The Water Cooler – The Bay Area’s Best City – What Is It?

July 22, 2013 12:00 pm · 74 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

In your opinion, what is the best city in the Bay Area?

Talk about it….

concordofcourse July 22, 2013 at 12:02 PM

con-cord is the bestest city in the bayarea

B July 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

Bethel Island

Glen July 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Dare I say San Francisco?

Hated that city but now that I am getting older, I like it. Oakland hills or LaMorInda would be my 2nd choice.

EdiBirsan July 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Concord… home …

East Bay all the way! July 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Too big a playground Mr. Mayor! If you narrow it to the East Bay..I’d say Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill. Centrally located, good transportation, trails, parks, shopping, and relatively affordable housing. EBRPD is all around us…and the crime rate is low.

The Bay Area? Well Atherton sounds like a place to go, but who can afford it? And Oakland was once a marvelous city back in the 30’s and 40’s..but too much drama, crime, and lousy politics. but again it’s gotten crazy.

well.. July 22, 2013 at 12:22 PM

San Fransisco. No other city in the bay area can compare.

Ray July 22, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Bay Point..or Antioch hahaha

jtkatec July 22, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Port Costa

Connie Dobbs July 22, 2013 at 12:28 PM


Howard K Mullins III July 22, 2013 at 12:29 PM

I love Atherton, Hillsdale and Burlingame.

The Sea Cliff area of San Francisco would be high on the list along with some areas of the Outer Richmond.

Mendocino, on the beach, would be my dream come true.

ANONONONON July 22, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Menlo Park

Great weather, little crime, excellent restaurants, close to everything.

Out of my price range.

anonanonagain July 22, 2013 at 12:35 PM

So many great cities in the bay area!! San Francisco, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, Burlingame, Sausalito, Berkeley, (Rockridge area) Oakland, Belvedere, Lafayette, Walnut Creek…… lucky to live in such an incredible place.

Triple Canopy July 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM

My top five in no particular order:

Walnut Creek
Milll Valley

SF? Hell no.. they used to let people run around nude (since banned), are positioned against the US military and its history (said no to the USS Hornet and USS Iowa), have rent control, and declared themselves as a “sanctuary city” to illegal aliens. They’re socialist, un-American, and lead the way on the degradation and de-evolution of morals. FREAKS.

CW July 22, 2013 at 12:40 PM

Sausalito! That’s where I’d live if I ever won Powerball or MegaMillions.

Clayton Squirrel July 22, 2013 at 12:43 PM

There are so many good things about living in Clayton: Perfect size for getting to know folks, super safe, quiet, great human and horse trails, close enough to shopping, a little far from the freeway but in some cases that is a bonus for not being overrun with traffic. It’s pretty plus we have a great library and more and more community events downtown. We are improving our high school and the lower schools, which are pretty good, will be improving as well. It is so cool that all the kids from Clayton go to the same schools and get to know all the kids in town(unless they choose private). As I look around the state, there aren’t really a lot of places I would rather live. Sometimes the summers are a bit warm so I would not mind if we had a lake spring up next to the mountain, but that’s about it. My WC walking friends always comment how friendly everyone in Clayton is when we walk the trails here.

Elwood July 22, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Tie: Richmond or Antioch

Jerk July 22, 2013 at 12:50 PM


Em Dubya July 22, 2013 at 12:54 PM

West Oakland. Great view, cheap real estate, lots of night life, nice post office.

Antler July 22, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I enjoy visiting friends and shopping in Alamo/Danville and Walnut Creek…..obviously different ambience in each of those.

Antler July 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Oops! Mayor posted a lot of comments just as I finished mine. Must say that I only THOUGHT “East Bay” when I read the question……because in my mind the other places are “The City”, “The Penninsula”, or “Marin County”. My husband does not like fog, so that rules out those places as somewhere we would live, but I do enjoy day trips everywhere except between Oakland and Morgan Hill….. yeah, I’m a scaredy cat snob when it comes to walking around alone.

funny guy July 22, 2013 at 1:07 PM

this has been concord the passed few years…
Random shopping carts

Dorothy July 22, 2013 at 1:13 PM

@#9 Lotus isn’t quite in the Bay Area but since we are in that area, I prefer Pilot Hill.

For the Bay Area, my hometown – San Francisco.

Linda July 22, 2013 at 1:23 PM

I love Martinez! Great downtown area (historic) and low crime rate. Easy to get around and close enough to Oakland and SF. If I could live anywhere it would be Alamo…lol! I live in Walnut Creek. Too crowded.

Open and Carry July 22, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Gotta be the flatlands of Oakland where I can strut my stuff. And if any one messes with me we’ll have another Treyvon.

bayareababe July 22, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Clayton of course!

Angelica July 22, 2013 at 1:33 PM

73rd Ave. in East Oakland. The A’s are having another good year . Easy access….probably Atherton. My friend Jesse is from there. Between him and my friend Malibu Zach. Rich folks come in handy if you ever need a loan.

