Living in Vallejo

Related Page: Vallejo Public Schools

Parent Q&A

  • Raising kids in Vallejo

    (2 replies)

    Hi – it’s been a couple of years since a question like this was posted, so I’m hoping to get some fresh responses. My partner, our six-year old, and I are being displaced from our long-term home in Berkeley through an owner move-in eviction. We have been looking to buy for a while now, but the housing market in Berkeley is out of the question, and even in east Oakland and Richmond houses are selling for so much over the listing price that we can’t afford them. So, we’ve been widening our search, and may end up in…Vallejo. We found a beautiful house there in the heritage district with gardens, close to a park, and walking distance to downtown and the ferry. And we can afford it! We’ve met several people who have moved from the East Bay there, and they all talk about how much they actually love living in Vallejo. Some of them have started businesses. Some are artists. But none of them have kids.

    I know that there will be people who will say to stay away from Vallejo with kids. But who I really want to hear from are families who live there. The schools sound awful (but improving...?), and we just want some on-the-ground advice from families in Vallejo. What’s it like? Where do your kids go to school? Does it feel safe? Is it generally kid friendly? We’re a queer family – are there others? We *may* be able to keep our child in BUSD for some time as we commute back to this part of the Bay for work, but I think the commute will kill us over time, so we will want to re-center our lives around this area if we move there, including with schools. Any advice? Anyone willing to talk about their experience? Thank you in advance!

    RE: Raising kids in Vallejo ()

    We know a same-sex couple with a 2-year-old who live in Vallejo and are happy there, and I believe they plan to stay. They're great people! I unfortunately don't know much more than that (we know this couple from our prenatal group, and only see them once every few months now), but I hope this is helpful.

    RE: Raising kids in Vallejo ()

    Not sure about Vallejo but check out the May Valley area of Richmond! Houses here aren’t selling above asking these days and while there’s nothing commercial around that isn’t dumpy it’s a diverse and generally charming suburb. We’re here and queer and recruiting;)

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Tell me about Vallejo ....

April 2015

I love love love Oakland, but the rents have gotten way out of control (in case you all hadn't noticed), and we are needing to upgrade to a 2 BR and do not have the money to purchase anything in this crazy market. I understand that the loss of public transport will be a huge difference, and all the other amazing amenities, but the bang for the buck looks incredible. What's the catch? Are some neighborhoods better than others? What's the downtown like? Library? Playgrounds? Farmers market? Trails? Hint: these are all the reasons we love Oakland.... curious

Spend some time in Vallejo -- at least hang out there for a couple of day trips. It is very depressed, and there is little access to urban amenities, and little ability to get around on transit. My spouse was there for work and experienced vandalism to the car, (which could happen anywhere, but hasn't happened in any other place during the day).

You should also take some day trips to Hayward and San Leandro. Both are cheaper than Oakland, and they have ok downtowns, and access to transit. El Cerrito is another place to consider, though somewhat intermediate in price. Richmond is poorer but has a progressive city government and an interesting art scene.

The schools in Vallejo suffer from having many students in poverty and little access to resources. In Hayward and in Contra Costa Unified (Richmond), although many of the students are poor, there is better access to resources. The only good side to Vallejo is that you could get a historic house for much less money than in Oakland. Assuming you have children, Vallejo doesn't seem like a good choice. anon

Don't do it - especially if you have kids - coming from someone who lived there and husband was born and raised there. If you do end up in Vallejo DO YOUR HOMEWORK about schools and crime. Seriously consider has all that you love about Oakland. anon

We love Vallejo. We bought here last summer and haven't regretted it for one minute. We looked in Berkeley and Oakland, and what you get for the money seemed insane. We had the crazy mortgage in west LA.... never want to do that again. We paid so little for our adorable 1930's Vallejo bungalow with charm galore, on a tree lined street with a gigantic yard... that our friends literally weep. We can afford to travel, eat out whenever we want, send our kids to private school, save for retirement/college/etc (like normal people!) and not spend half of our income on a mortgage. Yes, there are bad areas, but there are also amazing family friendly gorgeous neighborhoods like ours. The Vista and Grant Mahoney Park are great, along with the Heritage District.

Yes, you get 'the look' when you tell people you live in Vallejo (gasp!). But I remember that look when I lived in Silverlake and Echo Park in LA in the early 1990's (and now it's as expensive and desirable as the west side). I think Vallejo is on fast forward for just that kind of renaissance, so I don't mind the looks so much. I also don't mind when we look at our bank account!

