Advice about Living in Richmond
Oakland is really wonderful but it's also blown up, price-wise. And there's no such thing as an affordable private school. You have to come look at Richmond. I'm in Each Richmond Heights, but there are many really fantastic neighborhoods here. You can contact me off-line. We have an amazing LGBTQ community and a diverse elementary school. Same-same about test scores, that's often a reflection of how many English-language-learners there are, which = diversity. Talk to parents at the schools you are thinking of and come look at them.
We bought a house in Richmond seventeen years ago when you could hear gunfire in the night. Since then the neighborhood has improved immensely and the people who have moved in take care of their properties and are working class folks like the majority of people. We love our home and neighborhood although we wish there were more trees. That being said we have a daughter, now 14. For kindergarten we did private, the East Bay Waldorf School, which we did not like. Then Richmond public school for one year which was overcrowded, an ugly cement pad, and not diverse enough, meaning that because my daughter was the only white/Asian kid in the class she was excluded terribly. Since then we have been commuting her to a Marin Charter school with about 375 kids, very diverse, first through eighth and have been happy overall. Now we must move to get her into a good public high school in Marin so she can continue on with her mates. The gas, traffic, bridge toll has been expensive but it has been cheaper than private school. And we will rent out our home while she is in high school. Why so much effort and work? Because after much research, I am still not confidant in Richmond schools, even the new charter's that are turning education into a business. And being in a small school, and not on a bus either unsupervised has shielded her from the cigarettes, drugs and alcohol that many middle schoolers, are experiencing in bigger schools.
If I were to do it all again, I would definitely consider Richmond Heights (zoned for Mira Vista) or Richmond Annex (zoned for Fairmont) - El Cerrito lifestyle at Richmond prices, ha ha. EC has higher property taxes, and it's aggravating to me that people paying less in property taxes get essentially all the benefits of well-maintained roads and good schools that I, as an EC homeowner, am paying for. Oh well, that's California and its wacky tax revenue structure for ya. I also like San Leandro and the house styles of Estudillo Estates, we looked there too when we were home shopping (2009). I am not familiar with the current state of the schools or local politics there although it may tilt a bit more conservative. I have a friend near me in the Plaza area commuting to Jack London Square and I hear it can be tough, but he drives alone; maybe it's better if you take transit. The commute to Cal is a snap from EC via BART, bus, or I even know some folks who ride their bikes.
Hi there. I would recommend El Cerrito and a few neighborhoods in Richmond. Fairmont and Harding are both good schools and their cachement areas are very walkable and diverse. If you're worried about the test scores you can move to the hills and send your kids to Madera, but it's mostly white and Asian up there, also you'll need to drive. Richmond Hills families go to Mira Vista, which is a sweet little K-8 school in the hills, incredibly diverse in every way, with a strong parent community. Depending on where you live your kids can walk there. They have a good library, computer lab, band and glee club, and teachers from Richmond Art Center. The numbers aren't as good as Madera but families in the district still transfer their kids to MV because it's a good school. My kid has friends from the neighborhood and I feel safe letting them tear around on their bikes together. I have friends who live up in Hilltop in some of the developments. There are a lot of professional class AA families there, although I don't think they send their kids to the local school. If you want more info you could contact Mocha Moms of West Contra Costa. They're online and a great group.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Hi -- my husband and I are looking to buy a home and have honed in on Richmond. But what are some specific neighborhoods we should be checking out? We're still a few years from buying, so we don't want to bother a realtor. So, we thought we'd ask the wise folks here for recs.
First and foremost, we'd want something safe. And we'd like to get a 3bd/2ba for less than $500k. Even perhaps less than $300k???
Preferred qualities would include either a view (canyon or bay) or walkable to shops, restaurants, park, etc. A nice neighborhood community would be nice, too.
I hear they're putting in a ferry service -- is there a neighborhood that's walkable to the ferry that we should consider?
We plan to have kids one day, but it's rather far off (and we care more about diversity in our schools than high test scores).
Thanks in advance!!!
Northeast Richmond is a lovely neighborhood. However, I will tell you that our prices are rising as we speak and I seriously doubt you can get a three bedroom two bath for less than $500K. 'maybe' right now but not in the future, that's for sure. Our prices are skyrocketing in the good neighborhoods.
