I am a single mother moving to Berkeley with my 22 month old daughter. We are evaluating two different rental homes, one in Thousand Oaks (2 blocks north of Solano) and one near the North Berkeley BART station. The T.O. home is more suitable for us in many ways but I'm concerned that we won't have the same sense of community up there, compared to the area around Virgina and Sacramento (where I know from an acquaintance that there are kids all over and the community is really tight knit.) Can anyone comment on the Thousand Oaks sense of community or do a compare and contrast? Thanks much! Christine
I can't do a compare and contrast since I haven't lived in the Virginia street area, but I live 5 blocks north of Solano in the T.O. neighborhood and love it! There are many families in this area, along with a fair amount of older people (not a lot of younger college aged people). I think it's a great mix. There's Memorial Park and T.O. school playground, which are both great parks. We have gotten to know MANY of our neighbors and others from just hanging out at the parks. I think people are very friendly here and Solano Avenue has everything! You won't be far from the El Cerrito Plaza BART either. Lovin' T.O.
This may not answer your question directly, but if I were choosing between living at Virginia and Sacto, or TO two blocks above Solano, I'd choose TO in a heartbeat. It's a very walkable neighborhood, shops and restaurants galore, whereas that Sacto corridor is quite residential (though still a pleasant neighborhood and very close to BART which might be important for you). We used to live about halfway between those two neighborhoods and walked to Solano regularly--never walked to Sacto unless we were going to BART. But if you do end up near Sacto, there is a terrific preschool on Sacto and Cedar, Cedar Creek Montessori. My two children thrived there. Welcome to Berkeley! Former Berkeleyite, now Oaklander
We love the T.O neighborhood! There's lots of kids, great walking neighborhood, Solano Stroll right there. The T.O. tot lot is a very sociable place as well - you're sure to meet neighbors with little ones there, also Albany Memorial Park is very close by. Sara
We lived in Thousand Oaks (San Lorenzo Ave.) from 1992 until about 2002 and owned our home. There are not many rentals that I know of in the area. I would love to rent there. There is the Thousand Oaks School and it is walking distance, more or less, to King Middle School. We were part of our neighborhood watch group and I was part of a moms' group. Plenty of socializing. I walked the kids over to Solano Ave. frequently for coffee and shopping and we played at the playground next to Thousand Oaks.
The area near the N. Berkeley BART is a step down in home prices, but perhaps that contributes to more younger families living there. My ex lives near King and there seem to be plenty of kids around. kl
I missed the original question but I believe you asked about living around Virginia @ Sacramento vs in Thousand Oaks. Other replies indicated that T.O. has more to offer in terms of shopping/walking, I'd say that's true, but from Virginia @ Sacto you'd be pretty close to Monterey Market (wonderful grocery) and its pocket of shopping/entertainment: a good pizza takeout (Gioia), coffee shop, beauty salon, meat shop, cheese/chocolate/tea store, a nice little bakery, and a nursery too if you're into gardening. Nearby parks are Totland on Virginia @ McGee where toddler moms (and some dads) hang out, Cedar Rose Park (2 playgrounds for younger and older toddlers, and big green field where soccer classes are held), and King Park on Hopkins near the middle school (has a tot lot and older kids play area, as well as stadium and tennis courts). Our wonderful preschool, Mustard Seed, is right there on Hopkins as well. The North branch of Berkeley public library is on Hopkins @ The Alameda, a longish walk or a short drive from Virginia @ Sacto. So the area has lots of attractions to walk to, and there are people out and about in the Monterey Market pocket of 'life', as well as in the parks, so you should have plenty of chances to meet people. Also, I know a young couple who settled around Virginia @ Edith and they say it's a friendly residential community where all the neighbors know each other.