Truth is... artists have taken over this town. And you can see that with the parades, the holiday festivals, watching fireworks on Mare Island... it's inspiring. There is more support for the arts here than anywhere else I've lived. And community spirit and true love for the town and it's well being. Never seen anything like it. And open spaces. And the perfect weather (rarely do we have fog, yet always a breeze). Crime? Yep. But I doubt it's any worse than Berkeley or Oakland, and the good thing is, you will know your neighbors, and even the police (they even have 3 specially assigned people just for community quality of life issues, can you imagine that in Oakland?).

Do we wish things were closer? Heck yeah. That's the biggest downside. The drive to Berkeley or Oakland takes 20 minutes off time, more in rush hours. We spend a lot of time in the car (but you know what? We are saving so much money we leased an electric car to get in the car pool lane, so that problem is solved). Other downsides: not a lot of really good dining choices. But guess what? Napa Valley is 20 minutes away. We've got an awesome farmers market, lots of trails (that aren't crowded!) and a jump from all that Sonoma and Napa have to offer so close by. Oh, and just a direct, easy ferry ride to the city....!

Yeah, it's pretty good here. So good I almost am hesitant to post this, because we like the quiet streets, less congestion and the feeling that we know we're on the verge of something amazing (the way Silverlake was). But I also am proud of Vallejo, and want to dispell the myths. So the 'catch'? Being brave enough to take the leap! Loving Vallejo

What I can tell you about Vallejo is that it has A LOT of potential, but the city has a lot of work to do. Vallejo hasn't recovered from the loss of income from the military (who left in the 90's). The downtown area is slowly on the 'up and up', mare island is cool, and the ferry to SF is nice. Have you considered Benicia? I recently moved from Berkeley to Benicia because, like you, we needed more space and couldn't afford more space in Berkeley. We were looking for a family friendly community with good schools in the area and we stumbled upon Benicia. Benicia is a small town on the carquinez strait bordering Vallejo. I have 2 young sons and we absolutely love it here! A lot of people don't even know Benicia exists, but it was the state capital in the 1850's so has some interesting history. We have a cute little downtown with a great library and community pool, awesome parks and playgrounds, good schools, a great Farmers market every Thursday on the main drag, a neat artist community, and wonderful people in general. Our initial concern about this town is that there is a refinery , but it hasn't bothered us at all since we've been here (about 6 months). One thing I do miss about Berkeley/Oakland/Albany are the amazing restaurants, but my kids are little so we rarely go out anyway. Come to our farmers market and check out the town- every Thursday from 4-8. There's even a bounce house for the kids! Benicia fan

We moved from Vallejo to Oakland in 2013 to shorten our commute (downtown Oakland and San Jose). Vallejo was great! Like anywhere, there are good neighborhoods and bad. Some good neighborhoods: Hiddenbrooke is a great gated community on the east side of Vallejo, there are some good neighborhoods at the east end/top of Springs Road, around the Costco area, and Glen Cove. The old downtown is trying to get revived. The farmer's market is held there every Saturday morning (at the end of Georgia St near the waterfront). The downtown's not quite there yet as far as revival, but on it's way. Lots of great old Victorians to live in there and good restaurants. The library is downtown and wonderful. Playgrounds- there are several and pretty decent, as well as the waterfront- lots of parents take the kids on their bikes and walk while the kids ride bikes, or kick soccer balls and fly kites on the grass. Trails are available. I know of some trails in the hills in the neighborhood behind the dog park. Hope it works out for you! Like Oakland, it gets a bad rap sometimes but it's a great place to live. I know several teachers in the public schools and many friends are raising families there. Angelee  

Vallejo... what can I say? I have been here 10 years and cannot wait to move because the schools are terrible and the gentrification process is too slow. To be fair, the place has grown on me considerably -- I am active in community sports, and have found a solid group of friends and neighbors. However, because I have a school-aged child (he's in private school), I am desperate to move out, moreover I would like to live in a larger house with less crime in the general area. we have had our home and cars broken into, and live in a 'good for Vallejo' area. The 'curb appeal' is severely lacking in many parts of Vjo (crummy, run down looking town, with tons of homeless) and we would have been gone long ago if not for being underwater due to the housing crisis. I guess I am just a snob -- guilty! anon

