Are you thinking about moving to California? You want to be surrounded by oceans, mountains, beautiful scenery, and plenty of things to do. But you also don’t want to live in one of the crowded cities.
Choosing to move to Berkeley, CA can give you all of those things. With just over 120,000 people in a state with over 39 million people, Berkeley is sure to offer you everything you’re looking for minus the city crowding.
You’ve probably done your initial research, but want to know that you’re truly making the right decision for this long-distance move across the country.
With this guide to moving to Berkeley, CA, you’ll walk away knowing everything you need to know about Berkeley, and you’ll solidify your initial thoughts about moving to California!
Cost of Living in California
If you’re thinking about moving to California, we’re sure you already know about the high cost of living.
The cost of living in California is the second-highest in the country following Hawaii. The median home value is around $540,000 and renting costs are some of the highest as well.
According to the family budget calculator, a family of four needs to earn at least $121,000 annually to comfortably live in Berkeley, CA. This is mostly due to the high cost of homes, but also due to the higher prices of groceries, health care bills, and utilities in the area.
On the bright side, although there is a high cost of living in the area, this is often offset by the low unemployment rate and higher-salary jobs. Choosing to live in Berkeley, CA is also a cheaper option than living in San Francisco.
Housing Market in Berkeley, CA
Since California has such a competitive housing market, you have to act quickly when you find a home you love. However, because it is such a competitive market, home prices have skyrocketed. The high competition of the housing market is due to a combination of low supply and high demand for houses, and low-interest rates.
Because of the stiff competition and expensive home prices, over 50% of people who live in Berkeley rent their homes.
Types of Jobs in Berkeley, CA
It’s probably no surprise that over 14,000 jobs in the Berkeley area can be attributed to U.C. Berkeley’s college campus located in the city. Other than the university, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center employ many others who live in Berkeley. Because these are the three biggest employers in Berkeley, education, healthcare, and science are the leaders of the economy.
There are many other job opportunities in the area as well, especially with so many local businesses in the area.
Living in Berkeley, CA also gives you the opportunity to live in a cheaper area, but still work and commute to San Francisco. There are thousands of startups and small businesses as well as larger tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple.
Do you still need another job statistic to convince you that the high cost of living is worth it? If California was its own country, its GDP would rank fifth worldwide. Needless to say, there are plenty of job opportunities in the area.
Before moving somewhere, you probably want to know what you’re in for in terms of weather patterns.
What will it be like on your commute to work? What will local temperatures look like for a weekend hike? Should you be worried about any natural disasters striking at a moment’s notice?
In general, California has a warm and sunny climate. While this is mostly true, in the Bay Area, summer highs usually only reach the high 60s and low 70s. In the winter, you can expect to see temperatures in the mid-50s. No matter what season it is, the temperature in the Bay Area stays relatively consistent.
On average, the Bay Area will see 45 days of rain per year, which is more than southern California but less than the rest of the country’s average rainfall. Most of the rainfall occurs between November and March.
Another important factor of California’s Climate is that there are often many wildfires each year. While wildfires are not as common near the coast of California, if you move here, you should know the precautions to take to prevent fires and stay safe. You may also experience the effects of lower air quality since fires are in the area.
Living in California also brings its own threats of earthquakes, which can cause tsunamis and landslides. This is nothing to be afraid of as any place you move brings its own threats of different natural disasters. However, you should stay up-to-date with the news and weather patterns here.
Transportation Options in Berkeley, CA
Transportation is pretty easy to navigate in the 3-mile by 4-mile city of Berkeley. You can choose to walk, bike, drive, or use the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.
Driving Around Berkeley, CA
The most popular way to get around in California is by car. That means the majority of your transportation costs will be gas, car insurance, and any other car maintenance needs. Since California’s gas prices are some of the highest in the country, your transportation bill can rack up quickly.
You’ll also want to shop around for insurance since California car insurance rates are also on the higher side.
Since Berkeley is on the smaller side, navigating the streets with a car is quite simple. However, the traffic that occurs during rush hour can add a challenge to your commute.
