Living in San Ramon and Dublin

Questions & Responses:
Next great *affordable* city/town/neighborhood? (9 responses)
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Questions Related Pages

2008 - 2013 Recommendations

Living in San Ramon in the older neighborhoods

Nov 2012

Looking to hear from families with children who live in San Ramon in the older neighborhoods - west side of 680, near california high, Inverness park - or Greenbrook area of Danville...what do you like, love, not like about your community? The schools score very high but I worry they are test driven - because their scores are so good - what's your take on that? Creative and engaging teachers? Are parents involved in schools? Many sahm's? Easy or hard to connect and form friendships? Glad you moved there? This is a more advice-y query but has anyone figured out a way to evaluate schools beyond the API/great schools information and data? We have a 2nd grader and incoming kinder for next fall. We live in Alameda but want more space inside and out - and would love to be near open space.

We made the move 3 years ago - the summer before my son entered kindergarten. We are within walking distance to Bollinger Canyon Elementary (the west side off 680) I do not have any major regrets about moving from our Oakland neighborhood (which I enjoyed as well). I grew up in Pleasant Hill and so I was used to suburb life before marrying my Oakland native husband and living in Oakland for 7 years. Yes, we moved for the schools and I work in Pleasanton and my husband works in Dublin so it was a good fit. The school has been a great experience, we've had amazing teachers and the parents have been great as well.

The school doesn't feel test driven, but, this is the only elementary that I've experienced as a parent so I'm probably not the best resource for this question. I do feel my son is where he should be developmentally and academically. And the 4 teachers we've experienced have been great. My son tends to like the warm fuzzy, caring type and for second grade his teacher was a bit strict in his mind. My mind she was fine and he just took awhile to adapt. The school has an art teacher, music program, computer teacher and librarian that is parent funded. I do feel like a lot of parents are really involved with the school.

No, not everyone is a sahm, I'm thankful for those that are as they tend to step it up in the classroom when I can only make one or two parties a year. They tend to plan out everything and may just need a donation of baked cookies from me. My son has a wonderful time, and that's all that really matters. We have a lot of Dad's that jump in as well. To be honest, it seems to me that most folks here are two parent incomes or at least the same ratio I experienced in Oakland. The population is diverse, I was skeptical at first, but there is a wide variety of folks in the neighborhood and the school. It wasn't as easy for me to form the friendships that we had made with our Oakland preschool families, but, once school started and the play dates started then the kids had stuff in common the friendships came; for me and my son.

Likes - walk to school, park is down the street, and we can bike in the neighborhood. We have a back yard. In Oakland we lived on the side of a hill. Our car hasn't been stolen (like it was in our Oakland neighborhood) although we did leave our doors unlocked in San Ramon and someone took the change in the ashtray and went through the car. Crime is everywhere.

Dislikes - It's hot in the summer time, restaurants (but, they are getting better), Farmers Market isn't nearly as good as Montclair or JL Square, and no downtown area like Montclair exits in San Ramon. Hope you make the best decision for you and your family! Debbie

Oct 2012

Re: Moving to Castro Valley from Oakland
Hello - If you have a GATE child then I would move to San Ramon and not Castro Valley. San Ramon is about 15-20 minutes away from Castro Valley. The San Ramon school district is light years ahead of Castro Valley and has a strong GATE program. There are two types of programs available Cluster Gate and ATP. You would need to apply for ATP if your child is a third grade GATE student living in San Ramon. If you need more detailed information please feel free to email me. Castro Valley schools are good but San Ramon schools are great. Yes, San Ramon is the land of the beige houses but you have 3 Peets Coffee houses, Whole Foods, Zachery's pizza, etc. San Ramon also has a great deal of open space very close for hiking and biking. Joy

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Living in Windemere/San Ramon

June 2006

I would've thought you were crazy if you told me two years ago that we'd be considering a move to San Ramon. We love our Oakland neighborhood, charming old house and friendly neighbors with same-age kids. BUT. We might be ready to trade in ''walk to shopping'' for ''walk to huge park,'' easy freeway access for kid- friendly bike paths and great/varied restaurants for the ability to dine in our own backyard and watch the kids run around on the lawn.

Does anyone have any information about the new Windemere community, specifically the people who live there? The few times we've been out there, we've seen NOBODY walking around, in the parks or hanging out in the neighborhood. It could be because we were in the areas where few people have actually moved in. Or, it could be that once you move out there, you find that people keep to themselves and stay inside! (Yikes). A friendly, inviting community is really important to us, with 2 small children.

