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Living in Vallejo

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



April 2011

I would love to read some updated reviews on living in Vallejo Ca. I am interested in owning a single family home with 'character' with the goal of someday turning it into a rental property. I'm seeing prices I can afford and cute looking houses in downtown Vallejo. I like that Vallejo has the ferry to SF. Am I missing something about this town? Why are the prices so low? Who is living there and who is renting there? What is life like in Vallejo? Are there any landlords who can comment? Curious about Vallejo!


I've never lived in Vallejo, but have some good knowledge as my sister bought and lived in downtown Vallejo for about 4 years (until 2007 or so) - and my mother is a real estate agent there.

My sister owned a beautiful old Victorian on Georgia street. And then she had kids.

She tried staying for a few more years after her first was born. She wanted to love Vallejo. However, there were 2 murders in a matter of months right in front of the house over drugs. She was constantly calling police on the pizza place down the street, and her house was broken into more then a few times. Problems with neighbors, drug dealing in broad daylight, etc., etc.

You want to love Vallejo because it could be so much more - and it did almost make it. But recent economy troubles and budget woes in the city government, increased crime, etc. have thrown it into more turmoil.

My mother is a real estate agent and lives in Benicia (minutes away from Vallejo) and has spent many years working in Vallejo, Benicia & Solano CO. My brother is a recovering meth addict who spent many years living on the streets in Vallejo, because of easy access to drugs and not a lot of hassle from the cops.

There ARE better places to live in Vallejo then downtown. But you really need to know your neighborhoods well. Feel free to email me. lauren


There are many different sub-communities in Vallejo, and it matters a lot which one you are part of. I worked there too long ago to feel up-to-date, but definitely ask around. The schoosl vary quite a bit too, in case you are moving there with school-aged kids. The high schools are Hogan and Vallejo Senior High, and at the time I was there Hogan was preferable. Check the Glen Cove area for possible housing. You also might consider next-door Benicia, which is a nice community with a nice high school. If I were moving that direction I'd check there first. Good luck
We have been in Vallejo for 11 years - both our girls have been born during this time. I like Vallejo because it is affordable, diverse and conveniently located within the Bay Area. Overall, everything is cheaper here - kids lessons, private schools, activities, etc.

What I don't love about Vallejo is it is a little more crime-ridden than I'd prefer. While we have never really had a single problem here, it does have a bit of an urban feel that keeps me on my guard more than I'd like. The other thing I don't love is the lack of upscale ANYthing - no gourmet food stores, no terrific restaurants and zero nice hotels.

The ferry is great and so is the carpool and its nice to have Benicia to go to for events & such. Our kids are in public school and we love it - I disagree with all the negativity about vallejo schools as we've had a great experience.

Good luck with your decision! Hope this helped. Debbie


April 2010

My parents are looking to buy a home in Vallejo or American Canyon. Can anyone provide advice on good neighborhoods in these areas? Also, how hard does American Canyon get hit by traffic to and from Napa? They are retired so schools and proximity to public transportation are not an issue, but safety and proximity to good medical facilities would be (they have a Blue Cross PPO). Thanks in advance for any advice. Lisa


We bought a house in Vallejo in Feb. 2010 and I am very happy with it.

We bought the house with retirement in mind. If commute on I-80 and school are not the concerns. Vallejo could be a place to consider.

Vallejo does not have the best of reputation but just like Berkeley and Oakland, there are good areas.

We bought in the St. Vincent Hill neighborhood. It is a historic district with many older homes. Home price is very reasonable. A house just recently closed on our block, it is a 2-2 with view of the water and mountain and was sold under $200k. Good house do move very quickly usually within a week.

The weather is excellent. Warmer than Berkeley and much cooler than inland cities. (e.g. Davis, Sac, Tracy...)

Also our house is within walking distance to the Vallejo ferry terminal to San Francisco. If you like to spend a day in the city you can take the ferry. There are also people working in SF downtown and use the ferry everyday.

Another area worth checking is Vallejo Height. It is further north from ferry terminal about 5 min. drive. The houses there are newer, price somewhat higher but still very reasonable. Also on a hill next to Napa river (same as St. Vincent hill).

My neighborhood is very mixed - with white, black, Asian and Hispanic. On one side of my house, I have a young black couple with two young kids. Working for PG+E. Very nice , friendly and responsible. On the other side, I have two grad students from Touro University. My backdoor neighbors are a musician and a dancer. It is not very homogeneous and I found it very interesting and I like it.

