Living in Danville

Parent Q&A

  • Alamo/Danville Area

    (4 replies)

    We are looking into Alamo/Danville area and wanted to get some feedback on living there, schools, community, etc.

    I am worried that we will be outcasted as we are non-white family.

    I know the schools are top-notch and I like the flat streets and the parks.

    Can anyone provide any feedback on how you like or dislike those towns?

    Appreciate any feedback!

    RE: Alamo/Danville Area ()

    Our daughter has spent her junior and senior years at the Athenian School in Danville.  We live in Oakland, and while we've had a really positive experience at Athenian, which is quite diverse, have noticed that Alamo and Danville are very white.  I'd suggest spending some time in those communities before committing.

    RE: Alamo/Danville Area ()

    I'm Caucasian and wouldn't want to live there. I'm sure this may anger some who live there, but I find the demographics to be close to 95% Caucasian (or at least it feels that way when I'm there) Perhaps if you are of Indian Or Asian decent you might feel more welcome. But I would definitely not want to live there if I were African American. I don't live there, but I live near there, have friends who live there and my kids play sports with their teams and in those towns. If you want your kids to feel out numbered by about 95%, of the population, maybe you like it. 

    RE: Alamo/Danville Area ()

    Hi there,

    We moved to Alamo over four years ago from San Francisco and could not be happier! The schools and community are AMAZING.  It is also getting more diverse as more and more young families are moving into the area.  You also get wonderful lots and the parks are great.  I have to say that I have not seen or heard any issues from any of my non-white friends who live in the area.  I can't speak for every school here, but our elementary school, Rancho, has an inclusion and diversity committee and last year I attended one of the most exciting, beautiful events at our school, where we had so many cultures represented. The woman who runs it is amazing and she is always reaching out to new families to get them involved.  Although many at our school look "white" we have families from Europe, Africa, Latin America, etc.  Granted, it is suburbia and much different than what you'd see in SF or Berkeley, but we love it. Danville is also great and has a cute downtown. Both are close to Walnut Creek for shopping, restaurants, etc. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or want more information. 

    RE: Alamo/Danville Area ()

    My best friend grew up in Alamo/Danville during the 1980s-1990s and I remember her saying that most of the cheerleaders and other "popular" kids were non-white. That's just an anecdote, not a direct experience, but based on my experience in the East Bay I would guess that discrimination there is more likely to be socioeconomic rather than race- or ethnicity-based. If you can afford to live there, you fit it. Enjoy the awesome schools.

  • Family moving from Auckland, New Zealand to Danville

    (2 replies)

    Hi there, we are a family of four moving from Auckland, New Zealand to Danville in December for my husbands work. We have two young boys aged 4 and 19 months and I was hoping to get advice from mum's in the local area to make the transition and settling in process for my kids a little easier. It would be great to hear your experience of living with a young family in Danville and the best way to make friends. I would also really appreciate a recommendation for a pre-school for my 4 year old and advice on whether places at preschools are hard to come by? Are there lots of activities to do with kid in the area and local groups for mums? And are there any other NZ or British families living in the area (my kids and I are dual citizens and my husband is a Kiwi)? Thanks for your help! Emma

     Hi Emma! There are tons of wonderful things to do in Danville that will be perfect for you and your family. The community is very family focused. One avenue for making friends with other moms of is the Iron Horse mothers club. You can find it online - it's a great group of moms with kids of all ages and could be a great starting point for you!

    Kia Ora and welcome!  I'm an American who used to live in Auckland and take my daughter every summer to visit her Kiwi dad.  I live in Oakland myself, but I could put you in touch with people in the Danville area through my real estate company.  Lots of nice Danville people, including moms, who can give you good information.

    My recommendation in general is to join meetup.com groups and NZ chamber of commerce / ex patriate groups.  Both are great ways to make friends.

    Also, there are a bunch of Kiwis in the Bay Area who come here for yachting.  Alameda and San Francisco's marinas might be a good place to start to find them.  :)

  • Moving to Danville?