Any information/suggestions would be helpful!
-Maybe we're the ones who are crazy?

Have you considered Dublin or Pleasanton? We moved to Dublin last summer and really love it. We have a nice home in the Summerglen area just .5 mile from the 580/680 interchange and near BART. I see kids of every age in our neighborhood playing in their yards or the street. Although my daughter is too young now to run outside and play with friends, I'm hopeful that she will enjoy such pleasures in just a few years. Our neighbors on both sides have kids only slightly older than her. Plus we have access to a pool (thru our homeowners assoc.), only 1.5 blocks away, and there are always families hanging out there. Dublin's Emerald Glen Park is just a few blocks away, and it is HUGE, with a great playground for kids, lots of baseball and soccer fields, and a new area that includes a cricket pitch (my husband is from India, so that is a bonus that may pay off down the road). We've discovered some great restaurants in downtown Pleasanton that keep us from missing the Berkeley restaurant scene too much. I joined the Pleasanton Mom's Club and have met some moms that way.

We also looked at Windemere and other new developments in San Ramon. We found too many negatives vis-a-vis Dublin/Pleasanton: no BART access, the drive from the Windemere development back to the freeway seemed REALLY long (lots of stoplights to wait for) and would probably only get longer as the houses keep going up out there, and no nearby shopping.

From our residential area in Dublin, I can drive to the mall (10 min), grocery stores (3 min), freeway (3 min), BART (3-5 min), or even to some shops in San Ramon (Whole Foods is about 10 min). We are just blocks from a grade school that our daughter can attend, and there is a new middle school in Dublin Ranch. I found a grocery store in Pleasanton that offers better meat/seafood and fruits/veggies than Safeway for those times when we want to splurge a bit. And the farmers' market is a good option. One last benefit to our place in Dublin - we get nice winds in the evening so that the temperatures (when they get really hot) are more bearable. We can often leave the windows open and turn off the A/C.

If you are thinking of making the move to the East Bay, Dublin/Pleasanton is worth considering.
Happy in Dublin

To the couple thinking about moving to San Ramon from Oakland. If you enjoy a close knit community where neighbors hang out outside and socialize, and kids romp through the streets, you won't like San Ramon.

I used to frequent San Ramon alot and had friends who lived there. I found that these developments did not foster that close knit community you seek. Most people come home, drive their cars straight into the garage and you never see them again. Everyone has automatic irrigation systems, so they don't need to come out front to water. The developers install developer front yard landscaping so that you don't get to landscape your own yard. The HOA's while a good idea initially, are very stringent and stipulate what you can and cannot do with your house, landscape, and everything else.

Think of it this way, you're not just buying a house, you're buying into a different way of life. It gets so hot out there, that most people come home, turn on the AC and stay inside. It gets so cold that people come home, turn on the heat and stay inside.

The major advantage of San Ramon though? Great schools, and very little crime. There won't be much in terms of diversity. There is alot of money there, and the old cliche of ''Keeping up with the Jones''' is true. Also, 680 during peak travel times is really busy.

However, living in San Ramon is pretty easy. You can just hop in your car, and you've got the big boxes along 680, Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton, or that new Hacienda Complex in Dublin.

So, as far as Windemere is concerned, it's an upscale developement, with large homes, wide streets, pools in the backyard, with most folks keeping to themselves. Unfortunately, that is the trend with these developments.

HOWEVER, I think that if you can find a subdevelopement there, with narrow streets(similiar to streets in Oakland), you might have a better chance of interacting with your neighbors. I found a developement in Danville (small, only about 20 homes or so), that actually fostered community. And, also, don't forget to pay the HOA fees. ;P

BTW, even though my post sounds a little negative, I'm not bashing San Ramon. It's just a different lifestyle, and if I had kids, I'd consider moving there.

One thing to note though...and this was mentioned by someone else who commented on the Lamorinda area...If you love your Oakland neighborhood, neighbors, and are happy, then one thought is to stay put, spend the money you would otherwise spent on mortgage on the new house in San Ramon, and send your kids to private school. New house in Windemere is upwards of $700-800k.

Good luck

2003 & Earlier

Mother's Club in the Dublin Area?

