 robberies (mostly along Geary--the main drag here).

Overall, however, this is a pretty good place for families who hate the burbs and must live in the city. So long as you can afford it, of course.
Pros
  • Nice Century Old Walk-Ups
  • Golden Gate Park
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Crime
  • Very Very Expensive
  • Relatively Quiet
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Best Beach Front Homes in Outer Richmond"

Where was the most expensive home sale in Outer Richmond in the last year?

Right here on 48th Ave., that’s where. The home, a 1951 single family home with 8 rooms and 4 baths sold for $1.65 mil last summer. It is a very attractive 3-story home with a ground floor garage and front door and large sleekly square 2nd and 3rd floor windows that look out over the Monterey Bay cypresses to the Pacific breakers. It has clearly been renovated recently.

Given the location and the fact that it is one of the largest homes along 48th, it should be quite obvious why this home should be the most expensive in Outer Richmond. Imagine waking up to these amazing views every morning and being just across the street from the beach side trails on the northern end of Ocean Beach and within walking distance Sutro Heights Park and Cliff House. With Golden Gate Park to the south and Lands End and the Legion of Honor to the north, you certainly can’t beat this location for natural wonder.

Not all of 48th Avenue gets these kinds of views however. South of Balboa Street, although you can still hear the breakers and smell the nearby ocean, your views are blocked out by bungalows built on the western side of 48th. Prices drop somewhat here as well. You are still however well within walking distance of the beach and there is a supermarket and restaurants which make it so you don’t have to get into your car for basic necessities.

Another big draw to area are the great schools. From Lafayette Elementary and Presidio Middle School to Washington High, all of the local public schools are solidly above average. The proximity of Sea Cliff, also means you have a number of private choices so long as you are willing to pay the high tuition rates.

There are, of course, some drawbacks to living so close to the far western end of the city. First, is that you will have a bit of a commute into work whether you choose the very solid public transportation system or to drive. Second, you better be okay with fog, since being this close to the ocean means you will have to live in it for probably 10 months out of the year. This section of Outer Richmond is first to get overcast and last to get sun, so be aware.

There is also a bit of crime. In the last six month there have been about 20 assaults within a block or two of 48th Avenue--mostly by the parks. There have also been about the same number of burglaries, most of them along 48th itself.

Overall, however, this is a great place to live if you love being near the beach, the parks, the museum and a bit removed from most of the city craziness.
Pros
  • Beautiful Views
  • Great Schools
  • Close to the Beach
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Very Foggy
  • Somewhat Expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 1/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nicely Situated But Overpriced"

Glen Park is an often overlooked neighborhood just to the west of Bernal Heights on the southern end of SF. For those that aren’t actually residents of Glen Park, if you have heard of Glen Park, it is probably due to presence of the Glen Park BART station.

Glen Park is mostly a residential neighborhood made up of older houses, about half of which date from the 1920’s or before. That means lots of bungalow style walk-ups along the hills, although newer homes tend to be the ones that are farthest up into the hills of Glen Park. Newer, for Glen Park means homes from the 1950s, 60s and 70s. The typical Jazz era home here is a walk-up bungalow on a narrow street with a first floor garage. A nice little hovel. The typical post War home is farther up on the hill with a street level parking space and hillside home with large panoramic windows pointing south towards the hills of Mission Terrace and the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood.

The median home price here is $1 mil, with prices ranging from $650 K to $2 million on the high end. (There was also one home that was listed as having sold for $2.65 million--but something doesn’t seem quite right about the listing; it sold for $300 K back in 2009. I will have to look into it further at a later date.)

Glen Park is a cute little main street area with a pub, laundry ,corner market and a couple of restaurants--nothing outstanding but everything that you need within walking distance so you can pop off the BART, get what you need and head on home. You can leave your car parked in your personal first floor garage which most of these homes have. With the BART station on the southern end of the neighborhood, commuting could not be easier.

The public schools are about average here, with Glen Park Elementary and James Lick Middle School both having APIs of 4. I’m not sure which high school serves Glen Park but if it is Balboa, you get more of the same. There are private alternatives nearby that serve the affluent families of Saint Francis Wood, but you will of course have to pay their high tuition fees.

As to crime, there are the typical city worries that you face on this side of the hills. In the last 6 months there have been 17 assaults, 68 burglaries and 19 robberies. Most of the assaults were down by Arlington St., but both burglaries and robberies were pretty spread out across the neighborhood. These are not as high as the city average, but they are not exactly in keeping with suburban rates either.

Overall, I would say that home prices are high enough here that you might be better off buying something a bit farther to the west in the Sunset District, where you get a bit more value for your buy: better schools, safer and less expensive in terms of living overall.
Pros
  • Nice Older Bungalows
  • Good for Commuters
  • Cute Main Street
  • BART station
Cons
  • Overpriced
  • Older Home Problems
  • Some Crime and Mediocre Schools
Recommended for
  • Professionals
CanW
CanW Hi, Any thought comparing Glen Park with the area around CCSF? I'm trying to find somewhere around here so that I can easily get to 280.
Jun 23, 2016
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5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Expensive But Nice for Families"

What was the most expensive residential sale in San Francisco in the last year?

It was right here on Sacramento Street in Pacific Heights--just by a whisker. The 2-story, 2-unit walk-up sold for $5 million last month. It barely beat out a Russian Hill property by about $20K. Whoever sold this unit, got a huge profit. The public record shows that the same property sold for $719K on Valentine’s Day last year. (And had sold 2 years prior to that for $1.4 mil--also on Valentine’s Day.) Unless the units were sold separately, that is more than a 500% profit.

Clearly things are looking up for the housing market if people are starting to make these kinds of profits.

As you may know, Pacific Heights is known as the place where affluent families move in the city. It has great schools and as much of a family feel as you ever get in a big city. There are not quite as many restaurants and bars as places like North Beach, which keeps things a little bit more manageable for families. You are right at the heart of the northern city, however, and can be to virtually anywhere within minutes.

The Sacramento Street property that sold is also just a block south of Alta Plaza Park, so you are in a great spot for kids. Actually most all of Sacramento in Pacific Heights is well situated in this way, having Lafayette Park just a bit farther on its eastern span.

Other condos along the stretch of Sacramento tend to sell for around $1 million, while those larger Victorians go for closer to $3 million. Put simply, this is basically million dollar home territory.

You have a bit of everything along or near Sacramento Street in Pacific Heights.

The California Pacific Medical Center is on Sacramento Street as well, so this is the perfect spot for docs who like to be within walking distance of their jobs. And University of the Pacific also has a campus here.

For shopping there is Fillmore Street with all its boutiques and restaurants.

As you get closer to Van Ness, right by Lafayette Park you get several older apartment buildings and it feels more like a city like New York.

You also get some really great views from Lafayette Park.

As you may know, Pacific Heights is known as the place where affluent families move in the city. So although you don’t get the larger Victorians that a lot of people look for in Pacific Heights, this is still a pretty great older area of the city--if you can afford it, which most of us can’t, of course.
Pros
  • Nice Condos
  • Great Parks with Great Views
  • Close to SF Fun
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Parking and Traffic
  • Public Schools Just Average
Recommended for
  • Professionals
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 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nice Hills, No Villas"

The Seven Hills neighborhood of Union City is hardly filled with Roman villas, as you might expect given the name. It is, however, in one of nicer parts of Union City, nestled up against the hillside. The neighborhood is predominantly made up of Ranch homes with a smattering of newer contemporary style homes mixed in for good measure.

Despite the relatively nice views out over Union City to the bay, most homes remain solidly in the $325K to $450K range. (The median home price here is $425K.) The most expensive home to have sold here in the last year was renovated 3000 ft 1979 home that has last sold in 2002 for $250K. It sold in last month for $782 K and change. Yet another sign that the Bay Area housing market is heating up.

Despite the hilly views and the Mediterranean theme to the street naming that suggests this was meant as a posh neighborhood (streets have names like Monaco, Riviera etc.), the Seven Hills neighborhood is pretty uneven, with some pretty unkept homes next to homes that could be in the burbs to the east of here.

There are also a ton of condos that have recently sold along Veneto Street down by Mission Blvd. (The median price is $200K.) These are Reagan Era deals, which sort of look their age to me. The low price is tempting but the I’m not sure they will hold their value. They really do feel more like apartments than condos--more places to rent than place to buy.

The schools here are slightly a mixed bag too. Both the elementary school, Guy Emanuele and the high school, Logan, are solidly average. Unfortunately the middle school, Cesar Chavez, is solidly below average.

Despite this however, this is pretty good spot for commuters into San Jose or even the Peninsula or SF--an especially good spot for couples whose jobs are in disparate parts of the Bay Area. One of the few affordable places that is still within reach of the more expensive areas.
Pros
  • Nice Views
  • Affordable Homes and Condos
  • Good for Commuting Couples
Cons
  • Bad Middle School
  • Some Poorly Kept Homes
  • Apartment Like Condos
Recommended for
  • Professionals
5/5 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 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
Just now

"The Richest Island in California"

Want another sign that the housing market is picking up?

Well here is one. The most expensive home sale in the past year took place here on Belvedere Island. It is the most expensive sale not only in the past year, or since the beginning of this year. It took place at the beginning of this month and the home went for $6.5 million, twice its estimated home value.

The home which is on Pelican Point Road is a 5000 ft. 4 bed, 5.5 bath little pad built in 2011. It last sold in April 2011 just after being built for $1.8 million. So somebody has tripled their investment.

If you haven’t heard of Belvedere in Tiburon, it is one of the most expensive places to live in all of the country. In fact, for places where the population is at least 1000, Belvedere has the highest per capita income bar none (at $113 K). So it should come as no surprise that this is where you might find the most expensive home sale in all of Marin County.

And you can’t beat the location. Belvedere Island is across the bay from Sausalito and just to the north of Angel Island. It basically has amazing schools and a crime rate of virtually zero (you get about a half dozen burglaries and maybe one or two auto thefts reported per year).

The median family home on Belvedere Island is $2 mil. Homes here are a mix of ages, some dating from the beginning of the 20th Century, others built within the last couple of years. They are basically of all ages and sell for prices that vary a great deal.

Drawbacks of living here beyond the obvious high cost of living? It is a bit of a commute into the city. You are also in a hilly island area where erosion and maintenance problems are an issue.

Overall, however, this is one of the best places to live in California for the ultra rich.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Beautiful Views
  • Great Schools No Crime
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Hillside Erosion and Maintenance Problems
  • Bad Commute
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Underrated"

Tamarack Drive is located in the Dry Creek neighborhood is nestled right up against the hills of the Garin Pioneer Regional Park (where I think they have hiking trails for those outdoorsy types). Usually when neighborhoods are nestled up against the hills of any neighborhood you can expect the prices to climb proportionally as well. That is not so much the case here in the Dry Creek neighborhood however.

Part of the reason why the prices don’t go higher here is because of the age of the neighborhood. The neighborhood dates from the early 50’s, which means you get a lot of Ranch style homes of the smaller variety. These are fairly well-kept, but home buyers associate these homes with less luxurious neighborhoods.

The other reason has to do with the neighborhood being located in Union City, which is also considered to be middle-class; that is also a damper on prices.

Other problems people consider are the schools, which are mostly middle of the road and crime, which though not high, is still higher than most people want when buying more expensive properties.

In my opinion, however, the Dry Creek neighborhood is underrated--especially on its higher elevations where the homes stare down onto the bay. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the location is well-situated for most Bay Area commutes. From here you can pretty much make it to anywhere from San Jose to San Francisco in a reasonable amount of time. This is true of the east west commuting destinations as well: not only can you make it to anywhere in the Peninsula, but you are even well-situated to head over to the Pleasanton, Livermore, San Ramon area as well--even Walnut Creek.

Now, I am not saying this neighborhood is Heaven on Earth, just that at $325K per home, it might actually be a more viable option than most people give it credit for.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Nice Bay Views
  • Great For Commuters
Cons
  • Average Schools
  • Older, Smaller Eisenhower Era Homes
  • Middle Class Looking Neighborhood
Recommended for
  • Professionals
5/5 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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Santa Clara's Most Expensive Home?"

So what is highest price that a home has sold for in Santa Clara County in the last year and where is it?

Well, in Los Altos Hills, of course, well known as being one of the most expensive places to live in all of the United States. To be more specific, right here on Mulberry Lane, where a home sold for $11 million in the last year.

So what is the big deal about this home that it would fetch such a high price?

You get a 3300 foot 6 bedroom 2½ half bath beauty with its own tennis court on a cul-de-sac. It is a beautiful high ceilinged home with chandeliers, a wine cellar, and even a private movie theater space. Put simply, this is pretty much a small mansion, perfectly suited to the needs of a Silicon Valley CEO.

From here you are perfectly situated for the commute to anywhere in the Peninsula, whether it is Palo Alto or San Jose. In addition, you will be close neighbors with those who also share your tax bracket--maybe even your competitors.

And, of course, the schools are great, the weather is warmer than SF, and there is virtually no crime. Overall this is a pretty nice place.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet Streets and Safe
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Maintanence Costs
  • Poor Public Transporation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"From Pill Hill to the Court House"

Green Street runs roughly east-west on the northern end of Martinez--just to south of the Martinez Court House. Like most streets in northern Martinez, it is has a number of pre-WWII homes along it.

On the far eastern end of Green, however, you definitely feel as if you are close to the courthouse: you have older office type buildings and open air parking lots. There are auto repair shops and an open field or two as well. It is not the most attractive of streets here and you get a lot of traffic as well from people headed to the downtown or the Amtrak station.

As you head west past Berrellesa Street, Green becomes almost exclusively residential with a number of older homes dating from the early 20th Century as far as I can tell. You find a number of older, squarish apartment buildings and walk-up bungalows here. Green gets progressively nicer as it begins sloping up into the hills. These homes are large and many of them have been renovated to the point they look fairly new. The adobe wall and red-tiled roofs show little sign of wear and the yards have been fashionably redecorated. (I believe the mayor of Martinez lives up here in one of these nicer homes.)

I came here to look at an apartment right on the corner with Berrellesa which I really liked. But the real draw of the street is up on the hill. (I believe the neighborhood here is known as the Pill Hill neighborhood and is definitely one of the nicest in Martinez--especially if like older historic neighborhoods.)

Homes around Green, btw, tend to sell for around $300K--though no home has sold on Green in at least a year. The benefit of the location is that you are within walking distance of Main Street, which is great if you want to get some morning coffee, work at the courthouse or want to hop on the Amtrak to head to Sacramento or the Richmond BART on the commuter. The drawback is that there is a bit of a homeless wino problem in Martinez that is a bit more prevalent at nighttime.

Overall, this is pretty nice area and pretty affordable. A pretty good deal if you can get it to work for you in terms of commute times and housing needs.
Pros
  • Nice Older Homes on the Western Slope
  • Close to Main Street and the Amtrak
  • Pretty Good Schools
Cons
  • Close to Winos
  • Lots of Traffic
  • A Little Ugly on the Eastern End
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Old Bungalows, St. Catherine's and Starbucks"

Estudillo Street is a mostly residential street that runs south to north from Soto to the Amtrak Station (with a break at Ward and then picking up again at Main Street). I was drawn here to take a look at a cottage that is up for rent. (It turned out to be too small for my needs.)

Estudillo is on the northern end of Martinez--which means that there are a lot of older homes, many in the Mission Revival style or with wood-paneling. Estudillo is a narrow street and the small homes that line it have only the most minimal of front yards (created more for impression than for a full front lawn). The homes here also seem a bit worn with faded white picket fences and weather aged adobe walls. Don’t get me wrong, many of these little homes--especially the bungalows--are just beautiful examples of a style that was popular before WWII. If you like these kinds of old neighborhoods, you are likely to love the homes here. (Also, despite the limited front yard space, many of the bungalow owners go all out on shrubbery--a little like the Bungalow City area of Pasadena.)

Homes on Estudillo sell for around $225K, which is about as low as it gets without abandoning quality of schools and life.

Estudillo also has a nice shady park (of the kind you might imagine in say Mayberry), a beautiful old church and a Montessori school--all conveniently located within a block of each other. The church is St. Catherine’s of Siena’s.

North of St. Catherine’s (which is on the corner of Mellus), Estudillo becomes progressively less residential and starts feeling more the like the urban downtown area. When Estudillo picks up on Main Street after the break you pretty much have no more residences. The next 3 blocks to the Amtrak Station are pretty much all businesses and warehouses. There is Starbucks right there on Main (a nice leafy park area just outside which is great to sit and have breakfast).

When I was in graduate school at UC Davis I used to get a coffee here while waiting for the train. The town really does have an old timey feel to it. You also get a lot of lawyer and law enforcement types getting coffee here, since the Martinez Court House and holding center is just down the street. If you don’t like a corporate coffee house, you might try Victoria’s Cafe just across the street from Starbucks.

The other stores on Estudillo are a bit of a mixed bag, having stores such as a Peaches (a yarn store?), The Bow Rack (an archery store), and some repair shops and yards.

Overall, this is an okay place on the southern end but perhaps a bit too close to the Main Street area for real comfort.
Pros
  • Cute Old Homes
  • Shady Park
  • Close to Amtrak
Cons
  • Close Downtown Winos
  • Older, Worn Down Homes
  • Very Urban on the Northern End
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 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nice Marsh Side Suburban Neighborhood"

The 511 neighborhood, located at the far western end of Union City, shouldering the marshy wetlands that separate it from the bay, is without a doubt one of the nicest (perhaps even ‘the’ nicest) neighborhoods in Union City. It is one of the newest areas in Union City and has a very suburban feel to it. The homes here are Contemporary Style homes with green lawns and red-tiled roofs. The streets are wide and quiet and the homes are sunny and high ceilinged for the most part--the kind of homes with that airy feel that came into vogue in the 1980’s. Most of these homes date from around 2000.

The median home price here is $675K. Prices range from around $500K (for some of the 90’s homes on the northern end) to as much as $850K for some of the large 5-bedroom homes on the southern end of the neighborhood. (There are also some really old leftovers on the far northern end of the neighborhood that run below $350K.)

The schools are also a lot stronger in the 511 neighborhood--mainly because of the strong elementary school: Delain Eastin. Alvarado Middle School and Logan High School are also solidly average, which is good for Union City, where the schools sometimes leave more than a little bit to be wished for.

This is also a good area for commuters--especially for those headed down to San Jose or over to the Peninsula. It’s okay for SF and the Pleasanton area as well--with the BART lines being a convenient means of transportation across the East Bay.

Overall, a very nice area, though with some of the prices here many might choose to live closer to their target destinations.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Not Too Bad for Commuters
  • Okay Schools
Cons
  • A Touch Expensive
  • Traffic
  • Similar Prices with Better Schools to the east.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
5/5 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 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 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"San Mateo's Biggest Ticker Price This Year"

What is the most expensive home sold in all of San Mateo County in the last year?

Well here it is, right on Barry Lane. (It may in fact be the most expensive home sold in the entirety of the Bay Area--not sure. Can’t imagine there are many that are more expensive.) The home sold for a whopping $18 million and change. (Who pays attention to thousands once your are into 8 figures really?)

Where was this home? In Atherton, of course. West Atherton to be specific. Some might be surprised that Hillsborough did not have a more expensive home. Hillsborough certainly had a home or two that aspired to beat that amount and they have blown Atherton out of the water in previous years, but this year the best they could muster was a 7-bedroom home that sold for $13 million. (That home is currently only valued at an estimated $7 million.)

So what is so great about this Barry Lane home?

Well, though this home was built in 1963, the owners have renovated it to the point that it is basically a wholly new home. It has 3 bedrooms and 4 baths, 3500 ft and a pool. Because this is Atherton, one of the most expensive cities in one of the most expensive counties in all of the United States, this is enough to make prices soar. That said, I have seen estimates that put the price of this home at a much lower $5.5 million. (In 2009, before the renovations, it sold for $4.5 million.)

What about the rest of the homes on Barry Lane?

Barry Lane is a pretty typical Atherton Street, very woody feeling and with a ton of gorgeous homes. (You wouldn’t expect any less, would you?) It connects Atherton Ave. to Faxon Rd. and maybe has 2 dozen homes along its stretch and appending cul-de-sacs.

Other homes recently sold along Barry Lane and within a block or so have sold for $4 to $5 million--more typical of Atherton prices even in this market. These are the kinds of big homes that are well screened by shrubbery and high walls so you don’t get too much of a view of most of them. When you do you find large attractive homes that clearly don’t mind flaunting their beauty. This is, without a doubt, the stomping grounds of the 1%.

And, of course, you get the great Atherton Schools and relative proximity to Silicon Valley. A great place to live if you own your own company and make the big bucks.
Pros
  • Beautiful Homes and Streets
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Very, very expensive
  • A Little Boring
  • Perhaps a Bit on the Snobby Side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Best Overall Deals in Union City"

Where are the lowest home prices in Union City?

