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As the conventional wisdom goes, once you have children, you move out of the city to the suburbs for better schools and more room. We talked to some couples who are bucking that trend and choosing to live in the city with infants and young children. Here's why they chose their neighborhood and its kid-friendly features.
[Unfortunately the only two bedroom currently for sale in Mission Dolores that is under $1,000,000 is this 2-bed, 2-bath condo on Guerrero and 16th. It's a short sale asking $500,000]
Mission Dolores. This couple moved to 16th and Guerrero well before having kids, but proximity to Dolores Park and the new playground were a bonus when they added a baby to the mix. Some local restaurants – like Giordano’s’ – are kid-friendly without having a ball pit. Some things you might not think about are the wide sidewalks in the neighborhood (better for strollers) and the easy access to transit. Of course, those wide sidewalks also border some very busy streets and 16th and Mission can be seedy, so keeping a close eye on toddling is a must.
[649 Lyon Street is a 2-bed, 1-bath ground floor condo asking $549,000]
NoPa. We spoke to two couples with children North of the Panhandle. Both expressed that there are lots of kids in NoPa, with events that cater directly to them, like a Halloween block party, and they practically overrun some coffee shops and restaurants over the lunch hour. Alamo Square offers a great park to run freely, and the proximity to the kid-friendly museums of Golden Gate Park is a plus as well. NOPA is welcoming to children as their owners are new parents themselves, and kids can’t get enough of Chile Pies and Ice Cream.
[While there were several two bedroom condos with a cheaper price tag, we couldn't resist this 2-bed, 1-bed, single-family home on Ellsworth and Bernal Heights Boulevard. Asking $645,000. Comes with hot tub]
Bernal Heights. “You can't throw a bouncy ball without hitting a toddler, infant or dog, sometimes all at once, in Bernal Heights aka Maternal Heights.” Bernal is a more stereotypical choice for new parents, but for good reason: lots of parks, family restaurants on Cortland, and even kid-gear stores like Chloe’s Closet and Red Hill Books.
[Unfortunately Glen Park is pretty pricey right now. The least expensive property was a multi-unit fixer-upper asking $700,000. Managing a complete remodel and tenants seems like an awful lot to take on for new parents, so we decided to go with 2775 Diamond instead. It's a 2-bed, 1-bath single-family home asking $729,000]
Glen Park. One couple moved from Bernal to Glen Park when they found out they were expecting, because housing is cheaper which means you can afford things like laundry and parking which can make baby-raising a lot easier. “It's not super happening, but there are enough "out" options to satisfy a parent's fairly light entertainments needs,” like Gialina and Glen Park Station, and BART access means that when you can finagle a babysitter, the Mission and Downtown are not far away. Glen Canyon Park also rocks – the hiking trails and playground are as long as you can avoid the odd coyote.
Of course there are more obvious choices like Noe Valley or Pacific Heights, but as two of the more expensive neighborhoods they are more out of reach for our first-time homebuyers with children. What say you, dear readers? Where would you recommend those with the little ones settle down?