Hi, I lived in the Berkeley/Oakland area for many years before being priced out of the area and moving to Vallejo about 18 months ago. I like it much more than I thought. A few great things - wonderful walking/hiking areas nearby, Napa is a quick 20 minute drive away, easy access to amenities with parking and more house for your money. The neighborhoods are mixed; there are some places you just won't hang around; much like Oakland. The Northgate community is nice but cars do get stolen and there are break-ins so nothing is perfect. You can get a nice house for 400K. There's a new community being built called Colina. You can have a 4,000 Square foot house for 600K but not much yard and houses are close together. The downtown is sadly in need of a makeover. It's depressing because the area has so much potential with a pretty waterfront. There's some really lovely Victorians around there. Eating out isn't so great; we go to Benicia for good restaurants. I know nothing about the schools. American Canyon generally has a better reputation than Vallejo and the schools are reputed to be better (same with Benicia). The most difficult thing is the traffic. It's a 30 minute commute to Berkeley with no traffic but will take you an hour plus during high times. It's doable if you have a flexible schedule but I wouldn't recommend it if you have a 9-5 job. Bridge toll is $5. Best of luck with your house hunting. - priced out too

We moved to Vallejo 15 years ago from Alameda because - as you said - the prices were unbelievably low. What we learned is that, while we have twice the house we would have had anywhere else, there are a few things we haven't enjoyed accordingly. The biggest thing is the city services. While all is very inexpensive, we don't have an amazing pool facility like Mill Valley (two city pools but not fabulous), we don't have a great downtown (although its improving), we don't have beautiful libraries (two libraries, bare minimum facilities), we don't have the beautiful parks & rec facilities that other cities have - again - bare minimum. But, all in all, I'd rather live affordably in Vallejo than have a much smaller house in a richer city. You do have to be careful about your neighborhoods here as there are several gang & drug areas to stay away from. But, in all, we've experienced very little crime or problems here. As an added bonus, the weather is great (read: warmer) and Benicia is a great option for family activities & events nearby. Good luck & hope that helped. Debbie

Renting in Vallejo

June 2014

Any Vallejo residents out there? We are considering a move north and we are renters. We're seeking some pointers about the Vallejo/ Crocket area, and hoping to get some leads on a decent, even great apartment complex in or around the area. We are nature lovers and envision living near open space near/ on the bay, as we very much enjoy that now in Alameda. We do not have young children, but we do have a Labrador. any other comparable/ more affordable town options on the outskirts? Thanks so much!! Downsizing Hi There - We moved to Vallejo from Alameda 14 yrs ago. First off, the weather is warmer here. I didn't realize how often I needed a sweatshirt in Alameda till moving to Vallejo. But, its not too hot (like Fairfield or Vacaville). Crockett is a little cooler i think. We chose Vallejo for its diversity and distance from all the refineries. The downside to a highly diverse city is there's more crime here overall (than Alameda or Benicia and probably Crockett)) That said, we've never encountered any crime personally in Vallejo but several of our neighbors have and we live in a decent neighborhood - albeit the nearby neighborhoods are not terrific. In general, most of West Vallejo is iffy and North Vallejo is gang country (north of Hwy 37). Most of East Vallejo (east of I-80 and north of I-780) are safe, normal areas. I don't know anything about the apartment complexes here but you might want to check for anywhere you choose.

You didn't mention kids, but the high schools and middle schools in Vallejo are not good except for a few exceptions like MIT Academy charter school (grades 6-12). Benicia has great schools but their HS has issues too - as most do when they get that large. Benicia is great but a tad too conservative for me personally and not very diverse IMHO. As for Crockett - they don't have much there in town so you'd be heading to Rodeo and Pinole for any errands. They do have a great family oriented pool in town. Hope this helps - good luck! Anon

April 2011

I would love to read some updated reviews on living in Vallejo Ca. I am interested in owning a single family home with 'character' with the goal of someday turning it into a rental property. I'm seeing prices I can afford and cute looking houses in downtown Vallejo. I like that Vallejo has the ferry to SF. Am I missing something about this town? Why are the prices so low? Who is living there and who is renting there? What is life like in Vallejo? Are there any landlords who can comment? Curious about Vallejo!