Here in the Decoto neighborhood. Which is not to say that you will find the lowest priced home in all of Union City here. There were a couple of foreclosed homes that sold for less than $100K in other Union City neighborhoods in the last year. (Though these homes are actually valued higher and sold so low because the homeowners were underwater.) You won’t find any single family homes that have sold for less than $100K here in Decoto.

You will however, find five homes that have sold for under $250K in the last year. (No other neighborhood in Union City has more than one.)

So what is this neighborhood like? Why are the homes here so inexpensive?

Decoto is an older neighborhood with lots of the smaller, less appealing looking Ranch style homes. These are the smaller kinds of Ranch homes that are fairly common in this area of the East Bay. The streets have an older feel to them and you will see a fair number of bushy, unkept lawns (which have their own appeal, I suppose)--not terrible or without character, but not terribly attractive.

The median home price here is actually $300K, but the ceiling for home sales is only $400K. The only exception to this is along a row of newer homes that were built on the northwestern end of the neighborhood on Calle de la Mirada Common--in a gated community of the kind that you might associate with the OC.

You might expect that crime would be high in such a neighborhood given the low cost of living, but as far as I can tell it is relatively moderate with very few assaults and just a handful of break-ins and robberies each month.

As to schools, it is a bit of a mixed bag. The elementary schools that serve Decoto--Searles, Hillview Crest and Guy Emanuele--vary from API’s of 3 to 5. (Basically average or slightly below average.) The middle school, Cesar Chavez is solidly below average, but the high school, James Logan, is solidly average (maybe even slightly above average). So though none of the schools here are great, none of them are absolutely terrible.

Union City’s location is also pretty good for commuters. If you are looking for a good spot from which to commute into San Francisco, San Jose, Pleasanton or the Peninsula, this is not a bad starting point.

I also hear there is a whiskey bar at the edge of this neighborhood, though I have not been there myself to check it out.

Overall, I would say this is a pretty good value as far as the Bay Area is concerned. There are few places in the Bay Area where you get low home prices, moderately low crime, and passable schools.
Pros
  • Least Expensive Homes
  • Good Spot Bay Area Commuters
  • Okay Schools
Cons
  • Lots of Less Appealing Ranch Homes
  • Some Not Very Good Schools
  • Not Very Good for Resale
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 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • 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 4/5
Just now

"Contra Costa County's Most Expensive Home"

So what brings me out here to the boonies of Alamo? The answer to the question, what is the most expensive home to have sold in Contra Costa County in the last year, that’s what.

The home in question sits atop a hill, all by itself at the end of Via Romero. It sold last year for $3.5 mil. Built in 1991, the public records show that this is the first time since 2000 that this home has sold for more than it was bought. (It has been sold 5 times since then and 3 times since 2011.)

What is so special about this 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath home? The main thing seems to be its hillside location. I also suspect there may have been a bidding war. Trulia estimates the value of the home at $2.2 mil.

It actually does not look like the most expensive home on Via Romero. This climbing street actually has several large mansions on it. In fact I would say that of the homes on the cul-de-sac where the aforementioned home is located, that most expensive of homes is maybe the fourth best imo. There is, for example, a palm encircled pink mansion of the squarish kind that you typically find in the nicer parts of Miami. There is also a nice big home with a veranda, French windows, and a hedged lined front walkway. The main thing it has going for it is that it is up on a hill just about by itself.

The rest of Via Romero is no slouch either. It is a nice wide lane with a gentle curve and long flat homes (I think they are Ranch homes, but I’m not completely sure--maybe a Ranchy variety of Contemporary style home).

Of course, you also get all the other benefits of living in Alamo: no crime, great schools, clean and green and close enough to Walnut Creek to satisfy both commuters and shoppers.

Although I am not sure that particular home deserves to be the most expensive home sale in Contra Costa County, I do think that most of these homes are probably worth around their million dollar price tags. If you are secure in your finances and in a family way, anyway.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Great Schools
  • No Crime
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • A Little Boring
  • Public Transportation?
Recommended for
  • Professionals
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 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Best Residential Neighborhood in Union City"

Ever wondered where you can find the most expensive properties in Union City?

Well wonder no more. The R&D neighborhood has the distinction of being home to both the #1 and #2 most expensive home sales in Union City in the past year. In fact of the 5 or 6 homes which sold for more than $800K (the most expensive sold for $885K) in Union City, 4 are located in R&D.

What do these $800K+ homes have in common and what is so great about R&D that homeowners are willing to pay the big bucks?

First, these homes are all very new, having been built this millenium, and they are very big (over 6000 feet and with 5 bedrooms for the most part). They are also very luxurious looking (mostly in the Mediterranean style) that is so popular right now.

Of course, not all homes are this expensive here. At $600K, however, the median price here is still far higher than virtually anywhere else in Union City.

Even on the low end when it comes to homes here, however, you get a pretty good value. The cheapest single family home to sell here, for example, sold for $380K. It is a 4-bedroom with 7000 ft of space, pretty comparable to the top homes that sold for twice as much. What’s the difference? Mostly age. The less expensive homes date from the Reagan Era rather than W’s terms.

The neighborhood overall is pretty great as well. It pretty much feels like a suburban neighborhood of the kind you find to the east of here in Pleasanton or Dublin.

Schools here are pretty strong, crime is low and you are comparatively close to San Jose and the Peninsula, so you can look forward to shorter commutes.

And as I mentioned in other reviews, Union City is well situated for working couples who head in different directions when they set off for their workdays.

Overall, this has to be the best residential neighborhood in Union City.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Good Schools
  • Great For Commuters
Cons
  • Expensive
  • A Little Bit Homogenous in Spots
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 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Nice Slice of a Neighborhood"

Hall Ranch is the pizza shaped neighborhood on the far western end of Union City.

The western section of Hall Ranch is made up of townhomes. These date from the early 70’s and run between $150k and $300k roughly, with the median being around $250K.

On the eastern end of Hall Ranch is where you find the single family homes. They are mostly Ranch homes from the mid-70’s and sell for around $500K. From what I remember of them these are pastel colored homes with red or brown tiled roofs. This is a flat neighborhood with sidewalks which makes it perfect for kids for biking and that sort of thing--one of the great benefits of neighborhoods from the Disco Era.

Hall Ranch also has a number of other amenities for residents. It has, for example, a couple of churches (St. Anne’s, a Catholic Church; and GRX-Fremont, an exchange faith church?) and a pretty good park with tennis courts and a day care center attached (Kidango). To the northeast you have the Alvarado Mall with its East Asian restaurants and misc. stores, so your shopping needs are totally covered.

Although Union City schools are not consistently strong across the board, the schools that serve this neighborhood--Alvarado Elementary, Alvarado Middle School, and James Logan High School-- are on the high end of that standard with API’s of 7, 6, and 5 respectively.

Crime is pretty low here as well.

This is also a pretty great spot for commuters whether they have to go to San Jose, SF, or virtually anywhere in the East Bay.

My final assessment: a pretty solid neighborhood, especially for two income earners who work in separate parts of the Bay Area and for those whose jobs take them all over.
Pros
  • Affordable Townhomes
  • Nice 70's Style Streets
  • Good Schools
Cons
  • Crowded
  • Traffic
  • Some Nearby Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
5/5 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 4/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Maybe the Most Expensive Street in the East Bay"

Piedmont is known for being the home of millionaires. It should come as no surprise that the most expensive home sold in Alameda County in the last year should be here. Lincoln Avenue is the street where this nearly $7 million dollar mansion is located. it is a 1920’s Albert Farr creation with 6 bedrooms and 8 baths and has a backyard fit for the Great Gatsby--or almost anyway.

It is not quite as impressive from the street, but the broker photos that linger on the internet reveal the beauty of this home.

The rest of the street is pretty typical of the Piedmont Estates neighborhood as well, having a leafy staid quality all the way up its three block length and lots of older manors and Tudor cottages. If you are an architecture buff who likes seeing examples of styles from yesteryear there is a lot to see here. From neo-classical palladian windows and doric columns to bay windows and dormers, you will find a virtual encyclopedia of examples of what was popular among the elites in the Swinging Twenties. (And, by all accounts, still remain popular with today’s 1%.)

Albert Farr, btw, was a famous early 20th Century architect who worked mainly in the Craftsman and Georgian styles. His most famous house was Jack London’s Wolf House. You can see examples of his homes throughout the Bay Area, especially in St. Francis Wood and Russian Hill in SF.

Other than the beautiful old homes what is great about living on Lincoln Ave in Piedmont?

Great schools. Though residents could afford to send their kids anywhere, the public schools in Piedmont like Piedmont High are as strong as it gets.

Virtually no crime. Great bay weather and a very manageable city commute. Piedmont also has a ton of stores and just a great vibe on its flat areas, so you will not be bored.

Put simply, it is probably the best little city in all of the East Bay and this is probably one of its best streets--if you happen to be rolling in the dough.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Mansions
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Piedmont Fun
Cons
  • Very, Very Expensive
  • Old Mansion Maintanence Problems
  • More Than a Bit Hoity Toity
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Mediocre at Best"

Toyon Drive is short residential street in the Ellis Lake neighborhood. I came here to look at a 3-bedroom house with a friend of mine. This neighborhood is pretty much all Ranch homes. The yards are somewhat untended in this section of this neighborhood and you can see a lot of dead lawns. The rent was about $1700 which is not too bad for a 3-bedroom generally but feels overpriced on this street.

Most of the homes here date from the 1950’s and the median price for the 3 that have sold on Toyon recently is around $300K--about average for Concord I would say. These houses could look better. They have a bit of run down look to them which is also generally true of the surrounding streets to the south. (There are some nice apartments to the north and south however.)

Overall this is at best a mediocre spot. The schools are pretty bad as well. I like the nearby apartments but these homes are overpriced for the neighborhood in my opinion. Just not very well-kept. And not a great spot for families generally.
Pros
  • Relatively Average Rent
  • Close to Movies and Downtown
  • Not Bad for Commuters
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • Kind of Rundown Looking
  • Overpriced for What you Get
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nothing Too Old Here"

It is called Old Alvarado but that name is a bit outdated--as you will notice if you drop by for a visit here. You can roughly divide Old Alvarado into three sections.

The first section, and by far the newest looking is on the northwest segment north of Horner and west of Union City Blvd. These newer Contemporary style homes (mostly tan with grayish tiled roofs--pretty homogenous looking overall) sell for a median price of about $600K. There are also some condos on the eastern portion of this neighborhood which are even newer--dating from just before the Real Estate Crisis--they sell for around $200K.

There is nothing “old” about this neighborhood.

The section to the southeast (north of Alvarado and east of Union City Blvd.) is a bit older, being mostly made up of slightly older homes dating to about 1980--sort of an older version of the northwest section. Given however that most of the neighborhoods here date to the 1950s, this is still hardly a neighborhood that you would call old. Homes here have been going for about $300K.

The final neighborhood is to the north and is by far the most expensive area, with homes selling for around $700K. These are large luxurious looking homes with high roofs and curving staircases dating from the mid to late 1990’s--probably built for the would be dot millionaires of that era.

There is nothing “old” about these neighborhoods taken together or individually. As to the other aspects of neighborhood such as schools, crime and amenities? Shopping and the usual amenities are definitely not missing here with Dyer Triangle just to the northeast.

As to schools, they are solid as well with Alvarado Elementary and Middle School both have solid if not spectacular test score ratings.


Crime is relatively low as far as I can tell as well.

Overall, maybe one of the best spots in this section of the East Bay.
Pros
  • Newer Homes
  • Close to Shopping
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • A Bit Homogenous
  • Some Traffic
  • Schools Could be Stronger
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Lots of Boxy Apartments--Perfect for Singles"

Pine Street in Downtown Concord is basically a long block filled with apartments. It breaks off from Willow Pass Road just after that boulevard crosses Highway 242. These apartments come in a wide variety of styles from newer boxy looking apartments with stucco walls to older looking boxy apartments--it is a little like what Henry Ford said about the Model-T, except in this case it is about apartments: You can have your boxy apartment in whatever shape you like, so long as they are boxy.

Prices vary, but you can find some pretty good deals here simply because this is Concord. I came here to see if we could find a 3-bedroom for my friend. There was one here for $1500 which is great for a 3-bedroom in Nor Cal. My friend was still worried about it being Concord, but it looked pretty nice.

It’s location is also great for singles or childless couples. You are right in Downtown Concord so you have lots of places to shop and a fair amount to do. (Though this is not, of course, the same as Walnut Creek.)

This is also a good spot from which to begin your commute to and from work. Since you are pretty close to Highway 680, you are in pretty good shape for heading down towards Walnut Creek and out towards Oakland.

Unfortunately, the poorly rated schools make this a less than ideal location for parents. Overall, however, an okay spot for singles.
Pros
  • Affordable Apartments
  • Good Spot for Commuters
  • Close to Entertainment and Fun
Cons
  • Bad Schools
  • Boxy Looking Apartments
  • Not that Good-Looking
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Shopping and Fun"

For fun and shopping, Downtown is the destination in Concord, CA. Let’s just take an overview of some of the things that you can do in Downtown Concord:

Need a car?

You can find it along Concord Avenue. That is where you will find the VW, Ford, Chevy, Saturn, Honda and Acura dealers. (There is also a MINI dealership down on Market.)

It is also where you will find various automobile related businesses like autobody and auto glass companies as well.

And it is not just automobile shops. There are companies as diverse as a dialysis provider, a legal document recorder, and home-study course for those in the medical professions.

Need some pet supplies or electronics?

Downtown Concord is also home to a number of retailers from Petsmart and Fry’s Electronics to Burlington Coat Factory and T-Mobile. There are multiple strip malls that run along Willow Pass Road through the heart of Downtown.

Want to catch a flick?

The Brendan Theaters multiplex is right at the corner of Willow Pass and Concord Ave.

Want to go out for a bite?

Try the Elephant Bar, Swagat’s Indian Cuisine or DJ’s German Bistro.

Want to have some kid friendly fun on a hot summer day?

Well, then Waterworld might be just the destination for you and the family.

There are even some moderately priced apartments at the edges of this neighborhood. Here you can find apartments for between $900 and $1300. (There are a fewer newer and bigger ones that go for more.)

Put simply, this is the place to go for shopping and fun.
Pros
  • Lots of Stores
  • The Movie Theater and Waterworld
  • Lots of Restaurants
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Crowded
  • Not a Great Spot to Live
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 1/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"All Work and No Play"

Alvarado Industrial West is, as the name indicates, pretty much just an extension of Alvarado Industrial which is to the northeast. Like that area, Alvarado Industrial West is the home of several companies, including LA Specialty--a speciality food supplier that provides food for California restaurants; Pacific Material Handling, a fleet management company that specializes in forklifts; and Finelite, an office lighting company.

These companies provide the backbone for Bay Area businesses. The actual appearance of the place is not much to look at, being mostly made up of squat office buildings and warehouses. It is clean and there are trees to help humanize the location.

To the west of this neighborhood there is the Alameda Creek and the marshlands that extend to the bay.

Overall this is a good place to work, but not for anything else.
Pros
  • Strong Mid-Sized Businesses
  • Relatively Clean Looking
Cons
  • No Residential Area
  • No Nightlife
  • No Restaurants
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • 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
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Union City's Industrial Engine"

As the name indicates, this section of Union City on its far northwestern end is dedicated to warehouses and industrial pursuits. Companies that have facilities here include WHCI Plumbing Supply (which specializes in water heaters), SigmaTron (an electronics manufacturers), J & K Cabinetry, Ariat International (an equestrian footwear maker), and Max Speed Performance (an auto parts seller).

As you have no doubt noticed these are not exactly household names. Just to the north in Hayward you have a Pepsi bottling facility and one of Macy’s logistics hq’s. In this section of Union City, however, you mostly find the kind of companies that provide services for other companies. These B2B’s are by nature smaller and focused on a niche, but they are the kinds of mid-sized businesses that create the Bay Area’s thriving and dynamic economy.

Alvarado Industrial also has some client facing businesses however such as the Dragons Den Mixed Martial Arts Studio, Cricket Strike Zone (an indoor hitting range for baseball and cricket), Pump-It-Up (a kid’s party facility chain) and an elementary school.

Although you would definitely not want to live here, I think given the economy, there are lots of folks who would love to have a job here--even with the unappealing industrial look of this place.
Pros
  • Lots of Businesses
  • Recreation Businesses
  • Close to the Hospital and the Mall
Cons
  • Kind of Ugly
  • Very Few Well-Known Companies
  • Public Transportation Could Be Better
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 5/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Suburban Street, Bad Local Schools"

I usually don’t make it up to this neck of the woods, but I came up here with a friend to try to help her find a place big enough for her and her kids. What little I have heard about Concord has been bad, and looking at the run down feel of some of the nearby streets I can see why a lot of people are turned off by it. However, Nicholas Drive and some of its surrounding streets look okay.

In fact, I would say that Nicholas Drive has a pretty middle-class suburban feel. The houses are a bit on the older side--1960’s Ranch style homes--but the lawns are relatively well-kept and the street looks pretty quiet. There were no obvious signs of gang activity or anything like that.

Unfortunately, I could not find any online crime reports for this neighborhood to verify my sense that it is okay. Concord as whole has an average crime rate with only a handful of murders on any given year (though last year they hit a new high with 7 murders). That is not too bad for a city with 120,000 people.

You also can’t beat the rent, with a 4-bedroom going for under $2000. That is for a 2000 foot home. About as good as it gets in the Bay Area. (Without getting really high crime rates anyway.)

The other drawback of the location, and what might be the deciding factor for my friend, however, are the schools. From Cambridge Elementary through Oak Grove Middle School and up to Olympic High, the local public schools are all fairly dismal by objective standards, with API’s of 4, 2 and 2 respectively. Unless my friend could finagle a way of getting her kids into the nearby Pleasant Hill schools she doesn’t think she can manage to live here.

Which is too bad, because it doesn’t feel like there is anything otherwise wrong with this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Relatively Safe
  • Close to Walnut Creek and Okay Nightlife
Cons
  • Terrible Schools
  • Some Rundown Streets Nearby
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 5/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
Just now

"A Good, Though Un-Remarkable, Shopping Center"

The Dyer Triangle is the location of the Union Landing Shopping Center. Basically this is a big mall of the 1980’s variety. Here you will find all the usual mall suspects from T.G.I. Fridays, In-N-Out Burger and Togos to Chevy’s, Applebee’s and Fudruckers. You also have some newer places like Gerry’s and Texas Roadhouse. In terms of shopping the big draws are Borders, Lowes and Babies-R-Us.

Many people come here however to catch a flick at the Century 25. They definitely have enough screens for everyone, though their selections are pretty middle of the road. Right now, for example they are showing Hansel and Gretel, Django Unchained, Identity Thief, Gangster Squad and The Hobbit. Pretty much standard fare though they also have a screen devoted to Argo (because of the Oscar buzz).

There are also a couple of hotels here: the Holiday Inn Express and the Extended Stay America.

This is not where you will find a ton of unique, eccentric stuff, but if you are just into mall shopping or want an okay place to catch a movie and grab a bite, you have definitely found it.
Pros
  • Big Movie Theater
  • Good Chain Restaurants
  • Nice Shopping and Hotels
Cons
  • Nothing Too Unusual
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
chrystalkaye
chrystalkaye the Borders is closed and has been for a while. It's a furniture store now. to be honest, the lack of a good LARGE book store sort of takes away from the appeal of the area... but that's just me.
2yrs+
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • 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 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 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Okay Union City Neighborhood"

The Dry Creek neighborhood in Union City is just to the south of the Fairway Park neighborhood in Hayward. The neighborhood is just to the south of the Chapel of the Chimes cemetery.

Although like in much of Hayward, the homes in this Union City neighborhood seem to date back to the 1950’s, the homes here seem nicer and better kept than in many other neighborhoods dating from the same time period. The lanes feel wider and the trees leafier than in those other neighborhoods.

Home here run around $300K.

This is a pretty safe neighborhood. It gets only about one burglary per month and is free of most other kinds of serious crime.

Schools are a little bit of a mixed bag here, with the high school and elementary being solid, but he middle school, Cesar Chavez, being well below average.
Pros
  • Modestly Nice Homes
  • Nice Leafy Streets
  • Good Spot for Commuters
Cons
  • Too Close to the Cemetery
  • Questionable Middle School
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
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 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Good For Singles but Only So-So for Single Parents"

Came here over the weekend to take a look at a apartment for a friend. She’s got 3 kids so she has been looking for an affordable 3 bedroom--not so easy in the Bay Area--especially if you still want good schools and relative safety.

Laurel Avenue, which also gives this section of the Dimond District its name, is a relatively quiet streets that stretches over MacArthur and disappears into the hills where it turns into Carlsen.

