The San Francisco East Bay Lifestyle
What is it really like to live here? What sets it apart from other areas and why would it appeal to you?
There are many aspects to the San Ramon Valley lifestyle and it isn’t easy to answer these questions on just one website but I can certainly give you a starting point and the Internet is a vast resource of information when you want to dig a little deeper. For the basic technical data, the San Ramon city website is a great starting point. Wikipedia also has a vast amount of information on all towns and cities in America, so if you want to know the population of communities in and around San Ramon or their history, this is a great resource.
What’s The Weather Like in The San Ramon Valley?
Pretty close to ideal, I would say. The Bay Area has lots of micro-climates and as anybody who visits San Francisco for the first time in summer knows, it can be far from what you might expect. We can even get significant variations from Pleasanton to Martinez and out to Orinda but really, the weather in Alamo, Danville and San Ramon, as well as further afield, never has the extremes that are found in most parts of the USA.
The weather can be very warm in many parts of the San Ramon Valley and Lamorinda in Summer and the highest temperatures are generally felt at opposite ends of the valley in Concord and Livermore, where July and August are the hottest months. Orinda, Lafayette and Moraga are the coolest locations and many homes in Lamorinda were built without air-conditioning because it just wasn’t considered necessary. Walnut Creek can be as warm as Concord at times and San Ramon can also get up to the same temperatures, although as anybody who lives in San Ramon will tell you, it always cools down rapidly in the evening. This is also the case in Lafayette, Moraga and Orinda, when the marine layer comes pouring over the Caldecott tunnel into Lamorinda.
Winters here are relatively mild compared with most of America. We usually get our fair share of rain but temperatures rarely reach freezing point in daylight hours and snow is almost unheard of. Mount Diablo gets a light dusting two or three times a year, but anything more than that would be considered newsworthy.
Spring and Fall are delightful months in all areas, neither too hot nor too cold. The last significant rainfall is often in May, then our grassy landscape gradually turns into the “Golden Hills of California”. We don’t see rain again until October or November.
I should also mention that we have a few earthquakes every year, and although they get reported on in the news, few people take much notice and most of them are just a small shake.
More about our weather on the Weather.com website.
Earning A Living in The San Ramon Valley
Many people come to the San Ramon Valley as a result of a relocation move. Others set their sights on our area based on the many good reasons for living here and fortunately for them, we have many large employers here with Concord, Walnut Creek, San Ramon and Pleasanton being the major centers for employment.
In San Ramon, Bishop Ranch Office Park has over 500 employers including such names as Chevron, Toyota, FedEx and AT&T. In Pleasanton, you can find the Hacienda Business Park that includes Oracle as a major tenant.
San Francisco is also in commuting distance and this is a prime destination for many people who either drive there on a daily basis or use BART (see below).
Getting Around in The San Ramon Valley
Just like almost everywhere, traffic is an increasing problem in the Bay Area and there never seems to be enough money to keep our roads maintained.
A glance at the map will show that we have three main freeways serving the area. Highway 680 runs north-south and 580 runs east-west, while Highway 24, really just a short, local freeway runs from Walnut Creek through Lamorinda towards San Francisco.
At commuter times, these freeways get very busy indeed, but fortunately we also have an excellent light rail system in BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) that is continually being expanded.
The BART network has local stations in Concord, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, Dublin and Pleasanton. The odd ones out are Danville and San Ramon but both cities have “Park And Ride” lots that are very well supported. The focal-point of BART is San Francisco and unless you are an early traveler, the chances of snagging a seat reduce, the closer you get to the city.
People who live in the San Ramon Valley frequently commute to San Francisco, San Jose and Silicon Valley but more and more, telecommuting is often a possibility, at least for a few days every week.
Leisure and Culture
Hopefully, for most people, your reason for working is to improve your quality of life and our communities here in the San Ramon Valley will give you plenty of opportunities to do just that.
From a geographic stand-point, our location is second to none. In around 2 hours, you can be at the coast, in the heart of Napa Valley Wine Country, in Yosemite or on the ski-slopes in Tahoe. But even locally, we have lots going on.
There is an astounding range of live entertainment here, from free summer concerts in the parks in most cities to professional theater productions in venues such as the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek. Most towns also have at least one active repertory theater and you can even see theater in the open air in some of the parks. Concord Pavilion in Concord is one of the Bay Area’s best concert venues.
Then there are our restaurants. There really is something for everybody’s taste here. Fine Dining is plentiful with many restaurants being listed in the Michelin Guide including Va de Vi in Walnut Creek. A personal favorite is Rodney Worth’s Peasant and The Pear restaurant in Danville but you aren’t restricted to fine dining establishments. You can eat well at any level in the San Ramon Valley.
Shop Till You Drop
The San Ramon Valley lifestyle for many is synonymous with Shopping and shopaholics will not be disappointed if they come to live in the San Ramon Valley. Each of our cities has its own character and style when it comes to shopping centers.
Walnut Creek really seems like “The Big City” compared to what a sleepy town it was when I first came to the Bay Area. Here you will find a vibrant downtown based around newly renovated Broadway Plaza, home to Apple, Nordstrom and Tiffany’s as well as a multitude of other stores, large and small. A Restoration Hardware store adjoins Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma and there are many boutiques. Then north of Broadway Plaza is the older part of Walnut Creek. This could easily be seen as the “Restaurant District” but there is also a very wide variety of small privately run shops.
Concord’s downtown area has some similarity to the older part of Walnut Creek, in that this is also where most of the restaurants are situated. The jewel here is Todos Santos Plaza, a park that is right in the middle of town and one that is very well used in the summer with an outdoor farmer’s market, open-air concerts and more. Concord’s retail district is a short distance away in Sun Valley Mall and this where most of the large high street chains can be found.
Danville and Pleasanton have the most attractive downtown areas in the area and these have a real “old town” feel that the cities strive to keep up. Few chains here, just individual, interesting shops, cafes and restaurants.
Other Leisure Activities
No discussion about leisure facilities in the San Ramon Valley and Lamorinda would be complete without a mention of all the parks and walking trails we have. Every city has at least one significant park and some have a few. All are very well used. You will always find something happening from spring through fall in most of our parks whether it is a live performance of some kind, a sporting activity, walkers and joggers or picnics large and small. You can find bocce and tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, water features, a skateboard rink and even boating and fishing.
The Iron Horse Trail is one of many trails that are in constant use by walkers, joggers and cyclists. This runs from Concord to Dublin.
Or would golf feature as a major part of the San Ramon Valley lifestyle to you? The San Ramon Valley is home to numerous highly acclaimed golf courses, many, but by no means all, in a country club setting. Country clubs with golf courses include Blackhawk, Diablo, Canyon Lakes and Round Hill. Googling “San Ramon Valley golf courses” will provide you with an amazing amount of information about golf in the San Ramon Valley.
If you have any questions about the San Ramon Valley lifestyle, or if you think I have left something out that should have been mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will always respond quickly to questions and I am always happy to hear from you.