I've never lived in Vallejo, but have some good knowledge as my sister bought and lived in downtown Vallejo for about 4 years (until 2007 or so) - and my mother is a real estate agent there.

My sister owned a beautiful old Victorian on Georgia street. And then she had kids.

She tried staying for a few more years after her first was born. She wanted to love Vallejo. However, there were 2 murders in a matter of months right in front of the house over drugs. She was constantly calling police on the pizza place down the street, and her house was broken into more then a few times. Problems with neighbors, drug dealing in broad daylight, etc., etc.

You want to love Vallejo because it could be so much more - and it did almost make it. But recent economy troubles and budget woes in the city government, increased crime, etc. have thrown it into more turmoil.

My mother is a real estate agent and lives in Benicia (minutes away from Vallejo) and has spent many years working in Vallejo, Benicia & Solano CO. My brother is a recovering meth addict who spent many years living on the streets in Vallejo, because of easy access to drugs and not a lot of hassle from the cops.

There ARE better places to live in Vallejo then downtown. But you really need to know your neighborhoods well. Feel free to email me. lauren

There are many different sub-communities in Vallejo, and it matters a lot which one you are part of. I worked there too long ago to feel up-to-date, but definitely ask around. The schoosl vary quite a bit too, in case you are moving there with school-aged kids. The high schools are Hogan and Vallejo Senior High, and at the time I was there Hogan was preferable. Check the Glen Cove area for possible housing. You also might consider next-door Benicia, which is a nice community with a nice high school. If I were moving that direction I'd check there first. Good luck

We have been in Vallejo for 11 years - both our girls have been born during this time. I like Vallejo because it is affordable, diverse and conveniently located within the Bay Area. Overall, everything is cheaper here - kids lessons, private schools, activities, etc.

What I don't love about Vallejo is it is a little more crime-ridden than I'd prefer. While we have never really had a single problem here, it does have a bit of an urban feel that keeps me on my guard more than I'd like. The other thing I don't love is the lack of upscale ANYthing - no gourmet food stores, no terrific restaurants and zero nice hotels.

The ferry is great and so is the carpool and its nice to have Benicia to go to for events & such. Our kids are in public school and we love it - I disagree with all the negativity about vallejo schools as we've had a great experience.

Good luck with your decision! Hope this helped. Debbie

April 2010

My parents are looking to buy a home in Vallejo or American Canyon. Can anyone provide advice on good neighborhoods in these areas? Also, how hard does American Canyon get hit by traffic to and from Napa? They are retired so schools and proximity to public transportation are not an issue, but safety and proximity to good medical facilities would be (they have a Blue Cross PPO). Thanks in advance for any advice. Lisa

We bought a house in Vallejo in Feb. 2010 and I am very happy with it.

We bought the house with retirement in mind. If commute on I-80 and school are not the concerns. Vallejo could be a place to consider.

Vallejo does not have the best of reputation but just like Berkeley and Oakland, there are good areas.

We bought in the St. Vincent Hill neighborhood. It is a historic district with many older homes. Home price is very reasonable. A house just recently closed on our block, it is a 2-2 with view of the water and mountain and was sold under $200k. Good house do move very quickly usually within a week.

The weather is excellent. Warmer than Berkeley and much cooler than inland cities. (e.g. Davis, Sac, Tracy...)

Also our house is within walking distance to the Vallejo ferry terminal to San Francisco. If you like to spend a day in the city you can take the ferry. There are also people working in SF downtown and use the ferry everyday.

Another area worth checking is Vallejo Height. It is further north from ferry terminal about 5 min. drive. The houses there are newer, price somewhat higher but still very reasonable. Also on a hill next to Napa river (same as St. Vincent hill).

My neighborhood is very mixed - with white, black, Asian and Hispanic. On one side of my house, I have a young black couple with two young kids. Working for PG+E. Very nice , friendly and responsible. On the other side, I have two grad students from Touro University. My backdoor neighbors are a musician and a dancer. It is not very homogeneous and I found it very interesting and I like it.

There is no Whole Food or Trader Joe's in the city. There is a farmer's market within walking distance from my house.

I hope this give you some insights. KenVA


I wanted to recommend Cary Bourland who works for Century 21 Schutjer Realty, Inc. In the city of Vallejo

He was a very pleasant Realtor. He sold my parents a home in East Vallejo. He is very helpful and will go above and beyond to make sure you are a happy 'CLIENT' I am happy to recommend him to anyone out in the Vallejo area looking to buy a home. He is a very knowledgeable person.He knows Vallejo really good.

