Living in the Richmond Hills
Hi! You don't say how old your kids are, but my kids go to Mira Vista in East Richmond Heights, where you would def find a beautiful 4-bedroom for that price range, and literally, literally I have a mom-friend at school who is a Spanish-speaking Muslim. Our school is diverse and has a healthy-sized Muslim population, plus a healthy-sized Latino population. I saw that someone else pointed out that some schools score lower precisely because they are more diverse, and that is true for MV. We wear that badge proudly. And the Muslim population is diverse even within itself, people are from all over, many different countries and traditions.
We are Jewish and my kids also have that thing of feeling like the only ones in in the school, especially since we are so near Tehiyah, which eats up all the Jewish kids around here. It's painful for them! But that diversity is also valuable. When they complain about being the only ones not celebrating Christmas, I can at least say "Our Muslim friends are in the same boat." I really recommend you look around here. We are very near the Del Norte station of Bart which makes for easy commutes. And tho Richmond proper has some urban problems, honestly, I don't feel unsafe here (I lived in Brooklyn for 20 years - real Brooklyn, not hipster Brooklyn).
Also, the "hidden jewel" of Point Richmond is right near the refinery, you're much better off up in these hills. And we're zoned for El Cerrito High, though honestly I would prefer it if the local parents would just force the issue and send their kids to Richmond and JFK to make them better schools but that's another story for another day. :D You can contact me thru this site if you want to talk further. I wish I had your budget, there are some houses for sale here that I'm drooling over.
Oh yeah, San Leandro is also a good place to look at!
Raising my hand to recommend Richmond in the East Bay, specifically my neighborhood, East Richmond Heights. We have a Bart stop (El Cerrito del Norte) into the city and a bridge (the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge) that goes straight up to Napa. In the nabe are loads of great elementary schools: Mira Vista is the public school, there is a cooperative elementary school called Crestmont, there is a Jewish day school called Tehiyah. And we are right on top of Wildcat Canyon. Technically, you could hike from there to Tilden Park in Oakland, though I've never done it; regardless, there are tons of great trails right here. Childcare is ... not cheap. When we finally got both kids into public school we wanted to take a bath in the money we suddenly were saving. Ah, bay area, you kooky place.
If you want affordable, forget Berkeley. Take a look at East Richmond Heights, which is gay-friendly, has homes in your price range, and doesn't have high crime rates.
I'm a little taken aback, however, that you are specifically and exclusively looking for charter schools, however. Our public schools are very, very good, and our district (West Contra County) as well as the districts in Oakland and Berkeley are suffering greatly from an influx of charter schools with poor oversight and no transparency. I would enthusiastically encourage you to look at the public schools in the area, taking tours and talking to parents, before writing them off. There is zero reason for you to reject the great schools we have for you.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Re: Moving to a cheaper area now that kids are gone
The Richmond Hills neighborhood of Richmond is quite nice and property taxes are low. The neighborhood backs up against Wildcat Canyon Park (northern extension of Tilden) and Berkeley is 15 minutes away along the Arlington. -Nearby in El Cerrito Hills
Re: Cheaper but safe enough neighborhoods
I grew up in the ''Richmond Hills.'' On Bernhard Ave, which borders Wild Cat Canyon. That particular area is very nice, but with many of these places, all of Richmond included, the schools are horendous. You may end up paying more for private school that living somewhere where public schools are good enough. Personally I like that area and El Sobrante/Pinole better than San Leandro, but I don't know what your commute looks like. Good luck! Richmond bred mom
Moving to the Richmond Hills near El Sobrante
After almost a year of being outbid for homes in the El Cerrito/ Albany area, my husband and I recently purchased a home in the Richmond Hills (off of the El Portal exit, a few yards from the El Sobrante boarder). While the home is just beautiful (and about $175K less than much smaller homes in El Cerrito) and the neighborhood is quite lovely, I don't really know that much about this area of Richmond. I've already consulted the website and am hoping to learn more. We've done the police check (crime is relatively low) and our child is an infant so we're not worried about schools yet. Can anyone who lives in this area tell me a little bit more: why you love it, things you might dislike or that I should be wary of. Also, any hidden treasures (stores, restaurants, parks) in or around this area that I should know about. Thank you so much.
El Cerrito Transplant
Congratulations on purchasing a home. We too purchased a home in El Sobrante (nearly 5 years ago) because of the affordability of the homes and the semi-rural location. Kennedy Regional Park (San Pablo Ram Road as if you are going to Orinda) has a great open space for little ones to run or for the whole family to relax on a blanket. There is also a playground for older kids. Pinole Valley Park has a nice play area for younger kids. If you are a SAHM, I can put you in contact with a group of mom's who meet weekly for playdates. I am also in contact with another woman who works and has an infant. We are planning on starting a working mom's play group once our babies get alittle more mobile! Cindy
Hi I moved to richmond (same exit as you) from oakland a couple years ago. I'm still discovering the area. my main treasures are places I go to walk for exercise. There is an entrance to wild cat canyon at the end of Clark road off San Pablo Dam road. This walk is a bit steep but not too far - a mile up hill and then a mile back down or you can walk along the ridge all the way to hayward. so I hear. The other place I like to go it Point Pinole regional park. I walk all the way out to the end of the wharf and back, about 4 miles round-trip but relatively flat. both places are beautiful and not crowded.
san pablo dam road also has lots of restaurants most of which we have yet to try, but we like the mexican/salvadoran place on san pablo dam road - I forget the name.
there are also some great picnic areas right on san pablo dam further down the road on the left. lots of trees and the water...
if you're interested in company for walking I go around 2 pm on wed, thurs and fridays. let me know, we can meet. I carry my 8 month old on my back usually but strollers are an option at point pinole. ilona
We also moved to El Sobrante last year and we LOVE it. We, like many others, could not afford the Berkeley, Albany area where we were living. Now we have lots of space, a big garden and a great place to live. It is a beautiful, semi-rural area, similar to Orinda. Lots of Berkeley ex-patriots. For kids there is a kindergym program at the Hilltop YMCA and great swimming classes at Canyon Swim center on San Pablo Dam Road. For restaurants we like Uncle Sam's Chinese buffet and the Mexican restaurant next door on Valley View. There is also a hidden hole in the wall mexican place called Taquerma Rodriguez. Delicious and authentic on Appian way. Also try Biancos Delicatessen accross the road for great meets and cheeses. We hope you enjoy it here as much as we do. Liza