Laurel Avenue looks pretty much like the flat section of Berkeley: lots of bungalows and houses dating from before World War II. There are also a number of older boxy apartments on the lower end of Laurel.

As Laurel climbs up into hills past Madeleine, you get some nice views of the bay and some better kept homes. This eastern end is definitely the better section of Laurel.

We looked at one of those apartments just off the lower end of Laurel and it was going for $1500 for a 3 bedroom. A pretty good price, but there are some drawbacks to the area.

One is crime. You get about a half dozen reports of assaults per month in this area.

The schools are a bit of mixed bag with Bret Hart Middle School being pretty bad, but Skyline High being solidly average.

As far as Oakland goes it is a pretty good spot for a single gal with kids, but not ideal.
Pros
  • Relatively Affordable Apartments
  • Good Public Transportation
  • Nice Views On Upper End
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Bad Middle School
  • Boxy Looking Apartments
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Typically Okay Hayward Neighborhood"

Fairview Park is the southeastern most neighborhood in Hayward. Like much of Hayward, the neighborhood is made up of older looking Ranch style homes. To the east of Mission Blvd. the neighborhood skirts up against the empty grassy hills of Taper Park.

You can get a 2-bedroom apartment here for about $1500/month, which is about average for the East Bay.

To buy, the median home here has been selling for around $300K, with prices rising above $500k only on the 10% of homes located in the Millennial neighborhood around Oakbrook. (A really nice suburban looking neighborhood that you usually have to go east over the Contra Costas to find in Alameda County.)

Unfortunately, the schools here are still fairly below average.

It is however a good spot for commuting to most of the East Bay.

The restaurants along Mission are mostly Mexican pupuserias and “cocinas” which probably reflects the strongly Latino flavor of the neighborhood.

If you have a little ballerina in the family, one of the draws to the area is Petit Ballet, a well established ballet school. Had a friend’s daughter who went here and the mom gave it positive marks. There is also the Fairview Park Mall, which is little more than a strip mall with a couple of fast food places and some stores. There is also a great sports club at Rousseau and Mission.

As far as crime goes, its relatively low. There have been about 2 dozen assaults here in the last 6 months and about 5 dozen burglaries and robberies.

Overall a solid Hayward neighborhood.
Pros
  • Moderately Affordable
  • Some Nice Newer Spots
  • Good for Bay Area Commute
Cons
  • Below Average Schools
  • Some Crime
  • Bland Hills
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"One of Hayward's Nicest Neighborhoods"

The Mission-Garin neighborhood is on the far southeastern end of Hayward, east of Mission Blvd. and sprawling out onto the hills. As throughout the East Bay, you can always look to the hills for the nicest houses with the best views. The same is true of the Mission-Garin neighborhood.

On the western end of the hilly area, just as you begin the climb up, the homes are mostly of the nice 1970’s style Ranch homes. As you get farther up into the hills, the homes get newer and the style changes to Contemporary--large and boxy, with tiled roofs and adobe walls. The views are much better from here as well.

The median selling price for a home up here is $350K though prices tend to rise with the altitude. So many of those Contemporary style homes fetch over $600K--a rarity for Hayward. (Though, of course, just across the bay on the Peninsula, these same homes would sell for much higher even without views.)

Another positive of this neighborhood is that you have the South Hayward BART station right there--which really helps with the commute. (Hayward is a great spot from which to commute virtually anywhere in the Bay Area because of its location near the bulls-eye of the Bay Area.

Unfortunately, the schools here are not particularly good, with low APIs for all except for Tennyson High, which has an average rating.

Overall, I think this is one of the best residential neighborhoods, marred only by the weak schools that make it undesirable for the families you would expect to live in a quiet, attractive spot like this.
Pros
  • Great Views
  • Close to BART/Good for Commute
  • Relatively Affordable
Cons
  • Bad Schools
  • Close to Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Mobile Homes and Contemporary Styles"

Tennyson Alquire is the southernmost neighborhood in Hayward. It is largely made up of mobile home parks and newer construction. There are some of the typical Hayward Ranch style homes in parts, with smaller older homes and you will find a semi-industrial area on the eastern end of the neighborhood, but these are more the exception than the rule here.

I have counted at least 6 mobile home parks: Continental, Spanish Ranch, BSM,Georgian Manor, and Spanish Ranch II. These mobile home parks run the gamut from very shabby to pretty nice. Some look very much like the kind of trailer parks you are probably imagining as I mention these, while others have front yards with grass and permanent mailboxes and the feel of a nice, slightly cramped neighborhood.

The typical asking price for one of these units is a mere $60K. So we are talking a real value.

As to the newer homes in the area, that is altogether different price range as you might expect. These are those newer model Contemporary style homes dating from the late 80’s and 90’s. They are big and, though dated, actually pretty nice.

Unfortunately the schools are very much like in the rest of Hayward. They are firmly below average and many sink to APIs of 2 and 3. The only exception is Tennyson High which manages to be average with an API of 5.

There are some apartments in the Tennyson/Alquire as well. You can rent a one-bedroom for less than $1000 and a two bedroom for around $1200. Pretty affordable.

This is also a particularly good spot for commuters, given that the Hayward South BART station is right at the edge of this neighborhood and that you are in perfect position for either a San Jose or a south Peninsula commute--given the proximity of the San Mateo Bridge.
Pros
  • Great For Commute
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Very Affordable
Cons
  • Some Crime Worries
  • Bad Schools
  • Ugly Industrial Area on the East
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Pretty Good Neighborhood"

The Glen Eden neighborhood at the far southwestern end of Hayward is relatively typical of Hayward, except for the fact that it has a newer section filled with Mediterranean style homes. This section, built in the 1990s, is nice with red-tiled roofs and adobe walls. the rest of Glen Eden is pretty much made up of older Ranch style homes, like most of Hayward.

The median home price in Glen Eden is $275K.

There are also a fair number of apartments here. You can rent a 1 bedroom for around $1250.

The schools here are slightly better than in much of Hayward as well. Mt. Eden High, for example has an API of 5 and so does Martin Luther King Jr Middle School.

As with most of the rest of Hayward, this is also a great spot for commuters, allowing you to get as far as SF or Palo Alto via public transportation in about an hour. You can get even farther by car, with San Jose and Dublin being within an hour’s reach as well.

There is, unfortunately, some crime in this neighborhood. There have been more than 2 dozen assaults here and more than 60 burglaries and robberies. Given how dense this area is this isn’t too bad but it is still a concern.

Overall this is an okay neighborhood.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Okay Schools
  • Great For Commuters
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Ugly in Spots
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Mixed Bag"

Located right near the heart of Hayward, the Harder-Tennyson neighborhood is a big squarish neighborhood that is fairly typical of Hayward. It is a mostly residential area filled with the smaller, older variety of Ranch homes. This is a pretty packed area filled with older model cars and slightly under-maintained front yards. This is one of those neighborhoods that is not quite leafy enough to obscure the power and telephone lines, so you see them draping over the top of the neighborhood like a long net.

The median selling price here is just over $255 K, with the ceiling being $400K. Fairly inexpensive for the Bay Area. This neighborhood also has a number of very affordable condos that sell for around $100K.

What explains the low prices?

First, there is a bit of a crime worry in this neighborhood. There was, for example, one murder in the second half of 2012 and some 3 to 4 dozen assaults--so this is definitely not one of those exceptionally safe areas of Hayward.

Second, the schools are not very good, varying from average to pretty lousy. As is typical in Hayward, the elementary schools get the worst scores--this holds true for all four of the elementary schools that serve this neighborhood: Tyrrell, Schafer, Eldridge and Glassbrook--all have API’s of 3 or lower. Two middle schools serve the neighborhood: King, which is just okay; and Chavez, which is very bad. The brightest spot in the area is the high school, Tennyson, which is solidly average. (Hardly a ringing endorsement, but an accomplishment for this neighborhood.)

Despite these negatives, however, there are still some positives to this neighborhood, such as the fact that it is a great starting spot for people commuting virtually anywhere in the Bay Area. One of the few spots from which you can make it to San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto and San Ramon all within one hour.

Overall, a very mixed bag of a neighborhood.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Good for Commuters
Cons
  • So-So Schools
  • Some Crime
  • Older Homes
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Great Spot for DINKies and Commuters"

The Whitman-Wocine neighborhood in Hayward is perhaps best known as the home of Tennyson High School, one of the high schools in Hayward. Like Hayward High, Tennysons is a solidly middle of the road high school, which may sound unremarkable and would be if it were not for the very bad schools that feed into Tennyson and Hayward, most of which have API’s in the low 1-3’s. So whatever it is that Tennyson is doing it seems to be working.

The same can be said for the local elementary, Bowman, whose API is only 2.

Like in much of Hayward, most of the homes here is Whitman-Wocine date from the Post-War Baby Boom period, though here in Tennyson there is also a significant minority (maybe one in three) that were built in the last 30 years.

The median selling price here is around $275 K, with the low range being around $175 K and the ceiling being $500 K.

In terms of crime, the Whitman-Wocine neighborhood is pretty mild. There have been no murders in the last 6 months and only about a dozen assaults. That is not the height of safety but it is definitely not the sort of neighborhood that you fear getting killed by a stray bullet.

This is also a great spot for commuters from which you can reach all of the major hubs in the Bay Area from SF and San Jose to Berkeley and San Ramon within an hour (with the exception of Walnut Creek--though many do not consider that a major hub anyway). The Hayward South BART station is right on the southern border Whitman Wocine. So this is a perfect spot for DINKies (Dual Income No Kids). It is also a great spot if you are a consultant who has to be at different locations depending on the gig.

As to things like nightlife?

There are lots of ethnic restaurants around (mostly Indian, Chinese and Mexican) and a handful of bars like the Dirty Bird Lounge--which a pretty cool bar. There is even a hookah lounge. You are pretty close to Cal State East Bay but this place definitely does not have a college vibe to it at all.

Overall this is a pretty good spot to live if you don’t have young kids and a family. If the schools were a little better it would be fine for that purpose as well though.
Pros
  • Close to BART/Great For Commuters
  • Affordable Homes
  • Some Nightlife
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Bad Elementary Schools
  • A Little Old and Dreary Looking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Best Residential Neighborhood in Hayward"

Hayward Highland is without a doubt, the best neighborhood in Hayward for those looking for nice residential style houses. This is, of course, what you find throughout the East Bay: when you reach the hills you get bigger, nicer homes. You also get some pretty nice views of the bay from here.

This neighborhood is the home to Cal State East Bay (formerly Cal State Hayward). It is a solid school known for its Ph.D. teaching degree and a number of Master Degree options.

The homes here--mostly larger Ranch homes from what I’ve seen--sell for a median price around $450K or so. But the range of home prices here goes from around $200 K to $800K with one or two having sold both below and above those amounts. You can pretty much predict prices by how far up into the hills you go with prices rising roughly according to elevation.

You still do get some assaults up here, even though you are up in the hills. Overall, however it is relatively safe here.

The schools here are better than in most of Hayward as well with API scores mostly in the middle for both Hayward High and the local elementary. The only dark spot is Harte Middle School which is bottom of the barrel.

The commute from here as from the rest of Hayward is pretty good except that the extra bit that it will take you to get down from the hills is what makes the difference between making it to SF within an hour and not. You can however make it to San Jose, Berkeley and Pleasanton within an hour, so you are still in pretty good shape.

Overall, however, I think this is definitely the best neighborhood in Hayward.
Pros
  • Nice Views
  • Great Homes
  • Okay Schools
Cons
  • Close to Crime
  • Hillside Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • 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 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Good Eats, Bad Neighborhood"

Jackson Triangle is at the heart of Hayward. It is pretty typical in appearance: older Ranch style homes mixed in with boxy apartments for the most part. Rents and homes are fairly inexpensive here. You can find a two bedroom house for around $1250/month, which is pretty good for the Bay Area. The median home price at sale is around $275K here with the ceiling for home prices being around $400K. (Less than 10% break this barrier.)

There are some newer homes in the middle of the neighborhood as well (those on the expensive end).

Jackson Triangle is not however, imo, a very mixed bag as a neighborhood.

Crime is, first of all, an issue here. In the last 6 months, for example, there have been 2 murders within the borders of the neighborhood. There have also been some 2 or 3 dozen assaults in Jackson Triangle during this same period.

Schools here are pretty bad as well. The local elementaries rank at or near the bottom of the barrel in terms of objective assessments (such as test scores).

One of the big draws of this spot, however, is the commute. This is one of the very few places in the Bay Area where you can make it to San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley and Pleasanton all within an hour or less drive. You can’t beat that in terms of flexibility--which makes it the perfect location for freelancers and consultants who are taken all over the Bay.

Another good thing about this spot is the selection of restaurants along Harder and Jackson at the borders. You will find a wide selection of Latin American and Asian food (from Chinese to Pakistani food).

Overall, I guess I would say that this is a better neighborhood to grab to something to eat than to live in.
Pros
  • Great for Commuters
  • Affordable
  • Good Asian Restuarants
Cons
  • High Crime
  • Bad Schools
  • Depressed Home Prices
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Big Mall, Okay Place for Young DINKY's"

The Southgate neighborhood just to the east of Chabot College is best known as the home of the Southland Mall. It is a pretty typical mall with all the usual suspects in terms of stores: Macys, Victoria’s Secret, Olive Garden, Forever 21, JC Penny, a Burlington Coat Factory across the street and a Kohls, just to name a few.

Most of Southgate, which stretches out to the south of the mall, is a residential area with homes dating from the 1960’s or sometimes newer. The median selling price for homes here is around $300K with the ceiling only being around $350K.

This neighborhood has a few things going for it that a lot of other Hayward neighborhoods don’t. First are the schools which are not quite as bad as they are in much of Hayward. The Eden High for example is about average--which is an accomplishment for an area that usually scrapes the bottom of the barrel in terms of education.

There is, of course the mall, which gives it some of the best shopping in Hayward. There is also its great position for those looking to commute.

There is some crime: about a dozen assaults and maybe 3 dozen burglaries and break-ins--most often up by the mall.

Overall I would say that this is one of the better neighborhoods in Hayward, and well worth a look if you are a young couple looking for a relatively affordable place to live where you can commute throughout the Bay Area in pursuit of whatever opportunities arise.
Pros
  • Good For Commuters
  • Affordable
  • Nice Homes
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Schools Just Okay
  • Outside Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
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 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Chabot, New Homes and a Great Commuter Launch Pad"

Mt. Eden in Hayward is perhaps best known as the home of Chabot College--one of the Bay Area’s several community colleges. Chabot Community College has been around for over 50 years and has various transfer programs for UCs and CSUs as well as several occupational training degree programs. It is a good school that offers students affordable college level instruction and opportunities.

Most of the rest of Mt. Eden is a residential area. Homes here are a largely newer than in other parts of Hayward. The newest section is just to the west of the college. This is where you will find many homes dating from the 1990s. These are the fairly typical Contemporary style homes that you expect from this era--averaging around $350K with the ceiling at around $500K.

There is also a mobile home park on the far north of the neighborhood by Hayward Executive Airport. These mobile homes run around $100k. Up on the northern end there are also a number of Reagan era Contemporary Style homes.

The southern end of the neighborhood is where you find the Eisenhower Era homes more typical of Hayward: small Ranch style home with a slightly run down look to them.

Schools here are not great, but they are a little better than in other parts of Hayward. Eden Gardens and Ochoa Middle School are solidly below average (though not bottom of the barrel) while the high school that serves this neighborhood, Eden High School is average--an accomplishment for this area. Average schools like this are usually strong enough to give determined families a chance to give their kids a solid education so long as they have the wherewithal and determination to stay on top of things with their kids. (Not always easy to do, as I know firsthand.)

You definitely can’t beat the commuting options from this location. It is one of the few spots in the Bay Area where you can reach San Francisco, San Jose, Palo Alto and most of San Mateo within one hours commute without paying through your ears for it.

As to crime, it is not too bad, with only about a half dozen assaults and 2 dozens burglaries in the last 6 months. There are also about half a dozen sex offenders who live here--most of them up by the trailer park.

Overall, however, this is probably one of the best residential neighborhoods in Hayward.
Pros
  • Great For Commuters
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Nice Newer Homes
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Traffic
  • Schools Just Okay
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
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 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 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Good Spot for DINKYs in Training"

The Longwood-Winton Grove neighborhood in Hayward is just to the east of the Hayward Executive Airport (which mostly serves private jets and that sort of thing).

Since that is what people worry about with Hayward, lets start with crime. There have, in the last six months, been:

no murders
about 10 assaults
about 2 dozen burglaries and break-ins.

Overall that is not too bad.

As in most Hayward neighborhoods, homes here tend to be on the older side, dating mostly to the 1950s. That, of course, means lots of those smaller Ranch style homes. These mostly seem fairly nicely kept even when they are mixed in with a fair number of small, apartment rows of the 1950’s variety. (The kind where you park your car right in front of your studio so you can keep an eye on it. Essentially a long driveway with with apartments along the edges--sort of like a motel set-up.)

The median selling price for homes here (most of which are on the market due to foreclosure) is around $250K with prices mostly ranging from $200K to $300K and nothing selling for over $400k. Given the relatively low crime rate this isn’t too bad.

What is pretty bad though is the schools. Longwood Elementary that serves the area has an API of 2. Ochoa Middle School is a little better being just below average with a 4. I am not sure which high school serves this neighborhood. It might be Royal Sunset, which is the closest. It has the lowest possible rating at 1. Given this, I would not want to settle down here to raise a family.

Because of the proximity to the airport, Longwood/Winton Grove has a number of motels on its northern end including a La Quinta Inn, Mainstay Suites, and Days Inn. These are not high class joints but they do bring in some outside traffic. You are also pretty close to the San Mateo Bridge, the Hayward BART and the Hayward Amtrak Station, which makes this one of the better spots in the Bay Area from which to commute.

Overall, I would say that upsides outway the downsides if you don’t happen to have kids. For families, I wouldn’t recommend it, but for DINKY’s (“Double Income No Kids Yet) who are just getting started on their corporate climbs, this might be just the right spot for their launch pad.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good Spot for Commuters
  • Not Bad for Nightlife
Cons
  • Bad Schools
  • A Bit of Crime
  • A Bit Rundown Looking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Maybe for Singles?"

The Santa Clara neighborhood is a long mostly residential neighborhood that runs along the eastern shoulder of the Nimitz Freeway from West A Street to Highway 92. Homes here as throughout Hayward are on the older side. You get a lot of Ranch homes and a fair mix of flat roofed homes whose style name I cannot identify. (I would call them cheap Eichlers but the roofs are completely flat like in Mission style homes. They are clearly more recent than Mission homes with materials you might find in a Ranch style. So I am not sure what they are.)

Streets here are fairly narrow and well worn and front lawns are almost invariably overgrown and a touch bushy--the sure signs of a working class neighborhood where the residents simply have neither the time or resources to keep their yards well trimmed. (There are a few streets that are exceptions to this, such as Broadmoor in spots, but it is true of most of the neighborhood.)

The median home price here is around $275K, with the ceiling just above that around $350K. Very affordable by Bay Area standards like most of Hayward. You can also rent a 2 bedroom here for about $2000.

It does mean, however that you will have to deal with the rest of the problems associated with this location. The first being crime. This is the kind of place that has a bail bonds office at its geographical heart. But this crime is not as bad here as in other areas of Hayward. Though there have been some murders just to the east of here in the last six months, there have not been any in this neighborhood. There have also been a dozen assaults and about 2 dozen robberies and break-ins in the last six months.

Schools here are a mixed bag, with Burbank Elementary being passable and Park Elementary and Winton Middle School being bottom of the barrel. I am not sure what the local high school is. It may be Royal Sunset, which is also terrible.

This is actually not too bad a place to begin your commute from given that the Hayward Amtrak Station is on the eastern end and the Hayward BART is in the neighborhood just to the east of here. You are also right by the San Mateo Bridge.

There is also a bit of local nightlife in the area for the single types that like that sort of thing. My favorites being the Dark Horse Lounge just to the west and the 821 Comedy Club way over on Mission.

Overall, I suppose what I am saying is that this might be a good neighborhood for singles who don’t mind taking a few risks as they jump start their careers.
Pros
  • Good Local Bars
  • Good Public Transportation
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Crime
  • Terrible Schools
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Potentially a Good Neighborhood"

When you are driving around in Fairview, you feel pretty much as if you are in Castro Valley. You are up in a hilly area with the same kind of Contra Costa style hills you get in Fairview’s northern neighbor. The houses are pretty big here and most of them are on the older side just like in Castro Valley.

Fairview, however, has a reputation as being a high crime area, with rates closer to Hayward than relatively pacific Castro Valley. When you are looking around it is hard to believe. Houses seem nice and relatively well kept, and there are nice views of the East Bay from here.