    (1 reply)

    I'm looking for any recent reviews of Danville. Do people who have moved there from Oakland or Berkeley enjoy it? We have found some lovely older homes there but don't really have a grasp on what the community is like. We don't want to live near Blackhawk, so we're looking closer to downtown like Leander Hills, Sycamore or west side. Is it very Stepfordish? Are the schools ultra competitive? Are people friendly to newcomers (our kids are 7 and 9)? We've done a lot of research and would love Lafayette, but it's too far for our commute. Just wondering if Danville might be a good place to raise our family. We are love the city, being outside, cultural activities...not country clubbers. I have heard people say snippy things about Danville (rich kids, jerky parents) but then they admit they really haven't spent any time there. Thanks for any insight!

    RE: Moving to Danville? ()

    I've lived in the Bay Area all my life.  Danville use to be a sleepy quaint town with a lot of charm.  It was fun to go and have fun.  Then along came the developers rolled out miles after mile of nearly identical homes on what were once beautiful  rolling hills.  Not trying to say it's bad, but it's the exact opposite of Berkeley, Lafayette.  One thing I can't stand about Danville is all of the houses look the same.  It's like Disneyland it just feels kind of fake.  What you've heard about Danville is also what I've heard and have experienced too.  If you are not a country clubber not sure what there is to do except going to spas or shopping.  

    Getting out of Danville to San Francisco or San Jose to go to a show, a mall, shopping, sporting event or just to have fun is a long drive without traffic.  But I don't know when there's not a time when there isn't traffic.  I've worked in Danville and can't tell you how many times the drive from Crow Canyon to Walnut Creek takes well over an hour to an hour and a half.  And you have one freeway and side streets.  But this is like a lot of the Bay Area.  (We are building thousand of new homes and no new freeways.)  Just try getting out of town for a weekend getaway or an evening in San Francisco. And have you seen the traffic on 580?

    Schools are very good and rank about as good as Lafayette.  It's  good place to raise kids, and is defiantly Stepfordish.  But then so is Lafayette and many other places.  We've had sove very good friends move to Danville and slowly we've lost touch.  Getting to/from Danville is just such a traffic nightmare.   Maybe I'm biased growing up and living in Oakland, Berkeley and just through the tunnel but I just love being close to San Francisco, and the Bay.  There's just so much more to do and see.

    I hope you will like it. (Many people do.)  But I know I wouldn't.

     

  • Kid-friendly suburbs - moving from San Francisco

    (9 replies)

    We live in San Francisco but are thinking of moving to the suburbs as our son gets older. We are really looking for a suburb where kids play on the streets and bike to each others houses. Does that still exist? Where are we most likely to find it? Money isn't really and issue. We are thinking perhaps Orinda in the east or Hillsborough on the peninsula. Either would work for our commute. We would love some advice. Thanks. 

    Albany is another good one, kids are pretty much free-range around Albany Memorial Park from the age of 9 or 10.

    My son goes to school in Danville, and the kids there have a ton of freedom (in a good way). Several of my friends have moved to Castro Valley recently, and have encountered the awesome environment you described, but if money is no object, you may not like it (it's cheaper and less charming than the areas you mentioned). Living on a cul-de-sac is key, wherever you choose.

    Orinda is a great community with wonderful schools and lots of families but I wouldn't describe it as somewhere kids bike and play in the streets.   Frankly the lots are too large and spaced out and the roads are not pedestrian or child friendly.  It is a very car-centric community.  In the LaMorinda area your best bets for that are in Lafayette (the ranch homes near downtown and perhaps Upper Happy Valley).  

    I have friends in Hillsborough and it is another great community with great schools and lots of families.  That's said the families are typically very wealthy and the community politics can get a little too Desperate Housewives for some.  Whether kids play in the streets or not likely depends on the specifics of your neighborhood but the few families I know there tend to stick to themselves and their yards.   

    Two neighborhoods you haven't mentioned:

    Piedmont - some parts, particularly near the parks, can give you this old time, family friendly vibe.  Also good public schools. 

