Living in Richmond CA
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Living in Richmond CA
Priced out of Berkeley-Move to Richmond?
We want to own a home. Tired of renting. And now the
market is crazy again in Berkeley, where our kids are
settled in school and we have our whole community. We are
considering a move to Richmond or in some areas of Oakland-
where houses seem to be much more affordable (and most areas
have WAY less crime than Berkeley, despite its
reputation!). I feel we could be happy there, but am having
a hard time thinking about transitioning our kids out of
berkeley schools, which is inevitable at some point if we
move out of berkeley since I've heard inter-district
transfers are becoming much more stringent. I want to hear
from other families who made similar moves in the Bay area.
Any advice BPN? Bye Bye Berkeley
We moved from renting in Berkeley in 2000 to buy a home in
the North and East neighborhood in Richmond. It's diverse,
relatively safe, and has a sense of community. Housing
prices right now are very affordable-- Homes that were
selling for over $500,000 are now around $200,000. They are
also building the new lab in Richmond which will bring new
great stuff to all of Richmond. jb
We lived in Berkeley many years ago and moved to northeast
Richmond in order to buy a house.I live in the Mira Vista
neighborhood, some people call it East Richmond Heights, not
far from the Del Norte Bart station, east of San PAblo
Avenue. I love my city and I love my neighborhood. We have
great new restaurants, a wonderful library, Catahoula
Coffee, the Richmond Plunge, convenience to bart, reasonable
prices. My neighborhood has active email networks and
neighborhood potlucks frequently. We also love our police
chief Chris Magnus, who has made significant changes in
policing and crime issues. The Richmond hills homes are an
incredible value - views,beautiful decks, privacy, woodsy
backyards, etc. Richmond also is very proud that they made
national publicity with the innovative soda tax on the
November ballot. (it failed, but raised a lot of good
conversations). Richmond's mayor is a Green Party member; in
fact Richmond is the largest city in the US with a mayor who
is a Green. Most of us are very proud of our town and are
very glad we put our investment here. Richmond homeowner
We're considering a move to Richmond. Where are the
family-friendly, walkable areas of Richmond? We already use
Richmond Kaiser, so I'm a bit familiar with the area, but
would love to know of general areas to look for housing. We
have 3 children and my husband works in the city. Are there
areas that are walkable (to groceries, bank, post office,
parks, etc.), near BART, and maybe near a decent school?
Future Richmond Resident?
I have lived in northeast Richmond for a very long time and
am very happy with my neighborhood. I live east of San Pablo
Avenue (but still close to San Pablo Avenue) between Barrett
and McDonald Streets. Our homes are well-maintained and
people are caring. The accessibility to both bart and the
AC transit bus lines is extremely convenient. I could easily
live here without a car. We are presently trying to decide
what to do with the corners on McDonald Avenue and San
Pablo. People are very caring about what goes in those spots
in our neighborhood. I can get to Point Isabel in 10
minutes, to the EC Plaza in 10 minutes, to HIlltop Mall in
10 minutes, to Pt Richmond in 10 minutes. I think it is
perfect. Point Richmond is lovely, but besides being
expensive, I think it is isolated and, despite the fact that
the lovely Plunge is there, I think it is too far away from
things. But that's just me. Point Richmond has a strong
sense of community too. Most of us feel that our city is
overly criticized due to a few bad eggs - depending on the
neighborhood, we have a nice, affordable place to live.
I have lived in Richmond for 5 years. I live in
East ( a few blocks from the casino). I don't think it is a
very exciting place to live, but I have always felt safe
there. I love my big backyard. A lot of the people on the
block are renters so we were never friendly with many
people. I always feel a little far away from things and you
can't get fresh bread except from Safeway. The price of
housing is so much cheaper than anywhere else that is as
close to SF. Good luck on your decision.
