any recent Davis (from Berkeley) transplants? middle + hi school

I'd love to hear from anyone who's moved from Berkeley > Davis recently. 

We have a middle + high schooler. Of specific interest: biking, soccer, robots, gardening, judo, chess, public schools, cost of living -- is it any cheaper?

If anyone knows about ADHD accommodation in public school, interested in that too. 

I did grad work in Davis before kids, so am aware of the climate difference and that it's a pretty quiet town. 

Thanks for any insight + recent daily life experience. 

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

We moved from Berkeley to Davis and have a kid here in high school and one in the junior high. Here they have junior high for grades 7-9 and high school for grades 10-12 (unless you kid goes to DaVinci in which case high school is 9-12).

People move here for the schools which are very good. I have found the science at the high school in particular to be excellent though my kids have had good to great teachers in many of their classes.

My kids bike to school and have since they started though I biked with them through elementary school. Biking is super easy with lots of bike paths and tons of their friends bike around too which makes it easy to have freedom and go places.

Robotics is huge at the high school with team 1678 which has won the national championship in the past and I guess is considered a powerhouse team. Two of my kids have done it. I felt like they were too into face time (we want 100 people to show up to this match to show how big and devoted our team is) and during build season which lasts surprisingly long with the new rules, kids might spend 30-40 hours/week. But one of my kids learned a bunch of programming and another got good at machining parts so they do learn stuff. I think you now need to be a rising 9th grader to apply (applications due in like a month I think) though in the past you could be a rising 8th grader. There are also robotics classes at the high school and they are building a big building to house the team and classes.

There is a great chess club at the high school as well as someone who puts together tournaments and gives classes outside of school.

if you like gardening, show up to Farmers Market on Saturday where the master gardeners have tables and they can get you hooked up. Or go talk to a group at the arboretum.

Houses are certainly cheaper and you get bigger houses and yards. A lot of other stuff is cheaper too.

There is AYSO soccer for younger years and then legacy soccer for older kids. My kid tapped out during the pandemic so I don’t know about the legacy soccer though from people we know it sounds like it is pretty intense. Probably not compared to the Bay Area though.

There is less to do here than there though life is certainly easier. I remember when we first moved here and was used to staying up until midnight to sign kids up for camp the first day registration opened on 12/1 and was all panicked that I didn’t have anything for the kids for the summer but a friend told me that most registrations opened in March or April and very few filled up (exceptions that I know about: Camp Putah through the city and sewing classes through the Arts Center). It is good for kids though. People seem friendlier and life is chiller.

I have friends whose kids have ADHD so can find out about that if no one else answers you.

Good luck!

We moved from Berkeley to Davis, and life is so much easier here. We have a high schooler and an elementary schooler.

Everyone bikes. We have more miles of greenbelts for biking than roads, it is said. We have the Bicycling Hall of Fame downtown! And it seems as if everyone plays soccer. We don't, but it is extremely common to play soccer. I know adults on teams too. There's AYSO, but there's also Davis Legacy Soccer for kids.

The other poster covered robotics for older kids (Citrus Circuits/1678), but I know that Citrus Circuits runs robotics for younger kids too. 

There's judo in town. There's after school chess programs. The public schools are better than in the Bay Area. It is SO MUCH CHEAPER. And safer! My high schooler and their friends spend a lot of time downtown by themselves, and I don't know that I'd feel as safe letting them do that in Berkeley at night. There's a real community feel in Davis, centered on the Farmers Market (Wed/Sat) and its Picnic in the Park. 

For gardening, there are master gardeners, volunteer opportunities for gardeners, and a great independent garden store (Redwood Barn). Get to know the owner of Redwood Barn, Don, and he'll let you know all the possibilities! The arboretum on campus is a great resource.

Many kids in school have ADHD, and my kids just see it as normal to have classmates with ADHD. One of my kids has a 504 for another issue, and it was easy to get and the teachers are all easy to work with about the accommodations. We have school counselors in all the schools (multiple in the middle and high schools), and they are responsive and easy to get in touch with.

The restaurant scene is not as exciting as Berkeley, though!

Thanks so much for the replies!!! I am so happy to hear about all these good Davis activities and see how vibrant the robot community is. Are the public schools pretty similar? Do they put you in your "local" school based on where your address is, like in Berkeley?

We are just running the gauntlet of the school decision time and are feeling squeezed in every direction by the cost of this city.  Berkeley High is so big and intense, with more and more headlines in the paper, so I'm hoping for a safe, quieter high school option. 

Rolling around on our bikes in a safe city sounds so sweet right now. I'll reach out to the Davis School district to see what the transfer process is.