When you look up the crime stats though, you see the difference. First, of all, there are more than a dozen sex offenders living in Fairview--a little disturbing if you are a parent. Second, though there haven’t been any murders here in the last six months, there have been at least 2 dozen assaults and about the same number of robberies and break-ins, which though not much for an urban area is high for this kind of a hilly residential community.

So, I guess what you would say is that relative to Castro Valley, this is a dangerous neighborhood. And since most people buy rather than rent in neighborhoods like this, it is definitely a big downside for this area.

Overall, I would say that this area has potential but until the crime situation gets under control that’s all that it will be: potential.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Good Views
  • Well Positioned for Commuting
Cons
  • High Crime
  • Mediocre Schools
  • Older Homes
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nice Hills but Bad Crime Problem"

Mission/Foothill is the neighborhood that is just to the west and north of Cal State Hayward, one of the East Bay’s major universities. This is a hilly neighborhood with older homes perched up along narrow streets. It is up in the Contra Costas and feels a lot more like Castro Valley or somewhere in Contra Costa County than it does Hayward.

Homes here date from the 1950’s for the most part. The median single family home sells for around $300K, with the ceiling for prices being around $500K. (You can also find apartments and a few homes to rent up here in the $2K range--apartments below that range, homes above, of course.)

Schools in the area are just so-so for the most part. They are passable but not the sort of schools you fake an address to get your kid into, if you catch my drift. The middle school is Bret Harte, which is slightly below average, and the high school which is in the Mission/Foothill neighborhood is Hayward High. It is pretty average. (Overall, of course, middle of the road is good for Hayward and this area of the East Bay which is known for its poor schools, but still nothing to write home about.)

Mission/Foothill is also a great spot to live if you are unsure where in the Bay Area you will be working or if you have a dual income household where each of you has to commute in opposite directions. From here you can get as far as SF in an hour, close to Walnut Creek, into San Jose and across the bay into San Mateo County. Few locations in the East Bay offer you a better launch pad than Hayward in general.

The only problem for commuters here is that you will probably need to drive down out of the hills to get to public transportation, which can be a hassle in terms of parking.

The big drawback in Hayward in general is the high crime and even this area is not immune to it. At the edge of this neighborhood there has have been 2 murders 4 dozen burglaries and more than 100 assaults in the past 6 months.

Overall, if it weren’t for the high crime on the western end of this neighborhood, this would probably be a location on a par with Martinez or similarly suburban bedroom communities. Maybe even more desirable because of its convenient location.
Pros
  • Hilly Area
  • Nice Older Homes
  • Good For Bay Area Commuters
Cons
  • High Crime
  • Mediocre Schools
  • A Little Rundown Looking in Parts
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Burbank's Central Station"

Not to be confused with the large city in SoCal where NBC and other TV studios are located, the Burbank neighborhood in Hayward is one of the most northern neighborhoods in Hayward. Like most neighborhoods in Hayward this is a neighborhood whose residential areas are mostly made up of older Ranch style homes of the smallish post WWII variety.

Much of this neighborhood is not really residential however. On the western end of the neighborhood there are some strange looking office buildings and the local elementary school.

There are also a lot of those newer kinds of boxy, pastel toned apartment complexes that are meant to attract higher paying individuals and that get blamed for much of the gentrification that this inevitably leads to. They are quite nice for what they are, and they are, of course, fortified looking to make you feel relatively safe inside. Whether you think this is a good thing or bad I will let you judge for yourself.

With the Hayward Amtrak on one end and the Hayward BART on the other this is one of the best spots in all of Hayward for commuters as well, allowing to be local or head out towards Sacramento--whatever your work may call for. But that isn’t all. You also have Highway 92 here, which though just a three lane avenue is how you get to the San Mateo Bridge to take it across the Bay. In effect, this neighborhood is like a big crossroads. Which also means that you will get tons of outside traffic whizzing through this area everyday, with all that that entails.

Because of these conveniences and the other aspects of this neighborhood that I have noted, you will have to pay a bit more in rent. So rents here in those newer gentrified boxes will run you in the $2000’s.

What about buying?

A single family home will go for around $275K, while, in one of the peculiarities of Burbank Hayward, the condos are only selling for about $50K less--around $225K on average. I suppose this has do with the appeal of these gentrified living spaces and the fact that the homes here are relatively old looking--or perhaps simply that all property around here is relatively inexpensive so a $50 spread actually represents more than it seems at first.

Given all the activity in this neighborhood, it is still a relatively safe area, reporting only about two dozen assaults in the last six months--very moderate for an area of this size and with this kind of traffic.

As to schools in this neighborhood, Burbank Elementary actually gets okay ratings--about average. Though that doesn’t continue all the way through--Winton Middle School being pretty awful. Hayward High, however, also manages to be average, which is a good sign for it.

Overall though I can’t really recommend Burbank, Hayward for families, I could see it perhaps for singles or for professionals looking to commute to other parts of the Bay Area however.
Pros
  • Great for Bay Area Commuting
  • Nice Gentrified Apartments
  • Okay Elemntary and High School
Cons
  • Lots of Traffic
  • Bad Middle School
  • Nearby Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
SherryB
SherryB The neighborhood is divided generally between older residential homes to the east and new developments to the west. Most of the neighborhood is in fact residential. Commercial corridors are mostly on A street, Grand Ave, Winton, and Jackson. Residential areas are clearly defined. I am not sure what is meant by strange looking office buildings but I must assume it is the large Trucking company that will soon be replaced with new housing. How good the newer housing area will be will depend on the people who are beginning to populate it. Imagine being able to shape the kind of neighborhood you want! The City of Hayward has taken an active interest in the well being of the new developments. The traffic is fairly well confined to the main corridors and there is nowhere that you can see traffic "Whizzing" through!
Hayward's PD is excellent and the Burbank Neighborhood has an active Neighborhood Alert program. The new Burbank School is now an award winner. I can see no reason not to recommend this neighborhood to families. I have lived here for 40 years and raised four children on Alice Street. I don't have recent information about Winton Jr. High but our school district and City are working together to make Hayward an "education city."
2yrs+
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3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • 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 5/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Okay for a Year or Two"

This is the northeasternmost section of Hayward. As the name indicates it sprawls out from B Street slipping under De Anza and Carlos Bee parks and going from Foothill Boulevard to Center Street, right where you will find Curly’s Place, a friendly neighborhood bar.

On the far western end near Foothill Boulevard, North Hayward is mostly a commercial neighborhood with some of those newer boxy apartments and strip mall style office areas. It is the kind of place where you can get a haircut, go to the bank, get a bottle of wine and meet with your realtor---if that makes any sense. Nothing spectacular.

As you head farther up B Street, though you continue to find businesses, increasingly they are interspersed with private residences. These are mostly run down looking older homes like Mission and California style bungalows and many of them have boarded up windows and unkept front lawns giving the whole area a bit of a ramshackle look to it. There are some nicer spots on the quieter inner streets, but even in these sections the barred doors speak to crime worries.

With Cherryland and Ashland nearby, there is no doubt that there is probably more than a little reason to worry. The farther you get away from Foothill Blvd., however, the less the stats support this worry. Though there have been about a half dozen assaulta even in the part of the neighborhood away from Foothill, this is still fairly minor as compared to many other sections of the East Bay. (Even in the most dangerous areas of Hayward should not make you worry too much, in fact, so long as you use common sense, stay out of gangs and don’t hang out with gang members, you are very unlikely to get killed and can mostly avoid trouble.)

Rents here are, for the reasons already cited, fairly affordable, with a typical two bedroom home going for about $1200/month. Pretty good, and part of what makes this a favorite spots for singles and the occasional hipster. If it weren’t for the lousy schools in this area, you might even be able to make it a good spot for young families--unfortunately, I think most people with families will find the gangs and bad schools deal breakers.

You also have excellent public transportation here and are well situated for commuting virtually anywhere in the Bay Area from San Jose and SF to Pleasanton and Walnut Creek.

Okay, so I can’t quite recommend it for settling down permanently, but for that period when you are still waiting to get it together and are just starting out in the “real world,” it might just do the trick.
Pros
  • Affordable Rents
  • Great for Bay Area Commutes
  • Close to Some Cool Nightspots
Cons
  • Bad Schools
  • Run Down Looking in Spots
  • Close to High Crime Areas
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Cool Place to Visit Not Live"

Though many locals consider it as a southerly annex to Castro Valley, North Hayward reminds me more of Berkeley. I think that it has a lot to do with all the old bungalows that are here, and the way the streets look.

The median priced family home here runs around $275K, very moderate for the Bay Area as you no doubt know. 90% of the homes in this neighborhood are on sale due to foreclosure. High for the Bay Area overall but not that surprising given that this is a lower middle class neighborhood, which is not a put down but a statement of the obvious--recessions hit those living closer to the edge harder than those who have a safety cushion.

Unfortunately, the schools here are pretty solidly below average, unlike those in Castro Valley.

Crime is also a bit of an issue here with Mission Blvd. near here and into Cherryland being basically a red light district in terms of prostitution. There are also a fair number of assaults in the area.

This is however one of the best spots in the Bay from which to begin your commute with SF, San Jose, Livermore and Richmond within an hours drive.

There is, however, a very cool downtown area with about a dozen pretty cool lounges in the area, which draws a fair number of single folks. You have for example, The Fernandes Stein Lounge, the Hayward Ranch, and the Palace Hookah Bar. There is also a movie theater in the downtown area, and a Poker Casino on the southern end of the neighborhood.

Crime is, of course the worst in this section of the neighborhood.

Overall this is a pretty cool spot to visit, but I’m not so sure living here would be so great. A bit too much action in terms of crime and gang activity and that sort of thing.
Pros
  • Cool Bars
  • Good Public Transportation
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Crime
  • Bad Schools
  • Noisy and Run Down in Spots
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Not Very Cherry"

Cherryland is one of those pseudo-cities (like Ashland just to the north) that is basically its own separate entity, though it is little bigger than a neighborhood in Oakland or Hayward with its densely packed population of 13,000. In fact, it just feels a lot like north Hayward rather than its own place.

The first thing you have to mention about Cherryland is the crime problem. Mission Blvd. in this area is basically a red light district where there is a lot of prostitution. In the last six months there has also been a murder in Cherryland as well as 3 or 4 dozen assaults. (Around 75 assaults in and around Cherryland and another murder just to the west.)

If that’s not a dealbreaker for you, then you will probably also want to consider the quality of the schools, which, as you might expect, is terrible.

I guess what I am saying is that unless you are a single hipster type or maybe a young unmarried couple, you probably don’t want to set down roots here, no matter how cheap the homes happen to be. If you want a little adventure as you get your feet wet in the work world and just want somewhere okay that is centrally located so that you can easily commute throughout the Bay Area this might be okay.

I can’t really recommend it overall though. (And I think there are better places to be hipster or single and find cheap rents.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Close To BART
  • Good Spot for Commuting
Cons
  • High Crime
  • Terrible Schools
  • A Touch Noisy and Crowded
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Just Okay"

Lorenzo Manor is the western section of San Lorenzo that takes you from the Arroyo Swim Center to the edge of the SF Bay. Like much of San Lorenzo it is made up of 1950’s style Ranch homes and sits on flat grid-like streets. The streets and homes here are mostly very well kept with manicured lawns and decorative looks--nothing gaudy, but nice.

The median home here sells for about $300K. With the top homes topping out at below $500K.

This is a relatively safe area--especially given some of San Lorenzo’s neighbors, which perhaps explains why some people speak very highly of it.

I personally have not been terribly impressed by this neighborhood on the couple of occasions that I have found my self in it for one reason or another. There is nothing terribly wrong with this neighborhood, it is just that there is nothing terribly great about it either, as far as I can tell.
Pros
  • Nicely Kept Homes
  • Good Spot for Bay Area Commuters
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • Older Homes
  • Kind of Bland
  • Close to High Crime Areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Good Spot for Singles"

San Lorenzo is the tiny city just to the north of the Hayward Executive Airport, a private airport that only rich folks and people training to be pilots use as far as I can tell. (I really don’t know.)

The first thing that you should take into account when considering moving to anywhere around here is your level of tolerance for crime. Sandwiched between San Leandro and Hayward, San Lorenzo generally--and this part of it specifically--does have a bit of a crime problem. In the last 6 months there have been a murder in the neighborhood and one just to the east of here.

There have also been about a dozen or so assaults during the same time period and about the same number of robberies and break-ins.

West A Street that marks the southern border of this neighborhood is also hot zone for prostitution.

Now that is not that bad relative to some of San Lorenzo’s neighbors, but it is certainly more than the suburbs to the east of here.

Another problem out here are the below average schools in the area. I know that test scores aren’t everything but low test scores tend to indicate a school that has other problems. The schools here are not rock bottom, but they are below average.

If that level of crime and schools are not dealbreakers for you, then here is what else you should know about San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo is one of the oldest areas in the East Bay, having popped up as a Gold Rush town more than a century and a half ago. San Lorenzo was also once one of the first planned cities in the United States, sort of a model for Levittown on the East Coast.

These days, this section of San Lorenzo is much like the surrounding areas, surrounded by older, smaller homes. (Most homes here date from before 1960 with a substantial portion from before World War II.) This is a middle class neighborhood.

The median home price here is around $250 K, with ceiling for single family homes being around $400 K.

Being close to Hayward BART, the San Mateo Bridge and not that far from San Jose, this is also not a terrible spot from which to start most commutes.

As to restaurants and that sort of thing?

There are some okay lounges out here such as the Why Not Lounge and The Manor Lounge.

In terms of restaurants you will find that it is mostly fast food places in the immediate vicinity. The exceptions would be some pretty good Mexican food places, like Avila’s and Feria’s.

Overall, I guess this might not be a bad place to live when you are just getting started out in the world as a single person, but I think the crime and school problems are deal breakers for families--if you can afford better then you should definitely take those options.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Good Spot for Commuters
  • Good Lounges
Cons
  • Crime Worries
  • Below Average Schools
  • Very Old Houses
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • 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 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Bland Castro Valley Neighborhood"

East Castro Valley is probably the newest Castro Valley neighborhood and the one that looks most like its eastern neighbors, Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin. These are planned tract homes, all in similar styles: light adobe walls, red clay tiled roofs on clean wide streets sprawling far up into the Contra Costas.

These homes were built in the 1980’s and 1990’s for the most part. They are very nice though more than a little boring and homogenous. The median home price homes sell for here is $550K with the ceiling being around $750 K.

You get lots of great views, very effective schools and safe streets in East Castro.

Other than that though this is a pretty standard neighborhood. Nice but fairly unremarkable.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Great Views
  • Good school
Cons
  • A Bit Expensive
  • Hillside Problems
  • Kind of Homogenous and Boring
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Great Hilltop Neighborhood"

The appropriately named Ridges, this neighborhood in Castro Valley is as you might guess from the name, up on the hills above Castro Valley on the northeastern end. It is little more than a half dozen or so streets with the main artery, Greenridge Road, running down the middle of them.

The eastern border is formed by Crow Canyon Road, which those familiar with the Pleasanton and Dublin Area will recognize.

This entire neighborhood dates from the 60’s and 70’s. Greenridge Road was clearly built up in the 1960’s as you can tell from all the Eichler homes that line that street with their distinct flat look, triangular windows near the roofs, and exposed timbering. If you dig local architect Eichler, you will love this street--these minimalist beauties are really nicely maintained.

The arteries that grew out from this main road were clearly built in the 1970’s, which in what was no doubt considered an upper middle class neighborhood means a lot of Contemporary homes of the Brady Bunch variety: lots of interior space, homes built for big families and entertaining.

The median selling price for a single family home up here is around $550K, making it one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Castro Valley, except that the ceiling seems only to be around $625K--probably because though these are nice homes, none of them are really what you would call mansions.

In fact, on the far western end of the neighborhood you will actually find a number of nice wood shingle apartments arranged in a row.

This is also a really great neighborhood if you are an outdoorsy type who likes to be out in nature. There is a really nice park way at the northern end of the neighborhood--Greenridge Park--which not only has the typical things such as a play area and basketball courts, but also cool trails for hiking and an amazing view down into the valley.

Overall this is another one of the great neighborhoods that makes Castro Valley such a hidden Bay Area treasure.
Pros
  • Cool Houses
  • Great Schools
  • Wonderful Outdoorsy Feel
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Hillside Home Problems
  • Not Much Nightlife
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Pretty Nice, Affordable Castro Valley Neighborhood"

As the name points out, Central East Castro Valley is just to the east of the central part of Castro Valley--the section of Castro Valley where you will find the BART station and the stores. The proximity to BART means that you could, in theory, live here without having a car.

This is an older neighborhood, with the majority of homes here dating from before 1960. In fact, most of the newer constructions here that date from later than 1980 tend to be townhomes. As you might expect, many of the older homes in this neighborhood are the smaller Ranch homes that were so common in middle class neighborhoods in the 1950’s.

The medium home here sells for around $315K.

As throughout Castro Valley, schools here are great, with the usual high marks on test score and other object measures.

This is also a pretty safe neighborhood with barely a handful of assaults and robberies.

It is a pretty nice spot. Relatively affordable and very good for commuting.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great Schools
  • Close to BART
Cons
  • Older Homes
  • A Touch Drab
  • A Little Bit of Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • 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 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"One of Castro Valley's Best"

Northeast Castro Valley is definitely one of the nicest spots in Castro Valley. Big houses and nice views.

Of course, along with big houses come high prices. The median home price in this neighborhood is $500K with prices going as high as $1 million on the top end. (Though most homes are under $700K.)

Some of the nicest homes in this neighborhood are way up in the hills. That’s where you find the most expensive homes and the ones that have the best views. These homes are also some of the most interesting homes in all of Castro Valley. Many of them have compelling features like iron wrought balconies, stone steps leading to the front door and Palladian windows.

The farther up into the hills, the newer the homes tend to be. So you get lots of neighborhoods from the 1980’s up here, with the kind of nice Contemporary Style architecture you would expect from that period.

Of course, like the rest of Castro Valley, the schools here are excellent. Proctor and Vanoy Elementaries, which serve this area, are both 8+ API schools. Canyon Middle School and Castro Valley High School are also really.

The other benefit of Castro Valley, in my opinion (whose else’s would it be?), is that it is pretty well situated for commuting purposes both in terms of SF, the Peninsula, San Jose or even (perhaps especially) for the reverse commute over to Pleasanton and that area--all of which you can get to in roughly an hour.

In fact, with BART you can get virtually anywhere up and down Alameda county as well as into SF.

This section of Castro Valley is also one of the safest, as well. Which is itself nothing to sneeze at. Overall, maybe the best or one of the three best Castro Valley neighborhoods.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Great Views
  • Great Homes
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Hillside Problems
  • Not Much Nightlife
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 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Hilly Neighborhood"

Castro Valley Hills is definitely one of--if the not the--most popular neighborhoods in Castro Valley. The reason for this is fairly obvious, people’s general preference for hillside homes that can boast a bit of a view. Castro Valley Hills is definitely the place for both of those.

About half the homes here date from the post WWII period. They are basically Ranch homes with garages used to help prop them up on hills (creating a two story building on one side of the house where the garage is). These are nice mainly for their location.

The median home price up here is around $500K, with homes getting progressively more expensive the farther up into hills you travel. On the low end, only at the very edges of the neighborhood will you find homes below $400k. On the high end, though no home has recently broken the $1 million mark, many of them have approached it.

Atop the hills, up by the wooded area near Lake Chabot, you will find some manors and outright mansions. Really nice--would probably fetch multi-millions if they were over in the Peninsula, but because they are here in the East Bay, maybe $1 million when the housing market picks up again.

This neighborhood has much of what people look for in Castro Valley--great schools, fairly safe up here in the hills, and relatively affordable compared with other parts of the Bay Area. Also, this is not too bad of a spot from which to start your commute--especially if you are headed up to San Francisco.

And, of course, you are also right by Lake Chabot if you like to take nature walks and that kind of thing.
Pros
  • Great Views
  • Nice Houses
  • Close to Lake Chabot
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Hillside Problems
  • Older Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Nice Neighborhood, Great High School"

Home to Castro Valley High, Central Castro Valley is basically just a residential neighborhood that happens to be in the geographical middle of Castro Valley. This is not where you will find the main commercial area of Castro Valley, which is actually just to the south of here.

Castro Valley High School, as the flagship of Castro Valley School north of Highway 580 has an API of 9--very strong. Even stronger are the offerings at the high school and the achievements of its students across the board. Not only do they average higher than 1500 on their SAT’s but the school offers a host of AP and Honors classes, from Honors American Sign Language and Honors Orchestra to AP Japanese. This is representative of the Castro Valley Schools which are known for being some of the best in the area.

Oh yes, and Rachel Maddow and the bassist for Metalica, Cliff Burton are both alumni.

