Where should we look for apartments in the Bay Area?
April 20, 2010 12:34 AM   Subscribe

cmchap and I intend to spend this summer in San Francisco, but we still haven't found a place to stay. We're both undergrads, so we figure looking wherever undergrads (specifically Stanford or UCBerkeley) live during summer classes and the like is a good start. The question is: where does the Stanford or UC Berkeley undergrad population that stays in off-campus apartments for the summer live? Additionally, if we can't find anything there, where should we look next? Or, more importantly, where should we avoid? Neither of our jobs are location specific, but we'd like to be near public transportation. Thanks!
posted by jdherg to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you looking to stay near campus, or actually in the city? I imagine there has to be a TON of subletting on campus. If you want to be in the city, really it's going to depend a ton on what your budget is, but it's definitely common as lots of people do summer work in SF. I know the Mission is popular with youngsters, and should be affordable. Just make sure not to choose a part that's prohibitively dangerous.

A useful tool is http://www.padmapper.com/, although it lags listings a little.
posted by wooh at 1:11 AM on April 20, 2010

Um, there are many off-campus apartments in Palo Alto and Berkeley, near campus (if I'm not mistaken, Stanford has fairly robust ON-campus housing during the summer). So many of them stay there, if they are doing stuff at school. They're both sort of far from SF though.

You can find many Berkeley apartments on Craigslist, and there are some co-ops too.
posted by acidic at 1:13 AM on April 20, 2010

I go to Cal. A lot of the leases here start June 1 and run for a year, so there are always tons of students subletting their apartments over the summer. Craigslist is probably a good place to start, or if you know anyone at Cal, just ask them if their friends are subletting for the summer. Most of the frats rent out rooms over the summer, too, if you're interested in that, but it's harder to get connected to those unless you're in the Greek system.

Summer school students usually live near campus, either on south side (near Telegraph, College and Bancroft, closer to the Rockridge BART station), west side (Shattuck, University, near the downtown Berkeley BART station) or north side (Hearst, Euclid, mostly grad students and engineers/compsci people live in this area). BART would be the easiest way to the city and anywhere in the Bay, so I'd recommend something on west side if you want things to be convenient.

Housing in Berkeley's pretty expensive due to the high demand (over 20k students can do that to ya), so it might be economically feasible for you and your friend to share a single in the city. My two-bedroom apartment doesn't have a living room and still costs $2090 a month (there are 4 of us). My cousin lives in the city and pays slightly more, but for a place that's probably 4x the size of mine.

Berkeley's fun, but it can get old real quick, and I think living in San Francisco proper could offer you a lot more flexibility in choosing entertainment and the like. Even with the BART, it takes a soild half an hour to get to SF, and it's $7 roundtrip per person. So if you really want to check out the Bay area, you could make the city your home base and branch out from there, maybe making day trips to Berkeley, Stanford, etc.

Anyway, the Bay Area is a super fun place to be in the summer. The weather is great, there are tons of places to visit (don't miss Golden Gate park, and definitely explore the city's neighborhoods), and the people are super chill. I definitely recommend living in the city over any of the college towns, though, since it has way more to offer.
posted by ardent at 1:14 AM on April 20, 2010

(Not important, but south side doesn't really include the Rockridge stop. For all intents and purposes, downtown Berkeley is the closest station.)
posted by ardent at 1:15 AM on April 20, 2010

The Stanford Undergrad population that hangs out over the summer generally stays in on-campus housing (mostly FloMo, IIRC), because when I was there, rents were insane.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:16 AM on April 20, 2010

If you want to live "in San Francisco" but you're not going to have a car, live in the East Bay (or San Francisco itself), not Palo Alto, which is 30-45 minutes by car south of the city. Caltrain, the commuter rail system that links San Francisco and cities on the Peninsula (like Palo Alto) is having big budget problems, and may have to cut all or much of its night and weekend services. If you live in the East Bay you'll at least be able to use BART to get to and from SF. I don't have any advice about where to live in Berkeley, but I'm sure other Bay Area folks will be awake in a while and can answer that part of your question.
posted by rtha at 6:24 AM on April 20, 2010

Look on craigslist for sublets in SF. Berkeley is fun, but you'll probably be bored in Palo Alto.
posted by jeffamaphone at 7:46 AM on April 20, 2010

North Oakland is right next store to Berkeley and cheaper, and the undergrads rarely even make it to South Berkeley. There will be places you can find *near* the university which aren't under heavy competition from other students.
posted by doteatop at 8:58 AM on April 20, 2010

berkeley alum here, sister was a stanford alum. you'll find a ton of students trying to sublet their apartments over the summer, just check craigslist or ask friends at cal.

in berkeley i lived on the north side of campus- a bit further away from the local BART transit, but buses do run up there, and i liked it SO much better than south side where my boyfriend lived. southside is overrun with homeless people and druggies, my best friend had someone try to STEAL HER LAUNDRY BAG, my little brother (also a berkeley alum) was mugged in broad daylight on south side near campus, and in general the apartments there are grosser. if you're willing to take the bus or walk there are nice places on north side that aren't too expensive. berkeley students live in apartments because we get kicked out of the dorms after the first year. too many people. my sister lived in oncampus housing the entire time she was at stanford, but if i recall it was super expensive for her to live in what was essentially a shoebox on the stanford campus.

you will kind of need a car to get around palo alto (caltrain sucks) but not having a car in berkeley is doable, though sometimes a pain. i had friends with cars for when we wanted to go out and have fun without having to deal with the clusterfuck that is public transit and when it stops running. that said, if you don't have a parking garage in your apartment complex, parking in berkeley is a huge pain in the ass.
posted by raw sugar at 9:44 AM on April 20, 2010

liketitanic, it all depends on where you live. I'm close to campus, so my place is more expensive. My cousin has a car so has more flexibility in finding an affordable place to live. I'm speaking from experience.

Also, seconding what raw sugar said, north side definitely has the better apartments. Try to live near Gourmet Ghetto if you decide to go that route.
posted by ardent at 11:17 AM on April 20, 2010

i went to stanford. people who couldn't find something that would get them on-campus housing during the summer sometimes stayed at something called "dead houses" which were right off of campus, named for grateful dead songs, and rented cheaply to students. but if i had any choice, if i were spending my summer in san francisco i would not live in palo alto unless i wasn't a drinker. last i recall, the caltrain back to stanford from sf stopped running at midnight-ish.
posted by anthropomorphic at 8:10 PM on April 20, 2010

why don't you look for student-oriented housing at uc-hastings? i lived in sf this past summer and i was going to sublet from a hastings student until i found a friend to sublet from.
posted by anthropomorphic at 8:11 PM on April 20, 2010

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