When we moved to Madison we wanted to live in a neighborhood with lots of younger children, on a wide, flat, tree-lined street where kids can play or ride their bikes without fear of getting run down by cars. We scoped out neighborhoods by walking around, talking to people we met on the street, speaking with our realtor, and asking people at my new job with kids. (If you're moving here in the middle of winter, of course, you'll be at a disadvantage because you won't see so many people playing outside.)
The newer subdivisions, especially on the far west side, have a "suburban" feel: the development pattern emphasizes curving streets and cul-de-sacs, with most commercial development occurring in malls (strip or otherwise). They'll remind you of Concord or Danville. Closer to the center of town, the houses are older, the streets have more of a grid pattern, and the commercial areas have a more "natural" pattern (stores cropping up in "districts" rather than contained in malls), like you find on College or Solano in Berkeley. Which style you prefer is pretty personal, and probably depends a lot on where you grew up.
Another way to meet parents is through your child's day care center or preschool. We've met a lot of parents that way, and my guess is you'll have a similar experience at any place you choose. But for the rest of the day, and on weekends, it's still nice to have parents and kids around your neighborhood. Another suggestion: try to live within walking distance of a nice park with play equipment and grass -- parents with young kids will flock there in the Spring and Summer.
Overall, you're moving to a very family-friendly place -- far more so than most places I've lived. Congratulations, I think you're gonna love it
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