Living in Richmond View

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sept 2012

Re: What are the Good Neighborhoods in Richmond?
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!

March 2010

hello bpn folks! we just moved to the mira vista neighborhood from albany and its been a hard adjustment. im so used to walking out my door and leaving the car at home. now it seems im in the car every day! not so fun with a little one. it seems there are never people out and about, walking around, playing outside... where are all the parents and kids? is it because its so hilly? i have a 2 year old and it seems every park i go to we are always the only ones there! i know there is a great community here from reading all the positive reviews/ posts about mira vista elementary. is there some sort of neighborhood group/meetings? id love some insider tips as to where people are hanging out. where do you grocery shop? get videos to rent? eat inexpensively? id love to feel more a part of my neighborhood but its hard when im always driving back to solano or the el cerrito plaza for everything. walkable places a big plus! thanks. new to the hills

Hi, One of the wonderful things about the MV area is how quiet it is....but sorry this is causing you to to feel isolated and not find the neighbors. Please e-mail me and I can connect you w/ some of the neighborhood groups and 'happening' scenes. june

Hello new neighbor, I guess mira vista is another name for richmond heights or richmond views... right? then you're our neighbor. I have two small kids, unfortunately I do drive around a lot here, but I also tried with the bike, it was fun but hard work. in the good weather you'll see more kids at the parks. right now we are driving to preschool etc. anyway, I would like to invite you to joyn our server list. it's called richmond heights and it's a yahoo group. you'll get info about the neighborhood in the monthly letter, and there are meetings too, I think first mondays, at adult sierra school. unfortunately I can't make them much, but we might meet for some other events, like block party etc. see you around... linda

Welcome to the neighborhood! This area has lots to offer, and there are lots of families with kids here. If you are very high in the hills you may need to get in your car for five minutes to get where you want to go, but there are also many nice places that are probably within walking distance. I'm in the lower section of Mira Vista, so my family and I enjoy walking or riding bikes to San Pablo Avenue- a couple of delicious places for cheap eats are Huong Tra- Vietnamese, La Bamba- Salvadorean burritos and pupusas (yum!) and SaWaDee (Thai) We also like the Chinese restaurant on the corner of San Pablo Ave and MacDonald for their chicken Wonton soup. Delish! As for groceries, our family mostly goes to Trader Joes, and fill in for extras at Safeway. There are also some fun Latino and Halal Markets along San Pablo Ave near McBryde if you are interested in more unusual and ethnic choices. As for parks, I'd recommend Tassajara on Barrett Ave- it almost always has a good crowd, especially in the afternoons. Definitely check out Wildcat Canyon- within the canyon is Alvarado Park- it's kind of tucked away but has a nice little playground. Also Poinsett Park, which is better for afternoons or warm days because it's shady. I also have a 2 year old, so feel free to contact me and I'll can tell you more- there is a nice group of us that often meet at parks- let me know if you'd like to meet up sometime. rachel

Feb 2010

Re: I work in Richmond, husband works in Sunnyvale
We live in Richmond View (Also called Mira Vista neighborhood)...It's East Richmond unincorporated county. The local school is Mira Vista Elementary School...Some things about MV are fabulous, and it has it's problems like most of our public schools. My kids went to MV in younger years adn you can't ask for more dedicated wonderful teachers. Next year MV will start a 7th grade class and the next year 8th grade so ultimately it'll be K- 8. We're about a 10-15 minute drive from Richmond Marina. Up the hill from 80. Close to Del Norte BArt. This neighborhood is older...houses built mostly in late 40's and on. Great mix of ages, cultures, lots of kids around. I know all of my immediate neighbors. Houses range anywhere from $400-$650,000 or so. We've been in our house for about 21 years and are very happy here. Feel free to e-mail me for more info too, Good luck. Tough decision.

the Mira Vista neighborhood, also called Richmond Heights, is a lovely place to live. We are a cohesive neighborhood with neighborhood meetings and care about the area. It is close to highway 80, close to Del Norte Bart, and close to numerous AC transit bus lines. We also have a small dog park below Mira Vista school that is fabulous. Sandra

Jan 2010

Re: Schools, commutable,urban under $500k?
Richmond View, high up in the hills and not walkable, definitely suburban, but with larger houses and yards in the 300K-400K range. Good elementary school options both public and private, and the charter alternative high school is now in the area. Safe, diverse, friendly. Tassajara Park and hiking in Wildcat Canyon.

Sept 2008

Re: Cheaper but safe enough neighborhoods
We live in what is sometimes referred to as 'Arlington Heights' or sometimes lumped into Richmond View. I prefer our area over Richmond View, as our houses have triple sized lots, thus have more of an open feel. With the housing downturn, homes in the area have gotten really well priced. We feel safe - have only heard gunshots on the fourth and NYE, but they sound like they are from the revelers in the flats of Richmond.

We live on N. Arlington, which borders Alvarado Park. The park is great, Wildcat Canyon is walking distance. We have Raley's for a grocery store (which is fantastic). We unfortunately do have a few bad houses in the 'hood, where obvious drug addicts live and unfortunately, those two or three houses seem noticeable. We have a few odd characters, but generally seem harmless. We have had a few in home burglaries of late, but I have heard of nice areas in Berk / El Cerrito that have that problem, which can be avoided with an alarm system.