Point Richmond is what you want! Nice, safe walkable
neighborhood with a couple of small markets, restaurants, a
great pub, post office, library, Starbucks, pharmacy, dry
cleaners, beach, gorgeous swimming pool, nice park, hills
for hiking, farmer's market in the summer and many community
events. Our elementary school is thriving and has a
dual-immersion Spanish program. Happy in the Point
There are plenty of Good and Great Areas to live in
Richmond! Don't be misled by the news! I live in the Bella
Flora Community, a relatively new development 5 years old
... but, there is: The Country Club Vista Area The Richmond
Heights Area The Carriage Hills Area The Richmond Annex
( probably the closest to what you are looking for and where I
was raised) There is also the area out by DeAnza High School
... Then there is the Point Richmond Area And The Marina
Take your pick Richmond is a great place to live and
making progressive changes by leaps and bounds! Can't say
enough ... Happy Richmond Native!
There are many good neighborhoods in Richmond. I live in the
Richmond View area and although there is great hiking on my
doorstep (an entrance to Wildcat Canyon is just a few blocks
away) and Mira Vista has become a wonderful off-leash dog
park and community rambling spot, there are no businesses in
easy walking distance, apart from a handful on the Arlington
at Olive Avenue (Arlington Market is a great convenience
store with lots of organic and natural foods, but it's
small). BART is about a 30 minute walk away--downhill is not
too bad, but uphill is grueling--we never do it. So if you
want to be in walking distance to BART, post office, and
stores on San Pablo, then I recommend areas closer to San
Pablo Avenue. Mira Vista post office, Catahoula coffee, and
a variety of good Mexican and Asian restaurants are in the
area around Clinton Ave/McBryde Ave and San Pablo. Not a
cute or hipstery area, but safe and inexpensive. Another,
older area is the area up the hill from San Pablo around
Barrett and MacDonald avenues on the EC border, many very
nice 1900s through 1940s homes. That area is walkable or
bikeable to parks, Williams Natural Foods, BART, Target,
banks, etc. I think the neighborhood school for both those
areas I described is Mira Vista Elementary, which also has a
small middle school. It's a good school, with nice
facilities and strong administration. There are also several
private schools in the area: Crestmont, Tehiyah, Montessori
Family, though Windrush is no more. Richmond Rocks!
I moved to Richmond Annex from S. Berkeley a year ago and I
love this neighborhood. I was a little weary of being in
Richmond but the Annex is a hidden gem! I live in the hilly
area (Burlingame/Mendocino 94804) and from every street
corner is a gorgeous view of the golden gate bridge, some of
the homes have beautiful views as well depending on which
side of the street you live on and the slope. There are
lots of families w/ young children, a good mix of renters &
homeowners. I am a renter myself am paying $1650 for a
small 3 bedroom home so you can find some good deals in this
neighborhood. I have 2 youngsters who are not in school yet
so I can't speak to the quality of the school district but
from the other parents I've spoken to, they prefer to send
their kids to private schools?
The weird thing about the
Annex is that though it is closer to El Cerrito schools,
fire dept's, etc- because you have a Richmond zip code
technically you have to be served by the Richmond services.
I do feel very safe here (as opposed to S. Berkeely where I
was subject to several bike & car thefts, etc) but the area
right past the 80 E/W freeway overpass becomes more suspect.
I can walk to the El Cerrito library, there is the El
Cerrito Community Center/swimming pool off of Moeser Lane
which is also about 10 min away walking distance. You can
also walk to the El Cerrito Natural Grocery Store off of San
Pablo but I did most of my grocery shopping at Trader Joe's,
Safeway, or Richmond Costco(5 min drive.) Lots of places to
walk to eat right off of San Pablo(Jack in the Box, burrito
places, chinese food, thai food, etc.) In terms of parks,
there are several w/in walking distance (Mendocino, Cerrito
Vista, Huntington.) I have a close friend who lives in
Richmond Marina, I think the housing there is more expensive
but the proximity to the Marina Parkway is gorgeous for
walking around. Not that many grocery stores or places to
eat though. Good luck! Loving the Annex
Re: Affordable area (low $300k's) with good school district
I would suggest the Richmond area ... So many wonderful things happening here!
And you can still get great housing at reasonable costs! We live in the Bella
Flora Community right off of the Richmond Parkway. Only about 5 years old we got
our 5 Bdrm 2.5 bath home for a little over $300,000. It's a very diverse
community. My children play outside, ride their bikes to our neighborhood park,
have made friends and we genuinely love where we live. There are several homes
up for sale in our development unfortunately, lost due to foreclosure. I would
suggest Washington Elementary Schools Spanish Dual-Immersion which is doing Very
Well. After that for Middle School I suggest Manzanita Middle School which is a
charter, then for High School Middle College High located on the Campus of Contra
Costa College. My Babysitter who is an entering Junior this year will graduate
with both a High School Diploma as well as an A.A. Entering college as a Junior!