The neighborhood itself is mostly made up of older homes with maybe slightly more than half dating to the 50’s--these are, of course, smallish Ranch homes of the kind anyone who is familiar with California is quite familiar with in the older neighborhoods. But there is also a fair share of somewhat newer homes from the 80’s and 90’s, many of them total remodels of older homes.

The median home price here is around $400k with prices for single family homes ranging from roughly $200k to $650k (less than 10% sell for outside this range on either end).

There is some crime but it is mostly not of the violent variety.

Overall this is a pretty quiet, safe, relatively affordable neighborhood.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Quiet Neighborhood
  • Great Spot for SF/Pleasanton Commuters
Cons
  • Old House Problems
  • Some Minor Crime
  • A Bit on the Dull Side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 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 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"More Like Hayward than Castro Valley"

The neighborhood to the south of Highway 580 in Castro Valley is made up mostly of older homes dating to the 1950’s. So you get a lot of smaller Ranch style homes in this neighborhood--the kind of places that remind me of my grandparents’ neighborhoods. By small, we are talking between 1000 and 1350 ft. or so, which is pretty small for 3 bedroom houses by our modern standards.

The median home price here is around $300K, with prices ranging from about $100k to $500k.

This neighborhood is flat and looks a lot more like San Leandro than hilly Castro Valley. In terms of crime it is more like that and Hayward as well, with a homicide along Foothill within the last month and a half dozen assaults in the last six months. There have also been about 2 dozen robberies during that time.

Schools are also more like Hayward and San Leandro than Castro Valley. In fact, I think the South of 580 neighborhood is served by Hayward schools and not the usual Castro Valley schools--so Bret Harte with its API of 4 would be the middle school for this area. That certainly seems to be the indication from the local elementary, Stonebridge Elementary which has an API of 2--pretty lousy and an indication that things are not working smoothly here.

Overall, I suppose my recommendation would be to stay north of 580--especially if you are thinking of raising a family in Castro Valley.
Pros
  • Close To BART
  • Affordable Rents and Homes
  • Close to Lots of Hayward Bars and Nightspots
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • Small Old Houses
  • Some Crime
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Typical Downtown, Okay Ranch Home Neighborhood"

Downtown Castro Valley is, like most downtowns, the place to go for shopping and restaurants in Castro Valley. You will find the usual things that you would expect from virtually any suburb: drugstores like Rite Aid and restaurants like Chipotle and fast food places like Taco Bell.

That is not all that there is here of course. You will also find truly local businesses like KO Websites, Crush Comics and Kurt Burton Photography.

There is even an okay bar, Spanky’s, that I hear has dancing, but where I’ve never actually been.

Within the crescent shape of the neighborhood, south of Castro Valley Blvd., you will find a relatively standard 1950’s era neighborhood, filled with well-kept Ranch homes on relatively quiet streets. There is even the occasionally compelling front yard presentation with a home having a Buddha statue and painted pink garage—as I saw down one street in this neighborhood the last time I was here. (Check out this address on Google Maps if you want to give it a gander: 20956 San Miguel Avenue, Castro Valley.)

The median home price here is around $300K, with prices ranging from $200 to $400, basically.

The exception to this would be the trailer park on the eastern end of Downtown. This is just a pretty typical trailer park with all that you expect from such a place—asphalt lanes between closely plotted trailers.

And there are also a sprinkling of apartment buildings in the area as well—some of the newest structures as far as I can tell.

Oh yeah, and we should not forget that this is the location of the BART station, so if you live here you are perfectly positioned for commuting to Oakland, Pittsburgh or SF without ever having to jump into a car.

Crime is a bit of an issue along Castro Valley Road—where it is sort of an epicenter.

So it is a pretty active area with pros and cons for those looking to set down roots.
Pros
  • Good for Typical Shopping
  • Good for BART Commuters
  • Good Schools
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Kind of Busy
  • Older Homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
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 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Spot Except for Crime Concerns"

West Castro Valley skirts the eastern side of Highway 580. It is a large residential neighborhood, made up mostly of homes dating from the post WWII era. The median home price here is around $400K.

A lot of the homes in West Castro Valley are of the smaller, older style Ranch homes. This is a semi-hilly area, so a lot of the front lawns are on an incline. People clearly show signs of caring for their homes—lawns have topiary, well-cared for trees, and white picket fences here and there.

This is mostly pick-up truck and economy car territory—which is another way of saying that this is a staunchly middle class neighborhood (by Bay Area standards anyway).

Fairmont Hospital is on the northern end of this neighborhood. I don’t know much about it, though I have heard that it is a pretty standard hospital with nothing particularly spectacular about it.

One concern with living in this area, located as it is just to the east of Ashland, is the possible crime problems. In fact, just last month there was a murder on the southern end of this neighborhood. The victim was a 58 year old, Barbara Latiolas who was strangled in her home by two local boys—16 and 18-- who then set the home ablaze and stole guns from the home and the woman’s Volvo SUV. The brutality of the murder has shocked Castro Valley.

This brutal murder combined with 3 more just to the west of Highway 580 in Ashland and one to the east of the neighborhood (all within the last six months) do give prospective residents some pause about moving into this neighborhood, and perhaps explain why Castro Valley is still relatively affordable.

I am not sure if this kind of crime is typical of Castro Valley—residents seemed to be shocked enough that it suggests this is fairly unusual. Nevertheless it is concerning and tragic.

As to other sorts of crime in the area, there have been maybe a dozen or so assaults in the neighborhood and a lot more just
on the other side of Highway 580. There have been about an equal number of break-ins and robberies as well.

In a nutshell then, I would say that crime is concern here—this is not the burbs like Pleasanton etc. just to the east.

Despite all this, I would still say that this is still a pretty good neighborhood and might even recommend it.
Pros
  • Good Schools
  • Well Positioned for Commuting
  • Nice Older Neighborhood
Cons
  • Possible Crime Worries
  • Older Home Problems
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Views for Commuters"

I had a friend who lived up here in Hillcrest Knolls for a while—renting a room out of a house. It is a pretty nice spot that stares out over San Leandro towards the Peninsula. It has some pretty good views. It is just to the south of the Bay-O-Vista neighborhood of San Leandro—which is one of my favorite neighborhoods there.

This is a pretty nice, far more middle class neighborhood, much like the rest of Castro Valley, which is itself a pretty middle class neighborhood. Homes here tend to be on the older side, with the majority of homes dating to the post WWII period.

One of the positives about Castro Valley is the education system, which is above average as compared with many of its western neighbors like much of San Leandro. Canyon Middle School, Creekside Middle School and Castro Valley High are all well above average.

Although this neighborhood is a bit on the older side and not as attractive as you might imagine a hillside neighborhood could be—the smallish houses here do have some good views and could work out for single parents or those with small families.

Also Castro Valley is one of those neighborhoods that is perfectly situated for commuters—whether you are going to the Walnut Creek, San Francisco or San Jose.

There is also a BART station here—adding to its perfect as a great commuter haven.
Pros
  • Nice Views
  • Affordable
  • Great Public Transportation
Cons
  • Some Nearby Crime
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
1/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 1/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Where to Go to Loosen Your Mortal Coil"

Not to be confused with Ashland, Oregon—home of the Oregon Shakespeare festival—Ashland, California is a little city tucked away in the East Bay, right between Castro Valley and San Leandro.

So one of the main ways that Ashland California is different than Ashland, OR is in terms crime. Despite having only 20 thousand residents, the CA version of the city has a ton of crime. In the last 6 months, for example, there have been 4 murders here—mostly during the summer months.

Think of how bad that is. Projected over a full year, that is basically 1 out of every 2500 people per year. The odds are still with you for surviving, but still.

Assaults, as you might expect given what I said so far, are really high as well. Ashland itself has had at least 100 assaults in the last six months (again, that means that 1 in every 200 people gets assaulted here each year) and about the same number of break-ins and robberies combined.

There has even been some prostitution busts here, especially along Foothill which seems to be a hotbed for prostitution (no pun intended).

So this is not the safest of neighborhood—to put this bluntly. Does it have anything going for it?

Of course, that kind of a crime rate affects everything else here as well. Home prices, for example, barely ever break $200 K, even though this would actually make a pretty good place for commuters given its relative proximity to San Jose, the Peninsula, the Bay Fair BART station (which can have you in the City in less than an hour) and even Pleasanton and the places around there.

The schools also get pretty lousy ratings with API’s of 2 for the local elementary and middle schools and a slightly better API of 4 for San Lorenzo High School.

So, even though there is some potential to the area, so long as crime is so high, I can’t really recommend it for anyone.
Pros
  • Good Spot for Commuters
  • Close to Mall
  • Very Affordable
Cons
  • Very High Crime
  • Bad Schools
  • Bad for Real Estate Investment
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Beautiful Older Homes Here"

Like Broadmoor and Sheffield Village, you will find quite a few attractive older homes here in Estudillo Estates. Architecture buffs should definitely take a little walk down Estudillo Avenue. There you will find a lot of older manors with half-timbering and all the rest of it. Many of the homes in this neighborhood and right here on this street are Jazz age constructions. These are the kind of homes that are just not built in this way anymore with high windows and mini rounded medieval style towers. It is really pretty amazing.

The median home price here is $450,000 with homes ranging from $300k to $600k for the most part.
As to the other factors in the neighborhood, such as schools, these are unfortunately average at best as San Leandro High School is. Crime is relatively low here, with most of it taking place a bit farther to the north or to the south.

There is a bit of nearby nightlife in Old San Leandro and in the southern portion of San Leandro where the mall is. You also have a number of hiking trails and that sort of thing to the east of here in the hills where Chabot Park and Lake Chabot is located.

Overall this is one of the nicest neighborhoods in San Leandro and this section overall is definitely the nicest section of San Leandro—especially if you include Bay-O-Vista in this mix.

I would recommend it even for those with kids, since the schools here, though not great are solid enough. You might also consider sending your kids to one of the local private schools, assuming that you can afford it—such as one of the local Catholic schools.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Close to Lake Chabot
  • Okay Spot for Commuters
Cons
  • Okay, but not Great Schools
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • Some Nearby Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 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 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Too Dangerous for My Taste"

Nestled up against Highway 580, Upper Bal is a pretty typical San Leandro neighborhood in terms of appearance. The homes here date from WWII and shortly thereafter--which means, of course, that these are older style Ranch homes—smaller and a bit worn looking—as you might expect.

Unfortunately, it is also fairly typical in terms of educational choices and crime. In terms of education, the schools here are below average at best with San Leandro High’s middle of the road scores being the best this area has to offer.

In terms of crime, this is actually one of the worst parts of San Leandro. There have been three homicides in the last six months just to the south of Upper Bal in Ashland. There have also been more than a hundred assaults in the immediate areas, especially around the mall to the southwest.

Overall, I would not be able to recommend this neighborhood for that reason.
Pros
  • Some Nice Older Homes
  • Close to BART
  • Close to the Mall
Cons
  • Too Many Assaults
  • Poor Schools
  • Kind of Run Down
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • 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 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Poor Schools and Nearby Crime Ruin Otherwise Good Neighborhood"

Just to the north of the Bayfair BART station and to the west of Carrington College, Lower Bal is a patchwork of apartments, Ranch homes and newer homes. The BART station actually makes this an ideal neighborhood for commuters and will be even better if they ever extend BART farther down into San Jose and connect it up with the rail system in the Peninsula.

You can roughly divide Lower Bal into three sections, the far northern end which is dominated by apartments, the older residential section north of Halycon and the elevated BART tracks and the newer residential section south of that and closest to the Bayfair BART station. Bayfair is a connector station where the Daly City, Dublin and Richmond lines all stop—which also makes it perfect for commuters who live in the area to get virtually anywhere in the Bay Area in less than in an hour.

The Bayfair Mall, one of the first East Bay malls, is just adjacent to the station, adding to the convenience of the location since you can stop off at the mall to get something on your way home from work.

The northern most end of Lower Bal is filled with apartments and condos of various kinds, from the long ugly shoe box shaped variety, to newer gated condos. Apartments in this area run between $1000 and $1500 for a 2 bedroom.

The middle section of Lower Bal looks like a pretty typical San Leandro neighborhood, with older looking Ranch style homes. They are relatively nicely kept but some do show some signs of age. This middle section has a median home price of $275 grand and tops out at no more than $350,000.

The southern most section of Lower Bal is perhaps the most attractive, with some of the newest homes in not just this neighborhood but probably in San Leandro. These streets are pretty much made up of Contemporary style homes dating from the late 1970’s. They feel as well-kept as the day they first sold and have that attractive upper class feel that neighborhoods in the 1980’s had—at least as I remember from my infancy.

Unfortunately, like the rest of San Leandro the schools around here are just okay at best, which makes this a little bit of a dicey area in terms of raising kids. There are some okay schools in the area, but I am not sure that you can luck out and get them for your kids. For example, Lincoln High is pretty terrible but San Leandro High is okay. But I am not sure which serves this neighborhood.

Crime is an additional drawback to this area. Just to the southeast of the mall in the City of Ashland there have been 3 murders. The area around the mall also sees tons of assaults and robberies and even one or two prostitution busts. So despite the pleasant suburban look of some of these homes, Lower Bal still feels like an urban area—more like Oakland than Pleasanton.

Overall, I can only really recommend this area for singles who are okay with a little bit of danger for a while as they work their way up—just too many problems with schools and nearby crime for families and others.
Pros
  • Nice Homes on the Lower End
  • Affordable Apartments on the North
  • Great Commuting Access
Cons
  • Too Much Nearby Crime
  • Bad Schools
  • Too Much Traffic
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5 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 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Good Spot For Commuters, Not Families"

Floresta Gardens-Bradrick is probably the southern most neighborhood of San Leandro. It is a fairly typical San Leandro neighborhood. In the residential sections of this neighborhood it is pretty much wall to wall Fifties era Ranch homes-about as middle class as it gets. Now I don’t want to give the wrong impression. These are relatively nicely kept Ranch Homes with well-trimmed and watered lawns and no major signs of decay—but they are still pretty old looking.

So what does it cost to live here in Floresta Gardens?

The median price for homes in this area run at around $300 grand, with prices ranging from $200k to $400k--all in all pretty low for the Bay Area. The rents here are also fairly reasonable. You can find a one to two bedroom apartment for around $1000/month.

Unfortunately, like most of San Leandro, the problem is that the schools, from the elementary school to the high school are not spectacular. Lincoln High is especially bad, having an API of only 2—pretty horrible.

As far as crime goes, this is one of the more dangerous areas in San Leandro with over a hundred assaults reported in the area in the last half year, and a comparable number of vehicle break-ins.
When your vehicle is not being broken into however, this is a great area for commuters. From here you can be to San Jose, the Peninsula, San Francisco, and most of Alameda and Contra Costa County within an hour.

The northern end of Floresta Gardens is a bit different than the rest. Although technically the northern end of this neighborhood is part of Floresta Gardens, it is actually much more like the industrial part of San Leandro. It is filled with warehouses and that sort of thing. As a matter of fact I think they shouldn’t include it with the rest of Floresta Gardens at all.
Pros
  • Well Situated for Commuters
  • Affordable Rentals
  • Some Nice Older Ranch Homes
Cons
  • Bad Local Schools
  • Crime Worries
  • Ugly Industrial Area on Nothern End
Recommended for
  • Singles
5/5 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 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Great Views, Nice Homes"

One of the few San Leandro neighborhoods to the east of Highway 580, Bay-O-Vista is nestled up against Chabot Park and not too far from Chabot Lake. This hilly neighborhood offers some pretty nice views of the Bay and Peninsula to the west.

Homes here are newer than in much of San Leandro, dating from the mid 1950’s to the mid 1960’s for the most part. That means lots of Ranch homes of course, but these are the larger longer Ranch homes that just feel much more luxurious than a lot of those you find in your average middle class neighborhood. This is the kind of area where you get street side garages give way to two story hillside homes with decks that offer panoramic views (especially on the northern end of Bay-O-Vista).
The front yards of these homes are also exceptionally well cared for with many have sculpted topiary and decorative brick work to create a sort of faux rustic look.

As you might expect, home prices in hilly Bay-O-Vista are also elevated, with the median home price being $500K and with most homes selling for between $400 and $600K. (Though I did recently see one listed as having sold for $3.4 million—I am dubious however, since I would guess from looking at it that it would be closer to $345K. Maybe someone misplaced a decimal?)

As with other homes in the nicest neighborhoods in San Leandro the main problem is the education system which is simply not that strong. For those who have kids younger than high school age, I couldn’t really recommend this neighborhood—but if your kids are older and if you are a couple that commutes in opposite directions, Bay-O-Vista might just do the trick.

And I should also mention that given its proximity to Chabot Lake, this is perfect area for those outdoorsy types who like to go on nature hikes and that sort of thing as well. (Chabot Park has a ton of trails and things to do—check out their website for more info.)
Pros
  • Nice Kennedy and Eisenhower Era Homes
  • Great Panoramic Views of the Bay and Peninsula
  • Great Local Hiking Trails
Cons
  • Poor Local Public Schools
  • A Touch on the Expensive Side
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Great Neighborhood for Older Working Couples"

Nestled right up against Highway 580, Assumption Parish is a nice older neighborhood with lots of older homes and quiet tree lined streets. It is the kind of neighborhood that has a nice open field with lawns and hedges well-trimmed for the most part and lots of signs that residents care for their homes. It is a middle class neighborhood—about average for California and slightly below average for the expensive Bay Area.

Generally speaking the oldest homes in the neighborhood are on the far western end (you will even find a smattering of WWI era homes in this section) and neighborhood gets newer as you head east, with the newest homes dating back to the post WWII era. Of course, this means a lot of Ranch homes in the area—most dating from the late 40’s and mostly well-kept. They are small but nice.

This is partly reflected in the home sale prices for Assumption Parish whose median is around $325K—slightly higher than average for San Leandro. Homes here top out at just under half a million dollars.

One of the drawbacks to the area is the public school system, which although not terrible and certainly much better than Oakland to the north, is still slightly below average generally. Bancroft Middle school is especially bad, if test scores are an accurate reflection of the school environment (which I grant they may not be), while San Leandro High is solid but not great.
So if you have younger kids I wouldn’t recommend this neighborhood.

As to crime, which is about average with the nation in San Leandro generally—here in Assumption Parish things are a little safer than average, with most of the violent crime isolated to the area around 14th Street, where you get about 1 assault per month. Overall I would say this neighborhood is pretty safe, especially relative to the highly dangerous Oakland neighborhoods you encounter not far north of here.

Assumption Parish in specific and San Leandro in general are also well placed for commuters. From Assumption Parish, with a car you can make it as far south as the edge of San Jose, as far north west as the eastern portion of SF, as far north as Pinole and Pleasant Hill and as far east as Livermore all within one hour. Using only public transportation, you can still make to Fremont, eastern SF, San Mateo and San Pablo on the north and Dublin on the east within 1 hour. Basically it is one of the best spots from which to start your morning commute.

It is also adjacent to Old San Leandro—so you can definitely have some restaurants that you can frequent should you choose to.

Overall, this is a pretty good neighborhood for working couples either without kids or with kids high school age and above—that’s for whom I would recommend Assumption Parish.
Pros
  • Nice Older Homes
  • Well Situated for Bay Area Commute
  • Relatively Safe
Cons
  • Below Average Middle and Elementary Schools
  • Old Home Problems
  • Some Nearby Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Nice Neighborhood But Not for Families"

Like much of San Leandro, Old San Leandro is made up of…well…older homes. Given the name of the neighborhood, I guess the surprise would be if it were not made up of older homes.

Though single family homes are the majority of the housing available here, there are also a fair number of apartments, condos and townhomes here as well. The far southern end of the Old San Leandro, for example, is made up of a late 70’s era condo development—the kind of condos people moved into after the kids moved out if they were divorced—that’s what I associate them with anyway. They are a bit on the small side for raising a larger family, but okay if you are childless or only have one kid. There is even a little motor home park just to the south of the condo complex in case those are out of your price range.

North of these there is a mix of boxy 70’s style apartment buildings—fairly well-kept mostly—and some nice older homes. The homes are mostly small but many of them have really nicely trimmed front lawns and those wall high windows that give them a sort of Modernist touch that is pretty nice.

My favorite part of Old San Leandro, however, is on the far northern section where the homes are particularly nice. These are a mix of homes with Tudor accents, Mission Revival style homes, and even just good old well-kept Ranch homes and bungalows. The streets and homes though are just really well cared for, making you feel like you have jumped back in time to a bygone era when people really took good care of their neighborhoods. (A time that probably never existed but that we think we remember.)

The median home price in Old San Leandro is $250K with the most expensive homes—those in the $300Ks and $400Ks being in the northern section of the neighborhood.

