Living in Pleasanton
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Move from Berkeley to Pleasanton?May 2014
Like so many people hoping to buy a single family home in Berkeley, we are beyond frustrated. Even if we could afford to throw mad cash at a (tiny) house, we are starting to feel like it might be a serious waste of money to live here. A few of my husband's co-workers have been raving about Pleasanton, and the minimal research I've done seems to be pretty positive. The BPN reviews are pretty old, though - 2012 or older - so I'm wondering if anyone who has made the move from Berkeley to Pleasanton would care to comment on their experience. We have two young kids who have been pretty happy in Berkeley Public Schools so far, and we do like Berkeley's weather/diversity/proximity to SF, so maybe this move would be a big mistake. Any advice or feedback (positive/negative) would be much appreciated. Thank you! Pleasanton-bound?
I do not live in Pleasanton, but a friend of mine moved there a couple of years ago, and we considered moving there for awhile. So consequently I've spent some time in the town. Here are my impressions:
- Some really good parks, both in Pleasanton and surrounding areas (San Ramon, Dublin). We loved Central Park in San Ramon and Emerald Park in Dublin. Both are big and very clean with great play areas, plus in the summer they have water features that will keep your kids entertained for hours. Also, a great pool/water playground in San Ramon. It is awesome - super clean, with picnic benches and green grass to lay out on, and very reasonably priced, as well.
- Great schools, at least rating-wise. And my friend really likes the elementary school that her kid attends.
- Everything is easier there in terms of driving/traffic congestion/parking. No missing storytime at the library because you couldn't find a parking space in downtown Berkeley. No stress attempting to navigate the lot at Berkeley Bowl. Etc.
- According to my friend, a robust rec center with many classes/camps at decent prices. This was a big deal for me, as activities and camps in Berkeley can be crazy expensive, especially if you have more than one kid.
- Not a whole lot of diversity. There's Caucasian folks, Asian folks, and not much else. Coming from Berkeley it is a bit of a shock.
- Not a lot of culture, at least, not the kind you'd find in Berkeley. It is sort of standard suburban America out there, in terms of big malls, multiplexes, and lots of chain restaurants in the Red Robin/Cheesecake Factory vein.
- Consequently, not a ton of charm, but this is just my opinion. The historic downtown section is pretty, but just a few blocks long. There are some cute shops and places to eat there, but it seems most people head to the Stoneridge Mall or Hacienda Crossings in Dublin.
- Important for us, and what ultimately tipped the scales to a 'no' for Pleasanton: we went to a couple of parties at my friend's house and neither my husband nor I dug the Pleasanton folks very much. They seemed caught up in status-y stuff, and we did not have a lot in common with them. Most of the guys were corporate-ish with polo shirts and chinos, and the women were really done up with hair and makeup perfect, etc. In conversations, there seemed to be a lot of 'keeping up with the Joneses' there, which I did not like.
Anyway, we ultimately did leave Berkeley (I agree with you - it has gotten way too expensive there, at least for us), but we purchased elsewhere.
If I were you I'd do what we did: make many trips to the town and see how you like it. If you're a stay-at-home mom, I definitely urge you to head there during the weekdays and hang out at the parks to see if you dig the vibe. Pleasanton was not for us, but I do still think it's a nice town and a good choice for some families. Anon
Check the facts! Plenty of cities in the bay area have a lot of diversity. I just compared demographics for Pleasanton and Berkeley, and the numbers are surprisingly similar. Pleasanton is 60.8% caucasian, Berkeley is 54.7%. Pleasanton has 23% Asian, Berkeley has 19%. The one difference I noted was that Pleasanton has 1.6% of African Americans, while Berkeley has 9.7%. All of the other races were at very similar numbers. Try visiting Pleasanton (we had friends who moved there from San Francisco, and his work was in SF, hers in Livermore) and they loved it a lot. I always recommend that people visit the local public library to get a good feel about the community and what is available at the library, as well as explore the area. My husband and I explored a lot of towns until we found one that felt right for us. We visited libraries, walked in downtown areas, stopped at local cafes, read yelp reviews like crazy, and this exploration helped us to find what worked for us. happy homeowner
I moved to Pleasanton from Oakland about 20 years ago. I was hoping you'd hear from someone with small kids who actually lives in Pleasanton, but you didn't so here's my input.