    Alameda - people overlook this one.  I know we did when considering where to buy.  But the East End and Gold Coast fit this description to a tee.  Kids run in packs, roam free at the local parks, parents practice "free range" parenting without the worry someone will call CPS If your kid walks to the corner market alone, families bike together on the streets, to the beach, to the local wineries, etc.   Alameda is home to many ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds which is good for kids and was an important factor in our decision. The homes are more affordable, you can commute by ferry to SF and you are minutes from Oakland and Berkeley's great restaurant scene (also true of Piedmont).  

    Best of luck in your decision!

     

    We moved from San Francisco to Berkeley nine years ago when our children were 11 and 6. Maybe it's less of a suburb than you're thinking of, but my son shoots baskets on the street in front of our house and has been walking around the city and traveling by public bus since he started middle school. I was a reluctant transplant - loved the city - but life here is much more family oriented. Parents are very involved in the schools and there are lots of things for kids to do. 

    We don't have school-aged kids yet (first child due to arrive any day now :)), but we can speak quite highly of West Contra Costa County; we moved to Pinole almost 3 years ago and there seems to be quite a strong community of families here. We frequently see kids playing in each others' yards, and there are also a lot of public play spaces like parks and sports fields that are always well-used without being too crowded. For older kids, the city's pretty bikable although a bit hilly. The city's also very clearly putting in an effort to make itself more "community-friendly"; there is a winter holiday festival, a 4th of July parade and other activities that are increasingly well-attended. And both the houses and general cost of living are cheaper than you'd find in the eastern part of the county, and the temperature swings are not nearly as crazy either :)

    I know what you mean.  I grew up in Oakland hills and Berkeley and we played in the streets, rode bikes everywhere.  One of the "kids" I grew up with years ago just sent me a letter saying how much fun she had in those days.  In Oakland there would be 5  to 10 kids all playing together in the street.   I think times have changed and that's defiantly something that's rare in Orinda.  The streets are narrow, cars drive fast, lots of hills and few sidewalks.  Downtown is only 2 blocks long and it's filled with real estate offices.  Kids are too busy with organized sports, hanging out at the country club or  involved in  other activities.  There is an occasional lemonade stand on the corner.

    You might want to take a look in Santa Cruz.  I've been taking my daughters there for basketball and volleyball games for a couple of years and I see kids riding bikes and playing together in the yards and in the street. 

    Good luck finding a Disneyland Main Street USA in the US.

    We love living in Lafayette, and my kids play out front all the time. We live on a flat street with the cul-de-sac, and my son spends hours outside kicking a ball, shooting baskets, playing with the neighbors, riding bikes etc. I love this old-fashion childhood in the safe town. 

     When we were looking, we were considering both Orinda and Lafayette (Moraga is another good option, but my husband thought the commute was too far ). I found that Orinda didn't have many flat streets, as it has more hills. There are hilly part of Lafayette as well, but there are also many areas with flat streets and plenty of kids outside! We also live near the trail, which is very convenient. We can walk to school and to town. 

    I have friends who live all around the bay area, and many are envious of our neighborhood. I pinch myself every day and feel grateful to live in such a wonderful spot. 

    Good luck with your search, and moving to the suburbs can be a great decision. 

    I have friends in all types of neighborhoods. I see kids playing outside in Alameda and Pleasanton. Once you get into the more exclusive neighborhoods, you don't see the same freedom of movement.

    Orinda particularly the Ivy Drive and Glorietta neighborhoods.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Questions about Living in Danville

2008 - 2014 Reviews


Moving away from Oakland - Danville or Piedmont?

