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Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

Naantali
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155 posts
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Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

Hi!

I posted this question on the Oakland forum as well but the San Francisco forum seems a bit busier and since my question concerns SF as well I decided to post it here also.

I've been around these forums in the Tampa and L.A. sections before but now we've actually bought the flights so our destination is set! We are traveling to the San Francisco area this January on the 19th (Yeah, I know the weather might not be at it's best but with we're not too worried about that on this trip).

We've been looking for a vacation rental in the area and I also noticed the TQ's section on vacation rentals in the SF area which seems to explain the smaller range of available rentals and higher prices that elsewhere.

A small introduction on us. A family of four with approx. a 2,5 year old boy and an 8,5month old girl during our trip. A two trek trip where we'd like to do some sight seeing and activities ranging from aquariums to interesting science or children's museums. Since I'm a big fan of ice hockey we will most probably spend a little time in the San Jose area or maybe even take a road trip and spend a week in the L.A. region.

And now finally top the topic of my post. It seems that Oakland offers cheaper rentals and better looking apartments. I've read about the city's struggles with crime though and that's making me a little hesitant on choosing Oakland as our place of residence. Could you give me any pointers on choosing a nice and safe area for us? Should we just cough up the extra money and get the rental from San Francisco or some of the surrounding areas or am I just worried over nothing?

I'll post some rentals here to get your opinions on location etc. if thats ok? I'm still a little unsure on the exact budget we will have on the rental so these options are still a little hypothetical but at least they might give me an idea on which neighborhoods would be good choices and which aren't.

Thank you already in advance!

I'll start with this rental:

https://www.airbnb.fi/rooms/394525…

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

Stay in SF to see SF and there are a few things one can see in Oakland especially Fairyland and the Zoo but other than that if you are here to see SF, then stay here. Did you check the advisory on Vacation rentals in SF / You have to make sure that you are renting from the landlord and not a renter. And even then landlords are being vary with rentals as the city is clamping down.

Good idea to check the rental with us But you do need to post the entire link as the line above does not work

Weather wise, hard to tell but our WInters are rainy but the rain is off and on and more of a drizzle with a few showers so with some good rain gear one can get around. Given you have a toddler and an older toddler being close to where you visit imho is better than trying to haul kids by BART and bus/cab home for a nap in the afternoon

Edited: 16 July 2014, 15:24
San Francisco
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2. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

This one is Berkeley rather than Oakland. The listing says Roosevelt Ave. which runs between Addison and Dwight which is close to downtown and the BART station.

My knowledge of Berkeley is limited to downtown but I'm sure someone else will chime in.

San Francisco Bay
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3. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

On the face of it, this Berkeley basement apartment would suit you. It would also provide a typical Berkeley experience, I think, being close to transit, shopping, and with an owner who appears to be an environmentalist at heart. No parking spot is mentioned, so you would have to decide if you are renting a car or not.

The website is in Finnish (I think) so we can't read everything, especially the exact location. It is a good rate. Know that you would be across the S F Bay from San Francisco. You would use BART, our regional transit system, to get into SF when you want. There are plenty of wonderful places for children in the East Bay too, and the weather is a bit better than SF. Regarding crime, this appears to be in an area more safe than Oakland ( - which has pockets of lawlessness, and also idyllic areas.) Berkeley is more pleasant in many ways, including its overall atmosphere. You would naturally want to use city street smarts anywhere you go in a metropolitan area. Not sure of what your town is like, but I imagine crime is not a major concern!

Edited: 16 July 2014, 15:37
San Francisco, Ca
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4. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

>>Should we just cough up the extra money and get the rental from San Francisco<<

Yes!

I can't imagine trying to wrangle two small kids onto and off of transit from Oakland or Berkeley or anywhere else. What if you forget the baby's hat and she's crying because her ears are cold? And little Billy wants to buy a bamboo sword in Chinatown and PROMISES he'll carry it around for the rest of the day? And everyone needs a nap in the afternoon, but then you want to come back into the city for dinner?

At least if you are staying in SF in a convenient location, you can walk outside for dinner, send someone back to the flat for the hat while you do something else with the kids, etc.

Naantali
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155 posts
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5. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

Thanks guys for all the replies already! I forgot to add that we are planning on renting a car for the whole two week vacation. It just feels like more of a stress free way to transport our kids than on a public transport. It would be great to have the option to go sightseeing on foot as well so a central location would definitely be better in that respect. The prices rise quite a bit though when the rental gets closer to the major sights.We will be looking for some shopping at outlet malls as well but won't mind if they need a bit of a drive.

Sorry for the link and it being for the Finnish site. Here's a new link (in english) https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/394525?locale=en

It seems that in San Francisco using public transport is a lot more popular than in L.A. for instance where it seems that the only way to travel is by car. Would you say that traveling with a car in San Francisco is even difficult? Getting a rental car and having the freedom it offers is something we've gotten used to and since we will be heading outside of San Francisco as well I think we are going to need it. Yosemite and maybe even a few days in L.A. are probably on our itinerary.

Edited: 16 July 2014, 17:57
Naantali
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6. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

I also forgot to add about the vacation rentals that I was thinking that of considering only those rentals that had numerous (good) reviews and the option of paying via the rental site (home away or airbnb for example). I figured that it would be a decent sign of it being trustworthy.

I haven't really found an easy way to differentiate the people renting wether they are a landlord or a renter.

I've already checked the info on vacation rentals from here and noticed that it suggests using vacation rental agencies. I have no idea where to find good ones though so do you have any tips on that? We are not by any means a wealthy family so we are not looking for a 3000USD/week rentals. Our budget will probably be around a 1000USD/week.

San Francisco Bay
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7. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

It's time to go to the TOP QUESTIONS on this page, to the right, on a non-mobile device, and read about San Francisco, especially about why not to rent a car when you stay IN San Francisco. Parking and driving are difficult. Many areas are permit parking only in residential areas. You must find out about parking from any apartment you rent from.

After staying in SF, you rent a car as you leave town. It is true all the other areas in California are infinitely easier with a car.

Santa Clara...
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8. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

>>I haven't really found an easy way to differentiate the people renting wether they are a landlord or a renter<<

They will not offer that information without asking since this is such a hot issue. Once you identify a listing you like, you make an inquiry and ask them. It would show that you are a savy consumer. If they do not have a satisfactory answer, walk away.

Naantali
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9. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

I read the articles and it really seems like a moronic idea to try to get around the city on a rental car.

I'm now thinking of possibly spending the first 3-4 days in San Francisco and then get the rental car and head out of town. Maybe a day or two in yosemite and from there to L.A. for a week possibly. It would probably be a good idea to head back to the Bay area for the last couple of days since the flight leaves from Oakland. I'm not too fond of the idea of driving to the airport from L.A. for six hours and the jumping on an 11 hour flight back home.

Edited: 16 July 2014, 19:23
Santa Clara...
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10. Re: Staying in the Bay Area with two small children

Look for flights on Southwest from any of the LA airports to OAK.