August 2003

Hi. I moved to Dublin recently and have a 5 month old baby. I want to join a mother's club in this area but there are several such as Pleasanton Mother's Club, Iron Horse, Amador Valley, etc... Can anyone recommend one ? I want to join one to meet other moms and to join a play group. I already searched and read past recommendation but I didn't find it too helpful. Thanks!! Mo

Hi, I just recently moved to Pleasanton and joined the Pleasanton Mothers Club. I didn't do too much researching into the others (I was impressed by the size of PMC as well as their website and brochure). I joined and was assigned to a playgroup which has worked out well for me. I am very impressed by their organization and by the community programs and support for the group. They also have so many side groups to join aside from the play groups (ie. book club, bunco, kids w/ allergies, gardening group and on and on...). My experience has been positive and I'd recommend it. New to the Area

Contemplating a move from Berkeley to San Ramon

November 2002

Hi, My husband's company is moving to San Ramon, and for commute reasons, we're considering moving there as well. But - can it possibly be as great a place to live as the Berkeley area? Does anyone know what there is there along the lines of... Habitot? The Y (with childwatch, kiddie swim, kindergym, etc.)? Tilden (Little Farm, steam trains, etc.)? Fun parks? Lawrence Hall of Science? Music groups? NPN? We'd miss all that so much. Also, how does one go about researching and finding preschools in San Ramon? The NPN makes it easy here, with the guide and fair and such. I know what we liked here, but have no idea what's available, or how to begin a search, for out there. Same with finding nannies - this Childcare Digest won't be available... is there a San Ramon version of Bananas? I've checked the website, and there's no info on the San Ramon area - any tips, leads or impressions would be appreciated! Not sure about this...

Yes, there is life outside of Berkeley. Summers are warmer, parks are larger. I did a quick search and found this site very easily There are 2 especially nice parks in San Ramon area - the water park at the corner of Alcosta and Bollinger Canyon rd, and Osage station park in Danville off of San Ramon Valley blvd (which has a great play structure and water park). I would suggest living in Danville over San Ramon - more trees and a nicer looking well- planned town. Anon
We moved from Rockridge to San Ramon 8 years ago. Your question: ''can it possibly be as great a place to live as the Berkeley area?'' is easily answered -- No. We tolerate it and have made friends here, but we are counting the days till we go back. I grew up in the Far East Bay (as I call it), so I was familiar with what to expect from life here -- it lives up to the suburban bedroom-community stereotype. There are plenty of ''activities'' but nothing to stir the soul. Most of the time, we go through the tunnel to find art, culture and like-minded people. Paula
I was worried about the same things when moving from N. Oakland to Danville. While there isn't the great diversity of people in San Ramon, they certainly have most if not ALL of the conveniences. It is a very kid friendly community and the weather IS better. There is the Iron Horse Mother's club which paired me up with one of many welcoming play groups. There's Gymboree and a Gymtastics both in San Ramon, and Tri-Valley Music Together (both have websites). Tot Drop (short term babysitting) locations all around the valley, plus lots of teenagers around looking for extra $$ and willing to babysit. The public schools and libraries are awesome and most of the elementary school playgrounds are open for public use. The Lyndsay Wildlife Museum is in Walnut Creek. In addition there are multiple parks w. playgrounds, Osage Park, Oak Hill Park, San Ramon swim complex at Cal High and more. The city of Danville has a great bunch of community programs and classes for all ages. I recommend you visit either the city of Danville or the City of San Ramon websites for more info on parks and rec. The webmaster for the Iron Horse Mother's club (who also host a preschool night) is: thehummels2 AT I'm sure your realtor can point you in the right direction for a lot of these things. Good luck in your decision. Nancy D
My husband and my almost 3 year old daughter moved from San Leandro to San Ramon about 4 months ago. I grew up in San Ramon and didn't really like it much, actually said I would never live there again--my parents are quite surprised that we actually like it.

Now, as parents we all learn, and I find San Ramon to be a great place to live and raise children. I don't really have a problem traveling to Oakland or SF for kid fun, and I work at UC Berkeley. The schools in San Ramon are GREAT, and I went all the way through (Neal Armstrong, Pine Valley & Cal High). I like the extra space and probably wouldn't like living in a city anyway. I was always frustrated at shopping when I lived in Alameda and San Leandro. Shopping and parking in San Ramon is so much better. I haven't gotten involved in a mother's club because I have found a few that cover the San Ramon area (Iron Horse, San Ramon Valley Mother's Club, and Pleasanton Mother's Club, to name a few), and am not quite sure which one suits us best.

I would be interested in hearing from others about the mother's clubs and which one would be best for a San Ramon resident. The SRVMC seems to be centered in Danville, and I don't really know that I want to spend a lot of time on the 680 corridor.

I have recently heard (and remember) that Danville is a lot more snooty, but probably a fine place to live. Lovin' the Valley!