We are very proud of her and we hope to make the same educational plan for our
Mama of 3
Re: New job in SF - where's a sunny place to live?
well, i read the responses and i have to take issue w/ the
post that said stay away from richmond. i didn't see the
original post, but there are plenty of great places to live
in richmond and we have a lot of middle class families here.
in addition, you will find cute, affordable houses, some
good public schools--including a dual immersion school--and
plenty of high quality private schools. plus the diversity
here can't be beat. we have richmond art center, free music
festivals, horse stables, and access to other cultural
venues. it's 25 minutes to sf, 20 to san rafael, 45 to napa,
15 to oakland. neighborhoods to look at are richmond view,
richmond annex, north & east (north of the 30s), point
richmond and some of the newer areas near hilltop. the city
has problems, no doubt about it. but so does berkeley,
oakland and sf. it all depends what neighborhood you're in.
the one thing i have to say that does suck about richmond-el
cerrito is the summer weather, which is just like sf. but
i'm an old beach bunny from l.a.. anyway, to whoever said
stay away: you should come up here sometime. you might
actually like it! in richmond 10 years
Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
I have to chime in with praise for Richmond! I grew up here,
married moved to both Hercules and Pinole and found my way back
to Richmond. Let's face it ... Commuting is awful and with the
cost of gas it's just crazy! We have purchased a brand new
home and are completely happy, we don't hear gunshots and might
I add growing up I never heard them either and I lived in the
''flatlands''! Lots of changes are being made in Richmond ...
go to the city website to check it out. You have to also keep
in mind that Richmond is a large city most of the stuff that is
hyped up on TV is located in a small isolated section. Crime
happens EVERYWHERE (and always has) and in this economy we
shouldn't be surprised. We moved to the Country Club Vista
Area which is a newer community near the Richmond Country Club,
off of the Richmond Parkway. We walk our children to the
neighborhood park, our neighbors are amazing and we got a
really good deal on our home. Definitely worth checking out!
Good Luck to you and your family!
Born in the City of Richmond and still love it!
Our family of three is moving to Richmond this month. We are
familiar with most cities and interesting neighborhoods in the
Bay Area but have spent no time in Richmond. I'm interested in
learning what others enjoy about Richmond, what events take
place, great restaurants, parks, etc. Thanks!
I'm curious to know which area of Richmond you're moving to. Richmond is big
and has many neighborhood areas. I live in East Richmond (unincorporated
county) below the Arlington between Barrett ave and McBryde. We love our
neighborhood. It's just about 5 miles from Marin Circle in Berkeley,
We have a great little local market, a great coffee shop down the hill on
San Pablo, Mira Vista Elementary School- newly renovated and a great public
schoool, MIra Vista School Field which is a very friendly neighborhood
park/dog park and a huge community of really wonderful neighbors.
Just above the Arlington are the Wildcat Canyon hills and Alvarado
Park...miles and miles of great hiking and undeveloped land. Down on San
Pablo Avenue is Safeway, nearby Home Depot, OSH, Williams Natural Foods, a
variety of restaurants including ''Sa-wa dee'' Thai Restaurant on Nevin and
Our neighborhood is relatively safe (safe as any safe neighborhood) and
I'm not as familiar with other parts of Richmond but many friends who live
in the numbered streets below San Pablo are equally as in love with their
neighborhood and community.
If you're moving to East Richmond, check out East Richmond Neighborhood
Council, I think it's ERNC.org and you can find out a lot more. Feel free
to e-mail me if you have any other questions.
We have lived in Richmond for the past 8 years (in the East Richmond hills,
or ''Richmond View''). Alvarado Park is part of the East Bay Parks (Tilden,
etc.) and is great for taking the kids and dogs, hiking, picnicking, etc.
Another great walking area is Point Isabel, near the Richmond Costco. There
is a dog park there as well as a paved path which is great for walking,
cycling, skating, etc.