There is no Whole Food or Trader Joe's in the city. There is a farmer's market within walking distance from my house.

I hope this give you some insights. KenVA


Hello,

I wanted to recommend Cary Bourland who works for Century 21 Schutjer Realty, Inc. In the city of Vallejo

He was a very pleasant Realtor. He sold my parents a home in East Vallejo. He is very helpful and will go above and beyond to make sure you are a happy 'CLIENT' I am happy to recommend him to anyone out in the Vallejo area looking to buy a home. He is a very knowledgeable person.He knows Vallejo really good.

Call him and let him know Monica Durham reffered you! Cary


Sept 2008

Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
Glen Cove in Vallejo. Next to Benicia. Doesn't even seem like we live in Vallejo. I take the daughter to Benicia for swiming, recreation, etc. Easy commute to San Francisco on the ferry or there is a casual carpool, bus to BART, etc. Take a drive out, we are off of 780 (Glen Cove Exit). Clean, safe neighborhood with good views of the Carquinez Strait and low housing prices. Local elementary school is O.K., but will probably send the daughter to private as she would be out of the neighborhood for middle school. BUT, for what we are saving on housing, we can afford a private school. Glen Cove Fan, Lukewarm on Vallejo


Considering buying a home in Vallejo

April 2007

My partner and I are considering buying a home in Vallejo. Although we only discovered it recently, it has lots of affordable (relative to Berkeley, SF and Marin) housing, much of it Victorians and craftsman bungalows that need updating. My daughter will be going to private school in Berkeley so that's not an issue, but there seems to be very little in the way of ''infrastructure'' as far as supermarkets, pharmacies, not to mention anything approaching decent restaurants, bookstores, movie theaters etc. I don't think there is even a Starbucks, and I thought they had colonized the whole planet by now! Does anyone have experience in this area/neighborhood (also as pertains to safety, etc.)? For the time being, we could travel to Berkeley or Napa for Trader Joe's, Barnes & Noble and other totems of ''civilization.'' It would be nice to have a home the size of which we would never be able to afford in the Bay area. And maybe this is the next big thing and we could get in on it early before it's discovered by everyone else???? Or do you all have different experiences and opinions? Thanks. Future Vallejo girl


I don't know much about Vallejo, but the surrounding areas have some good options for possible shopping, dining etc. Have you been to Benicia? It is very close by. It's a wonderful little historic town. There is a tea room there, and small restaurantes and cafes. There are also antique shops and an aritst studios complex that is open once a year. You don't have to go all the way into Berkeley or Napa to shop at Trader Joe's or Barnes and Nobel. El Cerrito has a Trader Joes, Barne's and Nobel AND a Peets. Pinole will have a Trader Joes soon. And maybe even one near Vallejo eventually. They are building new Trader Joes further up the 80. That seems to be the trend lately.

Be patient. Soon Vallejo will have more shopping choices and restaurantes. Wait 10-15 years. Anon


We moved to Vallejo almost two years ago and we regret it! We also were charmed by the (relatively) cheap housing, the historic district, etc. We have met some wonderful friends here, but unfortunately most of them are moving away again.

Just for the record; Vallejo has several Starbucks! But that's where the buck stops! Attempts to get more upscale supermarkets (e.g. The Nugget, Trader Joe's) to come here are all thwarted.

There are plenty of restaurants to be found, but not one of them is excellent. You need to either go to Napa or cross one of the bridges to find those. Several new home developments have sprung up in and around Vallejo (Hiddenbrooke, Mare Island, etc.), but the city doesn't seem to be willing to sustain these new citizens. Many of us thought that Vallejo was on the brink of changing, but several of my friends who moved here 5 or 6 years ago, realized that nothing is happening. We have two friends who bought a Victorian home in the historic district and both families are moving because of the prostitution and drug dealing in front of their homes!

There aren't any great parks to go to. Literally all our friends drive to Benicia, because they have wonderful parks. The city has tremendous potential, but they don't seem to be able to get anything done. The waterfront area (by the Marina) was supposed to be developed more than 10 years ago, but nothing has happened to date.

Children's Wonderland was shut down more than 10 years ago for a renovation and it is still shut down. A small play ground area has opened (you'll need to pay a fee to enter it), but it'll probably be another 5 years before that is finished. A group of parents are attempting to open a charter school in this district in order to create choice for parents.

The school district went bankrupt a few years back, so the state took over. The district is now run by a state administrator and several disgruntled board members who have no power to vote. Attend one of the school board meetings and you'll get a really good feeling how this city is run.

