If you are thinking of moving to the San Francisco Bay Area, consider checking out the Peninsula, a collection of suburbs just a stone’s throw from San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Known for being close (but not too close ) to major cities, the Peninsula offers the eclectic dining and art of its international neighbors, with a small-town focus on schools, neighborhoods, and outdoor recreation. Below is our relocation guide for newcomers, giving you what you can expect in terms of weather, schools, traffic, and more!
What is the Peninsula?
Let’s start by defining the geographic boundaries of the Peninsula. The Peninsula is the stretch of land between San Francisco and San Jose , starting with South San Francisco, all the way down to Mountain View. The Mid-Peninsula refers to the area from Redwood City in the south up to San Bruno in the north. Depending on who you ask, Palo Alto and Mountain View round up the southern portion of the Peninsula, though many locals consider these towns as part of Silicon Valley (the tech capital of the world) to the south.
Why move to the Peninsula? Schools! Weather! And of course, proximity to both Silicon Valley and San Francisco.
Don’t expect the same nightlife and the eccentric soul that comes with San Francisco, the Peninsula is the ‘burbs’. The downtown areas are oriented to families, techies that want to live close to work, or those who crave some peace and quiet in a house with a yard. The Peninsula tends to be clean and safe, offers some of the best schools in all of California, consistent sunny warm weather, and access to a ton of green spaces. Almost every city on the Peninsula holds a weekend farmer’s market and free community events, such as concerts and movies.
An advantage to commuting by car from the Peninsula is you don’t have to cross a bridge to get to San Francisco as you would in the East or North Bay. Google, Facebook and several other companies provide commuter shuttles to and from San Francisco neighborhoods to their offices located in the South Bay or Peninsula. There is also a commuter train, Caltrain, that runs north/south,which will get you into San Francisco or south to San Jose. Otherwise, using public transit on the Peninsula is difficult. The southernmost BART train stop is in Millbrae, so BART isn’t accessible to most of the Peninsula.
If you love the outdoors, the Peninsula is for you. Bike trails, hiking trails, water recreation, jogging, mountains, grasslands…it’s all here. Sawyer Camp Trail offers access to an 11.5-mile biking/jogging/walking/equestrian trail that follows along the shore of Lower Crystal Springs Reservoir. The Bay Trail is a “500-mile walking and cycling path around the entire San Francisco Bay”, accessible just about anywhere on the Peninsula. And let’s not forget another 500+ mile loop known as the Bay Ridge Trail that traverses along the ridgelines overlooking San Francisco Bay. About 30% of the Peninsula is nature preserve, parkland, or otherwise undeveloped, offering some of the most varied terrain in the Bay area. The possibilities for outdoor adventure are endless.