Call him and let him know Monica Durham reffered you! Cary

2005 - 2009 Recommendations

Sept 2008

Re: Cheaper but safe enough neighborhoods
Glen Cove in Vallejo. Next to Benicia. Doesn't even seem like we live in Vallejo. I take the daughter to Benicia for swiming, recreation, etc. Easy commute to San Francisco on the ferry or there is a casual carpool, bus to BART, etc. Take a drive out, we are off of 780 (Glen Cove Exit). Clean, safe neighborhood with good views of the Carquinez Strait and low housing prices. Local elementary school is O.K., but will probably send the daughter to private as she would be out of the neighborhood for middle school. BUT, for what we are saving on housing, we can afford a private school. Glen Cove Fan, Lukewarm on Vallejo

Considering buying a home in Vallejo

April 2007

My partner and I are considering buying a home in Vallejo. Although we only discovered it recently, it has lots of affordable (relative to Berkeley, SF and Marin) housing, much of it Victorians and craftsman bungalows that need updating. My daughter will be going to private school in Berkeley so that's not an issue, but there seems to be very little in the way of ''infrastructure'' as far as supermarkets, pharmacies, not to mention anything approaching decent restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters etc. I don't think there is even a Starbucks, and I thought they had colonized the whole planet by now! Does anyone have experience in this area/neighborhood (also as pertains to safety, etc.)? For the time being, we could travel to Berkeley or Napa for Trader Joe's, Barnes & Noble and other totems of ''civilization.'' It would be nice to have a home the size of which we would never be able to afford in the Bay area. And maybe this is the next big thing and we could get in on it early before it's discovered by everyone else???? Or do you all have different experiences and opinions? Thanks. Future Vallejo girl

I don't know much about Vallejo, but the surrounding areas have some good options for possible shopping, dining etc. Have you been to Benicia? It is very close by. It's a wonderful little historic town. There is a tea room there, and small restaurantes and cafes. There are also antique shops and an aritst studios complex that is open once a year. You don't have to go all the way into Berkeley or Napa to shop at Trader Joe's or Barnes and Nobel. El Cerrito has a Trader Joes, Barne's and Nobel AND a Peets. Pinole will have a Trader Joes soon. And maybe even one near Vallejo eventually. They are building new Trader Joes further up the 80. That seems to be the trend lately.

Be patient. Soon Vallejo will have more shopping choices and restaurantes. Wait 10-15 years. Anon

We moved to Vallejo almost two years ago and we regret it! We also were charmed by the (relatively) cheap housing, the historic district, etc. We have met some wonderful friends here, but unfortunately most of them are moving away again.

Just for the record; Vallejo has several Starbucks! But that's where the buck stops! Attempts to get more upscale supermarkets (e.g. The Nugget, Trader Joe's) to come here are all thwarted.

There are plenty of restaurants to be found, but not one of them is excellent. You need to either go to Napa or cross one of the bridges to find those. Several new home developments have sprung up in and around Vallejo (Hiddenbrooke, Mare Island, etc.), but the city doesn't seem to be willing to sustain these new citizens. Many of us thought that Vallejo was on the brink of changing, but several of my friends who moved here 5 or 6 years ago, realized that nothing is happening. We have two friends who bought a Victorian home in the historic district and both families are moving because of the prostitution and drug dealing in front of their homes!

There aren't any great parks to go to. Literally all our friends drive to Benicia, because they have wonderful parks. The city has tremendous potential, but they don't seem to be able to get anything done. The waterfront area (by the Marina) was supposed to be developed more than 10 years ago, but nothing has happened to date.

Children's Wonderland was shut down more than 10 years ago for a renovation and it is still shut down. A small play ground area has opened (you'll need to pay a fee to enter it), but it'll probably be another 5 years before that is finished. A group of parents are attempting to open a charter school in this district in order to create choice for parents.

The school district went bankrupt a few years back, so the state took over. The district is now run by a state administrator and several disgruntled board members who have no power to vote. Attend one of the school board meetings and you'll get a really good feeling how this city is run.