So these are all my opinions, but the truth of the matter is that I don't feel safe in this city. Do yourself a favor and take a stroll downtown on a Sunday afternoon. It is creepy! It'll be you and a few shady people hanging around. BPN will probably not let me write all this negativity, but it's the truth and I'd hate to see another parent go through what I and so many friends have gone through. Make sure you do your homework before you decide to move here. Go shopping at one or more of the supermarkets, check out some restaurants and visit a park or two. You'll get the flavor!- anon


Vallejo is a big city -- 125,000 people, more than Berkeley. Of course it has supermarkets. It also, according to Yahoo Yellow Pages, has five Starbucks. As far as the rest of the infrastructure, you seek, it has many of those chainy stores -- Pier 1, Mervyns, Costco, Target. There are also lots of independent stores with a great deal of diversity if not many high-end yuppie options. But there are drawbacks other than commercial -- I'd at least read its Wikipedia article for info on its crime and poverty. -- Used to work next-door in Benicia
I missed the original post, but have lived in Vallejo for almost 4 years, and have a 2 1/2 old daughter. I orginally lived in San Francisco when single, then Sonoma County. AHH, I miss the restaurants and fresh food of Sonoma County. But on a positive note, you can afford a house in Vallejo, and it is centrally located. If you commute to the city, your commute options are great. You will have to drive to Napa or further for ''good'' restaurants. We like a local sushi restaurant, but that is about it. The shopping is dull (but thank god there is a Costco). You would need to drive to Concord or Fairfield for a mall. The closest Trader Joe's are in Fairfield and Concord. I am finding I am taking my daughter to activities in Benicia (music together, swim lessons, kindergym)because Vallejo does not offer these opportunities, but the Children's Wonderland Park is open during construction (11:00 AM - 4:30) despite what another poster said (my daughter was there today, and I asked the hours). Raley's in Vallejo and Benicia is starting to offer Clover milk products and good looking produce I am relieved to report, I had my husband driving to Napa for milk. I have to say that downtown Vallejo is a little scary. But, there are beautiful and safe areas of Vallejo. We live in Glen Cove, and it feels like Benicia. Check it out, it is next door to Benicia, but Vallejo prices, fresh air, many houses have water views, decent elementary school (so I've been told) and close to a private high school across the street from the CHP. (Not sure what we will do for middle school, have not explored that option). If you have questions about Glen Cove, feel free to email me.
I live in Solano county, so I had to chime in. I have to agree with the other posters, first of all. Both Fairfield and Vallejo have experienced the ''donut effect''. The centers of the towns have declined, while the outskirts have been built up with tons of mcmansions and big box stores. Vallejo has a very real crime problem, and schools are tough for the most part. I live in old town Suisun City, and there have been attempts to revive the area (ongoing), but plenty of areas are sketchy too. You can still buy a 3/2 for 375K, and we can walk to the Amtrak station, restaurants, parks, etc.

In Vallejo, there are some nice area like Hiddenbrooke, American Canyon or Mare Island, and Green Valley between Vallejo and Fairfield. However, these are more bedroom type of communities, where people come home at night and go in their houses. If you are looking for a pleasant, suburban, affordable area, you may like Solano county. If you like more a community feeling, where people are out, you can walk places, etc, that is more the exception than the rule. (For example Benicia, a very cute town.) Of course this is just my experience. There may be some revitalization of the downtown areas, I am keeping my fingers crossed. Oh, and there is a Trader Joes in Fairfield off Travis Blvd, about 10 minutes from Vallejo. in the donut hole


Vallejo, I am sorry to say, has an awful lot of problems. But how about Crockett? It's the last stop before you cross the Carquinez bridge, and is truly a hidden gem. It's a small town, surrounded by parkland so it can't get any bigger. The pluses are many - reasonable prices (by Bay Area standards), a farmer's market on Sunday, a great local pool, and best of all, a real feeling of community. It's very easy to get involved in things and really make a difference. And it's still easy to get to San Francisco or Berkeley for nightlife or whatever. happy San Francisco transplant

What's it like living in Vallejo?

