Looking for feedback on Davis

I'm contemplating relocating from Oakland to Davis with my pre-K son due to the crazy cost of the Bay Area and I'd love to get some current feedback.  Specifically, I'm curious about diversity, the political climate, job opportunities (I'm an IT project manager), access to nature, sense of community, etc, . Some of the older reviews I've read are pretty positive and I'm wondering if that is still the case. Any feedback is appreciated.


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RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

Davis is a great place to raise a family. The political climate in Davis is quite liberal. Overall, the Sacramento area tends liberal, but there are conservative pockets in particular towns (some of the wealthiest suburbs are red, as well as some of the poorer areas). People in Davis seem to be very engaged in politics as well. To get a sense of community, I'd encourage you to come on either a Wednesday or Saturday to visit the Farmers Market. On Wednesday evenings at the Farmers Market, we have a "Picnic in the Park," with music, food trucks, bouncy castles, etc. Each person has their own definition of what "diverse" means, based upon their own perspective. To me as a white person, Davis seems pretty diverse---there are 65 languages spoken at my child's school. And, because Davis has neighborhood schools (and they are all great schools!), I think that there is a stronger sense of community. Because of the university, Davis is a pretty international city. The town is putting in more housing, so it's growing too. There's lots of good opportunities to access nature. To wit, there's a reason that the Berryessa Snow Mountain area was designated a National Monument recently. It's really easy to get to Napa and Sonoma, to the Sierra Foothills, up to Tahoe, to the Feather River area, the Delta, and so on. The coast is not far either, but not as easy to get to as if you are living in the Bay. People are very active and outdoorsy in Davis. Sacramento is a growing region, with lots of people moving there from the Bay to find a better quality of life. I expect that these people are creating job opportunities as well. If you do have to commute into the Bay, however, the time to commute is less than it would be from Oakland to San Jose. (It takes an hour to get from Davis to Richmond on Amtrak, where you can catch BART). It IS a lot hotter here, though (and colder in the winter). But, we have lots of parks and good pools and tons of things to get us through! Just come hang out here some weekend. Wander around downtown and go to some open houses. Good luck.

RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

We moved to Davis maybe 6 years ago and it was a great move for us.

I know you didn't ask about this but when we moved we had two kids in preschool. The cost in Davis was about half what we were paying in Berkeley and, aside from one school, we were able to just call up and get our kids admitted. No more of the problem of kids needing to be on the waitlist since before they were born that we faced in Berkeley.

In answer to your actual questions...

I actually think the school population is pretty diverse, at least according to the kids my kids hang out with and the parents I see at Back to School night. Probably a third of the kids my kids hang out with are Asian, a third are Hispanic, and a third are white. If you look at official numbers, I think it is about half white.

It is pretty liberal here. I feel at home.

I'm also in IT (programmer) and didn't have much trouble finding a job. UC Davis is the biggest employer but there are other tech firms around. There are also tech jobs in Sacramento though then you have a (reverse) commute which still isn't fun.

We do "nature light" by going to the arboretum or going along Putah Creek just outside of town. It's great. If we want more, we can just head west toward Lake Barryessa which is a little more wild. There is even a wild(ish) pond in town which the kids like to go to and walk around.

The best part of the move for us has been the sense of community. I didn't really feel it in Berkeley even though we lived there about 10 years. It seemed that so many of the people we became friends with moved and we were stuck looking for new friends again. Here it doesn't seem like people move away as often. And the town is smaller so the kids will run into someone on the swim team that they met in camp or find out the someone in their class is doing rock climbing at the same time they are. And we can't go to the farmer's market or the store without seeing someone we know. So that's great. We feel very connected to the other people who live here.

RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

I went to grad school in Davis and I loved it! I still go back from time to time and love the sense of intimacy and the friendly atmosphere. The farmer's market is amazing, the downtown is both fun and functional with plenty of indie businesses, there is a lot of walkable space. I've always heard that the schools are excellent and there is access to hiking and natural areas nearby. We once went on a hike in the Dixon area and saw some spectacular vernal pools. Amtrak goes through town and you're close to Sacramento Airport. It does get warm but most people have A/C. Nugget Market is one of my favorite grocery stores ever. The university dominates the town, of course, so there's a high level of intellectual engagement. Politics skew toward the left but overall there is a live and let live vibe. There is a good mix of short-term and long-term residents, which keeps the town fresh but still friendly with a commitment to community. I think it would be a great place for a family.

RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

Hi, I work in Davis and live in the bay area. Davis is a very safe place with good public schools. It is not very diverse, and is overwhelmingly white compared to the bay area. There are many greenways/bikeways to get around town, and you are within an hour of nature areas although there is a small arboretum at the edge of campus as well that is great for running and walking. I think that Davis has a sense of community, but for me there seemed to be a large number of somewhat hysterical liberals, even compared to where I live now, it's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but I didn't identify all that well with parents in Davis. Many people who move to Davis from larger areas grow tired of the restaurant scene quickly, especially the limited number of places that do not cater to the student population and cater more to adults (I originally lived in a Davis in my 30s and then moved to a larger area, so I did not experience that part as much). For what it is worth, the cost of buying a house in Davis is getting surprisingly high, you can get a nice house in the outer bay area for similar prices.

RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

Thanks so much for the replies! Can anyone speak to the presence of same sex families in Davis?

RE: Looking for feedback on Davis ()

For nature nearby, check out http://www.yolohiker.org/ and http://www.yolocounty.org/general-government/general-government-departme...

As for same sex couples, each of my children have at least one such family in their classrooms (elementary and preschool); I don't know all the parents, though, or I may only know one of them. I guess there aren't a lot, but it's hard to say, because as one of the posters said, there is a "live and let live vibe." I.e., when I'm out and about I don't look at people and think, "Oh! A same sex couple!" Instead, it's more, "Boy, there are a lot of people at the market today." I certainly see plenty of same sex couples at the market, but I'm not sure whether they have kids. I have read a complaint on NextDoor that there aren't a lot of single gay people here, but people responded to that post by pointing out resources that they may not have been aware of, like the Phoenix Coalition. We also have lots of types of families in the schools: older parents with adopted children, same sex with adopted children, single moms, single dads, co-parenting divorced parents, heterosexual married couples. The school district is 57% white in Davis, compared to 38% in Berkeley, but the Hispanic, Asian, Filipino, and Native American student populations in Davis are all larger than in Berkeley (and Davis gets migrant children too), so it all depends upon how you count diversity on whether or not you think Davis is diverse.

To get a good sense of Davis, I'd really come to the market on a Saturday morning when there is NOT a home football game going on, because when there are home football games going on lots of parents/alums from the opposing team flood the market (they are quite easy to spot). Go to a park and have your kids play with the other kids! Go to some open houses. Good luck!