So these are all my opinions, but the truth of the matter is that I don't feel safe in this city. Do yourself a favor and take a stroll downtown on a Sunday afternoon. It is creepy! It'll be you and a few shady people hanging around. BPN will probably not let me write all this negativity, but it's the truth and I'd hate to see another parent go through what I and so many friends have gone through. Make sure you do your homework before you decide to move here. Go shopping at one or more of the supermarkets, check out some restaurants and visit a park or two. You'll get the flavor!- anon

Vallejo is a big city -- 125,000 people, more than Berkeley. Of course it has supermarkets. It also, according to Yahoo Yellow Pages, has five Starbucks. As far as the rest of the infrastructure, you seek, it has many of those chainy stores -- Pier 1, Mervyns, Costco, Target. There are also lots of independent stores with a great deal of diversity if not many high-end yuppie options. But there are drawbacks other than commercial -- I'd at least read its Wikipedia article for info on its crime and poverty. -- Used to work next-door in Benicia

I missed the original post, but have lived in Vallejo for almost 4 years, and have a 2 1/2 old daughter. I orginally lived in San Francisco when single, then Sonoma County. AHH, I miss the restaurants and fresh food of Sonoma County. But on a positive note, you can afford a house in Vallejo, and it is centrally located. If you commute to the city, your commute options are great. You will have to drive to Napa or further for ''good'' restaurants. We like a local sushi restaurant, but that is about it. The shopping is dull (but thank god there is a Costco). You would need to drive to Concord or Fairfield for a mall. The closest Trader Joe's are in Fairfield and Concord. I am finding I am taking my daughter to activities in Benicia (music together, swim lessons, kindergym)because Vallejo does not offer these opportunities, but the Children's Wonderland Park is open during construction (11:00 AM - 4:30) despite what another poster said (my daughter was there today, and I asked the hours). Raley's in Vallejo and Benicia is starting to offer Clover milk products and good looking produce I am relieved to report, I had my husband driving to Napa for milk. I have to say that downtown Vallejo is a little scary. But, there are beautiful and safe areas of Vallejo. We live in Glen Cove, and it feels like Benicia. Check it out, it is next door to Benicia, but Vallejo prices, fresh air, many houses have water views, decent elementary school (so I've been told) and close to a private high school across the street from the CHP. (Not sure what we will do for middle school, have not explored that option). If you have questions about Glen Cove, feel free to email me.

I live in Solano county, so I had to chime in. I have to agree with the other posters, first of all. Both Fairfield and Vallejo have experienced the ''donut effect''. The centers of the towns have declined, while the outskirts have been built up with tons of mcmansions and big box stores. Vallejo has a very real crime problem, and schools are tough for the most part. I live in old town Suisun City, and there have been attempts to revive the area (ongoing), but plenty of areas are sketchy too. You can still buy a 3/2 for 375K, and we can walk to the Amtrak station, restaurants, parks, etc.

In Vallejo, there are some nice area like Hiddenbrooke, American Canyon or Mare Island, and Green Valley between Vallejo and Fairfield. However, these are more bedroom type of communities, where people come home at night and go in their houses. If you are looking for a pleasant, suburban, affordable area, you may like Solano county. If you like more a community feeling, where people are out, you can walk places, etc, that is more the exception than the rule. (For example Benicia, a very cute town.) Of course this is just my experience. There may be some revitalization of the downtown areas, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and there is a Trader Joes in Fairfield off Travis Blvd, about 10 minutes from Vallejo. in the donut hole

Vallejo, I am sorry to say, has an awful lot of problems. But how about Crockett? It's the last stop before you cross the Carquinez bridge, and is truly a hidden gem. It's a small town, surrounded by parkland so it can't get any bigger. The pluses are many - reasonable prices (by Bay Area standards), a farmer's market on Sunday, a great local pool, and best of all, a real feeling of community. It's very easy to get involved in things and really make a difference. And it's still easy to get to San Francisco or Berkeley for nightlife or whatever. happy San Francisco transplant

What's it like living in Vallejo?

August 2006

I'm looking for information on what it's like living in Vallejo. How are the schools and parks? What's the political climate and how's diversity in terms of culture and religion? How's the commute to SF and SJ? I love where I currently live but it's so expensive that our family can't quite get ahead of living like college students. Thanks for any input you can offer.

