Living in Pleasant Hill

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2010 - 2014 Recommendations

Sept 2012

Re: Pleasant Hill - should we move to the burbs?
Pleasant Hill is just fine, yes there are liberal folks out there, I grew up there and was vegan and politically active in my teen years. My parents still live there, it's definitely the suburbs, from most neighborhoods you can't walk to much, but you've got the canal trail out there which I remember fondly as a kid taking long bike rides with my dad and brother. I now live in Berkeley in my adult life (just for perspective). A number of my high school friends moved back to the Pleasant Hill/Concord/Martinez area and are really happy there. My main reasons for leaving were that I didn't want to spend my adult life in the town that I grew up in, I can no longer stand the heat, and I want to be within walking distance of lots of businesses. That being said it sounds like Pleasant Hill would be a good fit for you. It's definitely pleasant and there are a lot of activities available out there, you just have to drive to get there. Best of luck to you! Former P.Hill Resident

Thinking of moving from Berkeley to Pleasant Hill

Nov 2011

We are thinking about moving from Berkeley to Pleasant Hill in an effort to get a bigger house and cheaper mortgage. Is there any former Berkeley/Oakland residents who can offer their experience? How are the schools (we have a 1 yr old son)? Are there a lot of family oriented activities? Is there a community like bpn that I could tap into? Are there any grocery stores that can remotely compare to Berkeley Bowl? Any advise/comments/experiences that can be offered would be much appreciated. Undecided

We moved from Oakland to Pleasant Hill a year ago this month. We did so to buy our first home and chose Pleasant Hill because we got more house for the money with good schools and no or low crime. We are very happy we did. No there isn't anything like the Berkeley Bowl but we do have some decent places for great organic vegetables including a local produce market and seasonal farm stand where the veggies are grown just yards away in the field. Both are located on Pleasant Hill Road. Our child attends Strandwood which is an excellent elementary school with tons of parent involvement. Things we miss are the restaurants on the other side of the tunnel but it's not a far drive. The thing I'm thrilled about is a safe neighborhood where my son can head out the door and bike, scooter and play ball with all the other kids on the block and I don't worry. That's how I grew up and I wanted that for my son too. Good luck with your decision. Happy in the burbs
Lamorinda Moms is the group to join. I moved from the rockridge neighborhood of oakland to lafayette last year. It's a big adjustment - def. the burbs. But I'm happy I did it - more space both inside and out, much more green, schools are amazing, way less crime. brenda

2005 - 2009 Recommendations

Thinking about relocating to Pleasant Hill

August 2008

We are looking to relocate to a cheaper place, and the Venn diagram :) of our finances, the fact that we want to stay in Contra Costa, and good elementary schools leaves us with El Cerrito Hills (Madera School) and Pleasant Hill. I like El Cerrito a lot, but Pleasant Hill seems to me to be heavily white and conservative, and we are left-wing, attachment-parenting, organic pagans (one white, one mixed). I assume there are a scattering of other like-minds in PH, but are there significant pockets/neighborhoods filled with folks like us? If my son went to Strandwood Elementary School, would he find other kids who are not watching ''Die Hard'' at age 5 and telling non-Christians that they are going to hell (real-life experience of mine with kids at a PH school)? Thanks in advance!!!

Hi, Yes, there are like-minded families in PH. Some I've met through local mom's groups & Freecycle, some through volunteering & just some from chatting. I don't know of any local organized groups or neighborhoods that would be exactly what you might be looking for, but come join the PTA, local mom's clubs, volunteer & help change what you don't like. Also, when you take people one on one, generally it doesn't matter that your values aren't in exact agreement - don't we all try to do the best for our children & families in the best way we know how? We're a Strandwood family & love it, though would like to see changes in terms of recycling, carpooling, lunches... but how are the changes going to happen without people leading them? Katherine
There is a scattering of us out here in Pleasant Hill with kids attending Strandwood that are conservative when it comes to using natural resources, but not conservative in thought. Yes, there are quite a few Christians and honestly I have more trouble handling extended family members about religious belief than community members. It's more open than you think. From the outside it looks fairly white but when you dig a little deeper, you'd be surprised at the diversity that makes up Pleasant Hill. And we organic-eating, hydrogenated oil-avoiding, alternative therapy-prescribing, long-haired boys-having, blasphemous hippies can always use another heretic amid our surroundings! ;-) LogicalMama
We live in Pleasant Hill and our soon-to-be kindergartener will attend Strandwood. We are a mixed-race, progressive, left-wing family, non-religious. So there you have it. Yes, Pleasant Hill is more middle-of-the-road than some areas across the tunnel but the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. You will find all sorts of people in Pleasant Hill, conservative, liberal, apolitical, religous, not-religious, etc. You will be able to find a good community of like-minded people. It just may take a while longer to find them. Pleasant Hill has great weather, active and good schools, big backyards, wonderful parks, and great restaurants in nearby Walnut Creek and Concord. People are too busy with their family and work lives to be worried about what religion you practice so I really wouldn't worry about that. Good luck and hopefully we'll run into eachother in Pleasant Hill! content in Pleasant Hill
June 2005