Yes, there are plans for a ferry by Marina Bay. Marina Bay has a lot of condos though, parts are gated, it is a lovely community if you like that style, communcal green space and very few back yards. The Richmond Annex is very nice but is quite costly and prices are significantly higher than northeast Richmond or lower Mira Vista.
Bottom line though - as Richmond gets the Berkeley lab up and running, our prices will go even higher. And I have to say we are a very nice community. I moved here 20 years ago and it was the best financial move ever. Our crime has dropped rapidly and no longer has the horrendous statistics we used to hear about. I think of Richmond has kind of half way culturally between Berkeley and El Cerrito. Politics are left leaning for sure, but not as much as Berkeley and more left than El Cerrito. We're very proud of the progress we have made. happy Richmond homeowner
Since you are a few years from buying, I suggest that you do your own research. Go to open houses in Richmond every weekend. Spend time in the area. Go to parks, coffee shops, museums, etc. After awhile, you will get a feel for the different areas and the pricing structure. Nobody else has exactly the same priorities you do. So you will find what works for you by really learning about the area. Anon
We love Richmond! My family has lived in the N&E neighborhood since 2008 and Richmond has only gotten better! It gets a bad reputation, crime has really gone down and neighbors around here really look out for each other. The N&E is full of middle-class homes with growing families. There is nice diverse, community feel and my kiddos and I are within walking distance of two neat parks (Burg & Solano playlot). I've heard about the possibility of the ferry coming in, but haven't heard anything for sure. Check it out. Richmond mom
Richmond can be a great option! I'm a Realtor and would not mind having a conversation with you. My business is base on conversations with potential clients or family and friends of this potential clients. You may not be ready now but in 5 years and that is okey. It is great for you to explore your options so you can plan accordingly . In any case, it is true, as we say in the business, location, location, location but you have to start somewhere. Richmond does not have great schools but it is closer to everywhere, there are some really cute and convenient neighborhoods ( like Richmond View, Richmond Annex...Point Richmond). There are busses in the hills that will take you to Bart in no time or to Berkeley. There are regional parks to go for hikes or take your dogs, and it is growing. Yes there is a new ferry that will take you to San Francisco! I'm selling some condos in the waterfront for less than $300,000 but it has a catch, so be aware. The best of lucks for you! M.
First off, since you are not buying for a couple of years it's hard to predict where the market will be at that time since real estate pricing depends on multiple variables. In terms of neighborhood in Richmond that you can consider are Richmond View, Richmond Marina, and Northeast Richmond areas. The Richmond Marina area would allow you to get to the future ferry service area.
Hi BPN, We have 7-year old kids and are thinking of moving to Richmond. Point Richmond seems too high already but what are other safe areas of Richmond? Thoughts on Atchinson Woods? Can I kids play in the yard (sorry if that's a dumb question) but do is it safe to walk around/ bike around? Are more middle class people moving in? Thanks! priced out of most of east bay
We bought a house last year in North East Richmond and LOVE IT there. Our house was basically key-turn ready with a huge backyard and decent sized front yard. Our neighbors are great and we feel really safe. We accidently left the front door open one day and one neighbor called the police because they knew we weren't home and were worried. Another neighbor contacted us on Nextdoor and told us about the police. Nothing was taken thank god but it's nice to know your neighbors are looking out for you.
ALSO we were able to buy a 3 bdrm 2 bath house for under $400k. You can't do that anywhere else. NE Richmond is a secret area with lots of families and most of the neighborhood is made-up of young families and homeowners. I can't recommend this area enough. NE Richmond Resident
I don't know if you mean Atchison Village? Yes it's a quaint group of housing for great prices, and some people really love it there. I live in Northeast Richmond, off of Barrett Avenue, NOT in the hills, but the hills are nearby. We love our neighborhoods. There are lots of kids in Richmond view. Richmond is developing a stronger sense of community all the time, and the prices are going up and up and if you want to buy, now is the time. My only complaint now is that, even though I love our new mayor, our city council is way too far left for me. Other than that, we love our police chief, and we love our city manager. Our community gets better all the time. Richmond homeowner
I lived in the marina bay neighborhood of Richmond for over 7 years. The area is quiet with park and bay trails. There's a police station nearby. There are people and family leisurely walk along the trails all the time. The area is fairly safe. The area is about 10 minutes drive to El Cerrito Bart, and about 10 minutes to casual carpool. There are condos, and single family homes within gated communities. Anon
Priced out of Berkeley-Move to Richmond?
