Should we live in El Cerrito or San Leandro?
We are looking to buy our first house and are hoping to find a 3 bedroom/2 bath with some yard space. With our budget, that means we're looking mainly at San Leandro or El Cerrito. In San Leandro we would like to be in Estudillo Estates or Broadmoor, and in El Cerrito we've found some nice options near the Richmond border (zoned for Mira Vista Elementary). We are leaning towards San Leandro - we love how flat it is, and the strong sense of community there - but the market is limited - there are so few places for sale, especially in the neighborhoods we are considering. I would love to hear thoughts on how El Cerrito measures up in terms of sense of community - especially in the hillier areas. We are concerned that the hills make it harder for people to be out and about with their kids. We have a 2.5 year old who loves to ride his bike and run around. We really want to let him play outside and get to know our neighbors. Thoughts on how likely this is in the hills?
Commute is less important to us than neighborhood, sense of community, and outdoor space, but it's not irrelevant. We commute to the Cal campus, and Jack London Sq - so any thoughts on the commute to/from each of these options would also be appreciated.
I'd also love to hear thoughts about whether there are other neighborhoods/areas we should be exploring, considering our priorities.
Thanks for your advice and tips!