March 2014

We know all the pros/cons about most things when comparing these two areas - cost difference, culture, commute, weather, lifestyle, etc. What we can't get a handle on is the difference between the public school sports programs at the middle and high school level. Piedmont seems to support nearly all levels of budding athletes and as a result almost all the kids who want to play for a school team have a fairly good chance of doing so. Conversely we hear that in Danville only the true elite get to play on school and/or club level teams and there's not much in the way of recreational leagues after 5th grade. Our 2 boys love sports(soccer, basketball, flag football, tennis and lacrosse) and can't imagine not being about to play therefore our decision will be more heavily weighted by those opportunities than API scores for the public high schools. Who lives in Danville and/or Piedmont, loves kids/teen sports and can set us straight? MS


We live in Danville and have three children, ages 16, 12 and 12. Girls and boys of all abilities can play club soccer through high school here -- Mustang is the club, white is the level. The high school teams are very competitive and only the best club kids make a team. That would be D1 players (silver or gold level). LAX club goes only through middle school. High school LAX is not as competitive as high school soccer. Golf is very competitive and I'm not sure if there are club teams. The men's golf team at Monte Vista High School is mostly kids who learned on the local country clubs. Just the facts, m'aam.

Living in Danville Blackhawk area

March 2013

Hello. We are considering moving from Oakland to Danville/Blackhawk area with our two young children. Has anyone lived there and have an opinion of the area? How is the diversity, schools, crime, safety, community feel, weather, people, etc.? I am also concerned about people being too materialistic, is this true for this area? Is it easy to meet friends like in Oakland? Any information will be appreciative. Thanks! moving


Hi, we live in Danville/near Blackhawk Plaza, and I actually work in Oakland, so I do have a point of reference. we moved from the Peninsula 4 years ago, specifically because of schools. I think that Danville/San Ramon is more condusive to having a family, there're more parks, more friendly family- oriented people, etc. To address some of your questions: Schools - I only have direct experience with Elementary Schools and Daycare - both are excellent. I like my son's teachers, they're professional, caring and effective. They have a nicely equipped computer lab, good library, PTA funds para-professionals to help the teachers 3/4 days, there is a LOT of parent involvment, as far as funding for supplies, presentations, holiday events for the kids, etc. Environment - We love the parks, clean play grounds, safe bike trails, and a lot of families around with small/young kids. We found people to be friendly, we know our neighbors and my son plays outside with other neighborhood kids (this was NOT the case when we lived on the Peninsula). Yes, there're some very high income earners, and it affects kids' lifestyles and perceptions; nobody is pushing their lifestyle at you, and we found friends easily; NOT everyone is materialistic and drives a Ferrari (some pp definitely fall in that category). The one stable difference is how kids spend summers/free time, they travel more, go to more after-school activities, sports, music, etc.. this is certainly a reflection of a higher income population. We found that it also affects the quality of these programs (they're very good), and my son found himself spending a LOT more time outdoors(due to good weather and the fact that he's more involved in a sport) Diversity - I don't think you'll be able to match the level of diversity in Berkeley/Oakland area; maybe in Dublin or Walnut Creek/Concord. Weather - it's great, we spend a lot more time outside, in the parks, bbq's, etc. Safety - I feel much safer, we take walks when it's dark, leave strollers outside our front door, etc.. not to say that any place is totally safe these days. We had a hard time moving, so Im happy to share my experienc. L

Moving to Walnut Creek or Danville

Jan 2013

My husband and I moved from San Francisco to the Oakland foothills 5 years ago. We now have children and need more space. We have been researching Walnut Creek and Danville and are wondering if anyone out there has recent advice. We know that the Walnut Creek School District is more desirable than Mt. Diablo, but have heard that the schools that feed into Foothill Middle School and Northgate High are good. Any advice for Danville would be greatly appreciated. Nicole


