Moving from DC to the Bay Area
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My husband, 18 month old son and I are moving to the Bay area this summer from the Washington DC - Northern Virginia area. My husband will be working in downtown San Francisco but we are looking to rent somewhere in the 'suburbs'. Can anyone suggest neighborhoods on the outskirts that are family-friendly, safe and affordable but still commutable downtown? Easy access to grocery and big box stores and parks would be good. Don't need to be close to public transportation. Any great parts of Oakland that we should check out? What areas should we strike off the list that are too far out? Thanks very much! Jennifer
Alameda ! It's a great town -- and an island in San Francisco Bay with a gorgeous beach --family friendly, a few minutes to the city. Nice. Formerly from DC
For family-friendly, safe, and commutable, I'd say look in the Montclair and maybe Rockridge areas of Oakland. Public schools are decent in elementary, okay in middle and high school, depending on what schools you attend. Many people go private after elementary school. You child is only 18 months, so you'd have time to figure that out.
A little further out in the East Bay, Lafayette is great. It has pretty easy freeway access, a BART station, and good shopping/dining. The schools are excellent all the way through. Orinda is pretty and has good schools. It is quite hilly (as is Montclair), so many neighborhoods aren't the best for walking, bike riding, playing in the street, etc.
Hi, We are moving to East Bay from DC Metro area for my husband's new job. He'll be working in Oakland and Pleasanton. We have a 1 year old boy. We love where we are currently living. We are 1/2 mile to 2 subway stations while only 1 and 1/2 mile to DC. When we have to drive, we can travel to anywhere in the area within 30-60 mins top(we are against the traffic during rush hours). Our neighborhood is diverse (in a mixing bowl, melting pot sense, not pressure cooker kind). Even though we tug away in a very safe/friendly neighborhood w/ very few cars pass by (we are behind a service road), within 1/2 mile, we have great restaurants, bars, shopping, 3 playgrounds, great public schools. We want to find a neighborhood that comparable to where we are. We can afford a home up to around low to mid'900k (but lesser we need to spend the better). Any advice is welcome. Our first thought is Berkeley b/c my husband lived there long long time ago, but any advice on any place is welcome. ! Thanks Moving to East Bay from DC Metro
I used to live in DC (Adam's Morgan area), and we now live in Berkeley with our 22 month old and love it. We live in North Berkeley , in the Westbrae neighborhood, and love the fact that we are a 10 minute drive from the city (with no traffic, 30 with traffic), less than 10 min. walk from BART, have several local bus lines that stop within a block of our house, and plenty of great shopping within walking distance (Monterey/Hopkins shopping district, as well as Solano Ave), and can walk to several really nice playgrounds and parks. We rarely need to use our car. I think this is an ideal neighborhood for someone used to diversity and convenience of urban living, but looking for a bit more quiet, child-friendly living environment with plenty of parking. You should definitely consider Berkeley for your relocation. Hillary
Oakland! My husband and I moved to Oakland 8 years ago from Hoboken (NYC Metro area), and both love Oakland. Many of the attributes you mention about DC we have here: close to transp (BART), parks, shopping, good food, etc., diversity, proximity to SF, Napa/Sonoma, Marin, Tahoe... Since you have a child, I'd recommend looking at the following areas of Oakland: Rockridge (closest to trans), Montclair or Crocker Highlands . I know a terrific realtor, who I can put you in touch with. If you're interested, please email me. Good luck with your move! Missy
We moved from DC to Oakland two years ago and like it SOOOOO much more. We lived in a variety of neighborhoods in and around DC (Adam's Morgan, Capitol Hill, Clarendon, Silver Spring) over the years always still felt cramped. The pace of the area just feels so different to me than here. For example, people here brake for pedestrians! At first, it drove me nuts -- I would get enraged at cars stopping in front of me to let someone cross the street when there wasn't even a light or stop sign. And then I realized, ''Wow, that's really nice. You don't have to risk your life to cross the street here.''
Anyway, on to your topic of interest. I think Oakland is terrific and has a ton to offer. In your price range, you could easily live in more upscale neighborhoods in Oakland and have a nice single-family home (which there are a lot more of in this area compared to cramped, apartment and row-house/townhouse crazy DC). For a neighborhood that has BART within walking distance plus shops and restaurants nearby, I'd look at Rockridge and maybe Temescal . I also really like the Dimond District. Grand Lake/Lake Merritt has some terrific shopsand restaurants and the North side of the lake is considered nicer, but there are mostly apartments right around the lake and then houses a few blocks out. Great houses with terrific walkability. Montclair and Broadway Terrace are really nice too but it's quite hilly and many houses aren't walking distance to the shops and restuarants or BART.
We live in Maxwell Park and really like it but we aren't as close to BART. But, it does have a very neighborhoody feel to it with mostly all single-family homes that have been here since the 1920s.
Working downtown in Oakland would be a quick BART ride away or like a 10 minute drive from most of the neighborhoods I've mentioned.
Depending upon the age of your kids and whether you plan to go public or private for schooling may influence your decision as well. We only have a baby so I can't speak to the quality of the schools from experience. I'm sure others can chime in on that.
Best of luck with your move! I'm sure your family will love your move to the Bay. :) Happy to be out of DC
Sounds like you would really like North Berkeley - specifically the neighborhood near the Monterey Market, because it has a wonderful urban community feel complete with daily farmer's market, deli, cheese shop, fish shop, pizza, wine store. And, a public pool, tennis, parks, library. Plus Bart for public transportation into the city (SF) close by. Also, decent public schools. Especially look into MLK middle school because it is famous for its Edible Schoolyard program started by Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Your house budget will serve you well in almost any neighborhood in Berkeley. The nice thing about this one is it is between the hills and the flats and it has great housing stock with lots of character abound, and it's a very walkable part of town. You really don't need a car. Check out specific neighborhoods' walk score on several web sites. Love North Berkeley