Reviews & Comments
Walnut Creek, CA
This is the original poster. It is now 2022. I have discovered I do live in a little microclimate area that is 5 degrees warmer or colder than neighboring areas. Thanks to whoever mentioned that! This still doesn’t account for the other 5 degrees that the prediction is forecasted to be. I chalk this up to climate change, and using historical data sets. We run our AC from April until Sept, even at night. Even with ceiling fans and windows opened, our house is built on concrete that heats up and releases heat at night. I can’t sleep unless it’s below 70 degrees.
Also - the year that I published that rant was the first year of big fires in CA. We’ve since gone on to have several consecutive years of the same dry, hotter-than-normal weather, where I stay inside for 2-3 months due to air quality. We base our outings as a family on where the air will be the least harmful. We use airnow.com. They rate from green (safe) to purple (very unsafe for any amount of time). We were in the yellow/orange zone for those entire 2-3 summer months.
Graffiti is lurching towards my house. Now only blocks away. Thankfully the city tends to clear it quickly. I pick up gallon sized bags of trash near the main road I live by on a weekly basis. There is so much errant trash that it depresses me. The city is trying to do its best to keep this place well maintained. It can’t outrun the density, cost of living, and climate change consequences being thrust upon it.
I don’t send my kids to the public school here. We found it wasn’t a good fit for our family. No shade to families who do! We registered late because we were living in another state at the time. WC would not let us register until we were “in person” even tho we owned our home. Because of our late registration, we had to travel 20 minutes to a school that offered my daughter a mixed grade class. No thanks! Which is all the more hilarious because we came here for the good schools/no lottery.
Concord, CANecessary to visit sometimes if living nearby
Here is my take on the order of suburbs. I’ve lived in the Bay Area from 1997-2017 and had kids in 2013. Concord comes at the end.
SF is the most extreme (exciting culturally, artistically, and socially. Jobs abound. Temperate with outrageously different weather pockets, some parts unsafe and dirty, some parts okay for families, ALL very expensive. And parking is an issue for every outing). Seems to me most easily accessible for ppl without children. The proximity to SF will dictate home prices.
I’m assuming the reader will be working in SF and will talk about the eastern suburbs. There is also a northern option (Marin area) that offers a ferry for commuting. And a southern option (Daly City, Pacifica and Belmont). Foggier weather and more driving rather than public transportation.
For the Eastern suburbs, first comes Oakland. Great restaurants. Beginning to be more gentrified. Adorable pockets (that are almost as expensive as SF). Unsafe areas too. Overall, best for young couples.
Berkeley. Fantastic! All the best parts of Oakland plus a college. Art studios. Co-op groceries. Fantastic restaurants. Pricey. Lots of traffic. Best for young families. Many homes have permitted and unpermitted in law units for college kids or au pairs. Also very expensive.
Emeryville. A big box store (mostly) apartment community near Berkeley where a bunch of freeways coalesce. So much traffic from every direction.
Lafayette. Slower pace. Cute but small downtown. Great schools. Pretty freeway. Green rolling hills. Homes are small and expensive. If priced out of SF, families would prob try to buy a home in the nice parts of Oakland first, then Berkeley, then Lafayette, then Walnut Creek.
Sf and Berkeley have school lotteries. Lafayette and Walnut Creek do not.
Walnut Creek is hotter than Lafayette and will tack on 10-15 minutes to an SF commute (SF to WC takes 40 min on BART). Have to pay to park everywhere, even the library. The downtown is pretty and has many stores and restaurants.
Beyond this is Concord. It has the Home Depot, the older, indoor style mall. The driving lights aren’t timed well and it will take inordinate amounts of time to go small distances. Temps are even hotter. Schools aren’t as good. Many families are priced out of other areas and will buy here. If I were in that category, I would keep renting in a nicer area and do my best to save rather than move here.
Walnut Creek, CASo hot
I grew up in Southern California and am no stranger to a more inland California climate. Before moving to WC I lived in San Francisco for 15 years where it is obviously much more temperate. Ever since moving to WC in 2013 tho, I feel as though I live in an inferno. In March it can get up to 100+ degrees. All the way to October! DO NOT BELIEVE THE WEATHER PREDICTIONS!!! I became so obsessed with accurately measuring the heat (because even during a 3 month stretch of normal 95-105 temps, the weather will be forecast to be 85-95 100% of the time) that I bought a weather satellite installed on my roof. Whether it is politically motivated, or just plain laziness, the consistent downplay of high temps by 5-10 degrees is misleading AND HAPPENS EVERYDAY.
If not for the 8-9 months a year where it is hard to be outside, the town is nice. A little fancy (Tiffany’s and high end boutiques abound) without a play water fountain in the newly built downtown shopping plaza for kids to play, for example. It doesn’t seem as family friendly as other neighboring towns I go to for kid things. Zero of them are in Walnut Creek. My husband’s commute to SF takes 40 minutes. Parking at Bart fills up before 7am and he rarely gets a seat.