Best places to live in Bay Area in the Tri Valley

Best places to live in the Bay Area

Are you looking for the best places to live in the Bay Area? 

Either you’re working in San Francisco or you're working in San Jose and now you need to find a place to live. If you've checked both San Francisco and San Jose, and they’re too small and too expensive. Why not take a look at the East Bay, specifically the Tri-Valley area?

If you're considering relocating to the East Bay area and you're just starting to do your research about where you want to live in the East Bay, the Tri-Valley is a great area to consider. I’m going to dig into the top 5 places to live in the Tri-Valley area.

  • Walnut Creek - referred to as a bedroom community to San Francisco. It's located in the San Ramon Valley in Contra Costa County, where 680 and 24 meet, so it's very easy to get into and out of. Walnut Creek has a Bart Station making the 33-mile trip into the city much easier if you choose to take public transportation.  With a population of 70,000, Walnut Creek has the largest downtown area of all the cities we’re reviewing. Walnut Creek has large box stores, as well as small ma & pa stores and restaurants. Pretty much anything you want, you can find it in Walnut Creek. These homes were built between 1912 and the present. So there is a lot more variety in terms of architecture. The median sale price in Walnut Creek is $1.46 million.


  • Alamo – is the smallest out of all the towns that we're looking at with a 9 square mile radius. Alamo is located in the San Ramon Valley inside Contra Costa County and it's just south of Walnut Creek off of 680. Alamo is known for its bucolic country feel as well as its affluent lifestyle. There's no real downtown area, but there are quite a few stores and restaurants. You'll find them mostly in strip malls.  With a population just under 15,000, this small but mighty town has tried to incorporate several times. Unfortunately, it hasn't done so successfully just yet. Alamo is the most expensive of the towns we're reviewing. The median sale price for a single family detached home in Alamo with 3+ bedrooms and 2+ bathrooms is $2.5 million. Most of the homes date back to 1920’s all the way to today.


  • Danville's just south of Alamo and it's a small town as well with a population right around 40,000. Similar to Alamo, Danville is a town and not a city. The average temperature in Danville is 36 - 85 F all-year-around. A lot of people come to Danville because they're in search of great public schools. San Ramon Valley Unified School District has 36 schools in Danville. There are a couple private schools as well.  Danville's downtown is made up mostly of small ma & pa locally-owned stores and restaurants. You will find that Danville has that small town feel that many folks look for. In fact, in 2020, Danville was named the safest place to live in California. The median sale price in Danville is 1.9 million and the majority of the homes were built from the 1940s up to present day, so it's a little bit newer than Alamo and Walnut Creek.


  • San Ramon is located in the San Ramon Valley of Contra Costa County. It's located just south of Danville off of I-680. San Ramon has a very dense, suburban feel with a population of roughly 76,000 people. San Ramon is known for its 58 parks, many cafes, restaurants, as well as famous shopping at The Lot and The Marketplace.  It's located 35 miles east of San Francisco, and to get in and out of the city using public transportation, you're either going to go north to Walnut Creek BART or south to Dublin BART because it does not have its own Bart Station (much like Danville) however it does have a Park n Ride. The median sale price for a single family home in San Ramon is $1.625 million. Fun fact >> San Ramon was once the home to the largest Bartlett pear orchard owned by Thomas Bishop who now has shared his namesake with places like Bishop Ranch.


  • Dublin, unlike any of the other places that we've talked about today, is located in the Amador Valley in Alameda County (not Contra Costa County). Dublin is the fastest growing city in all of California. It's located 35 miles east of San Francisco. With a population of 73,000, Dublin has its very own Bart Station to get to the city. All of the homes in Dublin have been built more recently than the homes in Danville, Alamo and San Ramon.  In fact, the oldest homes you’ll find in Dublin were built in the '60s and '70s. So the median sale price for a detached single family home in Dublin with three plus bedrooms and two plus bathrooms is 1.5 million. So a little more cost effective than the places that we've looked at so far other than Walnut Creek.


Are you ready to dig in a little bit deeper and see my picks for Best Schools, Most Convenience and Best Value?

  • Best Schools pick in the Tri-Valley was super hard to pick because they're all very good school districts. But the one that beat them all out is San Ramon. San Ramon Valley Unified School District is one of the top school districts in all of California.
  • Most convenient pick goes to Walnut Creek. Not only is it the easiest to get into and out of, but it does house some of the largest big box stores anywhere, and the highest quantity of small ma & pa shops. You can get just about anything you want in Walnut Creek.
  • Best value pick goes to Dublin. Dublin's median single family home price is only 1.5 million. It has access to just about anything that you could want, including a Bart Station to get to the city, as well as any big box stores that you could be looking for.


Overall, the Tri-Valley is an amazing place to live. With its great schools, tremendous shopping, easy transportation into and out of the city, as well as some of the best schools in the area. Well, what about the weather? You can also take advantage of the outdoors all year round with easy proximity to mountains, wine or city life.

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