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Living in Richmond CA

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Living in Richmond CA

Questions about Living in Richmond Related Pages Reviews of Richmond Neighborhoods

2008 - 2014 Reviews

Priced out of Berkeley-Move to Richmond?

March 2013

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

What are the Good Neighborhoods in Richmond?

Sept 2012

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? Thanks! 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. Richmond resident
I have lived in Richmond for 5 years. I live in North and 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 Bay Area

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

August 2012

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 children Mama of 3

Sept 2010

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

Sept 2008

Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
Hi There! 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!

Moving to Richmond this month

July 2008

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! kh

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 SP. Our neighborhood is relatively safe (safe as any safe neighborhood) and quiet.

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 and you can find out a lot more. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions. june

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! Christine

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 well! Judy
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

2004 - 2007 Reviews

Living in Richmond when most of our friends don't

April 2006

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. Judy
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 break in.

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 driven neighborhoods.

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. csherryc

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.... chris
Hello, 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 precious child.

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 same thing.

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 home. 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 change. 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'' in school.

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

Hilltop/Country Club

June 2009

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. Sandy
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 ''rough'' area. 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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