The San Francisco Bay Area is a relatively large place with several different counties, many different cities and even more neighborhoods. Which ones are the best or worst depends somewhat on your point of view, but there are some basic standards most people can agree on. Crime, cost, easy access to areas with a lot of jobs, etc.

Best Neighborhoods:


1. Willow Glen, San Jose

Willow Glen is a neighborhood in San Jose. It is located near the downtown, but remains more of a suburb than the busier streets just a few minutes away. Like most of Santa Clara county, San Jose housing prices are relatively high. However, Willow Glen represents one of the best neighborhood options at a reasonable price for those who can afford it.

2. Walnut Creek

Residents swear that Walnut Creek is the most perfect place on earth to raise a family. Reasonably priced homes, a good safety record and a mid-length commute to the city make it a suburban wonderland. It can get hot, though!

3. San Carlos

Like Willow Glen, San Carlos has a heftier price tag than some of the places on the “worst neighborhoods” list. However, it also features proximity to the city, reasonable if high housing prices and a safe, suburban environment. It has two distinguished middle schools and although it does not have its own high school, sends its students to some of the top high schools in the area.

Worst Neighborhoods:


1. Oakland City Council Districts 3, 6&7

Oakland has been the murder capital of the country multiple times, and these are the parts of the city that live up to their reputation. District 3 is in West Oakland, and districts 6&7 are in East Oakland. Combined they contain 72 percent of the city’s homicides but only 44 percent of the population.

2. East Palo Alto

East Palo Alto, or EPA as it is known locally, is a hotbed of crime. Because it is one of the lowest-cost areas in an expensive region, it is populated with many families, but it struggles with drug and gang activity. Although there have been significant attempts to clean it up, there are still regular shootings in the area.

3. Richmond

Located near Oakland, Richmond has a reputation of its own for violent crime. In 2010 it was the second most dangerous city in California and the third most dangerous in the country. People traveling through the area have been known to go miles out of their way simply to avoid driving through it, which seems a little overboard. However, it probably isn’t an ideal place to live.