Home > Moving > City Guides > Best Suburbs of San Francisco
Photo of Bay Bridge with skyline of San Francisco in the background.

Best Suburbs of San Francisco

Thinking about moving to San Francisco? SF is recognized as one of America’s top cities to live and work, but its elevated home prices and cost of living can make it difficult to find an affordable place to settle down. Fortunately, there are cities in and around the San Francisco Bay Area that provide similar amenities to the Golden Gate City without the astronomical price tag. Check out these five best suburbs of San Francisco!


Quaint bungalow with nice landscaping in Berkeley. Photo by Instagram User @rafinvestment

Photo via @rafinvestment

  • Home Price: $795,200 median purchase price; $1,434 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 10% of California cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, students, young professionals, families, retirees

This San Francisco suburb is best known for being the home of the University of California, Berkeley, but its charm extends beyond its collegiate atmosphere. While Berkeley has plenty of restaurants, cafes, and bars along Shattuck Ave that attract young adults to the area, families and retirees can also find a great home among the city’s tree-lined, suburban streets. Plus, there are excellent schools like Cragmont Elementary School and Berkeley High School. It’s an ideal locale for job seekers; the median household income for Berkeley residents is well above the state and national averages. In addition, it presents residents with more affordable living options than San Francisco while remaining less than 30 minutes from the Golden Gate City.

Things to Do in Berkeley

Learn the words to “Fight for California” so you can sing along when the University of California Golden Bears football team (NCAA) scores during a game at California Memorial Stadium. Immerse yourself in nearly 20,000 pieces of artwork and thousands of international films and videos at Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive. Collect your thoughts during a peaceful stroll through the rose bush-lined paths of Berkeley Rose Garden. Gather with friends for a relaxed meal crafted with local and seasonal ingredients at Chez Panisse, the restaurant widely considered to be the birthplace of California cuisine. Grab a loaf of Beer Rye bread, some Buffalo Burrata cheese, a Par-Baked Pizza, and other baked goods and cheeses at The Cheese Board Collective. Introduce your tastebuds to the wonders of Cajun cuisine with Angeline’s Gumbo and Voo Doo Shrimp at Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen. Savor craft cocktails like a Thank You Note or Last Word on the Balcony Bar at Tupper & Reed. Or challenge your friends to a game of pool or life-sized Jenga while you share an order of Burly Special Fries and decide between the 21 domestic and German beers on tap at Tap Haus.

Search Form Find an Extra Space Storage facility near you


  • Home Price: $500,500 median purchase price; $1,189 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 1% of California cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Oakland is often the first city people turn to when seeking an affordable place to live close to San Francisco. Located just across the San Francisco Bay, both housing and living expenses are far lower in Oakland, offering a more budget-friendly way for people to experience life in the SF metro. As one of the most ethnically-diverse cities in America, Oakland welcomes people of all backgrounds and walks of life, which you can see converging in this San Francisco suburb’s embrace of self employment, encouraging startup community, flourishing foodie scene, and excellent schools like Bishop O’Dowd High School and Elmhurst United Middle School. Whether you want to have some fun in Uptown, embrace Asian cuisine and culture in Chinatown, or raise a family in the quiet neighborhoods around Lake Merritt, Oakland has something for everyone!

Things to Do in Oakland

See more than 850 species of animals at exhibits like the African Savanna, Wild Australia, and Tropical Rainforest at Oakland Zoo. Thrill the young ones with some of the most fun things to do in San Francisco with kids, including rides on the Jolly Trolley and shows at Storybook Puppet Theater, at Children’s Fairyland. Root for the Oakland Athletics (MLB) during a game at RingCentral Coliseum. Learn all about the Golden State with exhibits, artwork, and historical artifacts at Oakland Museum of California. Check out the tasting menu to see why Commis earned two Michelin stars. Chow down on a Carne Super Burrito or a Shrimp Quesadilla at one of San Francisco’s top food trucks, Tacos Mi Rancho. Sample some of the Bay Area’s best seafood with Pan Roasted King Salmon and Blackened Fish Tacos at Lake Chalet. Or join your buddies for a Shipyard Blueberry Imperial Porter on the scenic rooftop at Mad Oak Bar.


  • Home Price: $828,900 median purchase price; $1,949 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 72% of California cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If its name alone has you thinking this might be one of the best places to live in the Bay Area, you’re not wrong! Located about an hour east of San Francisco, Pleasanton is the headquarters for ICE Mortgage Technology, Safeway, and Blackhawk Network. With only a 2.8% unemployment rate, it’s a great place to find a job near San Francisco. If you want to work in SF or another nearby suburb, there’s plenty of public transportation, including two Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations, to help you get there. When you’re ready to have some fun, Pleasanton offers multiple golf courses and wineries along with a bustling downtown scene along Santa Rita Rd. And if you want to settle down and start a family in the Bay Area, Pleasanton is one of the safest options available and has several great schools like Vintage Hills Elementary School and Harvest Park Middle School.