We want to own a home. Tired of renting. And now the market is crazy again in Berkeley, where our kids are settled in school and we have our whole community. We are considering a move to Richmond or in some areas of Oakland- where houses seem to be much more affordable (and most areas have WAY less crime than Berkeley, despite its reputation!). I feel we could be happy there, but am having a hard time thinking about transitioning our kids out of berkeley schools, which is inevitable at some point if we move out of berkeley since I've heard inter-district transfers are becoming much more stringent. I want to hear from other families who made similar moves in the Bay area. Any advice BPN? Bye Bye Berkeley
We moved from renting in Berkeley in 2000 to buy a home in the North and East neighborhood in Richmond. It's diverse, relatively safe, and has a sense of community. Housing prices right now are very affordable-- Homes that were selling for over $500,000 are now around $200,000. They are also building the new lab in Richmond which will bring new great stuff to all of Richmond. jb
We lived in Berkeley many years ago and moved to northeast Richmond in order to buy a house.I live in the Mira Vista neighborhood, some people call it East Richmond Heights, not far from the Del Norte Bart station, east of San PAblo Avenue. I love my city and I love my neighborhood. We have great new restaurants, a wonderful library, Catahoula Coffee, the Richmond Plunge, convenience to bart, reasonable prices. My neighborhood has active email networks and neighborhood potlucks frequently. We also love our police chief Chris Magnus, who has made significant changes in policing and crime issues. The Richmond hills homes are an incredible value - views,beautiful decks, privacy, woodsy backyards, etc. Richmond also is very proud that they made national publicity with the innovative soda tax on the November ballot. (it failed, but raised a lot of good conversations). Richmond's mayor is a Green Party member; in fact Richmond is the largest city in the US with a mayor who is a Green. Most of us are very proud of our town and are very glad we put our investment here. Richmond homeowner
We're considering a move to Richmond. Where are the family-friendly, walkable areas of Richmond? We already use Richmond Kaiser, so I'm a bit familiar with the area, but would love to know of general areas to look for housing. We have 3 children and my husband works in the city. Are there areas that are walkable (to groceries, bank, post office, parks, etc.), near BART, and maybe near a decent school? Thanks! Future Richmond Resident?
I have lived in northeast Richmond for a very long time and am very happy with my neighborhood. I live east of San Pablo Avenue (but still close to San Pablo Avenue) between Barrett and McDonald Streets. Our homes are well-maintained and people are caring. The accessibility to both bart and the AC transit bus lines is extremely convenient. I could easily live here without a car. We are presently trying to decide what to do with the corners on McDonald Avenue and San Pablo. People are very caring about what goes in those spots in our neighborhood. I can get to Point Isabel in 10 minutes, to the EC Plaza in 10 minutes, to HIlltop Mall in 10 minutes, to Pt Richmond in 10 minutes. I think it is perfect. Point Richmond is lovely, but besides being expensive, I think it is isolated and, despite the fact that the lovely Plunge is there, I think it is too far away from things. But that's just me. Point Richmond has a strong sense of community too. Most of us feel that our city is overly criticized due to a few bad eggs - depending on the neighborhood, we have a nice, affordable place to live. Richmond resident
I have lived in Richmond for 5 years. I live in North and East ( a few blocks from the casino). I don't think it is a very exciting place to live, but I have always felt safe there. I love my big backyard. A lot of the people on the block are renters so we were never friendly with many people. I always feel a little far away from things and you can't get fresh bread except from Safeway. The price of housing is so much cheaper than anywhere else that is as close to SF. Good luck on your decision.
Point Richmond is what you want! Nice, safe walkable neighborhood with a couple of small markets, restaurants, a great pub, post office, library, Starbucks, pharmacy, dry cleaners, beach, gorgeous swimming pool, nice park, hills for hiking, farmer's market in the summer and many community events. Our elementary school is thriving and has a dual-immersion Spanish program. Happy in the Point
There are plenty of Good and Great Areas to live in Richmond! Don't be misled by the news! I live in the Bella Flora Community, a relatively new development 5 years old ... but, there is: The Country Club Vista Area The Richmond Heights Area The Carriage Hills Area The Richmond Annex ( probably the closest to what you are looking for and where I was raised) There is also the area out by DeAnza High School ... Then there is the Point Richmond Area And The Marina Bay Area
Take your pick Richmond is a great place to live and making progressive changes by leaps and bounds! Can't say enough ... Happy Richmond Native!
