Moving from Canada to the Bay Area

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Moving from Montreal to the Bay Area, seeking urban feel

May 2014

We're moving at the end of June from Montreal to the Bay Area (the husband is being transferred to San Francisco). We're looking for a place that has an urban feel (in terms of diversity, resources,etc), has great schools and lots of after school activities for our children (ages 6 & 3)and that's close to Bart or any public transportation for hubby to go to work to SF. We're priced out of San Francisco proper, so are thinking of Berkeley or Walnut Creek (anywhere else seems too far/long of a commute). Any ideas or suggestions? Also, besides craigslist, is there any other site to find a rental home? - Thanks! Laura A. 

Walnut Creek is a nice suburb but doesn't have an urban feel. You might want to look at Albany as well as Berkeley. Where will your husband be working? If it is in SF, then you could also look at the Penninsula (Brisbane, Millbrae) -- basically old railroad suburbs with appealing little downtowns. You could also look at the Richmond and the Sunset in SF -- they are more affordable. anon

If you are looking for a place with an 'urban feel' then I would caution against Walnut Creek, since that is where people go to get AWAY from urban areas. Despite what its defenders and loyalists will say, it is very white and bland compared to the real East Bay. Walnut Creek has many things to offer families, but IMHO diversity and culture are not among them. --Staying on this side of the tunnel

I'm sure everyone will say that their own neighborhood is the best, so I'm going to chime in to say ALAMEDA is the best! Alameda is an island off from Oakland, and it's a little oasis. The schools are good, the kids ride their bikes to school, and sometimes it seems like the entire (small) city is made up of families with young children. Alas, BART doesn't run here, but the ferry goes straight to the Ferry Building in SF. Definitely check it out. As for rentals, you could try a rental agency. Good luck!