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Gay-Friendly, Family-Friendly Neighborhoods (Bay Area CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Gay-Friendly, Family-Friendly Neighborhoods (Bay Area CA)


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Moving to SF - Gay-friendly family neighborhood with easy commute?

Sept 2009

My family is relocating to San Francisco from NYC in the fall. We wanted to live in Berkeley, but just found out that my partner will have to commute to Palo Alto at least once a week and will work daily in the SF financial district. I'll be staying at home with our 18 month old until I can find work, so I'd really like a neighborhood where I can easily connect with other families, get involved with the community and have access to nice playgrounds/parks. The only area that we've heard about consistently is Noe Valley, but it seems a bit pricey and not too much space for the $$. Need to be within reasonable commuting distance (45 mins tops w/ traffic) from SF financial dist. Any suggestions would be very helpful. NYtoSF


Check out the Bernal Heights neighborhood in San Francisco. Cheaper than Noe and lots of Lesbian families/couples. Very family oriented too -- lots of kids activities, beautiful playground/park, story and music time at local cafes, lovely library, etc. Love our gay-friendly city
Montclair (neighborhood in Oakland) is said to have a high concentration of gays/lesbians-- not like the Castro, but some study, probably of census data, said that. anon
My wife and I moved just about a year ago from the Valley to the Bay Area. We really wanted to live in the City (Sn Fran), but found it was just to pricey. It also did not afford the opportunity to have a nice yard as well as living in a small area for more than I was willing to pay.

We like in the Emeryville/Oakland area. (We bought a house), it's a nice late 1920s California Bungalow and it great condition. There was no way we could get something like that in the Bay Area for a reasonable price. My wife works in the City and I work in UCB. Her commute is short and the location of the BART is perfect.

Where ever you choose- do not drive to the City- use BART. http://www.bart.gov/ look into the Translink Card. You can utilize if for all the forms of transporation.

Go onto Google Earth and look at the locations- include schools, grocery, public trasportation etc. Zack


Live in the East Bay and take BART to work in the financial district. Oakland, Berkeley and Albany are all wonderful places to live and waaaaaaay more affordable than SF. You'll get more room and much better weather in the East Bay. Albany has terrific public schools (one middle and one high school - it is it's own school district), Oakland is historic and very diverse (as is most of the East Bay)and may have more of the urban feel you desire (ask on this forum for recommendations for specific neighborhoods). Berkeley is well, Berkeley - great neighborhoods, great weather, parks, SUPER restaurants, a wonderful farmer's market...etc. SF is just over the bridge
Have you thought of the Rockridge area of Oakland? It's a family friendly and gay friendly, diverse neighborhood. There are a variety of schools to choose from. Commute to the city is very easy during non-rush times--about 25 minutes--while it's a little more like 45-50 minutes during rush hour. Rockridge BART station has trains to the city every 15-20 minutes. Oakland has a bad rep for crime, but the city is large and crime seems to be more localized to certain areas. Prices may be similar to Noe Valley but you get lots more room for your money, since most houses have yards... and beautiful yards at that. Besides, I'm a gay man, I live here, and I love it! Rockridge hound
I'd like to put in a good word for Oakland. Oakland, or so I have read, is home to more lesbian couples per capita than any other major city. My daughter went to preschool with kids from both lesbian and gay families, who were a welcomed and appreciated part of the school community.

I think that Oakland's popularity is due to the family/affordability issue. San Francisco is fabulous, but a lot of people find that as their family grows, they don't get enough bang for their buck there, particularly if you want to buy. The Oakland school district is spotty, but not as bad as it is often made out to be (my daughter just started kindergarten at an Oakland school). Some good schools in affordable neighborhoods are Glenview, Sequoia, Cleveland, and Crocker Highlands.

I can get to the financial district from my Oakland house in 12 min on a Sunday morning (no traffic) or 45 minutes in traffic. There's also BART (subway) and ferry service).

Here are a couple of articles about gay/lesbian Oakland: http://oaklandnorth.net/2009/06/24/oakland-%E2%80%93-a-city-many- women-call-home/ http://x3.com/NewsArticles/GayOakland/GayOakland.html Carrie


Well your partner could easily commute on BART to downtown SF from Berkeley under 45 minutes, but that Palo Alto day would be 'trying'. Yes, Noe Valley is fantastic, I rented there for several years, but the prices have gone crazy. Probably the same is true for the Castro and Eureka Valley (which are right next door), but then it depends on your money. You might try Bernal Heights. It's gay friendly, about 8 minutes from Noe Valley (if that) and its main drag, Cortland Ave, has turned into quite the place for food and hanging out. Also VERY dog friendly. There is also Potreto Hill at the other end of the Mission....and then there is the Mission. The Mission connects with Noe Valley and has some wonderful homes, as does most of the city. It does have its areas that 'might not be so safe', but again, it depends where you are at. The outer communities like the Sunset and Richmond are alright. Inner Sunset, which is next to Golden Gate Park is friendly, the outer Sunset a tad more conservative, as is the Richmond, of course they are close to the ocean, but also get that fog. Lastly, there is the Haight, a very mix and match area, some areas delightful, others 'less' delightful. San Franciscos a great town, but you might want to vist and take the BART ride and see if its doable. Ex-SF, now East Bay
It is probably faster to take bart from the east bay to sf than to go from noe valley by car or public transit. so stick with berkeley, or oakland. the noe valley of oakland is rockridge. anon
Commuting to the financial district from Berkeley is actually quite easy, and depending on where your start from takes about 35 min on BART, a bit longer on a commuter bus. Palo Alto is another matter -- it takes 45 min if there's no traffic, but can take up to 1-1/2 hours. In SF, you might want to look at Glen Park -- more friendly than Noe Valley. San Francisco has a very complex school assignment policy, so you should research that before choosing where to look. There are many lesbian families with children in Berkeley and Oakland, and a few gay male families with children. anon
Bernal Heights is a great neighborhood. There are LOTS of moms, gay and straight. Look at the website for Bernal Hill Realty. It tells a lot about the neighborhood. I live in the East Bay now. There are a lot of lesbians in Oakland and Berkeley. It would take about an hr. to get to Palo Alto, but if you hop on the BART it would take only about 15 minutes to get to the Financial District. Good luck.
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