There are many good neighborhoods in Richmond. I live in the Richmond View area and although there is great hiking on my doorstep (an entrance to Wildcat Canyon is just a few blocks away) and Mira Vista has become a wonderful off-leash dog park and community rambling spot, there are no businesses in easy walking distance, apart from a handful on the Arlington at Olive Avenue (Arlington Market is a great convenience store with lots of organic and natural foods, but it's small). BART is about a 30 minute walk away--downhill is not too bad, but uphill is grueling--we never do it. So if you want to be in walking distance to BART, post office, and stores on San Pablo, then I recommend areas closer to San Pablo Avenue. Mira Vista post office, Catahoula coffee, and a variety of good Mexican and Asian restaurants are in the area around Clinton Ave/McBryde Ave and San Pablo. Not a cute or hipstery area, but safe and inexpensive. Another, older area is the area up the hill from San Pablo around Barrett and MacDonald avenues on the EC border, many very nice 1900s through 1940s homes. That area is walkable or bikeable to parks, Williams Natural Foods, BART, Target, banks, etc. I think the neighborhood school for both those areas I described is Mira Vista Elementary, which also has a small middle school. It's a good school, with nice facilities and strong administration. There are also several private schools in the area: Crestmont, Tehiyah, Montessori Family, though Windrush is no more. Richmond Rocks!
I moved to Richmond Annex from S. Berkeley a year ago and I love this neighborhood. I was a little weary of being in Richmond but the Annex is a hidden gem! I live in the hilly area (Burlingame/Mendocino 94804) and from every street corner is a gorgeous view of the golden gate bridge, some of the homes have beautiful views as well depending on which side of the street you live on and the slope. There are lots of families w/ young children, a good mix of renters & homeowners. I am a renter myself am paying $1650 for a small 3 bedroom home so you can find some good deals in this neighborhood. I have 2 youngsters who are not in school yet so I can't speak to the quality of the school district but from the other parents I've spoken to, they prefer to send their kids to private schools?
The weird thing about the Annex is that though it is closer to El Cerrito schools, fire dept's, etc- because you have a Richmond zip code technically you have to be served by the Richmond services. I do feel very safe here (as opposed to S. Berkeely where I was subject to several bike & car thefts, etc) but the area right past the 80 E/W freeway overpass becomes more suspect. I can walk to the El Cerrito library, there is the El Cerrito Community Center/swimming pool off of Moeser Lane which is also about 10 min away walking distance. You can also walk to the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store off of San Pablo but I did most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's, Safeway, or Richmond Costco(5 min drive.) Lots of places to walk to eat right off of San Pablo(Jack in the Box, burrito places, chinese food, thai food, etc.) In terms of parks, there are several w/in walking distance (Mendocino, Cerrito Vista, Huntington.) I have a close friend who lives in Richmond Marina, I think the housing there is more expensive but the proximity to the Marina Parkway is gorgeous for walking around. Not that many grocery stores or places to eat though. Good luck! Loving the Annex
Re: Affordable area (low $300k's) with good school district
I would suggest the Richmond area ... So many wonderful things happening here! And you can still get great housing at reasonable costs! We live in the Bella Flora Community right off of the Richmond Parkway. Only about 5 years old we got our 5 Bdrm 2.5 bath home for a little over $300,000. It's a very diverse community. My children play outside, ride their bikes to our neighborhood park, have made friends and we genuinely love where we live. There are several homes up for sale in our development unfortunately, lost due to foreclosure. I would suggest Washington Elementary Schools Spanish Dual-Immersion which is doing Very Well. After that for Middle School I suggest Manzanita Middle School which is a charter, then for High School Middle College High located on the Campus of Contra Costa College. My Babysitter who is an entering Junior this year will graduate with both a High School Diploma as well as an A.A. Entering college as a Junior! We are very proud of her and we hope to make the same educational plan for our children Mama of 3
