Living in Clayton

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Considering a move to Clayton

July 2014

Our family is considering a move to Clayton and I'd love to hear some feedback from people familiar with the area. I love that it seems more rural and a slower pace of life than much of the Bay Area. It's also more affordable, which is a tremendous plus for us. What is the environment like for families? Are the neighborhoods child friendly? What about schools? What are the options there and are people happy with their school choices?

Thanks so much!
Signed: Curious about Clayton

Clayton is a low-density suburb, not a rural community. Rural is defined as a place where people earn their living through agriculture. You would have to go further north or east to live in a rural community. In terms of the commute to jobs, pay scales, and schools, you might want to consider closer-in suburbs like San Leandro, or depending on where you/your partner are currently working Newark, or Fremont. All have decent schools with quite good schools in Fremont. anon

I grew up in Clayton - a long time ago, sure, but I still go there regularly for family stuff. Things to consider: it's fairly conservative by Bay Area standards, it's mostly white and hetero, and it is a part of the Mt. Diablo School District, which has a number of problems that go beyond the State funding issues. That said, of all the District's schools, Clayton has some of the better ones, due to the population's affluence and generally high educational level.

It's got easy access to the north side of Mt. Diablo, both at Mitchell Canyon [great spot!] and at Morgan Territory [although that side is badly burned right now], and while the town itself is kinda Disney rural, it's still pretty sweet. It's extremely family-friendly. They have music every weekend in the park in the summer, and the local pizza place, Skipolini's, just installed a bocce court. Ed's is a nice diner devoted to sports where Ed [who used to sling pizza at Skip's] seems to know everyone who comes in there. The Clayton Saloon is still there; not real family friendly, but it's nice to know some things stick around.

We lived at the top of the hill, right by Mt. Diablo Elementary, where the homes are older, and the lots are bigger. It's less 'new money' Clayton up there. There are two long roads out of town, so if you need to get to the freeway, expect a long haul -- 20 minutes without any traffic, and hellish during rush hour. The nearest Bart station is at least 20 minutes away, and busy, and the bus system is limited. And it's hecka hot out there.

If you want a somewhat midwestern feel to your life, and don't need an easy commute to the city, Clayton is pretty nice. -jmf

Clayton vs Walnut Creek - where to live?

March 2012

We are moving soon back to the east bay. Walnut Creek was our choice town to live with our two boys, ages 4 and 7. Clayton is coming on our radar now. Anyone have any pros and cons regarding these towns. Any thoughts? Thank you!!! Jane

Clayton is a cute town, but it's much sleepier than Walnut Creek. I, personally, would never live in Clayton because the traffic is HORRENDOUS if you have the normal commute hours or if your kids go to school (or after school activities) outside of Clayton. It is especially bad if you or your partner need to get to one of the highways to get to work. Ugh. You and all your neighbors will be heading down the same 3 roads at the same time every day! Walnut Creek over Clayton!

Walnut Creek is a fast-growing (note the new super walking mall in the permit process) city with a number of different neighborhoods. A few years ago I was considering moving to the Northridge (I think that's the proper nomenclature) area of Walnut Creek because of the lovely neighborhoods with cool Brady Bunch houses and the great schools. I have two relatives with families that have been very happy in Walnut Creek. One chose a tighter-lot-more-modern area and the other chose an outlying neighborhood where they can keep bees, etc. It's nice and close to shopping and Kaiser. On the other hand we have friends in Clayton that LOVE it there. The homes are more modest than Walnut Creek and I don't know what the API of the schools there are. (You can look up the API of each school in every district on the State of California's website) I do know there's a great pizza parlor there. Clayton's in an agricultural area that can get plenty hot, but it seems very safe and family oriented. Because I'm a teacher I always look to the schools for solid information about a community. Susan

I'm a realtor who has other buyers looking in Walnut Creek and Clayton. If you're looking in Walnut Creek, I'd recommend buying in the Walnut Creek school district and either the Northgate High School or Las Lomas High School areas. Otherwise, the other schools in Walnut Creek are part of the Mount Diablo school district, which also covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. That school district is in financial trouble, poorly managed, and lower scores. Clayton schools are good and families love the community there. Real estate prices are lower than Walnut Creek. I'd be happy to help you in your home search and provide you more information! Holly