Rick July 22, 2013 at 1:49 PM

If I had my choice of Easy Bay suburbs I’d go with Orinda, Alamo, Danville, etc. Life on easy street. As far as affordability, low crime, close to everything, I’m going with Martinez. For whatever reason it lacks diversity. More popular with the white folks!

Anon July 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Stinson Beach…don’t care how big it is, or isn’t in this case…just a great place to be

Strad July 22, 2013 at 1:57 PM

San Carlos has a nice feel about it.

Drive Sober July 22, 2013 at 1:58 PM

Pleasanton is so family friendly. Definitely has my vote and Pleasant Hill is second.

Just saying July 22, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Martinez, because Martinez supports its citizens like no other city, Arron Hern is a great example. There many more examples on how Martinez stands head and shoulders above all the others cities in the area, because of our sense of community.

oldgal. July 22, 2013 at 2:16 PM

My husband an I really love Pleasantville…such a wonderful place to live.

Cassandra July 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM

In the 70’s, I’d say Concord. I miss the old Concord, it was so popular back then. We live in Lafayette, but if it was up to me, we’d live in the Alhambra Valley. I love Martinez too! It does stand out in sense of community. Downtown Martinez has great antique shops. I could hang out in downtown Martinez all day!

Some guy July 22, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Martinez, small town feel in a crazy hustle bustle area. WC is too crowded and uppidy, P.Hill lacks any kind of character and Concord…well its Concord. Clayton would be number 2

Retardo Montalbon July 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

Is Morgan Hill considered the Bay Area?……cuz it’s a good place to live.

Martizian July 22, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Martinez! Great community and great open spaces.

Sabrina July 22, 2013 at 2:40 PM

And the votes are in in-MARTINEZ! Except for college, I’ve lived in Walnut Creek all my life. It’s not uppity, that would be affluent suburbs (we all know where they are), and not all wealthy people are snobs. If I wasn’t married, I’d move to Martinez. People seem so comfortable there, which isn’t the case in so many towns. I love historic towns, Martinez rocks!

Dr. Jellyfinger July 22, 2013 at 2:41 PM


What Security July 22, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Best City all around would be San Francisco, for all nationalities, political parties, and social services.

But now Concord is really a special little town.. I know it ain’t like it used to be… But the cops do their job keep the street free from the rift raff, down to earth people live here. Super nice neighbors.

even the homeless are polite

RanchgirlCA July 22, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I love to spend the day in SF, walking around window shopping and people watching. Lots to do there. I also love WC. I’d say those are my top two.

Sausages and pudding July 22, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Orinda, Orinda, Orinda. Perfect weather everyday

Enfield303 July 22, 2013 at 3:54 PM

@Dr Jellyfinger

Hahaha. Willoughby, Willoughby Station, all aboarrrd. I think Martinez is pretty good place,lived there once. Still has a small town charm to it.

Just Kidding July 22, 2013 at 3:59 PM


bluebird July 22, 2013 at 4:07 PM

@ oldgal # 32: isn’t Pleasantville a town in a movie? Did you mean Pleasant Hill and darn iphone/ipad auto correct get you too?

oldgal. July 22, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Oh no….definitely Pleasantville. We absolutely love it, especially the marching band.

Phoenyx July 22, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Benicia, with Martinez a close second.

Let the Library be the judge July 22, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Any community that supports the library has my heart. I love all the cities with new libraries. In spite of Birsan’s comment “Concord Council has always supported libraries” the Council members dragged their heels on the failed Measure L thirteen years ago to build a new Concord library. Of that council only Hoffmeister is still around.

No one ... July 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

No one wants to be someplace they don’t
want to be, that being said the only thing
keeping you from getting to a place you
want to be is “you”! You create your own
reality, being unhappy with any thing or
place is a choice you make yourself, as are
the excuses you make to yourself for not
attaining your goal. If you don’t like where
you are at, what you do, who your with,
Now, cue all the whiners with their excuses,
The Govt., money etc.

Craig July 22, 2013 at 5:18 PM

No one@47—Get some help!

ClayDen July 22, 2013 at 5:25 PM

I grew up in a nice little town sort of in the country of about 5,000 people, which was next to a relatively small town of about 100,000-200,000 people (it was growing very fast). It got too crowded. If you guessed Campbell and San Jose, you win the prize. We moved to Clayton 36 years ago, and are not leaving, as it’s a great little town with great people and everything we need close by .

Chris July 22, 2013 at 5:27 PM

The people of Clayton are kind and make great neighbors!!!! The trails are beautiful, schools except Diablo View are excellent so of course the total best is CLAYTON!!!!!!!!!!

ClayDen July 22, 2013 at 5:39 PM

If I had to leave Clayton, it would be either the Carmel Valley or somewhere between St. Helena and Calistoga.

dilligafman July 22, 2013 at 6:39 PM

any town the ex-wife isn’t in!!!

