Barbara Wilson
Coldwell Banker Realty

Danville is a charming town.  Hartz Blvd is the main street through the town, with shady sidewalks, shops, restaurants and cafes.  It has a small-town feel.  The westside of Danville consists of homes built mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly on lots of at least a quarter of an acre and many single-story houses. There are other neighborhoods just to the east of the 680 freeway that were built in the 1960s and 1970s, with winding streets, large trees, and bike paths.  Farther east are the newer homes, some still being built, and Blackhawk, a development built in the 1970s and even today of mostly very large, estate-like homes in a country club community.  Blackhawk Plaza is the place to go with movie theaters, shops, and restaurants.  The school district is the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

San Ramon is a community spread out over a large area.  Originally mostly a "bedroom community" it is developing a new city center.  Companies like Chevron, AT&T, Toyota, PG&E have their headquarters here, or large offices in the Bishop Ranch Business Park.  Housing in San Ramon varies from what I call "the flatlands", homes built in the 1960s and 1970s that range from about 1000 square feet to about 3000.  The west hills are mostly newer homes, some with views.  Farther east are the developments of The Bridges and Windemere, both with many sizes and types of housing and some of the best-scoring schools in the state. The school district is the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.

Alamo is an unincorporated community of mostly large homes (2500 - 10,000 sq ft). Westside homes are on mostly one-half and larger lots built in the 1950s, 1960s to today, and the main shopping and restaurant areas are here.  To the east are some gated communities, Round Hill Country Club communities, and the small, area of Diablo.  Diablo Country Club area homes are mostly very private, estate-type.  Many were built in the 1930s and later as "summer homes" for wealthy San Franciscans. The school district is SRVUSD.

Walnut Creek, at the intersection of Highway 24 (to Oakland and San Francisco) and 680 (towards Concord and Pleasant Hill to the north, and Dublin and Pleasanton at the south with San Jose about 40 miles away), has a mix of homes from old and new, large lots and condominiums.  The downtown is booming.  Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Macy's, Tiffany all are here and many more shops in the Broadway Plaza area along with the Lesher Theater. There are  wonderful restaurants here and easy commuting on the BART trains with several stops in town.   There is a community of over-55 residents called Rossmoor.  Homes there are varied, from single-family detached houses to condominium-style houses and townhouse style.  The school districts here are Acalanes and Walnut Creek.

Dublin is booming too, at the intersection of 680 and 580.  It is in a great commute location, with San Francisco, San Jose, and Concord all being about the same distance from Dublin.  Older homes are closer to 680, generally smaller (under 2500 feet) on larger lots, and the westside has a mix of older and newer homes.  The downtown is booming here too with new condos being built.  To the east is Dublin Ranch, Wallis Ranch, and many other housing developments.  The oldest homes here were built around 2000. Hacienda Plaza is at the east side of town, with movie theaters, Whole Foods, restaurants and cafes with Indian food, Thai, Italian, American, Fusion - the world is coming together in Dublin! The San Francisco Outlet mall is here too, with Bloomingdales, Saks and many other stores.  School district is Dublin Unified School District.

Pleasanton is known for its shady paths, charming downtown with many buildings dating from the 1800s when Pleasanton was a ranching community.  Restaurants, cafes, and unique stores are on Main Street.  There are a few wineries in Plesaanton too, but most are in Livermore.  The housing is varied, from smaller homes on large lots built in the 1950s to about 1970, to condos and estate-type homes in gated communities like Ruby Hill and Castlewood, each with tennis, golf and swimming. The school district is the Pleasanton Unified School District

Livermore was a ranching town too.  But Wente Vineyards and Concannon have been here a long time (100 years?), and now there are nearly 100 wineries in the rolling hills of Livermore.  The downtown has been restored and now bustles with people going to the restaurants, cafes, theaters, or just sitting in the shade by beautiful fountains.  There is a mix of homes from condos near the downtown with great walk scores, to homes built near to or surrounded by vineyards.  There are many bike trails winding through the east side of town, some running along the vineyards.  And of course, the Livermore Rodeo still takes place every year. The school district is the Livermore Unified School District.

Piedmont is a beautiful city in the hills, surrounded by Oakland.  Summer mansions of wealthy San Franciscans were built here as early as 1900, but the houses are diverse, each one unique, most being built in the early part of the 1900s, ranging in size from about 1000 square feet to 10,000 or more.  It doesn't really have a downtown, but there is a large central park, and the wonderful restaurants of Piedmont Avenue and Lakeshore are within a mile or slightly more from downtown Piedmont.  There is an annual 4th of July parade when the whole town turns out.  Large trees shade the streets, and the Claremont Country Club is not far.  The school district here is the Piedmont Unified School District.

Oakland is a very diverse community.  The neighborhoods have names, like Fruitvale, Montclair, Crocker Highlands, Rockridge.  College Ave is known for its restaurants and shops, and the street leads to Berkeley and the Cal campus.  Montclair is in the hills east of Highway 13, with diverse housing, many with views extending to San Francisco and beyond. It was part of the Oakland Hills  Fire of 1991, so the houses range from those built in the 1950s or earlier, to those built in the 1990s and newer. The downtown shopping district has a great park, excellent restaurants and people just walking, sitting at the cafes, and meeting neighbors.  The school district here is Oakland Unified School District.