We love it here. My kids have loved growing up here. My first impressions on moving to Pleasanton were that I felt safe, everything was clean and well- maintained, the downtown area was charming, and getting around town was relatively easy and stress-free (all parking is free--no parking meters!)
As far as my own life in Pleasanton, we live in a smallish, 50 year old house in an ordinary neighborhood. I can see the Pleasanton ridge from my kitchen window. There's a community pool in our neighborhood, which we use all the time in the summer (and yes, summers are definitely hotter out here). Our neighbors are super friendly. Every afternoon you'll see kids playing outside and riding their bikes. Our street has block parties about four times a year--not a polo shirt in sight! (I've run into a few snooty people here, but that's not the norm in my experience. Even my well-to-do friends are not status conscious or show offy.)
The excellent elementary school that our kids attended is a block and a half away. My daughter can also walk to high school from our house. Her school offers tons of clubs and AP classes. My son rides his bike to middle school. Pleasanton parents are very involved in their children's education. This a very family- oriented town in general. My kids have participated in many different classes,activities, and sports offered by the city. The aquatic center has a lap pool, a diving pool, and a play pool and offers swimming lessons. We have a nice library, which also has great kids' programs--all free (or at least they were when my kids were little). Lots of clean parks with new play equipment.
Someone else gave you statistics on racial diversity (if that's what you meant when you mentioned diversity). All my kids' schools hold international fairs every year. I was very involved at the elementary level. We had 23 countries participating, and I'd say maybe seven of those were European. My daughter belongs to the GSA at her school and it seems to be a well-accepted group.
As far as culture and entertainment, there is a lot less to choose from here than in the Berkeley area. We do have a new performing arts theater right downtown, and a couple of other theaters, but nothing on par with Berkeley Rep. The SF Shakespeare theater puts on Free Shakespeare in the Park every summer. During the late spring/summer we have street fairs once a month downtown and free outdoor concerts every Friday night. Kids are welcome at all these events. Our downtown has a number of good restaurants (not chain restaurants--my family has managed to completely avoid eating in chain restaurants the entire time we've lived here). By the way, downtown is very popular, despite what someone said about most people going to the mall. There's a bustling farmer's market off Main St. every Saturday. Livermore, one town to the east, has a nice wine country.
I think the question is, would you rather live in an urban environment or a small/town suburban environment? Berkeley is about 50% bigger population-wise than Pleasanton, and it's right next door to Oakland, which is more than 5 times the size of Pleasanton, so the Berkeley area has a lot more going on. We enjoy going into Berkeley to try restaurants and do other things that aren't available here, but I like even more that every single time I go the Pleasanton farmer's market I bump into someone I know. Pleasanton fan
Re: Moving to the East Bay from SF - where to live?
If commute issues are equal, I would go with Pleasanton (or San Ramon). As far as I know, the Tri-Valley area has little or no graffiti and no gang activity. In addition, they have top notch schools because the average income of the community is higher and families are highly encouraged to give $'s when registering for school each year which goes to support the schools (as well as fundraisers throughout the year). I grew up in Pleasanton many years ago and would move back to the area if my husband didn't work on the Pennisula. I would consider San Ramon as they also have top notch schools and you can get more house/yard for the money. anon
Hi BPN, I'm looking for a family friendly neighborhood to move to in or close to Fremont or Pleasanton. My husband works in the south bay and I work in Concord (680) so finding a place to live where we can both have reasonable commutes is important to us. We're looking to buy our first home and are very nervous about 'settling down' and we're unsure of whether to pick a home based soley on school district alone? I would love to hear from anyone who lives or has lived in Fremont or Pleasanton about good neighborhoods for families with young children, my kids will be starting elementary school in a few years. I want my kids to go to a well rounded, diverse & good public school (I'm not looking for super competititve environment or one with the highest test scores.) Any recommendations (or neighborhoods/schools to avoid) would be appreciated, thank you! Moving soon
My half sister attended Fremont public schools K-12, and now teaches at one of their middle schools. I also have a good friend who lives in Pleasanton, and whose child is currently attending K. Here's what I've heard from them: FREMONT Pros-
schools are very diverse and are well-regarded (for the most part). Fremont itself is very diverse. Weather is warm in the summer but not as hot as Pleasanton.
not a very 'pretty' city, and very spread out. Schools are good, but not as great as Pleasanton's.
