In addition to several shopping areas throughout town, Livermore's downtown has recently undergone a renovation. Now, a walkable stretch of trendy and unique restaurants, bars and shops line the streets of the heart of town. If you're looking for some family-friendly and educational events, check out the much beloved Livermore library system, which has a solid supply of free and low-cost programming.
Perhaps the biggest draw to the Livermore area are the vineyards and wineries located about a mile from downtown. Open for tours and tastings, these scenic farms draw in thousands of residents and visitors each year.
East Side The east side of Livermore, colloquially called "The Lab Neighborhood," due to its proximity to Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, is one of the best deal areas around. In such a high-income city it can be difficult to find quality housing at an affordable rate, but this area is safe and popular for singles and families alike. Two bedrooms here generally range from $1500-1700.
South and West and Southwest Sides Southwest Livermore is home to Ruby Hill, which unlike Ruby Ridge, is a highly desirable neighborhood for big money types. Located adjacent to Livermore's wineries and vineyards, and the exclusive Ruby Hill Golf Course, this area was developed to house area scientists and Silicon Valley big wigs. When looking for rentals on the southwest side of town, you'll see a lot of words like, "luxury," "estates," and "executive." I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this means big dollar signs. Rentals in this area can also be difficult to find, but occasionally, mansions will become available for $5,000-8,000.
North Livermore, for the most part, is home to many of the city's affordable, family-friendly rental homes. Generally, the farther east you go on the north side, the more quality houses you'll find. This can be a pain if you're commuting westwards to San Francisco. Directly north of downtown Livermore, there is a small patch of streets that locals consider slightly dangerous. However, Livermore residents have a different idea of danger than say, someone living in urban San Francisco. Get a feel for northern Livermore neighborhoods before settling, particularly in the area directly north of downtown.
While finding suitable rentals in Livermore isn't impossible, it can be a little more difficult than apartment-hunting in more urban areas. Most rentals will be located in suburban-type developments with community and fitness centers, swimming pools and other amenities. You'll be able to find these rentals without the aid of a real estate agent, as they are rented directly through management companies (and this here website!). If you're looking for more high-end Ruby Hill "estates" or single-family homes, you'll need to enlist an agent to maximize your search potential.
Even though there aren't a whole lot of rentals available, most are generally very nice and frequently offer flexible lease options and deals on reduced deposits, application fees and your first month's rent.
Keep in mind, a lot of rentals, particularly single-family homes and townhouses, will have a homeowners' association fee. Some of these fees are built into the rental rates and some are not. Be sure to negotiate the HOA fee with your landlord before signing a lease!
Okay, so Livermore has got beautiful scenery, vineyards and fancy housing galore. One thing Livermore doesn't have is a convenient commute to most places you'll want to go.
Though there's a big push to bring BART service into Livermore proper soon, there are no real plans in place to connect the city with the greater San Francisco area. The closest BART station is in the nearby town of Pleasanton, which is accessible via bus or car. However, the commute into and out of the city during rush hour is particularly painful, and this 15-mile drive can sometimes take up to 30 minutes. From there, the BART will take you into the city in about 40 minutes.
Okay, so the BART is pretty annoying. I'll just drive into the city! Nope. No you won't. I mean you can, but be prepared for long delays on the 580 and the Bay Bridge.
The commute to San Jose and Silicone Valley is slightly less terrible, though definitely not ideal. Many Livermore residents commute to work in this area, so traffic, though definitely better than headed into San Francisco, is still pretty congested. The Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) has two stations in Livermore and operates from Livermore into Silicon Valley/San Jose and Stockton.
Buses and the ACE Train operate out of the downtown transit center which also provides fixed route service throughout the greater Livermore area.
Got all you needed to get? We hope so. Best of luck finding your new Livermore abode. We sure hope it's fancy!