Things to Do in Pleasanton

Peruse the local produce, baked goods, honeys, and more each Saturday at the Pleasanton Farmers’ Market. Challenge yourself with the demanding links at Callippe Preserve Golf Course. Take a vineyard tour, learn how to pair food and wine with a portfolio tasting, or just relax in the Wine Garden at Ruby Hill Winery. Start a game of pickleball or volleyball or consider joining an adult softball league at Ken Mercer Sports Park. Wash down your Mac & Chz Dippers and Sausage Platter with an English Strong Ale at McKay’s Taphouse & Beer Garden. Treat yourself with an elegant meal of Prawn Cocktail and Rock Shrimp Risotto at Barone’s Restaurant. Get some of the best pizza in the Tri-Valley area like the Frank’s Special or Wayne’s World at Gay Nineties Pizza Co. Indulge your sweet tooth with a Swirl Cone or a Twix Ice Cream Bar at Meadowlark Dairy. Or belt out your favorite songs during Karaoke Night at Sunshine Saloon.

San Jose

  • Home Price: $658,000 median purchase price; $1,689 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 27% of California cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

The weather alone makes San Jose one of the best places to live near San Francisco, as the city experiences more than 250 sunny days a year with summer temperatures typically remaining in the 70s and 80s. You’ll also find an abundance of jobs, particularly in the tech industry, as companies like Cisco, Adobe, eBay, and PayPal are all headquartered in San Jose, which is the heart of Silicon Valley. Plus, with several state parks and mountain ranges nearby, such as the Santa Cruz Mountains and Castle Rock State Park, your next outdoor adventure is only a short drive away. Families in particular love living in San Jose for its high-quality education opportunities at schools like Northwood Elementary School and Evergreen Valley High School. And even though San Jose is about an hour south of San Francisco, it’s a much more affordable place to live!

Things to Do in San Jose

Cheer on the San Jose Sharks (NHL) during a game at SAP Center. Marvel at the baffling architecture, including secret passages and doors that lead to nowhere, during a tour of Winchester Mystery House. Unleash your inner inventor by solving challenging problems posed by The Tech Studio at The Tech Interactive. View more than 200 films from directors and artists in over 50 countries each March at Cinequest Film & Creativity Festival. Enjoy the cozy Bay Area climate while you try German specialties like Jager Schnitzel and Cheese Spatzle on the biergarten at Ludwig’s German Table. Discover why ADEGA earned a Michelin star with plates of Portuguese food like Arroz de Pato and Bacalhau. Grab Koubby and Gyros In a Pita on the go from Falafel Drive-In, a San Jose institution since 1966. Sip on craft cocktails like the Caribbean Rum Old Fashioned or a Bourbon Caramel Apple Soda at Haberdasher. Or experience the best of San Jose nightlife with drinks, live music, and dancing at LVL 44.

Walnut Creek

  • Home Price: $647,400 median purchase price; $1,721 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 40% of California cities
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you’re looking for a San Francisco suburb that offers peaceful neighborhoods, as well as a booming downtown area filled with fun things to do, Walnut Creek might be your new home! Walnut Creek is mostly residential, combining parks, green spaces, and great schools like Bancroft Elementary School and Foothill Middle School to create a wonderful option for raising a family. When you’re looking for a good time, the downtown area along Main St and N Broadway provides all kinds of shopping destinations, trendy restaurants, and cozy coffee shops. And while Walnut Creek is about 30 minutes north of San Francisco, the suburb’s BART station provides easy access to the big city. That is, of course, if you even need to get to SF—with so much to do and a strong job industry, most residents don’t feel the need to leave Walnut Creek!

Things to Do in Walnut Creek

Shop from all kinds of big-box retailers like Nordstrom, lululemon, Macy’s, and more at Broadway Plaza. Spread out for a family picnic while the kids burn off some energy on the playground at Civic Park. Admire Northern California’s natural beauty while you work on your golf game at Boundary Oak Golf Course. Learn how to ride horses, splash around in the swim center, or join a game of pickup basketball at Heather Farm Park. Start your day with a Bacon & Triple Cheese Omelette or a Western Sausage Roller at The Original Hick’ry Pit. Spend an evening on the patio with a Red Wine Flight and Jerk Pork Tacos from Va de Vi Bistro & Wine Bar. Savor some of the Bay Area’s finest seafood dishes like Maine Rock Crab Cakes and Dayboat Scallops at Walnut Creek Yacht Club. Or enjoy cocktails like Incredible Hulkamania and Duck Duck Goose while you listen to live music and play classic arcade games at Retro Junkie.


Moving to the Bay Area? Extra Space Storage is the self storage partner for you! With facilities conveniently located throughout San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Pleasanton, Berkeley, and more, we can help your transition go smoothly! Find cheap storage near you!

Suburb statistics from AreaVibes

Pinterest Image: San Francisco, CA: 5 Best Suburbs: Extra Space Storage