Hi Nicole, Our family, including 2 school aged boys (6 & 8) moved to Danville from Houston, TX last August. We too looked at other parts of the East Bay before deciding on Danville. Our priorities were also school-driven and we looked at Lamorinda, Walnut Creek, Alamo and Danville. We couldn't be happier with our choice! The community we live in is wonderful - warm, friendly and family-oriented - and the school the boys go, John Baldwin Elementary, is very good. I can't speak to the quality of schools in the Mt. Daiblo school district because we're zoned to San Ramon Valley USD, and although we find the education standard in general lower than what we had in Texas, the school is wonderful. Great teachers & staff, nurturing environment and involved parents. From what I understand, the other elementary schools in the district are very similar. We feed into Charlotte Woods Middle School and San Ramon HS, and I've heard that both are excellent. Danville as a town is lovely too, and we're only ten minutes from Walnut Creek and go whenever I need the bigger stores, etc. Like I said, we're delighted with our choice. I'm happy to talk with you off-line if you'd like more information. SB
I missed the original post but just wanted to say that it really depends on what you are looking for. My brother has been living in Danville for the past 5 or so years and despite what others love about it, he really dislikes a few important things. Weather: hot, dry and windy in summer. He and his kids spend all day in doors where it is air-conditioned. Too hot to play outside in summer. Yuck. Culture: none. No diversity of any kind, lots of emphasis on materialism. If it's suburbia you want, it's perfect. If you are from the East Bay or any other city, it might be slightly Stepford for you. --City girl

2004 - 2007 Reviews


2003 & Earlier


How do you like living in Danville?

November 2002

We are starting on the journey towards moving to a larger house. While we hope to be able to stay in Walnut Creek, our realtor suggested considering Danville as well. I was wondering if any of you live in Danville and how you like it. What are the family-friendly neighborhoods? How are the public schools, specifically middle schools(s) and high school(s). Anything else we should consider? Thanks for any input. LB


We live in Danville and love it! Danville is the definition of family-friendly, in almost all neighborhoods. The ones with small streets and culdesacs have the most kids. My kids are young, the oldest is 6, so I can't speak to middle schools and high schools much, but they score well on tests and the student body is on average very high-achieving and college-bound. I'm not sure what else you're looking for, but if it's family- friendly, you'll definitely find it in Danville. The community center is strong, the restaurants are almost all kid-friendly, there are lots of mothers groups and newcomer groups, more stay- at-home moms than working moms, the churchs have great youth programs, and almost anything you want is within 15 minutes drive to Walnut Creek or Pleasanton/Dublin. Staying close to the freeway makes San Francisco more doable, but otherwise neighborhoods are a matter of asthetic preferences. Happy house hunting and don't fear Danville, it's great! Julie K.
Having grown up in Danville and recently moved back to Danville to raise kids, here's my 2 cents. Extremely kid friendly stores/restaurants (they'd be out of business if they weren't). Can't beat the weather. Lots of outdoor activities (surrounded by state parks) and organized sports (you name it they've got it). Very involved parents which keeps the schools on their toes and the kids out of trouble (for the most part). Competitive public schools, (some of the best in the state actually) and have caught the attention of all the best colleges/universities nationwide. Schools still offer music, dance, electronics shop etc. Parents make sure these programs are kept in the schools despite budget cuts. Great library/community center and several very nice kiddie parks (Oak Hill, Osage). A great place to raise kids. I remember making fun of living there when I was a kid because it seemed so boring, compared to San Francisco, but as an adult I appreciate the tranquility and the access to everything we could ever need. Bart service from Walnut Creek is key to my pleasurable AM commute to SF. I could go on and on. Email me if you want to hear more of the good and the bad. Nancy

More reviews of Danville

Sept 2003

Re: Moving to Lafayette - pressure on teens? I had to answer this post in defense of Danville. I have 2 small kids(3 and 4)and moved to Danville from Upper Rockridge about a year ago. I have found Danville to be a wonderful, ''kid centered'' town. I'm not sure what part of Danville you were in, but my block is chock full of vans (not luxury vehicles). There are alot of stay at home moms on a limited budget. My block has a close community of moms that give each other help & advice (when asked for!). The emphasis is definetly not on ''keeping up with the Joneses'' but trying to raise kids as part of a loving community.

I would guess that Danville is a lot like Lafayette...there are areas of extreme wealth and areas of more moderate incomes. I had concerns before I moved to Danville (''older'' parents, adopted kids, mid-level income)but I have found a friendly & welcoming community and we love it here!! roz