Now this is a nice area, but I am not sure if I would want to raise a family here. It still suffers from many of the problems that you find in the rest of San Leandro. First, the schools are just not very good. McKinley Elementary, for example, has abysmally low test scores, as does Bancroft Middle School. San Leandro High manages to be average, which I suppose means your education will be what you make of it there, but if you are going to live here you probably will have to pay extra to send your kids to private school to really give them the kind of education they will need to survive in the world that we have created.

The second problem is crime. There have been more than a hundred assaults in the neighborhood in the last 6 months.
Overall though, this is a pretty nice area that I wouldn’t mind living in one day when my own kid is older.
Pros
  • Nice Older Homes
  • Okay Condos
  • Good Transportation
Cons
  • Terrible Schools
  • Some Crime Problems
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Dive Bars, Supermarkets and Boxy Apartments"

Downtown San Leandro might not look exactly like you might expect a place called “downtown”. It is fairly residential for a “downtown” area. Like most downtowns, this one too does have a number of restaurants—nothing crazy special, just a couple of Mexican places and a ton of East Asian food, the best of which are probably the sushi bars.

There are a handful of bars as well, including most prominently Cunha’s—a true dive bar—and Englander’s—a pretty typical sports bar.

About 2 of 3 properties for sale here are condos, with single family homes making up the rest. Prices run from $100K to $300K roughly with the median home/condo price being around $175K. Homes here are typically of the pre-WWII bungalow style home—the kind that are a dime a dozen in Oakland, and are fairly worn down looking.
There are also lots of those 1960’s style boxy apartment with open center courts. These go for about $1000/mo for a 1 bedroom and $1500/mo for a 2 bedroom.

All the other typical problems that you associate with San Leandro are present here as well: schools are pretty terrible and crime—though not as bad as in some of the Oakland neighborhood just a little ways to the north--is still pretty bad. In terms of assaults, for example, there have been more than 50 assaults here in the last six months.

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot one of the most important things about this neighborhood—it is the home of the San Leandro BART, so it is a good area for commuters heading up to the City, and maybe one day down to San Jose when they finally put in the much anticipated BART extension.

Overall, an okay neighborhood, especially for singles and commuters.
Pros
  • Affordabel Homes and Condos
  • BART Station
  • Some Bar Scene
Cons
  • Crime
  • Unattractive Older Homes
  • Traffic
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Quiant Old Neighborhood"

I had a friend from college who lived in this neighborhood for a while. I always thought this place felt a lot like Berkeley because of the nice bungalow style homes and quiet streets. It is one of those places that still has those fluted cement lamps. Some streets here are really beautiful—like Cambridge Avenue, with its wide variety of home types, well-kept lawns with unique décor.

The homes here all date from the first half of the 20th Century and they are so well kept that they fetch almost twice the prices of most homes in San Leandro, with the median home here running about $325K and prices ranging from roughly $250K to $500K.

People who live in the City like I do don’t often think of San Leandro as date night destination, but Old San Leandro just to the south of this neighborhood does have some nice spots and there is a bit of spillover the Broadmoor District. Maybe one of my favorite restaurants in San Leandro is Paradiso—a really nice restaurant on Bancroft where they just do everything from the linguini and clams to frittata well.

On the other side of Broadmoor District you can get a completely different kind of experience by visiting Hoagy Steak—a cheesesteak shop on 14th Street. Very nice, but hold the onions if you want anyone to be anywhere within fifteen feet of you for the rest of the day. Seriously!

Schools, of course, are a problem here, since San Leandro schools are pretty much below average virtually across the board, with schools like Lincoln High and Bancroft Middle School with dismally low API’s.

Crime is relatively low here, compared to more dangerous neighborhoods just to north, with only a couple of assaults every month.

Overall, this is one of the very nicest residential neighborhoods in San Leandro and I would highly recommend it, unless you are looking to raise a family and intend to send your kids to public school here.
Pros
  • Nice Older Tudors
  • Quiet Streets
  • Good Restaurants
Cons
  • Terrible Public Schools
  • Some Crime
  • Somewhat Overpriced
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
LeahH
LeahH My family moved here from Berkeley back in 2000 when I was pregnant with our only daughter. We've been raising her here for the past 14 years. Looking back, we were also very attracted to the Berkeley feel of the Broadmoor District. It wasn't until living here for several years until we realized how wide the gap of differences to that comparison truly is. As you note, the public elementary schools have very low test scores. Because education is so important to us and we could afford it (with lots of belt tightening) we enrolled our daughter in an excellent independent school in downtown Oakland. She will now be attending another private high school in the Oakland Hills this fall.

There are many wonderful aspects about this neighborhood but also some key unmet promise and potential. I'd have to say that one of the worst problems is the lack of complete streets. Thru traffic going to and coming from 580/880 and E. 14th/San Leandro Blvd. is simply nasty. Some residential streets in The Broadmoor are fortunately not impacted, but several key streets are not so lucky. Durant Avenue, which is designated as the municipal boundary between Oakland And San Leandro for several residential blocks is quite literally "ground zero" for these concerns. Over 5000 drivers use this narrow residential street each day to go someplace else. The municipal truck routes provide more confusion than clarity. Car owners park their cars on the sidewalks to try to keep from being hit. Our cities need to stop turning their backs to one another and work together to find solutions. We need a coordinated transit network and complete streets with street trees and great public spaces for pedestrians and bike and transit riders. Durant Task Force, a group of residents and professionals have banded together to raise awareness of the problems and community resources available for making our neighborhood much more livable. If we do this, and I think we can, more young professionals and married couples will want to move here and raise their families. This would be a big shot in the arm for our local public schools along with increased state and local funding per student.
2yrs+
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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 3/5
  • 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 1/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Nice Tudors but Too Close to Oakland Crime"

Farrelly Pond District is one of those flat, older San Leandro neighbhorhoods. The Ranch homes here are of the smaller older variety dating from the 40’s (nearly half the homes here date to this period), and there are virtually no homes here from after 1950.

Around 95% of the homes currently for sale here are on the market due to foreclosure.

Partly due to this, perhaps, the median home price is $225K, with prices ranging from $100K to $400K on the high end.

The nicest sections of this neighborhood are probably on the southern end by streets like Cherrywood where you will find a sprinkling of Tudor and Mission Revival style homes—the really nicely kept versions of these homes that are usually the exclusive benefits of really expensive neighborhoods.

Unfortunately the schools are not unusual for San Leandro, being well below average—at least in terms of test scores.

Crime is also a bit of a worry around here. There have been 4 murders in the last six months in surrounding neighborhoods (mostly north, just over the border in Oakland). There have also been about 2 dozen assaults in Farrelly Pond District as well, so it is not the safest of neighborhoods.

Overall, I could not really recommend this neighborhood to families, though it might work if you are a younger married couple looking for a relatively cheap East Bay City that is close to the South Bay for commuting.
Pros
  • Some Nice Older Tudors
  • Good Spot for South Bay Commuters
  • Some Nice Lawns
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Terrible Schools
  • Some Run Down Homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Typical Older San Leandro Neighborhood"

The Washington Manor neighborhood is fairly typical for San Leandro in that it is a pretty old neighborhood. This is a fairly large neighborhood filled with homes built right after WWII. Most homes here are older style Ranchers. Many of these are clearly tract houses, all with virtually identical L shapes and similarly placed fire places. They are the great granddaddies of the current tract homes that have now become ubiquitous in the suburbs of California.

One of the upsides (or downsides depending on how you think about it) are the schools in the neighborhood, which are average. That is good, given the state of a lot of schools nearby.

Crime is still a little bit of a worry here, with about 75 assaults in the last 6 months and about 2 dozen robberies and break-ins. That said, it is still relatively safe.

Overall, this is a pretty good neighborhood for those households where the couple wants to be equidistant to both Silicon Valley and SF and needs to keep the cost of living down.
Pros
  • Okay Schools
  • Equidistant Between SF and San Jose
  • Affordable Homes
Cons
  • Some Crime
  • Old and Worn Out Looking
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 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 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Would Be Commuter Friendly with Better Schools"

Bonaire is another one of those San Leandro neighborhoods with Ranch homes dating from the late 1940’s. Homes here are in various ranges of upkeep from moderate to good—you will get one house that has a perfectly trimmed, totally green lawn just across the street from a house whose lawn is bushy and untidy. This is also one of the neighborhoods that is really flat and grid-like, which makes it feel a bit on the ugly side.

Home prices here range from between $230 to $410 K with the median being around $300 K. Over 90% of the homes that are on the market in Bonaire are for sale due to foreclosure—so that gives you a sense of how strongly the neighborhood has been hit by the Foreclosure Crisis.

As far as schools go, the elementary schools are just average and tend to get worse and worse the further you go, so that by the time you get to Lincoln High School, you are dealing with a truly bad high school. (Lincoln has an API of 2 out of a possible 10.)

The area is relatively safe, with only about a half dozen assaults reported in the last 6 months.

Overall, it is a relatively bland neighborhood that it if it had better schools might actually attract some commuters looking for a relatively inexpensive place to set down roots.
Pros
  • Affordable
  • Relatively Safe
  • Okay Transportation
Cons
  • Older Ranch Homes
  • Poor Schools
  • Hit Hard by Foreclosures
Recommended for
  • Retirees
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Tractors, Stone and Steel Workers"

Central San Leandro is one of those industrialized neighborhoods where you find yards filled with heavy equipment and the kind of construction related businesses that don’t make for a very attractive or inviting environment but which are necessary to any thriving metropolitan area like the Bay Area. This is the kind of place where people actually work with heavy equipment, instead of just staring at a screen (like me) all day long.

Typical businesses that you find here are Peterson Tractor whose large yard is filled with its fleet of orange tractors—and
Haulaway Storage Containers on the western end. You will also find roofers, marble providers and some kind of quarry here as well. Eighteen wheeler roll in and out of this area fairly constantly and the only people you find around here are those who have come in on business.

This is nowhere that I would want to live, but I can definitely see the benefit of having a place like this to help boost the local economy.
Pros
  • Good for the Economy
Cons
  • Ugly
  • Noisy
  • Busy
2/5 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 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • 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

"Honda, Homes and Iron Works"

Stretching between the Nimitz Freeway and the San Leandro Blvd., the Laua Manor neighborhood is a mostly residential neighborhood made up of older, fairly well-kept Ranch homes. These are not the large, long Ranchers that become common in the late 50’s and early 60’s; these are the Ranch homes from the late 40’s and early 50’s: they are smaller and more modest looking, and used to be associated for me with grandparents. In the Laua Manor neighborhood, however, these homes are nicely kept enough that I do not find them unappealing (except maybe on the eastern end where they are a little more worn and give way to older houses).

Home prices here run between $200 K and $300 K, probably because of the poor schools and some crime. As far as the schools go, these are below average schools through middle school. San Leandro High Schools manages to be about average, which is an accomplishment given that many of the schools feeding it are so poor. Overall, however, most families probably want better than average if possible, and certainly not below average.

On the eastern end of the neighborhood, you fin iron works and towing companies and the kind of urban detritus that make neighborhoods feel oppressive.

It is also home to a big Honda, Hyundai and across the street from it a Ford dealership along Marina Blvd. which forms Laua Manor’s southern border.
Pros
  • Some Nicely Kept Older Ranchers
  • Close to Freeway
  • Good Place to Buy a Car
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • Urban Detritus
  • A Touch of Crime
Recommended for
  • Singles
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Nice Homogenous Homes--No Wind Turbines Yet"

Heron Bay in the south west corner of San Leandro is a mostly undeveloped area pushed up against the Bay. On its eastern end, however, it does have housing and a very active home owners association that actively lobbies to keep their members’ interests protected. This summer, for example, when a local wind power company, Halus Power Systems, wanted to erect a wind turbine on its property to demonstrate to prospective buyers, the Heron Bay Home Owners Associate made a stink, lobbying to delay the erection of the proposed turbine for fears of the noise and environmental factors.

I personally am rather ambivalent about this kind of NIMBIism. On the one hand, it shows that there is someone looking out for your interests if you happen to be one of the residents of Heron Bay. On the other hand, and I would tend to favor this view. If we can’t even display a single wind turbine near a housing development, what chance do we have against Climate Change.

This is especially ironic given that one of the impacts of climate change may very well be a rise in the sea levels that could very well have an effect on this very bay side community.

That said, there are really some pretty nice homes here. On the northeastern end of the neighborhood you get one of those planned communities where the streets are designed in such a way that cars slow down and where kids can play just outside. The homes—mostly dating from the late 90’s as far as I can tell—have a luxurious but homogenous look to them—lots of pastel stucco and red-tiled roofs (except in one part of the development where the tiles are grayish), high roofed front stoops and side view garages. These homes are appealing to families because they make excellent use of space and give you that suburban feeling of calm and protection.

Recently sold homes here have garnered between $410 K and $550 K—definitely high for San Leandro, but Heron Bay is not a typical San Leandro neighborhood. (There is one portion of the Heron Bay where homes are a bit smaller and feel a little bit more like Townhouses and prices drop accordingly to between $350 k to $400 K.)

As to the public schools serving Heron Bay, they are just so-so for the most part (although King Kipp High School is really strong). These are not terrible schools—they are actually sort of middling, which is often enough to drive people out to the burbs.

Crime is low here as well, with nothing much to report other than petty thefts and that sort of thing.

Oh yeah, and if you are into biking, the BayTrail runs right through the marshy wetlands that make up the western end of this area. It will take you north up along all of San Leandro and by Alameda. Its a great thing to do on the weekend to get exercise, etc. It is just over 5 miles long, ending in a slough.
Pros
  • Nice Homes
  • Safe Area
  • Nearby Trails
Cons
  • Average Schools
  • A Little Bland and Homogenous
  • Too Much NIMBIism
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Lagoon, Park and Holes"

The Tony Lima Golf Course, Marina Park and the Small Boat Lagoon are on the western end of this neighborhood. I hear that the Tony Lima Golf Course (also known as the Monarch Bay Golf Club) is pretty good in terms of having nice views but that the sea air makes the grass really slick and makes for all kinds of problems. (Tony Lema, the short lived 60’s golf pro was from the East Bay—just in case you are curious about the name.) Marina Park has a beach volleyball court and a couple of play areas for the kids, as well as an okay parking lot. There is a boat ramp at the end of the Small Boat Lagoon, where people launch vessels.

Skirting the eastern end of Tony Lima is a 1980’s condominium complex with tennis courts and a swimming pool. (The condos here run between $110 K and $250 K and are mostly on the market due to foreclosure.)

Inland you find a very flat neighborhood filled with low lying single story Ranch homes dating from the 1950’s mostly. These are fairly nicely kept and in another part of the East Bay would probably fetch around $500 K. Here, the median price seems to be around $330 K.

Partly this is because the schools are so bad in the area. Partly it is because crime is slightly higher than people would like.
The airport noise might also have a bit to do with it as well.

Overall, I would say that if you are a single childless couple and you don’t intend on having kids at this point that this might be an inexpensive option.

Overall, however, I can only really recommend the condos for singles and golf course and marina for everyone else.
Pros
  • Okay Condos
  • Inexpensive
  • Nicely Kept Ranch Homes
Cons
  • Terrible Schools
  • Slick Golf Course
  • A Touch of Crime
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Students
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 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Golf Carts, Yachts and Poor Schools"

The definite highlight of Mulford Gardens, is the San Leandro Marina on its western end. The marina has almost 500 berths, a couple of yacht clubs, some restaurants and a hotel. There is also what I hear is a pretty nice golf course just next door where you can take in some holes while taking in the bay views.

Inland to the east of the marina is an odd looking neighborhood made up of unusual looking homes dating from before WWII. The neighborhood is sort of flat and something about the spacing between the houses feels sort of off in terms of what we usually expect in this kind of an urban setting. It may simply be that when this neighborhood was built back in the day, it was not as urban so homes were set up farther apart.

Rents around here run about $2300 for a 4-bedroom house--$1300 for an apartment. The median price for homes here is around $275 K, with homes selling for between $200 K and $500 K. Just about every home for sale here is currently on the market due to foreclosure—a bad sign in terms neighborhood coherence.

One way that you see this reflected is in the poor school performance metrics, with the local elementary being below average and the local high school (Lincoln) being abysmal. This is not the kind of school to which you want to send your kids.
In terms of crime, there have been about 2 dozen assaults in the neighborhood in the past 6 months. Which is not only about 1 assault per week, relatively safe.

So to put it simply: Mulford Gardens is a good neighborhood to go if want to take in some holes or to house your yacht, but if you are looking to have a family, this doesn’t really cut it.
Pros
  • Good Gold Course
  • Good Marina
  • Good Public Transportation
Cons
  • Terrible School
  • Strange Looking
  • Airport Noise
Recommended for
  • Singles
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Good for Commuters"

Unlike Davis Tract West which is mostly a commercial area for businesses, Davis Tract East is just about all residential, consisting largely of 1940’s era Ranch homes, apartment buildings and some newer tract housing.

The Ranch homes are of the smaller kind that were popular just after WWII. They have small square yards (sometimes just asphalt in front of garages), virtually no backyards, and barely any separation between neighboring houses. They look pretty worn out in this neighborhood—lots of cracks and chipped paint.

You also see a lot of steel reinforced screens on doors that make it so that you can open your door and still have a barrier between you and whoever is on your porch—one of the key indicators that crime is likely to be a problem in this neighborhood. This bares itself out somewhat in crime statistics with about 2 dozen reports of assaults in the last six months, but not much else.

The median sale price of homes in Davis Tract East is about $225 K, with less than 10% breaking the $400 K mark, and all of those that break that mark are from the newer parts of the neighborhood where relatively attractive tract housing was put in at around the Millennium. These neighborhoods are relatively bland but nice in a way that is meant to be attractive for gentrification.

One of the big drawbacks of this neighborhood and San Leandro in general, are the subpar schools which rank poorly on all levels, from elementary to high school.

One of the big benefits of this neighborhood is its proximity to the BART station, which makes the apartments on the eastern end of the neighborhood particularly attractive to Silicon Valley or even San Francisco workers who would like to save some money.

Overall a very affordable place to live for commuters, though not one where you will have much fun.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Close to BART
  • Good for Commuters
Cons
  • Worn Out Older Homes
  • Some Crime
  • Bad Schools
Recommended for
  • Singles
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 1/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Warehouse and Old Homes"

Located to the east of Oakland International, Davis Tract West is one of those rather ugly looking commercial areas where you find a high concentration of single story warehouses. Although you will find some “big box stores” here like CostCo and Walmart, many of the businesses that make their homes here are less well known, such as Koffler Electrical, Coast Tool and John’s Home Improvement. These mid-sized businesses are the kind of small local employers that deepen an economy and offer the kind of diversity that allows cities to truly flourish.

There is also a residential section of Davis Tract West just to the north and east of CostCo. This older residential neighborhood is made up of 1940’s era Ranch style homes. This is a pick-up truck type neighborhood where hard working folks are laying their claims to the American Dream with their sweat and toil. Homes here are modest and yards are small, but despite being worn down looking, the homes seem fairly well-kept. Homes here tend to sell for around $225K.

Whenever some place is as close as this place is to Oakland, crime is certainly a consideration. Although this does not look like the safest of areas, incidents are relatively low here, with only about a dozen assaults to report.

Another real drawback of the area, is the lousy schools—pretty much across the board you will not find even a middle of the road public school at any level. That makes this not a very good area for families who might otherwise like to have affordable housing.

One of the draws to the area in terms of entertainment is Drake’s Barrelhouse—a popular local brewery that always has something interesting on tap. And there is also a boxing club, if you are into getting your frustrations out in the ring.

I can’t really recommend this neighborhood for living—but working here might be okay.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Stout Mid-Level Businesses
  • Not Too Dangerous
Cons
  • Ugly Commercial Looking Waredhouses
  • Airport Noise
  • Ugly Old Houses
Recommended for
  • Retirees
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • 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

"Old Homes, Good Schools"

East End, Alameda—not to be confused with the London neighborhood of the same name—is another older Alameda neighborhood, though it suffers by comparison to both Fernside to the north and South Beach to the south.

Though there are some nicer older homes here like in Fernside, the East End homes are simply not as well kept as those to the north. They show more signs of age than the Fernside homes. They tend to look a lot more like they have been around since before WWII.

Now, this is not to say these are ramshackle shacks or anything like that, but rather that the homes here are simply not immaculately kept. They are still pretty nice, for the most part.

The southern end of East End is home to the Aeolian Yacht Club, which is basically just a big dock packed with sail boats, mostly.

Just to the north is grouping of newer homes around Washington court, with a path surrounding it.

Then there is Lincoln Middle School, which is the only middle school I have ever heard of that faces out onto a bay this way. Kind of a cool spot to have a middle school. That is definitely one of the strengths of this neighborhood—the strong schools.

Much of the rest of East Side, however, is made up of those older pre-WWII homes. The median home price here is around $475 K with prices ranging from $375 K to $650 K.

