The Top 5 Best Places to Live in the Bay Area

By Craig Donofrio

Posted on June 24th, 2022

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The San Francisco Bay Area is home to wine country in Napa and Sonoma Counties in the north and the technological epicenter of the country, Silicon Valley, in the south.

Not surprisingly, the Bay Area consistently ranks high on lists of the best places in California to raise a family.

We combed through data like crime statistics, school quality, and proximity to family-friendly activities to narrow down a list of the five best places to live in the Bay Area (if you can afford it).

Palo Alto

Crime Rate: 8% lower than national average
Cost of Living Index: 64% higher than California average
Median Household Income: $127,000
Median Home Price: $2.5 million

Palo Alto is crazy-expensive, even by Bay Area standards, but there’s a trade off: It’s one of Silicon Valley’s economic powerhouse cities, and its citizens are among the best-educated in the country. It also boasts some cool arts, culture, and recreation for families, like the Cantor Center for Visual Arts and the Palo Alto Baylands Nature Preserve.

Cupertino

Crime Rate: 43% lower than national average
Cost of Living Index: 64% higher than California average
Median Household Income: $135,000
Median Home Price: $1.8 million

Another key Silicon Valley city, Cupertino is home to Apple headquarters. Cupertino Union School District has excellent public schools, with more than a dozen receiving a perfect 10 of 10 scores from the school ranking website GreatSchools. Family attractions include the Flint Center for Performing Arts, the Fujitsu Planetarium, and the Rancho San Antonio County Park.

San Ramon

Crime Rate: 58% lower than national average
Cost of Living Index: 38% higher than California average
Median Household Income: $130,000
Median Home Price: $723,000

San Ramon is perfect for outdoorsy families and history buffs. Forest Home Park Historic Park offers tours and free, hands-on family activities as well as classes for every age group. The Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, a short drive from town, has hiking trails with panoramic view payoffs.

Lafayette

Crime Rate: 27% lower than national average
Cost of Living Index: 61% higher than California average
Median Household Income: $138,000
Median Home Price: $999,000

Just a half-hour’s drive from San Francisco, Lafayette is a nature lover’s dream town. The Lafayette Reservoir Recreation Area offers hiking and paddle sports, and the 6,000-plus acre Briones Regional Park bounds the town to the north.

Orinda

Crime Rate: 58% lower than national average
Cost of Living Index: 63% higher than California average
Median Household Income: $167,000
Median Home Price: $987,000

Orinda is surrounded by green space, including Tilden Regional Park and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. It’s eight miles from the UC Berkeley Campus, and you’re only about 11 miles from beach access.

Moving to one of the best places to live in the Bay Area can be difficult. The Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the world and some of the highest home prices.

If you're buying in the Bay Area, you should use a brokerage that will give you cash back when making a purchase. We recommend our friends at Clever Real Estate. Clever is a free service that will match you with top-performing Bay Area real estate agents who can get you 0.5% cash back after closing.

The median price of a home in the Bay Area is about $1.5 million. With Clever's 0.5% cash back program, you would get $7,500 back in your pocket after sealing the deal, just by using a Clever agent!

Plus, you'll get a great agent with your best interests in mind. You'll get thousands in cash back and a great home in the Bay Area!

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Posted in Buying a House, Moving