Hi potential vallejo resident - I'm a mom of 2 under the age of 6 and moved here 6 yrs ago from alameda (and from DC before that). Vallejo is great - it needs some help but it's great. We chose vallejo because we didn't want to live in a one thousand square foot house just to be closer to SF & Oakland and it's worked out great. We considered Benicia but it's very white there and we wanted our children to see people of varying cultures on their own street - and it's been great. Sadly, as pleasantville -ish as Benicia is - that's where we have to go for the better family oriented events but at least it's close by. Vallejo is not great at festivals and family events but they're getting better. They're reviving the Children's Wonderland Park and just opened a new - great - dog park. Feel free to email if i can help further Debbie

My elderly father lives in Vallejo. He loves it there. There is a thriving artists community, (look for the Vallejo Arts Guild), and lots of cultural stuff at the public library down town. The old section has some beautiful historic homes. The newer areas on the East of the freeway are your basic suberbs. Some of those homes are nice, too. The cost of groceries seems much lower than in the inner Bay Area, and also, gas is always about 10 cents cheaper per gallon. A lot of people take the ferry to San Francisco, and others carpool. I'm not sure about commuting to San Jose, nor the schools Nora

Life in Vallejo ~ From my perspective is quite appealing, multi- culturally diverse and extremely affordable. I moved back here a couple of months ago, after 12 years of living elsewhere. Yet my daughter (now 20) grew up predominantly in Vallejo. I currently rent (quite affordable for an incredible amount of space), yet am a former home owner here. And I would buy a home here if I wasn't in private grad school ;-) Parks are plentiful and safe. A new dog park which is adjacent to a youth skateboard mini-park recently opened in the Admiral Callaghan area designed to meet the expressed wishes and needs of the community. In the area of schools: Jesse Bethel is an excellent public high school, yet I am uncertain of public elementary and middle schools. Sorry:-( we choose to send our daughter to a Christian private school here in Vallejo for earlier years. With excellent results though, I must say. My ex and I were an inter-faith couple, and choose the school on it's educational merits. Political climate seems to lean to the left. Overall the city is very culturally diverse. Daily I see/interact with people from varied cultures and many from mixed ethnicity backgrounds (like myself). My verdict on religious diversity remains pending. I am still researching church/temple options, though there are a large number of varied denominational Christian churches. I'm unsure about local synagogues, temples (Buddhist/Hindu) or non-denominational churches (UU, etc.) Ahh.. the commute to SF and SJ? Well that depends on the time of day and your schedule. I'm fortunate to commute to Berkeley in non-commute hours and it takes me 20 minutes from home-to- school & vice versa. The morning commute to SF can be somewhat abated by van-pool / car-pool options. As for a commute to SJ? That's a commute that's a little too far for my taste, yet please seek several opinions. Downfalls that I can see? There are no Trader Joe's, nor Whole Foods stores here :-( The local Raley's food store carries a large organic grocery and produce section. Another option for us health conscious is the local Farmer's Market. Hope some of this helps! Maya J

Hi there, my parents recently sold their home in San Pablo, and purchased one in Vallejo. Their Realtor was the kindest person they had ever met,he was flexible with their schedules and very patient with them.He is part of the CENTURY 21 SCHUTJER REALTY team in Vallejo he provided them with the best service, he had an answer for every question they had, they are very happy with the service that he provided them with.He could be reached at his office (707)644-4076 or his cell phone (707) 315-2463, just ask for Mr.Cary Bourland! moni

Thinking about moving to Vallejo, where we can afford to buy

April 2006

We're thinking about moving to Vallejo, where we can afford to buy, from Berkeley, where we can't. I was surprised to see nothing in the archives about neighborhoods, schools, etc., but I know that there a number of BPN members in Vallejo. Do you like where you live? Where do you recommend we look? Our ideal neighborhood would have lots of kids and good schools, be near parks and shops, preferably a vibrant downtown, and be tolerant of my contractor husband working from the garage. Interesting architecture (i.e., not tract homes) is preferred, but negotiable. Does such a neighborhood exist in Vallejo? Or anywhere else affordable?
Another economic emigree

My friend lives and works in Vallejo in real estate. She has a beautiful craftsman style house near Tennessee St. The Hills near the waterfront have a lot of beautiful victorians. The problem they have is the schools. According to her, they are all bad and now their daughter is about to be in kindergarten. They can't even find a private school that isn't religious. The nearest one was in Napa and they turned them down.
paying for the bay