Overall, it is an okay neighborhood but not all that exciting compared its neighbors.
Pros
  • Great Schools
  • Fair Home Prices
  • Close to the Bay
Cons
  • Not as Nice as Surrounding Neighborhoods
  • A Little Boring
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • 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 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 5/5
Just now

"Great Classic Neighborhood"

Fernside is one of those classic pre-WWII neighborhoods for which the Bay Area is famous. It is filled with California Bungalows and those larger older homes for which I have no name and can only say that I find them simultaneously attractive and rather off-putting. This is because although I like the way they look, I generally find the lighting in these homes inadequate.

I’ve always loved the California bungalow look, however—there is just something very cozy and inviting about it.
By far the most luxurious and attractive lane in all of Fernside—and probably Alameda for that matter—is tree-lined Gibson Lane. The impeccably well-kept homes here are attractive enough that I would recommend a visit just to admire the architecture. If you are an architecture student or similar aficionado, you might even consider taking a walking tour of Gibson.
Gibson boasts a numb of mix of classic home styles with European cottages, Mission bungalows, and Tudor accents—it’s a dizzying array of thatched roofs, red-tiles, adobe walls, woodwork and decorative stones, all managed tastefully. The best part is at the middle point on Gibson where Southwood and Northwood circles around it, creating an enclave of beautiful older homes. Really pleasing!

Fernside Blvd. that skirts the edge of Alameda is also worth a visit. The homes along the eastern end of the boulevard here all have backyard docks where many of the residents keep their sail boats.

The median price of a home here is around $550, with prices ranging from $275K to almost $900 K.

This section of Alameda also boasts the best schools on all of the island. Lincoln Middle School is what makes the difference. It is just a much better school than Wood Middle School that serves the northwestern part of Alameda. The local elementary, Edison, and the high school, Alameda High are just as strong.

You are also close enough to Park Street here to get a bit of nightlife and entertainment without having to drive far ( you could actually walk to the local bars if you so desired).

A really nice classic neighborhood.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Park Street Entertainment and Dining
Cons
  • ATouch Expensive
  • Possible Sea Rise Problems in the Future
  • A Touch of Crime Worries Maybe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Cool Bayside Living"

The aptly named South Shore/Shoreline neighborhood of Alameda stretches all the way from Crown Memorial Beach Park to Bay Farm Island Bridge which connects this main section of Alameda to the Harbor Bay/Bay Farm section island area—which is not actually an island like Alameda is. (It is connected to the rest of Oakland and is home on its southern end to Oakland International.)

On the northwestern end of South Shore is the Crown Memorial Beach, a historic beach that has been preserved by having sand pumped in and reinforcements constructed to keep the beach from eroding. It looks very much like a real beach and is a weekend destination for many on the few hot summer days that we experience. The bike trail that comes out from the beach is great too—a really great spot for a morning bike or jog, with fantastic views of the bay and the city.

There are some apartments in the area such as South Shore Apartments and Tennis Club, but don’t be tempted to move in there. I had a friend who lived there until recently and she says that since they are under new management, the apartment complex, a big 1970’s style apartment complex (kind of nice), has kind of come apart with a bunch of new rules, a rise in crime despite a whole new security detail, and a fair amount of neglect (like not cleaning some stairwells regularly).

Luckily that is only the biggest of the apartment complexes along Shoreline Drive. You will also find a number of other boxy 1970’s style apartments that stare out onto sand-dunes and the Bay. Apartments here run between $1100 and $1900 with 1-bedrooms and studios going for around $1200 to $1500, and 2-bedroom going for between $1350 and $1900 depending on the apartment complex.

Along the northern end of South Shore, there are a series of cul-de-sacs that extend like fingers onto an enclosed waterway, somewhat reminiscent of Foster City on the Peninsula. Most of the rest of South Shore looks like a pretty typical 1950’s style Ranch Home neighborhood with sidewalks and squarish lawns, except that when you look down the lanes you can see the San Francisco Bay where the streets end. The median home price here is around $550 K.

On the southeastern end of South Shore you will find a shopping complex that includes everything from a supermarket to a chiropractor’s office. You will also find an Old Navy, a 24-Hour Fitness, a Panera Bread, a Walgreen’s drugstore, and a Bed Bath and beyond. There are some fast food places and banks here as well. It is basically the full set of stores you expect if you were in the ‘burbs.

Wood Middle School and Lum Elementary are both in this neighborhood as well. Wood gets very bad ratings but Lum Elementary and the Alameda High School are very strong.

Overall, a pretty nice spot if you like living right by the edge of the Bay. You can count me in that boat, I wouldn’t mind that at all.
Pros
  • Great Bay Views
  • Good Choice of Apartments
  • Close to Suburban Conveniences
Cons
  • Ugly 70's Style Apartments
  • Bad Middle School
  • Some Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 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 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Good Hospital, Good High School, and Nightlife to Boot"

Bronze Coast is home to several major institutions: Alameda High School, Alameda Hospital, and St. Joseph Notre Dame High School. Alameda High School which is actually a pretty strong school—if test scores can be used to judge the effectiveness of schools anyway. (This is a little unusual in that Wood Middle Schools that feeds it is actually below average in terms of test scores, which usually is a bad indicator for the local high school.)

The Alameda High School location is also home to the Emma Hood Swim Center where there are water polo leagues, swim meets, and times for public use. It has two outdoor Olympic size pools and the usual locker facilities you would expect.

The Alameda Hospital facility boasts having the shortest wait times in the East Bay and, in addition to being a stroke center, also has a number of community outreach services, including classes and volunteer services.

The private Catholic Saint Joseph High School is also here. It is well-known as a college prep institution and for its yearly science fair.

In addition to these institutions, there is the unusual feature of the waterway that makes up the southern end of the neighborhood. It is shallow and not particularly attractive on this eastern end, but it does offer some character for the neighborhood.

As to home prices here, the median home goes for around $500 K, with prices ranging from $450 to $600 K. These are mostly older homes with a fair number of them being bungalows.

The southern end of Park Street is on the eastern end of this neighborhood. That is where you will find the Alameda gym, a handful of pubs and restaurants like Angkor Grill (a Cambodian joint) and Troy (a Greek joint).

Overall a pretty good spot.
Pros
  • Good Hospital
  • Good School
  • Relatvely Affordable
Cons
  • Too Many Foreclosures
  • Poor Middle School
  • Old Home Problems
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 1/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Cold Beach, Hot Real Estate"

Me and my GF visited Stinson Beach this past weekend. My girlfriend is a bit of a runner so I watched her kid and then we came up here to see her when her race was done and hang out at the beach. I love this beach, even though it is not the kind of beach where you can really get a tan most days. We are late in August and even though it has been fairly hot lately—finally after another cool summer—it was still way too cold for traditional beach activities.

Not that this stopped our kids from stripping down to their bathing suits and wading out into the chilly breakers. Me and the GF just sat there watching them, amazed by how young kids are completely oblivious to cold when they are having fun. Of course, the moment they came back to the blankets, her kid was trembling like a leaf and chattering her teeth.

I would say only about half the people at the beach were really in bathing suits at all. Most just came in sweats or regular shorts. Lots of couples walking at the beach side, a fair number of friends just hanging out to watch the waves, some of the runners still dressed in their running gear.

It was pretty windy and we flew some kites, and just chilled out and re-charged the batteries. If you spend a huge portion of your life in front of screen like me and the GF do, getting out in nature like this is really refreshing. It was just what we needed.

I’ve always dreamed of living up here, some day if I ever reach the point where I am making bank, but really, I think it is fairly unlikely I will reach the stage where this is truly possible, unless of course I were to get a condo over in the town (most people use these as vacation homes, I think). A condo in the town area will run you around $400 K which isn’t too bad. But if you want a real house out by Bolinas Lagoon, then you are looking at multi millions. Well worth it if you can afford it, but just a dream for most of us.

The commute would definitely be hell, of course, heading up Highway 1 to get to the Golden Gate. Not something I would want to do every day no matter how beautiful. (It is the most beautiful stretch of the coastline I have ever seen.)
Stinson Beach is basically a very small tourist town. It gets packed on summers and weekends with beach goers, tourists and hikers. You have your share of ex-hippies (the ones who figured out how to turn a buck anyway) and dot.com millionaire types.

Like I said, if I ever make it and no longer have to commute into work everyday—this is where I would live.
Pros
  • Great Houses
  • Beautiful Beach
  • Good beach town
  • Great outdoor activities
  • Proximity to Marin County
Cons
  • Chilly in the winter time
  • Traffic bottleneck
  • Very expensive
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Bungalows, Boats and Beer"

Central Alameda is one of those older neighborhoods with lots of pre-WWII bungalows and older wood buildings that is fairly common in the East Bay. It reminds me a lot of the western end of Berkeley actually, near the 4th Street Mall.
North of Clement in this neighborhood you hit the Alameda Marina. This is basically a parking lot for yachts, sailboats, schooners, except on the southern end of the marina where there are some abandoned buildings and empty lots.
Most of the surface streets here are residential with those aforementioned bungalow style homes being the standard private home in Central Alameda. The median home here sells for around $425 K, with prices ranging from around $300 K to $700 K.

Most of the homes here are older, although in some spots on the northern end you will find some more recent homes.
The foreclosure crisis has also hit this neighborhood pretty hard. More than 4 out of every 5 homes are on the market due to foreclosure.

Schools here are a little bit of a mixed bag as far as I can tell. The main elementary, Haight is just so so, although the two other elementaries that also serve the area—Edison and Franklin are very strong. The middle school—Wood is awful, but Alameda High is outstanding. I don’t know how to reconcile those sharp differences between schools that basically serve the same community, but that is what I found when I looked up information about the school system.

As to entertainment, restaurants, and all that, there is a fair amount going on. The main attraction here is Park Street on the far eastern end of the neighborhood. Here is where you will find restaurants like Pappo, a pricey European place; Asena, a Mediterranean place; Yume, a sushi place; and Burma Superstar.

Park Street also has a pretty good bar scene, with dives like John Patrick’s; sports bars like McGee’s and Scobies; a German bar, SpiesseKammer; pubs like Churchward; and lounges like The Lost Weekend and Lemon Tree. That is a pretty good selection even for a street in SF proper.

There is also the Alameda Theater, which plays a fairly straight forward selection of main stream films—right now they are playing Beasts of the Southern Wild, the latest Bourne film, and The Campaign.

Overall, this is pretty good spot for the younger crowd—the post college crowd and young couples I think would enjoy this neighborhood.
Pros
  • Good Bar Scene
  • Relatively Affordable
  • Good Transportation
Cons
  • Older Homes
  • A Little Ugly in Spots
  • Mixed Bag of Schools
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"The Gold Standard for Alameda"

Dropping into Gold Coast, you feel transported. The streets here are leafy and the homes large with large front lawns. They are older homes, many larger—a mix of homes with Tudor touches like half timbering, and big homes with dormers and occasional Bay windows. You will also find a number of well-kept bungalows here.

Adding to the attractiveness of the neighborhoods is the waterway at its southern end where a number of streets end right by the shore giving residents views out over the breakers to homes of South Shore.

Homes here range from around $200 K to $2.1 M with the median being around $600 K. (Only about 10% of the homes here break the $1 million price barrier and the more expensive homes tend to be concentrated on the southeastern end of Gold Coast.)

The public schools that serve the neighborhood are a bit of a mixed bag, with some—those serving the eastern end for the most part—being quite strong while the ones that serve the western end of the neighborhood are just middle of the road.

There is even a pretty good little neighborhood bar, Z’s Cocktail Lounge, inside Gold Coast. So you don’t have to go down to Park Street to chill out over a beer with buddies.

Overall I would say that this is a pretty good place for younger married couples and maybe even singles. I don’t know if it is a perfect fit for families because the schools are not totally solid. Overall though, it is one of the best neighborhoods in Alameda.
Pros
  • Attractive Older Homes
  • Close to Nightlife and Entertainment
  • Quiet, Leafy Streets
Cons
  • Expensive to Buy
  • So So Schools
  • So So Public Transportation
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"A Big Older Neighborhood"

West End Alameda, of course, doesn’t have much to do with its namesake on the British Isles, beginning of course with the fact that not even the residents of this area of Alameda think of themselves as living in West End. At least, I have never heard anyone from this area say, “Yes, I live in West End.”

West End is a huge neighborhood stretching from one end of the island of Alameda to the other.

On the far northern end is the leftover homes of what looks to be the residential quarters for former officers of the Alameda Naval Air Base just to the west in now abandoned Alameda Point. The grass is now overgrown and the homes and the place is sort of a ghost town—frozen in time. (I don’t know if there is an effort to make this into part of the historical preservation zone that some want the former base to become.) There is also a shipyard up there that I used to see tugboats coming out of—perhaps a coast guard station?

Just to the south of that and surrounding Island High School is one of those planned communities with the houses that look almost exactly alike. Some of these have a worn grayish look to them, others have the brighter red tiles of their faux Mediterranean style. The homes have a nice classical quality to them, with very walkable streets. They keep this walkability by having traffic breaks midway through residential blocks where they place small squares of green space.

These newer homes on the northern section of this neighborhood run in the $800K range.

As you get south of Pacific, you get a lot of homes dating from before WWII. These old wood beam homes are a lot cheaper than those in West End overall (where the median home price is around $500 K). Here in this older section of West End, the median home price drops to $350 K. This is largely because of the dingy, worn out look of this area.

On the eastern end of West End, the older wooden houses give way to old bungalow style homes and walk-ups which also typify the pre-WWII period. This is only slightly better than its neighbor on the west but because these homes are better kept and on better streets, this neighborhood just seems a bit better. This is reflected in the prices as well, with the median price here climbing to $500 K. The feel in this location is not unlike the Berkeley flatlands, actually.

West End is also home to the College of Alameda, the local community college (part of the Peralta organization of colleges).
This is a complete community college offering a full range of classes.

As far as other conveniences, such as supermarkets and that sort of thing, you do have most of those locally, though you may have to go up to Marina Village area to get your groceries from a Lucky’s. Except for an Indian place that is pretty much where you have to go restaurants and that sort of thing as well.
Pros
  • Nice Older Homes
  • Some Walkable Streets
  • Okay Community College
Cons
  • Mediocre Schools
  • Some Very Dingy Areas on west end
  • Possible Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Hipsters
  • Students
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • 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 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"A Motley Marina Neighborhood"

Marina Village on the far north section of Alameda is connected to Oakland’s Jack London Square vicinity by the Posey and Webster Street tubes. Marina Village is a mix of condos, planned communities, hotels and industrial parks all surrounding a marina, as the name indicates.

Among the companies you will find here are Jetson Systems (a softward development firm), Herbert Solutions (providing software solutions for ships and offshore platforms), Calipers (a biotech firm, obviously) and MICROS (developing software solutions/content management systems for entertainment venues, from restaurants to stadiums). As you would expect, in the SF Bay Area it is a tech heavy grouping.

Argosy University is also on the southern end of the college. It offers courses in psychology, life sciences and business.

You also have some of the usual conveniences you would expect in a more average suburban sort of area, like a Lucky Supermarket, CVS Pharmacy, a Supercuts and Goodyear tire store.

As far as restaurants go there is some pretty average fair like Straw Hat Pizza and Quiznos.

As to living in the area, you have two choices: the planned community on the western end or the condos up closer to the marina itself. In the planned community—which is one of those fairly bland looking places where all the homes are barely distinguishable—home prices go for about $600K. In the condos—which I personally rather prefer for their appearance and location, prices go for about $500K.

And then, of course, there is the yacht club and marina with the yachts. I am definitely not in the tax bracket to have an opinion on those.
Pros
  • Close to the Marina
  • Strong Business Ecosystem
  • Conveniences of the Suburbs
Cons
  • Uniform Housing
  • Traffic
  • Mediocre Schools
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
1/5 rating details
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
Just now

"A Future Luxury Spot"

Alameda Point was, until 1997, the Alameda Naval Air Base, a base that dated back to WWII. But with the end of the Cold War, the airbase eventual fell victim to budget cuts. Since then the SF Bay and the City of Alameda have been trying to clean up the site and to redevelop it, somewhat like the plans to redevelop the Hunter’s Point ship yard.

There has been little progress, however, as local opposition and problems cleaning up the area have presented obstacles to bringing private developers. Deals seem to come up and then fall apart before they manage to get green-lighted.
For now the area will have to be content to remain a shooting location for TV series which Alameda Point has been multiple times in the last few years, the location being ideal for setting off explosions without the risk of endangering the public.
Pros
  • May One Day Be The Ritziest Spot in Alameda
  • A Developer's Dream
Cons
  • Poluted
  • Abandoned
  • Tied Up in Red Tape
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Airport Noise and Apartments"

The major feature of this neighborhood is the Alameda Golf Course which pretty much takes up all of the northern end of this neighborhood. I’m not much of a golfer so I don’t know if this is a great golf course. It is certainly big enough though we are just north of Oakland International Airport, so I don’t know if the jet noise is a problem for golfers either.

This is of course the main problem with this neighborhood: you are right underneath the flight path for jets so this could make for a real issues for residents who are sensitive to airport noise. Homes here sell from between roughly $300 K to $600 K with only a handful falling slightly above or below this range. The median home price here is around $385 K or so.

Bay Farm has been hit pretty hard by the Mortgage Crisis, with 4 of 5 homes here are on sale due to foreclosure.

There are a lot of older, smaller looking Ranch homes dating from the 1950’s on the eastern end of Bay Farm, while the eastern end is mostly taken up by apartment complexes dating from the 1970’s—mostly pretty unappealing boxy looking single units. Not that appealing.

You may however like running by the bay side which is definitely a possibility here. There is a seaside path.

Both Amelia Earhart and Bay Farm Elementary are very good schools as are most of the schools here in Alameda.

Overall, I actually think this is a pretty good spot if you are not particularly sensitive to airport noise.
Pros
  • Okay Apartments
  • Affordable
  • Good Schools
Cons
  • Airport Noise
  • Ugly Older Homes
  • Some Bland Apartment Complexes
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
NJoyinLife
NJoyinLife I'm commenting just to clear up some of your misconceptions about Bay Farm not including Harbor Bay which many outsiders heap together.

We have two golf courses in the Corica complex a North & a South Course including an executive 9 hole course.

We also are NOT under the flight path of the Oakland Airport, passenger planes land and takeoff over the bay. Occasionally in inclement weather or when work is being done on the asphalt they may skirt the edge of homes. The private field occasionally has a pilot that ignores direction and catches the edge of the homes over the San Leandro Bay.

Bay Farm nor Harbor Bay have ever seen 4/5 homes in the foreclosure process, we've had our share but no where as hard hit as neighboring cities. I've closed more then 5 homes in the last month and neither were in the Short Sale / REO status. FYI, foreclosure is an umbrella term for the process and includes the Short Sale / REO status.

Lastly there is only one small apartment complex of maybe 12 units in Bay Farm. The apartments you are referring to are town homes, not apartments and not condos, those 'unappealing boxy looking single units" sell briskly between $300k-$400k at times with multiple offers today.
2yrs+
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1/5
Just now

"Not Really Much Here"

Just a big empty hill, I think. Good place to bury a body maybe?
Pros
  • Good For Getting Away from It All
Cons
  • Nothing But a Hill
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Parking 2/5
Just now

"Alameda's Little Prehensile Tail"

Not so much a neighborhood—it is really more of a promontory, just sticking out like a little tail out into the San Francisco Bay. It is nice little green space with waterside walkways. Great for taking kids and just hanging out.

I’ve seen teenagers head out here at night, so it might be some kind of make out point or party spot in the middle of the night. I don’t know, not having grown up here.

Not much else to it, really.
Pros
  • Nice Little Park
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 2/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Great For Sailing Affcionados"

The Marina District of Alameda stretches just from the High Street Bridge to the Fruitvale Bridge. I stayed with a friend here on this little crescent of a neighborhood on the eastern end of Alameda. Alameda is a weird little spot. You are sort of on an island, but it is really not much of an island. You stare out past your private dock to the whitewashed smoke stacks on the western end of Oakland’s Fruitvale District.

It is perhaps this strangeness which partly explains the relatively moderate home prices here, which range from about $400 K to $600 K, with the median being right around $500 K.

The schools here are pretty great as well, with everything from the local elementary school, Edison Elementary, to the middle school, Lincoln, to the high school, Alameda High School, receiving the highest ratings on standardized tests and other measurements.

Despite being so close to the Fruitvale District—probably Oakland’s most dangerous area—Alameda generally, and this neighborhood specifically, is actually pretty safe for the most part.

The other thing about this area is that you have most of the conveniences of the suburbs nearby—with Nob Hills food just to the north, a PetFood Express and that sort of stuff. There is also a Safeway on the other side of Alameda, facing SF.