In an effort to find a larger house for a smaller mortgage in the Bay Area, we are trying to figure out where to relocate from Berkeley. I haven't seen Pleasant Hill mentioned too much, so that makes me want to ask about it. We need to live near BART (walking/biking distance) and good schools (our kids will be going into elementary school soon). So what is Pleasant Hill like? Are the schools good? Is there anything to do without getting in the car and driving? What should I look for? Thanks for any and all comments, positive or negative!
Sad to leave Berkeley, need to live cheaper!

I live in Pleasant Hill and formerly lived in Berkeley. Pleasant Hill is a fairly generic place to live. There just isn't anything special or interesting about it. It's very safe and the public schools are highly rated. It's largely white and conservative. It's boring, and pretty much devoid of culture and good restaurants. Given the choice, I would try to stay on the west side of the tunnel. Good luck. anon
I live in Walnut Creek which is near Pleasant Hill. We moved from Berkeley to get a great house and schools. Pleasant Hill has some beautiful areas adjoining Lafayette and Martinez. But, you really need to check the schools. As I understand it, there may be a small area of Pleasant Hill where you get Lafayette schools. (That would be ideal.) Otherwise, from what I hear the public schools are not so good. They have a very good magnet academic elementary but you have to be on the waitlist years in advance. I strongly recommend that you consider Walnut Creek. It is more expensive than Pleasant Hill (but still less than Orinda or Lafayette). Most of the schools are excellent. (Of course, you have to check the three you would get.) Lots of parent involvement. Plus, I didn't know this when I lived in Berkeley but Walnut Creek is a great place to live. It is a well run city, with great activities. Many theaters, arts programs for all ages, great recreational classes, open space and Mount Diablo for hiking and biking. Also, we have BART.
Berkeley Refugee in Walnut Creek
I recieved this information from my friend, who is a realtor in Pleasant Hill:

1. There is a BART station at Treat Blvd. off 680. Walking/Biking distance is relative, but you can generally expect homes close to BART to be a little more in demand, thus a bit more expensive.

2. As for schools, Pleasant Hill has some top-rated schools in the state according to GreatSchools.Net. Here's a link to some data on them:

3. I live in Pleasant Hill and I love it. I live across the street from the downtown area and Pleasant Hill Park. Pleasant Hill is a family community. It doesn't offer the diversity of Berkeley (but what does?). The downtown area has revived the city as it offers more shopping and dining options. The second half of the downtown area is under construction.

4. The average detached home price in April 2005 was $711,683 while the average attached (condo/townhome) price in April 2005 was $463,454. As of today (05/25/05), there are only two detached homes listed for under $600,000: 1) $535,000 for a 3bd/2ba 1,000+ sqft home and 2) $550,000 for a 3bd/2ba 1,300+ sqft home.
Hope that helps. Brian Mertens Prudential California Realty 925-330-1029 brian.mertens[at]

I did not read the original post so not sure exactly know what you are asking for. My son and I moved from Oakland to Pleasant Hill last year and absolutely love it. There are lots of kid friendly places & parks - lots of things to do especially if you appreciate the beautiful weather. I work in the city, and just love coming home where it is still warm enough to swim after dinner. We are switching from a private school to a small parent co-up charter school in Concord. I heard there is a waiting list to enter in kindergarden, but no so in the higher grades - 4/5 combined classroom. We got a great feeling from the principal and have talked to several parents and are excited to start this fall. The nice part about Plesant Hill is that it is still close to Oakland & the city. I commute into the city everyday, sometimes I ride BART but mostly I take the casual carpool/bus from Oakland - total commute is never more than an hour in the worst case scenario. Pleasant Hill has many transplants from Berkeley/Oakland and because of the family friendly atmosphere and down to earth kind of values.
glad I moved!