There are lots of events, and the Richmond Public Library is a great place
to read up on the various festivals, street strolls, etc.
Point Richmond is quaint little gem of an area that is worth checking out.
We love the El Salvadoran restaurant La Bamba on San Pablo just north of
Barrett, which has excellent food.
We have a new-ish coffee place, Catahoula Coffee, at
12472 San Pablo Avenue. The coffee is great and there are farmer's markets
there occasionally, too.
Hopefully others will chime in as well!
We've lived in Richmond for over 25 years and raised two kids here.
We live above San Pablo Ave., north of Barrett Ave. One of our
favorite places in Richmond is the Richmond Art Center. It's located
in the Civic Center area, around 25th and Barrett, next to the
wonderful library, and it offiers an amazing array of classes for
kids and adults. Williams Natural Grocery is great, and in the same
''strip mall'' is a wonderful Vietnamese restaurant (can't remember
the name of it) and a great copy store -- Prime Copy. Just a block
north is Taqueria La Bamba with excellent Salvadoran food, and on 23rd
street is great Mexican food at Portumex. In Point Richmond don't
miss the Hidden City Cafe. That said, El Cerrito, Kensington, and
Berkeley are so close that we consider them in our neighborhood as
We moved to the North and East neightborhood of Richmond 3 years ago
and have had a good experience. We have never had any issues with
security and like our neighbors. I love that we are so close to
everything - I can be in Berkeley in 5-10 minutes. There are lots of
activities in the area, including the Bay Trail along the water, Pt
Richmond, Pt Isabelle Park, El Cerrito Plaza for shopping, Wildcat
Canyon Park, a Farmers Market, etc.
happy richmond resident
I live in the city of Richmond and I'd like the opinion of
other Richmond parents.
Currently, my son is one year old. We bought a home in Richmond
three years ago because we couldn't afford any other city.
While we're not thrilled with the schools and the crime rates
in some areas, we are really happy with our neighbors, and we
love the little-known Mexican and Salvadoran
panaderias/restaurants on 23rd street, the climate, the Marina
Bay shoreline, the access to other cities, and the library.
The ''problem'' is that most of our friends with kids live in
Albany, Montclair, or the Berkeley Hills. In our discussions
with them (and with others), I've detected a disdain for
Richmond. People think this town is all about crime and drugs.
They think that our kids will be in lousy public schools and
that we should move out. Hidden beneath this ''fear'' of Richmond
is, I feel, a kind of prejudice about poor and inner-city
African-American and Latino kids.
So, to the Richmond parents out there: Is Richmond really a bad
place to raise your kids? I mean, have your experiences with
the schools been that bad? And do you know of any cool, secret
Richmond places to take your kids for fun?
New Richmond Mom
We have lived in Richmond for over 20 years and have raised two children
in our wonderful, diverse neighborhod. One daughter is now in college,
the other is an 11th grader at ECHS. Among the places we have enjoyed in
Richmond are the Art Center, near the main library; restaurants and shops
in Point Richmond; Keller Beach, at the Miller-
Knox Recreation Area through the tunnel at Pt. Richmond; Alvarado Park
(take McBryde up to Arlington Ave.); the Vietnamese Restaurant in the
strip mall near San Pablo and Barrett. Over the years I've noticed the
same disdainful attitude you mentioned. Richmond?? And granted we
transferred our daughters into schools not in our neighborhood. As
Richmond residents you can put in for a transfer to schools throughout
the WCCUSD, including schools in Kensington, El Cerrito, Hercules,
Pinole, etc., if you are not happy with your local school. I admit that
my car often heads to Berkeley to shop, see friends, go to the movies,
etc. But it's only a 10-15 minute drive, and here we've been able to own
a nice home, meet many like-minded people, raise our children, and other
than having our car stolen from in front of our house once (just like our
friends in El Cerrito and Berkeley) we've had no problems with crime.
