Make sure these towns are on your must-see list
There are nine counties and more than 100 municipalities in the Bay Area ‘burbs. With so many options to choose from, many families wind up focusing on the “name-brand” towns they know. The reality, though? With so many communities around the city, it’s important to spend time and find your family’s ideal match — and that means working with your Suburban Jungle Strategist to explore beyond those tip-of-the-tongue towns.
Just starting to build out your list? Consider these communities that keep getting hotter. Not only are they super family-friendly but they offer the amenities you’re no doubt looking for, from a strong sense of community to an easy commute and more.
#1. Hayward (Alameda County)
Located in Alameda County — and just 27 miles from San Francisco — Hayward has a desirable urban-meets-suburban vibe that draws lots of city families. A quick BART ride to San Francisco, it’s easy to head in, whether you’re commuting or just want to spend a day out. And with more and more new developments including new single-family homes and townhouses, expect even more young families and single millennials to head to Hayward in the coming months.
Once in Hayward there’s lots to do, see and experience. The town recently built a brand new library that now hosts tons of virtual events — and plans for an amazing lineup of live events, storytimes and more in the coming months. The community is also well-known for its award-winning environmental and sustainability leadership. In November 2020, Hayward was one of just 88 cities around the globe — and one of three in the Bay Area — to receive an “A” grade leadership on environmental action from the nonprofit organization CDP.
#2. Los Gatos Hills (Santa Clara County)
This quiet and close-knit “mountain community” feels far-removed from the hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley, but still close enough to Los Gatos and surrounding towns to be in the mix. And, with homes typically sitting on one to 20 acres, it’s easy to find the space you’re looking for. Plus there are plenty of outdoor spaces for mountain biking and hiking, and a number of amazing wineries in the area.
Given the easy commute to Silicon Valley and a prime location just miles from Santa Cruz, many tech employees and their families settle in Los Gatos Hills. The area is also known for its public schools — most of the hill communities are in Loma Prieta Joint Union School District which serves kids in K-8 is in-town. This relatively small district enrolls about 500 students.
Students in Lexington Hills head to school in the Los Gatos Union Elementary District. Then, in ninth grade, all students come together at Los Gatos High School, which consistently ranks among the best in the state and the U.S.
#3. Novato (Marin County)
Between quaint Old Town Novato packed with mom-and-pop bakeries, homemade ice cream shops and small boutiques and the amazing restaurants, shops and attractions that line downtown, there’s never a shortage of things to see and do in Novato.
There’s also no shortage of core amenities. Target and Costco are located in southern Novato, as are a host of other grocery stores and gourmet grocers. An environmentally-conscious and very active community, you’ll also find plenty of walking, biking and jogging trails throughout town, as well as a SMART train stop.
Source: City of Novato
Novato is home to one of the only K-8 public Waldorf schools in the Bay Area, Novato Charter School. There are also several specialized high school programs in town, including Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School and, at San Marin High School, the STEM Marin program including concentrations in biotech and engineering.
And the neighborhoods themselves? Expect a mix of suburban and rural-feeling, making it easy for families to find the exact vibe they’re looking for within Novato.
#4. Redwood City (San Mateo County)
Redwood City is undergoing a massive revitalization. Not only is the urban downtown drawing more businesses — and more visitors — but the area is fast becoming a gourmet foodie hotspot. Spots like CRU Wine Bar, Coffeebar, Mademoiselle Colette French Bakery and Gambrel and Co. craft butcher draw crowds every day of the week.
Source: Downtown Redwood City
For young families, there’s also plenty to keep you busy. The second location of the Magical Bridge Playground recently opened in Redwood City. School-wise, Redwood City’s Sequoia High School offers an International Baccalaureate (IB) program that draws many families. This holistic approach to education emphasizes thinking and analysis while helping students accumulate college credit.
The community is also home to North Star Academy, a third- to eighth-grade school. The top 20% of Redwood City students are admitted and the remainder of the spots are filled through an annual lottery.
Ready to start exploring the Bay Area suburbs? Get in touch and schedule your Suburbs Strategy session now.