This song goes out to a good friend of mine /He lives life to the fullest, (yeah) every single day /Down in Oakland /I'm gonna find them /I'm gonna get them -- From "Down in Oakland" by the Transplants
Walnut Creek is in the East Bay part of the San Francisco Bay Area, just 15 minutes away from Oakland in Northern California. It serves its purpose as an Oakland suburb for those who want to work in a big city but live in a smaller area. If living life to the fullest sounds good to you, check out the rental options here before you decide whether you want to join the growing number of residents who call Walnut Creek home.
Moving to the Creek
In Walnut Creek, around 62% of the homes are owner-occupied, and 31% are rental homes. This is in line with the national average when it comes to the percentage of rental housing. But only about 7% of those homes are vacant, and that's well below the average in this country, which means this is a popular city to live in! Instead of dwelling on the competition you'll have as you look for homes, try thinking about how awesome this city must be to have that kind of vacancy rate. No, it might not help you find a home, but it could lift your spirits a bit during your length search for rental property, right?
The cost of living in this city is about two-thirds higher than anywhere else, so you can expect to pay a pretty penny for a rental. Actually, you'll pay thousands of pennies, so you might want to keep your coins and just pay in paper money, instead. Homes here cost a little more than double the national average, yet they tend to be a little older than the typical house in this country. This could bode well for you if you're a handyman who likes fixer-uppers, or if you just appreciate a good haunting in a historic house. If this isn't the case, be sure to find a home with a really responsive landlord who is willing to pay close attention to your maintenance requests! A well-kept, nicely remodeled home could work, too.
In a competitive rental market, you need all the help you can get. Focus on what you have to offer landlords. If it's not a great credit score or spotless rental history, make it your positive attitude and willingness to slap down a hefty deposit. Showing off your lack of destructive pets or equally destructive roommates might help your odds, as well. If you actually do have destructive pets or roommates who will be living with you, you might need to rely on your great attitude a bit more, or at least increase your deposit!
This city has an interesting mix of new and historic neighborhoods, so practically anyone should find what they need when it comes to housing here. Check out some of the most popular areas in Walnut Creek.
Beacon Ridge: If you're looking for a townhome, check out this area, which is full of this type of housing. It is located in the northwestern part of the city near both Highways 24 and 680, and most of the townhomes here were built more than 20 years ago. Way before DVRs! This gated community features tennis courts, walking trails, a pool, and hiking trails that connect to the Briones-Mt. Diablo Trail System, so there's no excuse to avoid outdoor activities when you move here.$$$
Woodlands: If you want to live in affordable housing in the north area of the city, check out Woodlands. It is surrounded by lush hills and plenty of shade trees, with shopping centers and schools nearby. $$$
Diablo Hills: This subdivision near the center of the city has a mixture of houses and attached homes, some of which overlook the golf course located here. Watch out for flying golf clubs!$$$
Joaquin Ranch: If you want to live in the southern portion of the city, give Joaquin Ranch a look. The location is known for being picturesque, with the homes being nestled in the foothills here. $$$$
Lakewood: Located in Central Walnut Creek near the downtown area, this neighborhood is known for having plenty of trees, hills, and of course, a lake. It is also close to shopping centers, schools, and Highway 680. $$$$
Bancroft Village: This is another area made up of townhomes, so if you don't need much space to call your own and want to save some money, check out Bancroft Village. It is conveniently close to busy shopping plazas and peaceful parks. $$$
Blackwood Estates: If you want a slightly newer home to rent in South Walnut Creek, this area might be a perfect fit. This subdivision is fairly small, so be prepared to get to know your neighbors quite well.$$$$
Livorna Estates: This area is near lots of elements that Mother Nature used when she built Walnut Creek. She's resourceful like that. Just a few examples of what's close by include Sugarloaf Open Space, Shell Ridge Open Space, Mount Diablo, and Iron Horse Trail. Clearly, open space is the name of the game, which makes sense because this city owns more of it per capita than any other place in California. But just in case the weather isn't great, you can still entertain yourself indoors with the many stores, restaurants, and large movie theater nearby. $$$
Almond-Shuey: No, this isn't a candy bar; it's actually the oldest neighborhood in this city. It is located downtown, with a good mix of townhomes, duplexes, apartments, and small houses. Most of them were built in the 1920s, though many have been remodeled since then. If you want to live in the middle of all the action and don't mind smaller, historic properties, check out this area. $$$
Living up Walnut Creek
The typical commute time here is 34 minutes, which is six minutes more than the national average. Okay, so you won't be living next door to your job. However, San Francisco has rubbed off on this suburb in one way: the public transportation is better than average. In fact, about 14% of residents take advantage of it, compared to about 5% in the rest of the country.
This means you can possibly get by without a car here, as long as you know where the two BART stations are. No, not Homer and Marge's son. BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit, and there is a station in Walnut Creek and nearby Pleasant Hill. The rail system can take you around the city and to neighboring areas, including Oakland, San Francisco, and beyond.
If you're looking for things to do here, take note that most of the attractions are outside, taking advantage of the beautiful California weather. Heather Farm Park is one example of a popular attraction, since it has gardens, a swim center, a dog park, tennis courts, and even an equestrian center. Mount Diablo offers great views and hiking trails, while golf courses, museums, and shopping centers keep everyone else busy in this city. And then there's always the chance to take day trips to San Francisco, which is only about a half hour away!