As far as safety, I feel very safe. The houses facing the city are more charming than the ranch houses facing the El Sobrante Valley. The neighbors are wonderful and there are lots of outdoor activities. Oh! and the best part - most houses have a million dollar view! lovin' what's known as poor man's marin

As far as ''cheaper and safe enough,'' I think Richmond View has everything you're looking for! The Richmond View is actually unincorporated CC County, and the main thoroughfare is Arlington Blvd (basically between Barrett & McBryde). It is 7 or so miles from Berkeley. Closest BART stop is Del Norte. We've lived here for 8 years (priced out of Berkeley ourselves) and have been very happy. The neighborhood families are a real mix racially, ethnically, and economically, but it seems like many have owned their homes for years and are nice people. It is very quiet and safe -- we walk all the time, including at night. Our neighborhood elementary school is Mira Vista, which is a great little school, and the middle school is Adams. Alvarado park (which connects to Wild Cat Canyon and Tilden) is a beautiful park in the area.

As for the cons, hill living means less amenities within walking distance, though we do have the Arlington Market nearby. I wish there were some better restaurants nearby but if you like El Salvadoran food, La Bamba can't be beat!

There are a lot of good deals in real estate right now, and I think the range around here is in the $400 - 550,000 range. I'd recommend taking a drive down Arlington -- catch it at Marin and head north -- and then meandering in the little side streets once you've passed Barrett. It's worth checking out. Christine

November 2006

Hello BPN members--I'm thinking about moving to the East Richmond Heights area--unincorporated Richmond hills near the Self-Realization Fellowship temple--and would like to hear from anyone who's living/lived there what their experience is. Considering how close Richmond is to UC Berkeley, I'm surprised at how few postings are archived on this site about living/moving to this area. It's twelve minutes to Solano Ave and twenty-five to downtown Berkeley. I've found some quiet streets with beautiful views overlooking Wildcat Canyon, and a relaxed atmosphere that hints of hippie happiness--the house prices are way lower than Berkeley or El Cerrito Hills, but the community seems pretty similar, less status-conscious perhaps, but into gardening, biking, etc. There are a couple of cool alternative schools, and even the little grocery store on the Arlington (Arlington Market) that kind of looks like a ghetto liquor store from the outside (bars on windows etc.) surprisingly sells only organic milk and mostly organic produce and health food brand foods. Is there something I don't know about this neighborhood that's keeping prices lower (like, are there huge landslide problems, does pollution from the Richmond refineries ever affect the hills?) or is this just a case of the Richmond zipcode deterring buyers? I'm just surprised to find 3-4 bed homes with nice views and an OK-sounding elementary school in the 500K-600K range so close to everything.
Curious about Richmond Hills

I'm so glad you asked! I do think this area gets overlooked due to the ''Richmond'' designation. We've been very happy here. We moved here in 2000 (lured, like you, by the much lower housing costs), so we've now been here 6 1/ 2 years. The neighborhoods are very diverse -- older folks, young ''hippie''- esque people, blue-collar and white-collar families, of all ethnicities. I do wish there were more families with children, but perhaps that will come as the neighborhood continues to transition. The views are great, nearby Alvarado Park is really gorgeous, and both El Cerrito Plaza and Solano Ave are 10 minutes away. We've had less crime here than we did in Berkeley. It is usually very quiet and peaceful on the weekends. We have been very pleasantly suprised by our local elementary school, Mira Vista, which has a committed, energetic principal; excellent, experienced teachers; and a lot of great kids. As far as earthquakes, we are on the Hayward fault, but so is much of Berkeley and El Cerrito. We've never had any pollution from the refineries; can't even smell them. In short, we're very happy with our quiet, off-the-radar neighborhood and its proximity to all the nature and culture the Bay Area has to offer! Christine

Richmond View is a great place to live..We love the weather, the variety of homes and the diverse population that lives up here. We feel lucky with the view of Mt. Tam and the accessibility to I-80. Prices are lower than in Berkeley and yet the home design is not unlike the higher priced areas. Because we are close to the flat lands of Richmond, you may experience what urban areas do..some crime...We have had cars broken into but not unlike other bay area spots. The School system is working hard to keep up and Mira Vista Elementary gets good reviews.. We have thought that this area is a well-kept secret!! andrea

We've lived in Richmond View (ie: East Richmond) for 17 years. We love it here. We live on Tulare avenue between Barrett ave and Hazel just diagonally down from the Mira Vista School. It's a GREAT neighborhood. There are no dismal secrets keeping prices of housing lower. It may be the Richmond reputation. The local public school is the Mira Vista School, just recently rebuilt. Both my kids went there in the lower grades. You couldn't ask for more dedicated wonderful teachers. Tehiyah Day School is also in the neighborhood on the El Cerrito side, and Windrush is nearby also in El Cerrito (for private schools). Crestmont is also in the neighborhood as is Adams Middle School. Below the MV School is a 7 acre piece of land belonging to the school district. It has become a neighborhood park...we, the neighbors take care of it. The Arlington Market is indeed a small hidden treasure in our community. I walk and run in the neighborhood, walk my dogs, etc. Have met many neighbors over the years.

