Best Area to Raise Children


We are a family of 4 with two young children (3.5 yrs and 6 yrs old). I’m a stay at home mom and I’m looking for the best neighborhood/ area in the east bay to raise children. I am looking for a safe neighborhood where neighbors know each other and kids play together in the neighborhood. Possibly an area with other stay at home moms but that’s not a must.  

We are currently in Berkeley but thinking of moving to Lamorinda for the schools but are open to other areas as well. Any recommendations on best neighborhoods to raise your kids? 

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RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

Nearly everyday I wish I had bought a house in Lamorinda, Pleasant Hill or Walnut Creek instead of our small 100 year old dilapidated house on a meager sloped lot in what is considered one of the best neighborhoods in Oakland. I am afraid to take a walk due to rise in crime. For the same price point at the time of purchase, we could have had a larger house on a much larger flat lot with a swimming pool in a neighborhood with other kids. Young families are fleeing in droves from our hood to the other side of the tunnel. Within the past 15 months, we have had 3 friends move to Pleasant Hill, 1 to Moraga, 1 to Benicia, 1 to Orinda, 1 to Walnut Creek. (Several other friends to Sacramento area and out of state or country)… *sigh*

Commute to SF was our first priority in home purchase. It make no economics sense for us to move and we can’t afford the house we want now that the price has gone up so much. But we are very envious of people being able to move.

Pleasant Hill seems like less snooty, very family friendly and a bit more diverse than Lamorinda. We dream of a 4br/2ba house with a large yard in Pleasant Hill where neighborhood kids come out and play. (All 3 friends who moved to PH live on this type of street)

RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

This is going to depend a LOT on your pricepoint, and somewhat on your 'style'. We live in the North Berkeley flatlands with our almost 4 and almost 6 year olds and absolutely love the neighborhood. We have become very close with our neighbors, even those with older kiddos or babies, and see little 'packs' of kids riding and running around. It's a little mecca as far as I'm concerned, with proximity to schools, restaurants, bars, parks, libraries, etc. We are fortunate to have a lovely yard as well, though I know it's not all that common in Berkeley. We prioritized being able to walk/bike places, and didn't want to be in the hills. The heat on the other side of the tunnel was also a factor for our family.

RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

We just moved to Walnut Creek from Oakland last year, during the pandemic, didn't plan it that way but it worked out perfectly. More space, good schools, safe neighborhoods. There are a lot of new families in the area who left SF and Oakland to come across the tunnel. We are in the North Gate area of Walnut Creek and the schools are well rated. A friend in Emeryville is moving to the Parkmead neighborhood of WC, good schools, safe, and close to downtown. Another friend who used to live in Montclair hills moved to Campolindo neighborhood in Moraga last summer for a house with a pool, yard, good schools, and a neighborhood with sidewalks. I don't think you can go wrong with either Lamorinda or WC. 

RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

Pretty sure Alameda fits the bill on all counts. Safe streets, kids play together, lots of SAHM's and great schools, stores, dining, plus it's an island! How cool is that? Happy hunting!

RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

What does “best” mean to you because it means different things to different people. People saying Oakland is not safe or not the best area to raise a kid haven’t experienced all of Oakland. There is a lot of crime of course because it’s a major urban city. Obviously there is less crime in suburbs but you lose a tremendous amount in regard to diversity and culture. It’s about what you’re looking for. While I’m certainly weary of the crime in Oakland, I love living here because my kid is exposed to many races, ethnicities, genders, socioeconomics, you name it. My kid is surrounded by working class kids and not a bunch of privileged wealthy kids who will make her feel bad. I love going to parks and finding a multicultural group of kids to play with rather than the all white kids you’ll find in these “safe” suburbs. I’ll take the diversity over a perceived perception of safety any day. 

RE: Best Area to Raise Children ()

Alameda or North Berkeley/Albany seem like good fits, especially if you're not looking for a large yard or country club lifestyle. Walnut Creek or Danville would be worth considering as well.