Where on the Berkeley-Stanford corridor should I try to live?
May 12, 2018 4:16 PM   Subscribe

I live in Berkeley but work at Stanford. I like Berkeley and have a good living situation, but I do not like the commute. So I'm thinking about moving nearer to Stanford, but I don't know which cities I should look at that might have some of what I like about Berkeley and be within my means. Details/criteria within...

I would be looking for a one-bedroom, about $2000/month.

Here's what I like about where I live now: I have most of the things I need within a walking or short driving distance. Shops, yoga/meditation/other hippie stuff that's started to grow on me since I've lived here, live music, green spaces, plenty of other people in my age range (thirties), and an endless variety of other stuff to keep discovering. With all that, it doesn't feel too urban -- I tend to dislike downtowns and large apartment buildings.

I realize that particular mix is going to be hard to find, especially with budget constraints. If I can't find something approaching it, I'll probably just stay put. But there are many parts of the East Bay, South Bay, and peninsula that I don't know. Where, if anywhere, should I search?
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you are moving to be close to Stanford, I would suggest you only consider the Peninsula, and nothing in the East Bay. The bridges suck your soul during the commute.

Please understand that the sprawl of cities down the peninsula seem to merge seamlessly from one into the next, so it's more a question of which communities have a center core (a small town "downtown"), rather than just big box stores.

I would suggest you avoid Daly City; it's too foggy for most tastes. (but if the fog doesn't bother you, it can be cheaper.)

Millbrae is okay. Burlingame is okay. Menlo Park is okay and close to Stanford.

None of these will have the funky flavor of Berkeley, but they are all charming. Compare the Funcheap listings for the East Bay and the Peninsula
posted by blob at 7:21 PM on May 12


Pacifica or Half Moon Bay are beautiful, on the cheaper side for the Peninsula, and could be fun for a change if you don't mind fog. Plus the commute to Stanford from either is pretty good, although it obviously won't be anywhere near as quick as from the more core Peninsula cities.
posted by un petit cadeau at 9:53 PM on May 12


I should have said this in the OP: though I'm open to living on the Peninsula, I'm looking more at the East Bay because I have a lot of ties to Berkeley that I don't want to totally cut. I feel like I'd never get out here if I lived in Millbrae or the like, so am looking more at points south of Oakland where I could still hop up to Berkeley on occasion without too much trouble.
posted by hoist with his own pet aardvark at 1:31 PM on May 13


Palo Alto and Mountain View have my favorite small downtown "cores," but they're both higher than your price range unless you get lucky (or have roommates). Menlo Park is pretty dead after 7 or 8pm. Some people like Redwood City; great if you're a fan of Mexican food especially. Burlingame and San Mateo both have nice downtowns, although I haven't spent much time in them.

Having read your addendum, all that is probably not super useful to you because I know nothing about the southern East Bay cities. Fremont strikes me as pretty suburban, but maybe it has a small core too.
posted by serelliya at 4:05 PM on May 13


No to Fremont. Just don't. Its a long commute from Stanford and pretty much Berkeley's opposite.
posted by yueliang at 6:42 PM on May 13


You're kind of stuck with your requirements. Anything in the East Bay has to cross the San Mateo Bridge, or the Dumbarton, or take a huge detour on high-traffice 237. There is no good way to commute from the East Bay to Stanford.

You can be close to Berkeley, or close to Stanford, but nothing in between, in the East Bay, will satisfy your desired downtown core city life. And you'll still have a bad commute.
posted by blob at 7:44 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


One more comment. Millbrae might be the best town on the Peninsula for you.
* reasonable downtown core
* BART accessible, so it's easy to get to Berkeley
* 101 and 280 accessible so it's easy to get to Stanford (depending upon traffic, of course)
* Caltrain station so you can Caltrain to Stanford
posted by blob at 7:43 AM on May 14


Hm, I don't know much about it, but the only East Bay city other than Oakland that might have some good stuff going on would be San Leandro. There are cute houses certainly; some breweries, yoga... whether you could find them all in a walkable spot I don't know enough to say. You'd probably also want to be somewhat close to BART.

Oakland would certainly shave some time of your commute. Around Piedmont ave or Temescal are pretty great walking neighborhoods. You would be paying comparable prices to Berkeley.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:01 PM on May 15


I have a similar commute (Richmond to near Stanford) and I’ve thought about moving south but I don’t think staying in the east bay would significantly change your/our commute. I’ve stayed in places on the peninsula where it’s still an hour.
posted by bleep at 8:48 AM on May 22


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