Vanb, Renter in San Francisco, CA

What are the best areas with a decent commute to San Francisco to live for a young couple ( I will be studying in SF and my bf working in Menlo Park)?

Asked by Vanb, San Francisco, CA Mon Nov 14, 2011

We are on quite a budget but want to live somewhere that still is a nice area, with things to do and a nice vibe.

Help the community by answering this question:


If you're on a serious budget then renting in San Bruno or San Mateo might not be a bad thing to look into. I got quite a few friends living out there and they seem to like it. Also, I think both cities are centrally located between San Francisco and Menlo Park. Hope this helps.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Great answers! Trulia just released a tool that will give you the ability to dynamically visualize your commute, this will probably come in handy for you both!

Check it out:

Let me know if you have any questions,

Ali, Community Manager
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 22, 2012
I agree with a few of the folks to pick a more affordable city in the middle of the two. I've done the commute both ways (lived in Palo Alto and commuted to SF, lived in SF and commuted to Sunnyvale), and I don't care how good the public transit options are-- the commute stinks. Burlingame (if you can find something in your price range) or San Mateo (which has a recently redone downtown) get my votes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 19, 2011
It depends on what you mean by "quite a budget". I think the area with the best vibe/lots to do would be Palo Alto area as University Avenue is great and there are surrounding condo's/apt's within walking distance to rent. It's not cheap, but great area. Another location with a fun vibe is Mountain View. You have a fun area with restaurants, things to do plus lots of hi tech types live in the area so there is always a vibrance to the area with companies coming up with the next great thing. Prices are more reasonable here than Palo Alto, but a longer commute.

Menlo Park is also a nice place to live and commute and only a five minute drive to Palo Alto for dinners/things to do. You can find some reasonable prices if you don't need a huge place.

Let me know if you need any more advice or help.


0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Nov 15, 2011
Hey there Vanb-

Have you thought about Burlinagme? It's a cute city with a nice vibe and the freeway runs through it along with Caltrain. This could be a good compromise in terms of commute for you both. I'm guessing by your note that you're not necessarily wanting to live in SF or Menlo Park. You may also want to look at Belmont.

Good luck if you ever need help in SF, just let me know. Thanks!

Rich Bennett, Realtor

Zephyr Real Estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
Where in SF will you be studying? That makes a difference. Public transportation is of course the most pleasant option, and one possibility, depending on where you are going to school, is the South Beach neighborhood of SF- a really a vibrant, fun place to live for young people, with lots of restaurants, theater, shopping, strolling nearby, and on weekends easy access to an exhilarating ferry ride, a farmer's market.

Think about it- SF is one of the ten top destinations in the world, in survey after survey, year after year. While you are young you may wish to choose to live there, move to the suburbs when you are a bit older.
Astrid Lacitis
Keynote Properties
415 860 0765
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
With three highways going into SF, plus BART, you have your choices.
For years I commuted from Sunnyvale to South San Francisco via 280.
Less traffic then.

If you're renting for a while, I would look from Redwood City to Palo Alto; there are some nice neighborhoods and the Garage Sales are great.

Good luck and may God Bless
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
If you're comfortable with taking CalTrain to SF, then I suggest within walking/biking distance of the downtown Menlo Park CalTrain station or the same distance from the California Avenue station in Palo Alto. These are both nice areas and currently relatively affordable. If you continue south along the CalTrain line, home prices drop but the commute time increases and the neighborhoods become spotty in terms of pride of ownership, etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 14, 2011
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