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Living in South San Francisco/ Peninsula

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Living in South San Francisco/ Peninsula


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South San Francisco - San Bruno - Millbrae

Feb 2010

I am seeking advice and information about either commutting between Oakland and San Bruno OR a possible household move from Oakland (Fruitvale) to South San Francisco, San Bruno or Millbrae.

I am a top candidate for a job in San Bruno, and may be offered a position. Currently both my husband and I work FT in San Francisco, and our 4 yo daughter goes to preschool near my husband's work. We are trying to get her into a public kindergarten in SF, because of our work sites and also b/c our options for schools in Oakland are very limited after Kindergarten. We own our home in Oakland, but are deep underwater. I don't think that we can afford to continue paying a mortgage and rent in SF or the South Bay, but would consider walking away from our Oakland house if it made sense to move to SF or the South Bay b/c of commuting and school. Questions: Is it tenable to work FT and commute on public transportation from Oakland/Fruitvale to San Bruno (BART and bike; driving is NOT an option)? Would I ever see my family or my home during daylight hours

Also, about shifting our living situation... we are lefty/granola dark-green type people with a skeptical and scientific sensibility - pretty stereotypically Oaklandish and proud of it, thanks you very much. Would we be totally unmoored by moving to the upper South Bay? What is it like to live in San Bruno, Millbrae, South San Francisco? Are there neighborhoods that people would recommend or avoid (and why)? We are committed to public education because, well, it's free..... and also committed to finding the best school possible for our bright, sensitive, and funny girl. What are the public schools like in SSF, SB and MilB? Any standouts or cautions?


Try Brisbane! The schools are good, the community is great, and it's between SF and San Bruno. I have several friends there, and they love it. Jennifer
I can't remember exactly what the question was now, but having lived in SSF much of my life, and being familiar w/ San Bruno & Millbrae, I can tell you this: the better the weather and community life, the more expensive the homes. Of the 3, Millbrae is best, San Bruno next, SSF next after that. All of them are much safer than Oakland or Berkeley. Commutes to SF are easy. All the shopping you could want to do, particularly at chains (especially in SF) but also some independents (particularly in SB/MIllbrae). You'll be very close to the airport and might want to make sure that he house is noise-insulated--I think that was done for everybody in the noise zone of the airport about 10 yrs ago, and it works pretty well (plus you save on heating). SSF can have decent weather in the flats, closer to the bay, but it can be downright awful in the summer with wind and fog near the crest (eg Skyline Blvd and parts of Junipero Serra). San Bruno is sunnier, but has some of hte same wind/fog issues in the hillier parts. All have relatively easy access to freeways. Millbrae/SB might be more enjoyable if you're planning to spend more time on the peninsula.

Husband working in San Mateo...where to live?

Jan 2010

My friend is moving to the Bay Area soon from Park City, UT (and before that Chicago & Iowa) for her husband's new job. They have never lived in the Bay Area and are trying to figure out where to live. The husband will be starting a job in San Mateo. Their preference is: short commute, live in a place where there is a place and not some endless suburb and good schools. Can anyone give me any suggestions for neighborhoods or towns near San Mateo for them to look at? helping a friend


Since the husband is working in San Mateo, there are a lot of the Peninsula cities that can be great choices. San Mateo, Millbrae, Burlingame, Redwood City, Belmont, San Carlos. These are all cities that will provide a good commute, good location, good schools, and access to other things in the Peninsula. I am a Realtor and will be happy to share more thoughts with them. Peninsula knowledge
What's wrong w/ San MAteo? Actually most of the cities right around there are probably fine, depending on the price of housing v. your budget. But SM has a pretty good downtown PLUS all the mall-type shops you could possibly need, plus good access to SF or SJ or the east bay, plus decent whether and decent community. Burlingame has a great downtown but is a little pricier. San Bruno, a little cheaper, also has a nice downtown. Farther south, RW city may be a little more mixed but has some good areas too. THen you're looking at Menlo Park, Palo Alto-- fabulous but pricey cities.

Half Moon Bay vs. San Mateo

Oct 2008

We will soon be moving from the east bay to the peninsula for work. My husband and I lived in a small coastal town when we were first married and loved the lifestyle. We are entertaining the possibility of living in Half Moon Bay and having one of us commute over 92. Before we had kids, this would have been an easy decision, but now we are wondering if living by the ocean would be worth it. Does any one have experience living in HMB and working in Redwood City? Is the commute terrible, or is it really the 20 mins google maps claim it is? When we have gone to HMB on weekends, it really was only 20 mins from the bridge. Also, I'm wondering if the schools are better in HMB or in San Mateo/Burlingame/RC/San Carlos, etc. and if there are important things like emergency medical care available in HMB or would I have to fear holding my bleeding child for 30 mins waiting for an ambulance to make it over the hill? Is it inconvenient that any shopping other than groceries has to be done over the hill? Any feedback is welcome. Thanks.
missing the sea


While I enjoyed HMB for the short 18 month duration we were there, we ultimately had to move due to the school situation. I have three boys within close age range and as I started to research out the schools, I found quickly that my choices were very limited. Private school in HMB and pay a very steep price, average-at-best public schools, or trekking over the hill to SM for more affordable private school options. Neither of these choices seemed like a reasonable solution. So we moved.

Yes, the small town bucolic beauty of HMB coupled with the ocean, is quite serene. I grew up and lived in Pacifica for the first 18 years of my life so I DO appreciate the coastside. But if you have to spend a lot of time in your car driving to/from school, sports, etc., then you must ask yourself-is it worth it? That is a choice only you can make. Perhaps you might want to try the commute a few times before making a final decision (be sure to include a Wednesday). Tired of driving


Moving across the Bay, closer to Mountain View

June 2008

We're looking to move to the other side of the bay to shorten my husband's commute from North Oakland to Mt. View. We have lived in SF and Oakland only and know little about that side of the bay. We'd like good public schools, somewhat walkable town center ( like you find in Oakland/Berekely neighborhood) and under 40 min drive to SF. Any recommendations of cities to look at?


Try Burlingame. I'm not sure about the schools, but it has a cute walkable town center. Some of my best friends live in Burlingame. Well, ok, one of them.
Well, I grew up on the Peninsula (Belmont to be exact) and although I really don't like it, it isn't all bad. It isn't the progressive minded, funky, open to diversity,place that the East Bay is and definitely not like SF, but it definitely doesn't have the crime and bad school districts that are akin to much of the East Bay. As for communities that are about a 40 min. drive to SF, the further south you go, the hotter it gets in the summer. Some nice mid-way points would be San Mateo(near downtown), Belmont, San Carlos, & parts of Redwood City(both SC & RWC have up and coming downtowns), but it also depends on your price range and whether you're renting or buying. It might be hard to find a house in these areas for under $700 or $800K, but w/the current market, things might be changing. Whatever you choose, good luck in your journey.... anon
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this page was last updated: Jul 31, 2010


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