I too have noticed the ...distain? at the very least I've found my
friends and family expect that I am either looking to get out (I'm not)
or that I'm planning to use another address to send my kids to schools in
oaktown, berkeley or albany (Again, I've no such plans or desires). I
can't speak directly to the school issue as my kids are still several
years from school age but I do love point pinole park it has a play
ground, a pier, beach access and lots of easy trails. I also really like
wild cat canyon. there's access up clark road off san pablo dam road with
a 1 mile up hill walk (!) good work out and the veiw from the top is a
360 degree panorama of the whole bay area. I like the royal palace for
chinese, there's a good salvadoran restaurant on SDR - I forget the name
and tandori chicken for indian. and I love living within sight of the
contra costa campus. ilona
I moved to Richmond almost 2 years ago and I love it. I know exactly
what you mean about those comments when you tell people you live in
Richmond - I've had friends tell me that they are too scared to come over
here but interestingly could not back it up with a reason why (and my
conclusion was the same as yours - prejudice rearing it's ugly head.
I have a 3 year old son and these are the reasons why I love it here.
1. It is located in the middle of everything. I shop in Pinole (the book
store train table is less crowded), dine out in Marin, can take the
Golden Gate to SF & get to all of the ''kid friendly places'' in Berkeley
& Albany very quickly if I choose.
2. My home was so affordable that I can afford to send my son to the
private school of my choice and still save for retirement. 3. I live in
a community driven neighborhood. Every night I take my son out to the
playground (2 minutes walk from my front door) where there are about a
dozen kids from a variety of backgrounds playing, riding bikes & walking
their dogs. 4. I know my neighbors! After years of living in Berkeley &
Oakland I never made contact with the people next door. Here I know most
people within a 2 block radius. Gosh we've even had some over for dinner
and we take care of each others pets when we vacation!
5. Oh, & crime. In a recent community meeting with my neighbors, the
only thing that has happened to any of us in the last year has been 1 car
Basically people like to believe the hype they read in the newspapers and
ignore the fact that Richmond is a large city with many wonderful family
So where are the hidden areas? You mentioned some of the wonderful ones
that I too found (Marina, great food etc). Please go over to Point
Richmond & join PRAM. I found this gem out too late but if I had a one
year old I'd join in a flash. We like going for walks along the shoreline
in Point Richmond and we are trying to get there on a Sunday to see the
trains running at the Golden State Model Railroad museum at Miller-
Knox Regional Park. I also love the playground on Barrett Ave a few
blocks below Arlington and it you like Vietnamese food, pick up some
lunch at Huong Tra on San Pablo to take with you. Yum.
We moved to Richmond (North and East)
2 years ago and for various reasons
my older daughter had already started private school in Berkeley. I am
excited about the small charter co-op middle school currently on Barrett
in the 30's. I don't have personal experience with the elementary schools
but our local one looks dismal to me from the outside, and I have heard
that the poorest and neediest schools in West County are the very last on
the list to be remodeled (they started with Kensington and some in El
Cerrito) I would presume this is because the parents have less vocal
presence- i.e. many non-English speaking parents, many working more than
one job with no time to lobby for their schools, etc. In short I really
like living in Richmond, and it was more worth it to us to buy a house
than rent in a ''good'' school district. Also, much can change by the
time your little one is in kindergarten, and there are several good
transfer possibilities if needed, too. Nearby we like going to Point
Pinole regional park- pretty bay trails, playground, passing trains at
one point, plus small beachy area (non-swim.)we love the restaurants, too
and Williams Natural Grocery, proximity to Marin hiking, Alvarado park-
wildcat canyon. There's supposed to be an organic farm (in Richmond! off
sp dam rd I think) I have not seen them at the local farmer's market but
heard they are providing some organic produce and programs in some of the
poorest schools and via a farmer's market. what else? Richmond Art Center
(also in dire financial trouble,)NIAD, East Bay Performing Arts Center,
point richmond's beach trail and mini railroad museum. And FYI all
Richmond homeowners can get a free eval. to see if you have room for a
FREE adopt-a-tree (street tree for free!- you water it and knock out the
concrete if needed which really isn't that hard.)They plant year round
and give you a choice of trees that will work for your spot. I'll repost
with the tree info. Yes many people have a bad impression of Richmond, I
did too until we moved here. Now I Really Like it though can't quite say
I love it (more trees please!!)Email if you'd like to....
I wouldn't recommend sending my child to any of the schools in Richmond.