Good neighborhoods -
don't know too much about the neighborhoods, but in the late nineties my father, stepmother, and sister moved to the Warm Springs area of Fremont from Ardenwood and really loved it. It is a quiet and well-established neighborhood, with lots of trees, big backyards, etc.
schools are top-notch, score-wise; incredibly safe; a good sense of community (my friend has found a good group of women to hang with since she moved there over a year ago); very kid-friendly (lots of parks, a good rec center and library, etc). More of a 'town' feel than Fremont, which is a bigger city and feels more sprawling.
not very diverse... my friend says that Caucasians, Indians (she herself is Indian), and Asians make up the majority of the population. When I go out there to visit, this is pretty much what I see, as well. Hot weather in the summertime (too hot for me).
again, don't know much about the neighborhoods, but my friend lives in the Vintage Hills subdivision and loves it. It is pretty and quiet, with lots of kids.
Hope this helps! anon
Hi, We are moving to Pleasanton at the end of the month and I'd like to know if someone has a recommendation for the following: pediatrician, general doctor, OBGYN, mom/children groups (for 1 year old), basically everything that a new mom can need :) I appreciate your help Mom in need
Welcome to the area! We are recent transplants too, and have a one year old as well. I would highly recommend Livermore/Pleasanton Pediatrics, specifically Dr Lembach. They have an office in the Valley Care hospital building. Dr Weger is great there too. Check out the Pleasanton Mothers Club too...helps with finding a playgroup, getting to know neighbors, etc. Please ask the moderator for my email address if you have more questions! another 580 momma
We're thinking of leaving Oakland and moving out to the suburbs of the east bay. Because my husband's job requires travel and commuting to the south bay, we need to be near Oakland airport and the 680 freeway. We like Pleasanton. Any suggestions for the best neighborhoods? Close to the 680 freeway, family friendly, best schools (daughter in kindergarten in 2009), etc? Thanks! Searching for a new home
We moved to Pleasanton from Oakland 4 years ago and although its not as progressive, we do like the family friendly atmosphere. We live in the Val Vista area right off Stoneridge drive. We are a 2 minute drive from the 680 on ramp and also the Stoneridge mall. Donlon school is the elementary school in our neighborhood, it is supposed to be really great. Our son will also be starting kindergarten next year. Hopefully this helps, good luck with your search...
Have you considered Dublin? We live just off Hacienda in the Summerglen development. We are near a trail and an easy walk to Emerald Glen park which my children love. We are a few blocks from an elementary school, so they can walk when they start kindergarten in 2010. There are many families with young children in our neighborhood. We drive 3 minutes to get on 580 for my commute to Oakland and my husband merges onto 680 to head down to the south bay. A new Whole Foods store is planned right across from Hacienda Crossings. The Safeway on Tassajara was recently renovated as one of their new ''lifestyle'' stores, so lots more organic products to choose from. When we want a downtown, we drive over to Pleasanton. One thing you may want to explore - I have heard a few parents at our preschool say that the kindergartens in Pleasanton are now so full that you don't necessarily get to attend the one in your neighborhood. It's worth finding out how true that is before you pick a neighborhood based on the school. I Like Dublin
Congratulations on choosing Pleasanton. We've lived here two years and really enjoy the community and schools. There are many nice neighborhoods, but we feel fortunate to live in ''Birdland'', which is an older (1960s), established neighborhood with lots of beautiful street trees. It's very close to the Sports Park (which offers miles of playing fields and trails) and fairly close to downtown. Our school, Walnut Grove, is wonderful. anon
I recommand San Ramon as well. San Ramon is rignt next to Pleasanton & Dublin. It's along the freeway 680 and I think it might take about half hour to get to the Oakland airport. I've been living in San Ramon for over two years and I love the city. Schools are all nice (new part of the town called windmere has state of the art schools from elemantry to high school....although due to the large number of new families, there is a shortages in space in kindergarten...just around the new homes...) My daughter will be in kindergarten in 2009 as well and she will be going to the Monte Video. I hear Pleasanton has nice schools as well. Good luck.