If you live in one of the houses that face the water and like to sail, this can be an absolutely spectacular neighborhood in which to live. If you live in one of the interior streets, there is really very little difference than living inland somewhere.
Pros
  • Nice Private Docks
  • Great Schools
  • Suburban Amenities
Cons
  • A Little Out of the Way
  • Close to High Crime Areas
  • Smaller, Older Homes
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Kind of Drab"

Stretching roughly from El Cerrito Del Norte BART station to El Cerrito High School, the El Cerrito flatlands is a long packed neighborhood filled with homes on the interior and businesses along San Pablo Avenue.

The median home price here is around $350 K, with prices ranging from $100 K on the low end to $650 K on the high. About two thirds of the homes currently for sale here are on the market due to foreclosure. Homes here are fairly evenly made up of 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s era houses, although they look much older. They have a sort of run down, sometimes even dilapidated look to them.

These are mostly smaller homes (less than 1000 square feet) along streets that tend to have a lot of apartments along them. It is really more of a renter’s neighborhood than a homeowner’s neighborhood.

Given what I have said so far, you might expect this to be a high crime area. Actually, however, crime seems to only be a moderate consideration here. In the past 6 months, for example, there have not been any murders here (or anywhere else in
El Cerrito as far as I can tell). There have been about 3 dozen assaults but that is not particularly high for semi-urban areas like this. The biggest problem seems to be robberies and burglaries which had about 90 incidents since the beginning of the year. (This is consistent with El Cerrito’s crime rate in general which although slightly higher than the national average has not had a murder in almost 5 years, I think. Unless one occurred in 2011 which I missed.)

One of the conveniences of the area is that it has its own BART station and that public transportation in general is pretty good.

There are also a number of stores and restaurants in the area. As far as restaurants go there are a number of sort of run of the mill Asian food restaurants like Krung Thep’s. My favorites in the area are Louisiana Fried Chicken and, strangely Nibs, though I don’t know if I would make the trek into El Cerrito to go to them—more of a “we were passing through and dropped
in” than a “let’s head out to Nibs” sort of places.

The only bar I know of in this neighborhood is the Sky Lounge, which has a sort of neighborhood bar sort of a feel to it, imo (just in case you thought I was giving someone’s opinion).

It’s an okay neighborhood—more than a little on the drab side, but passable. Hey there is even a Jazzersize joint—they are totally going to rock the Reagan era.
Pros
  • Affordable Homes
  • Good Public Transportation
  • Okay Restaurants
Cons
  • Kind of Run Down
  • Some Crime Worries
  • Mediocre Schools
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Students
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 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Bay Views and Foreclosures"

El Cerrito Hills is definitely where the upper crust of El Cerrito live. (Kind of a funny name really, given that “El Cerrito” means “little hill” in Spanish, making this the “Little Hill Hills” neighborhood.) This is a pretty large neighborhood. Generally speaking it gets more expensive and ritzier the farther south towards Kensington that you get.

Homes here offer pretty awe-inspiring views of the north San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The streets are windy like in the Berkeley Hills, but with fewer trees. The vast majority of homes here were built during the 40’s and 50’s, so you will find a fair share of Ranch style homes with diamonds on the garage doors and that sort of thing. Most homes here make good use of the Bay views by having long west facing windows and decks.

The two main arteries into the neighborhood are Moeser (an steep 2-lane road) and Arlington which runs north south on the upper elevations of El Cerrito Hills. Of the two lanes, Arlington is by far the more appealing. You will find long tree-lined straightaways here and well-maintained front yards with occasional breathtaking glimpses of the glassy bay.

Some of my favorite streets in this neighborhood are way up by the crest of El Cerrito Hills where the neighborhood gives way to the undeveloped lands of Wildcat Canyon Regional Park. You will find some cozier streets here with somewhat newer architecture and attractive, though narrow front lawns.

The median home price is $575K with prices ranging from $215 K to $1.4 M. That is a pretty wide range. What is the reason for it? Foreclosures have let many homes go for much lower than the prices at which they are valued—often half of the estimated current price. Three out of four homes here are on the market due to foreclosure.

Because of the hills, absence of sidewalks, and lack of public transportation, El Cerrito hills is definitely a car necessary neighborhood. Just to get groceries you have to drive down to El Cerrito Plaza where there is a Lucky’s—a good mile from most places in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, El Cerrito public schools are middling at best (both Portola Middle School and El Cerrito High have mid range test scores), so families who move here will probably want to consider some of the private options in the area. (This is, in effect, an added cost of living in El Cerrito Hills.)

El Cerrito Hills is a residential neighborhood, but it is close enough to Berkeley and Oakland to offer weekend entertainment and to the wild areas of the East Bay to offer outdoorsy types recreational as well. Overall a pretty good value—especially right now.
Pros
  • Great Bay Views
  • Good Deals on Foreclosures
  • Attractive Homes
Cons
  • Average Schools
  • Car Culture
  • Too Many Foreclosures
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
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 2/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 3/5
Just now

"Cool Older Houses, Great Views"

The biggest feature of this hillside neighborhood is the Mira Vista Country Club. I am not much of a golfer but from reading some reviews of the club, it sounds like most people would enjoy taking in a few holes up there while taking in the view. (Why the golf course is not a part of the Mira Vista neighborhood is not altogether clear to me, but I will try not to dwell on it.)

Although there are definitely some higher elevations farther to south along the Kensington and Berkeley hills, Del Norte still gives you a panoramic view of the Bay from its best spots on the eastern end. The streets curve but not in that narrow barely passable way that characterizes the Berkeley Hills. These lanes—for the most part—offer drivers plenty of space to get by to where they are going.

The real attraction of the neighborhood, however, is the pleasant mix of older home styles. El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 Earthquake and was originally called Rust after the local postmaster before residents changed it to something with fewer negative connotations. You get a fair number of homes up here which date back to the earliest period of El Cerrito.

Del Norte is sort of a history of El Cerrito in terms of the homes here. You will find plenty of Jazz Age bungalows here, for example. As well as some English style manors—some with Tudor accents. There are also newer Ranch style homes from the 1970’s.

Given what I have described you might expect prices close to $1 million. Certainly, if we were over on the Peninsula near Palo Alto, this would indeed be the case, but because we are in El Cerrito, the median price is only around $450 K with prices ranging from $300 K to $700 K at the outer limits. (3 of 4 are in the $400 K to $600 K range.)

One of the big drawbacks of this neighborhood however is the local schools which are below average to poor across the board (as reflected by test scores). That makes it a harder sell for parents.

Crime is also a bit of an issue as there have been a number of break-ins in the last 6 months—though no homicides and only one assault have been reported in the neighborhood in that same period.

Overall a really nice neighborhood—perfect for younger couples and maybe even singles looking for a bit of stability.
Pros
  • Cool Older Houses
  • Great Bay Views
  • Nicely Kept Streets
Cons
  • Poor Schools
  • Some Property Crime Worries
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Old Houses, Good Shopping"

Central Park is the largely residential neighborhood just to the west of the El Cerrito Plaza BART station. It is just north of Albany Hill. This area is mostly apartment buildings with older homes mixed in about equal proportions. Rents here go for about $1000 to $2000 for most apartments—they are a real mixed bag. Some look like they could keel over in a strong breeze, others are much tidier. None that I noticed are outstanding here.
Homes are about as affordable as they get in the Bay Area here, with prices ranging from around $200 K to $500 K. The median price is around $300K. These are mostly tiny homes dating from just after WWII.

The schools are also not very good here (especially compared to Albany just to the south). With McGregor High being significantly below average and El Cerrito High being just average.

The neighborhood is relatively safe with no homicides and only a half dozen assaults reported in the last 6 months. Most of the crime reported has to do with property crime and robberies.

As far as restaurants and shopping go, residents of Central Park in El Cerrito are well situated, being just to the west of El Cerrito Plaza and just to the east of the Point Isabel shopping area (where CostCo is located). In addition to the supermarket which is located there, residents will also find everything from a Barnes and Noble Bookstore to a Pier 1 Imports.

But you don’t necessarily need to leave the neighborhood for entertainments and such. For those who like to stay in shape there is a Bridges Rock Gym where you can get in some indoor rock climbing. For entertainment there is the nearby Rialto Cinema—one of those older cinemas with curtains around the screen and where you can occasionally find Wizard of Oz sing-a-longs.

Overall, this is an okay place to live, especially if you are a young couple or a UC student who wants to get a little bit of distance from campus but not live in the suburbs. Not so great if you are in your 30’s and married with kids.
Pros
  • Close to El Cerrito BART
  • Close to Lots of Conveniences
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Below Average Schools
  • Some Crime
  • Old and Dingy
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
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 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"For UC Students with Families"

UC Village is the married student housing area of UC Berkeley. The area basically looks like a bunch of fairly non-descript apartment buildings. It is run somewhat in the communal spirit that you would expect from UC Berkeley. There is a communal garden and regular activities to help support married student families—such as a weekly men’s discussion group and a weekly meditation session as well as Wednesday sing-a-longs.

There are a couple of parks in the neighborhood which make it very kid friendly. There are also play areas inside the village itself—so it really is set up with families in mind.

The schools in Albany, btw, are outstanding, having the highest rankings around.

As far as restaurants and nightlife go—you are far enough away from Berkeley that you do not get the worst of the homeless and crazies problem, but you are close enough to Solano Avenue that you have plenty of choices when it comes to eating out. It is a great place to go Sunday mornings to have breakfast or brunch on the sidewalk. There are quite a few bars along San Pablo as well.

You basically have all the amenities you could want if you are a UC student with a family: nearby groceries, stores and the usual conveniences of big city living—generally without too many of hassles of Berkeley proper.
Pros
  • Lots of Community
  • Affordable
  • Family Friendly
Cons
  • Kind of Ugly and Institutional Looking
  • A Bit of Neaby Crime Worries
  • Close Quarters
Recommended for
  • 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 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 1/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 5/5
Just now

"Good SF Family Neighborhood"

This little gem of a neighborhood is buried away on the hills just to the west of Noe Valley. It is a somewhat newer area as compared to much of the SF, with the oldest homes seeming to date to the 1980’s. The homes are largely squarish condo style homes—many sporting wood shingles, popular to the area. The hilly area offers very nice views out to the bay and the easterly facing hills somewhat shield it from the worst of the foggy weather that marks the Sunset District.

This is a residential neighborhood and has many of the conveniences of such, including its own Safeway supermarket with an ample parking lot—a relative rarity in much of corner market infested SF—and the usual drugstores, etc. Basically, just about everything you would expect in a suburban community of this kind.

Given what I have said about this neighborhood so far, you might expect rents to equal the elevated heights. In fact, however, the prices are relatively moderate given these facts. On average, most rents go for about $1500/room for homes that are 2-bedrooms or more (most are 2-4 rooms in this area). Single room homes tend to jump to $2800 for some reason, but this may simply be a fluke—not many of these kinds of homes around here.

So, the prices are relatively moderate given the location.

You won’t find much to write home about in terms of restaurants or bars (there are a few of the first and none of the second that I know of) but you are so close to Noe, Castro and the Mission, that this is not really a problem—you could be eating at a great restaurant in 15 minutes no matter what the traffic.

One thing there is however is a number of good choices in terms of education and childcare. The San Francisco School of the Arts High School is here and there are at least a half dozen choices for the younger kids. Basically, this is a nice family nook on the western side of SF—somewhat expensive but nowhere near as some of the even more expensive areas on the other side of the hills.
Pros
  • Nice Newer Homes
  • Supermarket
  • Close to SF
Cons
  • Somewhat Expensive
  • No Real Night LIfe
  • A Little Boring
Recommended for
  • 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 3/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 4/5
Just now

"Giants and Giant Plans"

Mission Bay (including the neighborhood area sometimes called China Basin) is the next step in the expansion migrating south from South Beach and SoMa. The long term plan is to continue to extend this growth as far as Bayview and Hunter’s Point—a prospect that has raised a great deal of controversy over the years.

In this area, unlike just to the north, much of promised growth is still in the future. You do have AT&T Park on its northern end (though the traffic for it doesn’t usually venture down here). You also have the UCSF extension in the neighborhood which ensures there will be growth on the campus’ periphery. Much of the landscape around the campus is still made up of empty lots and the detritus of the industrial docks that used to mark this area.

The China Basin area and the section of the neighborhood just to the south of the SoMa and the Bay Bridge freeway is
significantly more developed. Really it is just the southern extension of SoMa in terms of feel. (Government and commercial office buildings can be found here along with recreation areas like the dozen courts of the SF Tennis Club and number of restaurants—from McDonalds to some of slightly better quality, though not much to write home about at this point.)

There is also an Academy of Art College here.

Shopping is plentiful in the area. You can find everything from bicycle repair shops to florists. Many businesses take advantage of the moderate rents of the area and the proximity to major SF areas to set down stakes here. You will find everything from radio station headquarters to architectural firms and schools in the area.

Little about this northern section of the neighborhood is spectacular, but every city needs at least one or too such highly useful areas like this to support he commercial interests of the rest of the city.
Pros
  • UC SF Extension
  • AT&T Park
  • Lots of Stores
Cons
  • Lots of Construction
  • Unremarkable Restaurants
  • No Nightlife
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 1/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"Expensive High Rise Living"

You find South Beach on the far eastern edge of SoMa. I need to tell you because this neighborhood did not exist just a few years ago. This is part of the on-going effort to market SF by creating a series of neighborhoods like this. Usually they have names taken from other more prosperous neighborhoods (like “Lower Nob Hill”) or from other famous areas in other cities (South of Market is thus SoMa to recall New York’s SoHo).

So here we have South Beach—though the area has less the feel of Miami than some of the nicer areas of Boston. Just a couple of years ago there were still buildings going up and a ton of empty lots. Now however, you will find few signs of the massive construction project that created this area (at least south of the Bay Bridge—on the northern end there are still some projects still underway). Someone walking through might be mistaken in thinking this neighborhood has been here for a generation, at least—except for the amazingly high ratio of newer buildings and lack of Victorians—a rarity for SF.

So what is the cost like in this area? The typical apartment in the area averages around $2500/room with prices rising the closer you get to the ocean. (It is not unusual to see a one-room for $3800 in the close to the waters of the bay.) Put simply, this is one of the priciest places to live in a city that is known for its high cost of living.

What about nightlife and entertainment? Well, we need to start with AT&T Park of course. The home of the Giants is a magnet for foot traffic to the area and a whole set of restaurants and other shops have moved in to take advantage of both the high rent apartments and the fan traffic.

Restaurants of note in the area include One Market, Boulevard and Ozumo right along the waterfront—many of these are in the classy lounge style featuring American cuisine (like Serpentine in Dogpatch to the south).

There are also a number of bars in the area, starting with the Gordon Bierschi Brewery and the Hi Dive.

Overall, if you can afford to pay the equivalent of a teacher’s salary in rent, this makes for a very nice spot to live.
Pros
  • New High Rises
  • Good Restaurants
  • Great views
  • Baseball stadium
Cons
  • Very Expensive
  • Parking
  • Some industrial areas
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 1/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 1/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 2/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"A Walk on the Wild Side"

What you have heard about the Tenderloin is pretty much true. It is definitely the most dangerous area north of Market St., and perhaps the second most dangerous area in all of SF. It definitely doesn’t hide this fact either. There are blocks in the Tenderloin where you will literally be afraid to make it to the end of the block.

The oddity of this neighborhood, of course, is that it is bordered by a couple of neighborhoods known for their affluence: Nob Hill and Downtown. This is the thing about San Francisco, you will literally have low cost housing projects and massage parlors within just a block or two of high class jewelry stores and theaters. Of course, this does create quite a bit of a problem in terms of crime.

How bad is the crime here? Well the Tenderloin experiences a full quarter more crime than the Mission (also known for its crime) even though the Tenderloin has about half the population. Basically, your are twice as likely to have a crime committed against in this area than anywhere else in this part of San Francisco.

There are apartments for rent in this area, and though they are definitely less expensive on average than some apartments just a few blocks outside of this neighborhood, many are only moderately downgraded for the dangers of the neighborhood. Many still have price tags above $1500 for a one-room. Though you can find some at $1000, very few are willing to deal with the crime in the area in order to take advantage of any small savings in rent.

Despite all of this, the Tenderloin is the place for a wide variety of restaurants and bars: Indian places like Shalimar, Naan-n-Curry and New Delhi; lots of cheap Thai places (Little Saigon is here—I know that Thailand and Vietnam are not the same places by the way—no need for mail); and, oddly enough, a fair number of vegetarian restaurants like Millennium and Ananda Fuara.

In terms of bars and nightlife you have gay dance clubs like Deco Lounge and Bearracuda; pricy lounges like Bourbon and Branch, and the Redwood Lounge; and outright dives like the Ha-Ra Club, Hi-Tide and of course, Mr. Lews.

There is certainly no lack of things to do in this neighborhood. This is still not somewhere you would want to live, however.
Pros
  • dive bars
  • moderate rents
  • good restaurants
Cons
  • unsafe
  • Dirty
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Hipsters
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • 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

"The High Class Commercial Heart of SF"

When you start talking about Downtown San Francisco you have to start with Union Square one of the best shopping districts in all of SF. If there is any spot in SF where you could mistake the area for New York City, it is Union Square.
From the multiple story department stores, to the classy hotels with doormen as heralds, the area just exudes the commercial vibe of a large metropolis. In December all you would need is some fake snow to the get the same cheer you find in a New York.

So what is there to do in this area?

Shopping: Let’s start with the department stores: Bloomingdale’s, Nordstroms, Macy’s, even a Loehmann’s. And that’s just department stores. Looking for jewelry? You can find more than a dozen jewelers in this neighborhood. Want original artwork? You have a gallery for each finger on both your hands. A great bookstore: those covered too. Put simply, if it is pricey—you can find it here.

Hotels: The Four Seasons, Donatello or Palomar are right in the square and the Intercontinental and its clutch of high class rivals are just a few blocks north in Nob Hill.

Restaurants: Five-star restaurants where you can spend as much on one meal as some people make in month? Try Masa, for French; Farallon, for seafood; or the classic Morton’s, for a good bloody steak.

Bars: You also have a range of night spots, from high class joints like Summer Place to dives like Chelsea Place, you’ll find them here.

Theaters: Of course this is also the epicenter of the theater district, including one of the very best West Coast companies, the ACT and the Geary Theater. The Curran is also here, so you definitely have your bases covered when it comes to high brow art.

Put simply, if you can’t find something to like about this area (even if you can’t afford any of it), then you should really check whether you are still alive.
Pros
  • great live theaters
  • many stores
  • union square park
Cons
  • expensive
  • crowds
  • homeless population
  • Full of tourists
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Tourists
  • Trendy & Stylish
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 2/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • 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 3/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
Just now

"Opera and the Homeless"

Bordering the Tenderloin, the Civic Center is, as the name indicates, the location of SF’s City Hall and the Opera House. The Civic Center, much like the Financial District is not known as place where you rent apartments since it is largely a commercial and governmental area with large old stone buildings. (I think many of them date to the period after the 1906 Earthquake when they went through a large building boom leading up to the 1916 World’s Fair.)

There are, however, a fair number of apartments in older, Hitchcock era buildings. If you like feelings as if you are in the 1950’s or sooner, you will love the lobbies and elegant stonework of these classic structures. The interiors of the actual apartments are usually modernized, so you will have modern conveniences. The typical price for such apartments are around $1800/room so you are paying for your proximity to the high brow arts center of SF.

One of the other problems that you have to consider if you are going to live in this area, is that you get a strong spill over from the Tenderloin in terms of crime and homelessness. This is definitely no small matter when you have to go out your door every day. This is the reason that so many ads for apartments will advertise being on the third story or above, because they know people don’t feel safe living on the first or second floor of apartments in the area.

Among the many highbrow entertainment venues in the area are the SF Opera House—definitely a world class outfit and the amazing venue is a must if you are a long term SF resident as is the adjacent SF Ballet. (I’ve come here for the classic Nutcracker during Christmas and found the experience quite wonderful—even though it is a total cliché and more than a little pricy.)

All these venues are packed along two to three blocks of Van Ness, the central north south artery in SF.
The nearby Tenderloin also makes this the capitol of dive bars which are just out from the upper class entertainments.
The whole location actually feels in most ways more like New York than SF.
Pros
  • Classy Older Buildings
Cons
  • crime worries
  • crowded
  • homeless population
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 1/5
Just now

"SF's Museum District"

SoMa is the highly commercial area of the city just to the south of the Financial District. And like the Financial District, there are not a lot of residences here. There are lots of office buildings, hotels, and museums in this area including the company I am currently involved with so I know this area fairly well.

It is actually fairly difficult to summarize all that is going here. But let’s give it a shot:

Museums: This is really SF’s museum. Yes, it is true the De-Young is in Golden Gate Park, and the Le