KAD July 22, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Burlingame – I love the weather there. Loved living in SF when I was younger and it was safe. SF is not a place for older folks. It is convenient living in Concord since we are older. Everything is very close. I just don’t care for the heat. Oh

KAD July 22, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I was going to add Piedmont. Lived there once and loved it. Did a lot of car pooling into SF in fancy cars.

Lawyer Up July 22, 2013 at 6:53 PM

… Martinez needs to fix its streets. The ones I travel are horribly alligator-cracked and have lots of potholes.

The city of Walnut Creek gets my vote. Some of unincorporated Walnut Creek is decent but there are some real funky areas.

Keith July 22, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Is San Diego in the Bay Area? San Diego is the best city in the world. I wouldn’t mind living in Alamo.

PeaceXO July 22, 2013 at 7:33 PM

#1 is Clayton. For all the reasons everyone else said. Quiet , safe, lots of trails, open space, parks. Lots of community centered activities. Locally owned businesses. Good schools except Diablo View needs a serious change up of admin. I don’t mind the distance to freeway. I love living in a town that if the kids say “we’re going downtown after school.” You know where that will be. I like that many know many and there are many eyes looking out for each other .

I grew up in Danville and while nice , has issues such that I did not want to raise my kids there.

Where the heck is this pleasantville #45 speaks of?

CW July 22, 2013 at 8:30 PM

Pleasantville is the town in that movie with Reese Witherspoon, Tobey Maguire, Jeff Daniels, and William H. Macy. It was this seemingly perfect 1950’s Mayberry type town until Reese & Tobey (magically transported from the then-present day) mess things all up. Typical liberal “boo, ’50’s, yay ’60’s” drivel.

JV July 22, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Benicia. Low key, friendly, and safe.

caskydiver July 22, 2013 at 9:08 PM


Ms.kitty. July 22, 2013 at 9:10 PM

I have to say Clayton. I have been through all of the bay area cities, most of northern and southern california at one point or another–but I like the small-town feel of Clayton; my husband can’t stand Clayton because of that “small town” feel.

BCuzItzClaycord July 22, 2013 at 9:16 PM

Martinez is my first choice…..lots of charm and character in the old downtown….then in the following order:
#2 – Benicia
#3 – Lafayette
#4 – Piedmont
#5 – Sonoma

Lisa July 22, 2013 at 9:29 PM

I grew up in Alamo and used to tell people I was from Walnut Creek. Martinez gets my vote! It just seems like the coolest town in the East Bay. Love downtown Martinez, and the waterfront is totally cool!

oldgal. July 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM

It’s a beautiful town somewhere in between the napa valley and wisteria. You can drive there in anything you want–if you have nerves of steel. Motorcycles are the best way because the roads are so narrow.

Clyde July 22, 2013 at 10:07 PM

Clyde! Stop on by & shelter in place.

oldgal. July 22, 2013 at 10:18 PM

It may have been something like that–I remember those people having the first baby there in a long while. Then they just started popping out everywhere. It is such a wonderful place.

Lorelei July 22, 2013 at 10:59 PM

I love Pleasant Hill….small, friendly, un-assuming and has an In ‘N Out Burger…………

ClayDen July 22, 2013 at 11:07 PM


I’ve spent a lot of time in San Diego and almost moved there; Clayton is better. Look at it this way: Clayton is a great town for all of the reasons noted above. Then consider what you are close to: Go south from Clayton and you get the Monterey Peninsula; from San Diego, you get Mexico Go north from Clayton and you get the Napa Valley and Mendocino (or Marin). Go north from San Diego and you get LA. Go west from Clayton and you get San Francisco and some great beaches, admittedly with cold water. Go west from San Diego and you get nice beaches with warmer water. Go east from Clayton and you get Yosemite and Tahoe and all of the Sierras. Go east from San Diego and you get the desert. So, what is so wonderful about the big city of San Diego? Great place to visit, but Clayton (and a lot of other parts of the Bay Area) is a great place to live.

Cathy July 23, 2013 at 7:23 AM

I think San Diego is beautiful! Better than any city I’ve ever visited or lived in…..

Em Dubya July 23, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Because I moonlight as an election worker in Cleveland, I get to vote twice.

West Oakland.

It’s so laid back that the locals check your hubcaps and radio with the concierge when you arrive. Nice street art everywhere too.

The Mamba July 23, 2013 at 8:10 AM

I really like some of the places north of the bridge like Tiberon or San Rafael. It’s funny because every city in the East Bay has its pros and cons. I really like the area I’m in in Walnut Creek though, up against Mt. Diablo. If I can’t have water nearby, the trails help.

TOB July 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

Clayton! Small, clean and people are great! Great festivals!

Dr. Jellyfinger July 23, 2013 at 8:40 PM

Yo! Clayden, When I go east of Clayton the first thing I get is Pittsburg! Which way do you go?

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