August 2006

I'm looking for information on what it's like living in Vallejo. How are the schools and parks? What's the political climate and how's diversity in terms of culture and religion? How's the commute to SF and SJ? I love where I currently live but it's so expensive that our family can't quite get ahead of living like college students. Thanks for any input you can offer.
Amanda


Hi potential vallejo resident - I'm a mom of 2 under the age of 6 and moved here 6 yrs ago from alameda (and from DC before that). Vallejo is great - it needs some help but it's great. We chose vallejo because we didn't want to live in a one thousand square foot house just to be closer to SF & Oakland and it's worked out great. We considered Benicia but it's very white there and we wanted our children to see people of varying cultures on their own street - and it's been great. Sadly, as pleasantville -ish as Benicia is - that's where we have to go for the better family oriented events but at least it's close by. Vallejo is not great at festivals and family events but they're getting better. They're reviving the Children's Wonderland Park and just opened a new - great - dog park. Feel free to email if i can help further Debbie
My elderly father lives in Vallejo. He loves it there. There is a thriving artists community, (look for the Vallejo Arts Guild), and lots of cultural stuff at the public library down town. The old section has some beautiful historic homes. The newer areas on the East of the freeway are your basic suberbs. Some of those homes are nice, too. The cost of groceries seems much lower than in the inner Bay Area, and also, gas is always about 10 cents cheaper per gallon. A lot of people take the ferry to San Francisco, and others carpool. I'm not sure about commuting to San Jose, nor the schools Nora
Life in Vallejo ~ From my perspective is quite appealing, multi- culturally diverse and extremely affordable. I moved back here a couple of months ago, after 12 years of living elsewhere. Yet my daughter (now 20) grew up predominantly in Vallejo. I currently rent (quite affordable for an incredible amount of space), yet am a former home owner here. And I would buy a home here if I wasn't in private grad school ;-) Parks are plentiful and safe. A new dog park which is adjacent to a youth skateboard mini-park recently opened in the Admiral Callaghan area designed to meet the expressed wishes and needs of the community. In the area of schools: Jesse Bethel is an excellent public high school, yet I am uncertain of public elementary and middle schools. Sorry:-( we choose to send our daughter to a Christian private school here in Vallejo for earlier years. With excellent results though, I must say. My ex and I were an inter-faith couple, and choose the school on it's educational merits. Political climate seems to lean to the left. Overall the city is very culturally diverse. Daily I see/interact with people from varied cultures and many from mixed ethnicity backgrounds (like myself). My verdict on religious diversity remains pending. I am still researching church/temple options, though there are a large number of varied denominational Christian churches. I'm unsure about local synagogues, temples (Buddhist/Hindu) or non-denominational churches (UU, etc.) Ahh.. the commute to SF and SJ? Well that depends on the time of day and your schedule. I'm fortunate to commute to Berkeley in non-commute hours and it takes me 20 minutes from home-to- school & vice versa. The morning commute to SF can be somewhat abated by van-pool / car-pool options. As for a commute to SJ? That's a commute that's a little too far for my taste, yet please seek several opinions. Downfalls that I can see? There are no Trader Joe's, nor Whole Foods stores here :-( The local Raley's food store carries a large organic grocery and produce section. Another option for us health conscious is the local Farmer's Market. Hope some of this helps! Maya J
Hi there, my parents recently sold their home in San Pablo, and purchased one in Vallejo. Their Realtor was the kindest person they had ever met,he was flexible with their schedules and very patient with them.He is part of the CENTURY 21 SCHUTJER REALTY team in Vallejo he provided them with the best service, he had an answer for every question they had, they are very happy with the service that he provided them with.He could be reached at his office (707)644-4076 or his cell phone (707) 315-2463, just ask for Mr.Cary Bourland! moni

Thinking about moving to Vallejo, where we can afford to buy

April 2006

We're thinking about moving to Vallejo, where we can afford to buy, from Berkeley, where we can't. I was surprised to see nothing in the archives about neighborhoods, schools, etc., but I know that there a number of BPN members in Vallejo. Do you like where you live? Where do you recommend we look? Our ideal neighborhood would have lots of kids and good schools, be near parks and shops, preferably a vibrant downtown, and be tolerant of my contractor husband working from the garage. Interesting architecture (i.e., not tract homes) is preferred, but negotiable. Does such a neighborhood exist in Vallejo? Or anywhere else affordable?
Another economic emigree


My friend lives and works in Vallejo in real estate. She has a beautiful craftsman style house near Tennessee St. The Hills near the waterfront have a lot of beautiful victorians. The problem they have is the schools. According to her, they are all bad and now their daughter is about to be in kindergarten. They can't even find a private school that isn't religious. The nearest one was in Napa and they turned them down.
paying for the bay
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