The refinery, though can be an eyesore if you have a view of it, is not a pollution problem to us because the wind seems to carry any fumes north...not great for the northern neighbors, but doesn't come up here. If you have the refinery in your view, you only need to divert your eyes slightly upward to look at the much more grande view of Mt. Tam.

I work in Berkeley, my husband works in Albany and Berkeley. It takes us 12-20 minutes (depending on time we leave and which location we're going to) to get to work on the town streets. This is a wonderful neighborhood for adults, kids and dogs.

Richmond View/Heights is a great kept secret!! I don't see anything negative about it except that you'd still have to drive in to Berkeley, etc. We have lived in this area since 2000 and LOVE it. In fact, we started out renting and since then have bought and moved into two houses (all on the same block) in the area mainly because of our neighbors, the view (we have a picture perfect view of Mt. Tam and a view of Golden Gate Bridge) and the cost of the homes (in 2001, it was in the $300k's, in 2005, it was in the $700k's for 4 BDRM/2BA homes). The residents are usually older, retired folks OR young families starting out with infants/toddlers. Our neighborhood is a mix of these two. Our toddler attends a Waldorf-based preschool nearby; we live 7 minutes away from Solano Avenue, closer to Central Plaza, can drive along the Arlington to get to Berkeley, and are a bike ride away to BART. There are also some wonderful parks for the kids. We have a Fat Apple's nearby and Wildcat Canyon park (adjacent to Tilden) a few blocks away. There are some nice neighborhood shortcuts to get you in to Berkeley, etc. without having to be on the freeway. But yes, because Richmond View/Heights *IS* Richmond, home prices are less here. Our real estate agent, who is from the Peninsula, tried to talk us out of buying in Richmond until she drove up here and saw the beautiful houses. Richmond Heights butts into El Cerrito and even Kensington. El Cerrito homes cost about the same (but not Kensington's).
future neighbors?

I've lived in Richmond View almost 20 years. Yes, cheaper housing, beautiful views, etc. The prices are much lower (altho not nearly as low as they used to be, Richmond is catching up). The prices are lower not because of landslides, etc. but primarily because its Richmond and primarily because of the schools. Mira Vista is ok, Adams Middle a disaster and Kennedy High not a consideration. There are several great privates, charter, etc. around. We managed because we were able to do transfers into other WCCUSD schools (Harding and EC High, many people in the neighborhood get their kids into Madera but I always felt it wasn't diverse enough and too elitist. There are many great things about living here including having money left over to do things, but you can't really walk to anything and we do find ourselves doing everything in EC or Berkeley, but you can buy a house and still have money left over to do things if you can manage the school stuff. We actually get to go on vacations, unlike my friends who have overpaid to live in El Cerrito or Berkeley. anon

I live in Richmond Annex, and know many familiies that live in Richmond View. It is a great area to live in and you get so much more house for your money. I think the schools are a big issue for families. The elementary schools are ok. The midddle schools are problematic for many. I know many families who send their kids to Windrush for middle school and the public schools for elementary and high school. Also I think that area is zoned for Kennedy High which is a concern for many families. El Cerrito High serves other parts of Richmond and there are many middle class families who attend there and are quite satisfied with the education and opportunities there. anon

I was intrigued by folks' responses about living in Richmond View. Can someone please give the rough boundaries and/or zipcodes of this area - I searched online and wasn't able to find any such info. Thank you. Joan

Our zip code in Richmond View is 94805. I think that's the only one. I'm not totally positive about boundaries but here's a rough idea. North of Barrett avenue from Arlington Blvd down to a few blocks above San Pablo Avenue. I'm not sure if Solano avenue (not the one in Bkly/Alb) or McBryde would be the more northern boundary. Also within that general area above the Arlington. There is a triangle of unincorporated county that is considered Richmond View. If you can find the Mira Vista Elementary School, you are in Richmond View. I know this is spotty, but hope it helps.
RV resident

Richmond View also known as Richmond Heights runs roughly North and South from Barrett Ave north to McBryde, East West from Hwy 80 to the Hills above the Arlington - to Wildcat Canyon. It is 94805 zip code.
Richmond Viewer

Richmond View is also known as ''East Richmond Heights.'' I don't know exact borders, but a rough guideline is anything just above or just below Arlingon Blvd, between Barrett St. in El Cerrito and McBryde Ave in Richmond. The Western ''boundary'' is probably San Pablo, and the Eastern one is the hills themselves .

I'm not sure if there are ''official'' boundaries. This area lies in zipcode 94805. I would say the area is the area of the 94805 zipcode on the east side of I-80 that has some kind of view-- perhaps roughly between McBryde to the North and Barrett to the South, and Wildcat Canyon on the east side? There is a neighborhood council, ( which has some info about the area--it's also known as Richmond Heights-- but it also has info on Richmond in general so it's hard to distinguish boundaries from that website alone. There's also a realtor, Cynthia Burke, who specializes in the area, her website is could call her and find out more!
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