Re: Kid friendly neighborhoods in the East Bay As I was reading your post asking for a recommendation for a kid-friendly neighborhood in the East Bay, I could not wait to reply!! My husband and I have a 9 month old as well and we LOVE our neighborhood. We live in Pleasanton, which I believe is about 40 min. away from you. I can't tell you enough good things about it. The neighborhood is filled with families with children, there are tons of great parks and green areas and the schools are top notch. I love living in Pleasanton because you have easy access to the freeway, and traffic is not a problem. There is a beautiful downtown that is great for a Sunday walk, cute stores and great little restaurants and cafes; it has its own farmer's market every Saturday with lots of goodies. You always see families with their strollers and kids. The only thing is housing costs are higher than other areas, but since you mentioned that thankfully your income allows for flexibility, I really encourage you to check out the neighborhood. http://www.ci.pleasanton.ca.us/ Feel free to email me directly for more info or if you have questions. maria.esther
My husband's new job is in San Jose which is a haul from where we are in Richmond. It is easily 1.5 hours each way. I am a SAHM but thinking about returning to work in SF after a 7 year mom-hood. Mine is not a sure thing. We are thinking about Pleasanton because we have heard great things about their public schools (we do private now) and it is a reasonable commute to San Jose or even SF if I end up working. I would love to hear from families who live there or moved there from the East Bay about life, better elementary schools, neighborhood feels, family friendly areas, social environment, etc. In case you are wonding why not move to the south bay - it is because the good school districts have outrageous housing prices. For the same type of home we would need to spend double in the south bay. In pleasanton houseing would be 25% more for the same type of house. If you think we are missing a hidden gem, please let us know. Many thanks
I've lived in Pleasanton for 18 years and wouldn't want to live anywhere else. We have two children ages 9 and 6 who attend public schools and we have been very impressed by the education they are receiving. Pleasanton school district is one of a few which provides access to a Dual Immersion program in Spanish.... both my children are in this program. My 3rd grader now speaks Spanish fluently. The community if very family friendly...lots and lots of parks, a huge sports park, many SAHM to help share childcare with. Main Street in downtown has lots of yummy restaurants and fun shops and it is so quaint. In the summer they have ''Concerts in the Park'' which are free concerts every Friday night...lots of families come out for these spread out a picnic blankets, food, drinks, wine, and enjoy music. After saying all these wonderful things about Pleasanton I do have two things I don't like: 1) how hot it can get in the summertime (I grew up near S.F. on the coast), 2) When the Alameda County Fair is in town (for two weeks in June/July) our crime rate increases
Lovin' my town
We live in Pleasanton and love it. I'm not sure you'll find anyone who can tell you about moving to Pleasanton from the East Bay, though, since Pleasanton IS in the East Bay.
As you mentioned, the schools are great, the downtown and its restaurants are second to none. There is a great Mom's Club with almost 500 families (www.pleasantonmothersclub.org). There are wonderful parks and the Pleasanton Ridge is a great place to go hiking in the hills, open only to Pleasanton residents.
It's just a wonderful place; we love being here. I would never trade being here for being in the South Bay; you're making a smart move
Still living in the East Bay
We are thinking about moving to Pleasanton from Berkeley. We are quite nervous about doing this since it means leaving beautiful weather, culture, diversity, and interesting shops and places to visit with our one year old son. At the same time, we desperately want a bigger house, yard, good school, etc. We would love some insights from people who have made similar moves about lifestyle, preschools, and things to do with a toddler in Pleasanton. Thank you very much in advance for the suggestions! Mary
I live in Pleasanton, after going to graduate school in Berkeley. Yes, it is fairly conservative and the restaurants/shops can not be compared to more urban areas. However, people in my neighborhood are very nice. We've also discovered a few excellent restaurants--eg. Lindo's has interesting Japanese food that you can't get in Berkeley, and there's a great Chinese restaurant right near the JC Penny furniture store near Stoneridge mall. There's a substantial Indian population that supports several grocery stores and restaurants in Dublin/Pleasanton. Blue Agave has very good Mexican food (albeit a bit pricey). As far as toddler activities, we usually hit the parks. There's many great playground facilities in Pleasanton. We also like to goto the farmer's market in town. anonymous