It is unfortunate but just like many urban areas, the schools are not
very good. For a couple of years, my highschooler only received 1 of 6 of
his textbooks. Fighting for what my kids need at school has become a part
time job! Usually the elementary schools in an under performing school
district are tolerable, but in Richmond this is not the case. The squeaky
wheel really does get more attention. I am not saying this because the
schools are majority minority students. In fact, I am an African American
who moved to the Bay Area because of the diversity that I wasn't getting
in my previous city. Sometimes I wonder if it was worth it because I
didn't expect the Bay Area to be so ''run down'', schools and all. I can
also tell you that when we first arrived here my kids were welcomed by
getting beat up and robbed while walking to Hilltop mall, and this is
supposed to be a nicer area of Richmond. Just be careful with your
Good Luck anon
I was born in Richmond and have lived here off and on for much of my
life. We bought our house in the Richmond View 2 years ago. I get the
same thing from people when I tell them where I live. They are usually
folks who did not grow up in the Bay Area and know little about the area
besides the neighborhoods they live in. It doesn't bother me and you
shouldn't let it bother you. There is absolutely prejudice there but
more than that simply a fear of the unknown which in a lot of ways is the
I like to walk on Bernhard Street up where we live. It is absolutely
beautiful. Another awesome walk is on McBryde above the Wild Cat
FreeSchool. Clinton Hill is really lovely and has some cool houses. We
love La Bamba and the Ace Hardware store on McBryde rocks. Downtown in
the Civic Center area is the community center where I took ballet growing
up. The library is a fun outing. Wild Cat Canyon Park is great for dog
walking or a family hike.
As far as the schools here...well as a product of them I have to say that
in many ways they were lacking. Kennedy High was not a nice place to be
in the 80's. Maybe it has changed. I have a college degree and work in
a ''professional'' industry so what matters most is what you learn at
Don't worry about what other people say or think. I'm very happy we live
an affordable lifestyle and have time to enjoy our family. We plan on
staying here for a long time.
Richmond Born and Raised
Hi! Living in Richmond is not easy. While you might love your
neighbors, the reality is that we have very high crime and some of the
worst schools in the state. On the whole, our elected officials are weak
and yet our citizens continue to vote them in. Richmond has a
disproportionate amount of low-income families, families in poverty and
under-educated families. As a result, efforts to make changes in the
school system and broader community are monumentally difficult because
the families lack the resources and education to participate in the
That's the reality.
On the other side, if you're up for the challenge, Richmond is a great
place to be involved. Anything you do, within the schools in particular,
is appreciated, and makes a huge difference. Shared adversity builds
stronger communities! And, you can't get our diversity in Orinda, Marin,
or Lafayette and that is definitely not something that you can ''teach''
As for ''best kept secrets'' in Richmond, PRAM (Parents, Resources and
More) is great! Located at 110 E. Richmond Ave in Pt. Richmond, the
operate a little center which is open for free everyday for free play-
it's for kids under 6 primarily. They also run free and low-cost
classes. I think they have a website-
Not bailing on Richmond yet
Hello All we are first time home buyers, looking to purchase possibly in
the Richmond Hilltop, or San Pablo Hills areas. Have priced some homes in
these areas, and found some to be reasonable. Looking for 3 to 4bedroom
2bath home. Can anyone share your personal experiences regarding the
neighborhoods, schools for elementary, middle and highschool ages. Would
you recommend a family move to these areas? Know any places available or
realtors who deal in these areas? Thanks for any and all responses.
my own room...
Richmond HIlltop/San Pablo is a great area.
And so is the Mira Vista area of Richmond, by the way.
We have a great community in both of these areas. And - contrary to another
post - the City of Richmond is NOT STRAPPED - it is one of the few financial
solvent cities in the east bay! As an urban city goes, they actually have
WAY more funds than it's neighbors! Just read the papers! It's a known fact
that their finances are great.
I have lived in the Hilltop area for over 25 years and it is a beautiful
and safe place to live. The other post is correct the city of Richmond
is currently participating in a wide range of urban beuatification and
structural projects throughout the entire city. Most of these projects
are taking place in the down town area that was once known as a
Don't count Richmond out at all. There are a lot of exciting projects
that are in the works as we speak that will be great for families!
-Happy Hilltop Resident
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