well, i read the responses and i have to take issue w/ the post that said stay away from richmond. i didn't see the original post, but there are plenty of great places to live in richmond and we have a lot of middle class families here. in addition, you will find cute, affordable houses, some good public schools--including a dual immersion school--and plenty of high quality private schools. plus the diversity here can't be beat. we have richmond art center, free music festivals, horse stables, and access to other cultural venues. it's 25 minutes to sf, 20 to san rafael, 45 to napa, 15 to oakland. neighborhoods to look at are richmond view, richmond annex, north & east (north of the 30s), point richmond and some of the newer areas near hilltop. the city has problems, no doubt about it. but so does berkeley, oakland and sf. it all depends what neighborhood you're in. the one thing i have to say that does suck about richmond-el cerrito is the summer weather, which is just like sf. but i'm an old beach bunny from l.a.. anyway, to whoever said stay away: you should come up here sometime. you might actually like it! in richmond 10 years
Re: Cheaper but safe enough neighborhoods
Hi There! I have to chime in with praise for Richmond! I grew up here, married moved to both Hercules and Pinole and found my way back to Richmond. Let's face it ... Commuting is awful and with the cost of gas it's just crazy! We have purchased a brand new home and are completely happy, we don't hear gunshots and might I add growing up I never heard them either and I lived in the ''flatlands''! Lots of changes are being made in Richmond ... go to the city website to check it out. You have to also keep in mind that Richmond is a large city most of the stuff that is hyped up on TV is located in a small isolated section. Crime happens EVERYWHERE (and always has) and in this economy we shouldn't be surprised. We moved to the Country Club Vista Area which is a newer community near the Richmond Country Club, off of the Richmond Parkway. We walk our children to the neighborhood park, our neighbors are amazing and we got a really good deal on our home. Definitely worth checking out!
Good Luck to you and your family! Born in the City of Richmond and still love it!
Our family of three is moving to Richmond this month. We are familiar with most cities and interesting neighborhoods in the Bay Area but have spent no time in Richmond. I'm interested in learning what others enjoy about Richmond, what events take place, great restaurants, parks, etc. Thanks! kh
I'm curious to know which area of Richmond you're moving to. Richmond is big and has many neighborhood areas. I live in East Richmond (unincorporated county) below the Arlington between Barrett ave and McBryde. We love our neighborhood. It's just about 5 miles from Marin Circle in Berkeley, We have a great little local market, a great coffee shop down the hill on San Pablo, Mira Vista Elementary School- newly renovated and a great public schoool, MIra Vista School Field which is a very friendly neighborhood park/dog park and a huge community of really wonderful neighbors. Just above the Arlington are the Wildcat Canyon hills and Alvarado Park...miles and miles of great hiking and undeveloped land. Down on San Pablo Avenue is Safeway, nearby Home Depot, OSH, Williams Natural Foods, a variety of restaurants including ''Sa-wa dee'' Thai Restaurant on Nevin and SP. Our neighborhood is relatively safe (safe as any safe neighborhood) and quiet.
I'm not as familiar with other parts of Richmond but many friends who live in the numbered streets below San Pablo are equally as in love with their neighborhood and community. If you're moving to East Richmond, check out East Richmond Neighborhood Council, I think it's ERNC.org and you can find out a lot more. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions. june
We have lived in Richmond for the past 8 years (in the East Richmond hills, or ''Richmond View''). Alvarado Park is part of the East Bay Parks (Tilden, etc.) and is great for taking the kids and dogs, hiking, picnicking, etc. Another great walking area is Point Isabel, near the Richmond Costco. There is a dog park there as well as a paved path which is great for walking, cycling, skating, etc.
There are lots of events, and the Richmond Public Library is a great place to read up on the various festivals, street strolls, etc.
Point Richmond is quaint little gem of an area that is worth checking out.
We love the El Salvadoran restaurant La Bamba on San Pablo just north of Barrett, which has excellent food.
We have a new-ish coffee place, Catahoula Coffee, at 12472 San Pablo Avenue. The coffee is great and there are farmer's markets there occasionally, too. Hopefully others will chime in as well! Christine
We've lived in Richmond for over 25 years and raised two kids here. We live above San Pablo Ave., north of Barrett Ave. One of our favorite places in Richmond is the Richmond Art Center. It's located in the Civic Center area, around 25th and Barrett, next to the wonderful library, and it offiers an amazing array of classes for kids and adults. Williams Natural Grocery is great, and in the same ''strip mall'' is a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant (can't remember the name of it) and a great copy store -- Prime Copy. Just a block north is Taqueria La Bamba with excellent Salvadoran food, and on 23rd street is great Mexican food at Portumex. In Point Richmond don't miss the Hidden City Cafe. That said, El Cerrito, Kensington, and Berkeley are so close that we consider them in our neighborhood as well! Judy
We moved to the