Amazing Bay Area Suburbs Just a LITTLE Farther Out

Feb 21, 2022

Don’t need to commute to the city daily? Check out these towns.

Not commuting to the city every day? Consider these amazing towns. Yes, living here may mean a slightly longer commute but, at the same time, if you’re mostly remote it could be a great trade for more space, more affordable places, and other sought-after perks.

North Bay

San Anselmo

20 miles to downtown San Francisco

San Anselmo is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. This suburb sits at the foothills of Mount Tamalpais and there are miles of hiking and mountain biking trails you can tackle in between Zoom calls. You’ll even see local kids biking to school most days.

And foodies, make your way downtown. There’s a Michelin-recommended eatery in the heart of San Anselmo called Madcap (make a reservation to try the seasonal tasting menu). When you’re looking for a change of scenery, bring your laptop to M.H. Bread and Butter for an artisan-pastry-fueled work session.


40 miles to downtown San Francisco

Located on the edge of wine country is one of the more affordable Bay Area towns. But the competitive price point is just one reason we love Petaluma. This beautiful town has something for everyone, from rolling hills for bikers to a river for paddleboarders plus local boutique shops and award-winning restaurants in the historic downtown. And if you’re more into beer than wine, the Lagunitas Tap Room and Brewsters Beer Garden are two great outdoor spots to grab a pint.

Petaluma also hosts three farmers’ markets where you can listen to live music while shopping for farm-fresh produce. For anything you can’t find at the market, the Whole Foods, Sprouts, or Trader Joe’s in town should have you covered.

East Bay

San Ramon

35 miles to downtown San Francisco

San Ramon is ideal for people who want to ditch their cramped San Francisco apartments for lots more space. With A+ schools and huge parks, it’s also a great place to raise kids. Central Park is a hub of activity with a giant, colorful playground that’s the perfect place to start meeting other local parents. Consider joining the San Ramon Newcomers Club to get even more plugged into the community.

The Mittal-Khalfan family worked with Suburban Jungle when they decided to extend their suburb search in 2020. Between workplace flexibility and the need for more space after their daughter was born, the family landed on San Ramon.

“Pre-Covid, we never thought we would live in San Ramon,” Shikka Mittal said in a New York Times article. “But after COVID hit, we realized that the kind of house we wanted, at the price we wanted and with the lifestyle we wanted, we just weren’t going to find it” where they originally limited their search.


40 miles to downtown San Francisco

Pleasanton feels further away — but in the best way possible. It’s an incredibly scenic town with large lots at median-price tags. Locals enjoy a mild year-round climate which means they can explore the 9,000+ acre Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park on foot or horseback anytime they want.

While it’s further from the city, Pleasanton isn’t sleepy. Between events at the county fairgrounds, Shakespeare in the Park, and holiday beer crawls, there’s always something going on in town. And with the Dublin/Pleasanton BART station, you can be in the city in under an hour.


55 miles to downtown San Francisco

Since it takes over an hour to drive to San Francisco, commuters often overlook Brentwood. But if you have the flexibility, put this town on your radar. Brentwood is beautiful. For years it was an agricultural haven with tons of cherry, peach and corn farms.

While the area has become more developed there are still plenty of farms on the outskirts of town. Take the kids to local U-Pick farms or stop by the year-round Saturday farmers’ market downtown to stock up on fresh, seasonal produce.

Brentwood tends to be much more affordable than some of the other East Bay burbs. And with wineries, Mt. Diablo hiking trails, and the California Delta all within an hour’s drive, this town is perfect for adventurous families who like to make the most of their weekends.

South Bay

Los Gatos and the Los Gatos Hills

55 miles to downtown San Francisco

Los Gatos is a progressive town and home to some big-name tech companies — think Netflix and Roku, for starters. With a small-town community vibe and city-style amenities, Los Gatos is ideal for people who want to strike a balance.

Beyond that, schools here are top-rated and you can easily escape to the Santa Cruz Mountains for scenic hikes. anytime. Plus, you’ll also have access to an incredible food scene downtown. Book a table at the three Michelin-star Manresa to try some of the best contemporary California cuisines in the Bay Area.

For more space, explore the Los Gatos Hills. Don’t be surprised when you find incredible lots that go up to 20 acres. You’ll still have access to all of the amenities in town but will be even closer to the trails up in this “mountain community.”

Santa Cruz

75 miles to downtown San Francisco

Before the flexibility of remote work, Santa Cruz would have been too far for most San Francisco commuters. But now, you can settle in this beach town and spend the morning surfing before hopping on a Zoom call.

If you’re more into hiking, don’t worry. One of the best parts about Santa Cruz is the fact that it’s nestled between redwood forests and the bay. Stunning hiking trails, picnic spots and campsites in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park are less than 10 minutes from the heart of Santa Cruz.

Locals love the laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle of Santa Cruz. But this community also has the essentials you need to make it a great place for families, from highly-rated schools to tons of grocery stores (hello, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s) to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for kid-approved fun.

Want to explore these towns — or any spots in the Bay Area suburbs? Schedule your FREE Suburbs Strategy Session to get started.

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