Walking and Biking
Berkeley has a great walk and bike score, 81 and 85 out of 100, respectively. Because of this, choosing to walk or bike to work or to dinner may be easier than driving around and getting stuck in traffic or trying to find a spot to park. It’s also a much cheaper and more environmentally-friendly option than driving.
In fact, most people who live in Berkeley choose to walk or bike as their main form of transportation.
There are several public transportation options near the Berkeley area.
If you need to commute to San Francisco for work, using the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) is highly effective. There are over 48 stations in the Bay Area and the train starts running at 6 am to get you to work on time. The AC Transit, the local bus operator, is another way to get around the Bay Area.
If you’re looking to go further outside of the city and into different regions of California, the AMTRAK can get you there.
Things to Do in Berkeley, CA
Choosing to move to Berkeley, CA gives you endless opportunities to explore cultural attractions, the beautiful outdoors, and other surrounding areas. Whether you choose to take a day trip to San Francisco to enjoy the city, go rock climbing in Indian Rock Park, or enjoy a quiet day reading at a local cafe, you’ll always have something to do.
Visit San Francisco
Berkeley, CA is just a skip and hop from San Francisco. If you want to get out of Berkeley for a few hours or a full day, it’s very feasible to head over to San Francisco. If you’ve never been to San Francisco and are moving to Berkeley, you definitely need to tour around and explore everything this city has to offer.
Once you’re here, you have the city at your fingertips. There is always something to do no matter what mood you’re in.
If you feel like being active, you can walk over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Want a more guided tour of the city? Join a walking tour to learn about the history of San Francisco and see the sights you may have missed without a guide.
We’re sure you’ve seen pictures of the famous cable cars of San Francisco. If you’re visiting the area, it’s the perfect opportunity to ride on one! You’ll get amazing views of the surrounding hills.
Do you want to slow down a bit on your visit to San Francisco? Head to a local brewery or winery to relax and reminisce on how lucky you are to have moved into the Bay Area.
You can also wander around Fisherman’s Wharf to find a restaurant that suits your cravings. Pier 39 has over 50 to choose from. Some of the main tourist attractions are also around this area, like Ghirardelli Square and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
Explore the Outdoors
After moving to Berkeley, CA, you’ll realize that it could take you weeks, months, and even years to explore the nature around you. This area is a dream for hikers whether you hike on a trail like Berkeley Fire Trails or head to a bigger park, like Tilden Park or Indian Rock Park.
Tilden Park has over 40 hiking trails to choose from with various terrains and difficulty levels. By looking at a trail map, you can choose which hike will fit your needs based on mileage, terrain, and difficulty.
Grizzly Peak is one of the most popular hikes in the area because it offers views of Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco. If you hike this during sunrise or sunset, you most likely won’t have the place to yourself since the views are so spectacular.
More than just hiking trails, Tilden Park also is home to a golf course, a 100-year-old merry-go-round, and other outdoor recreation activities.
Before heading to the park, it’s always important to check out the local guidelines and restrictions in place. There may be fire warnings or trail closures due to other circumstances.
Indian Rock Park
Interested in climbing or bouldering? Indian Rock Park is a great place for novice rock climbers to practice their skills.
If you’re not up to being that adventurous, you can always enjoy a picnic in the park and look out over the bay to see views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Wander Around U.C. Berkeley
Berkeley is home to one of the most beautiful colleges in the country, and it’s not uncommon to see locals wandering around campus on a beautiful day.
Home to the University of California Botanical Garden and a beautiful observation tower, it’s a no-brainer to visit. Exploring College Avenue right off campus has its own vibe worth exploring if you’re in the area.
If you’re into music and concerts, you’ll be spending a lot of time at the Greek Theater. This theater is known to not have any bad seats, especially since the theater has views of the San Francisco Bay.
Since you’re living so close to the U.C. Berkeley campus, you’ll probably become a fan of the California Golden Bears and find yourself in the stadium for game days.
See the Points of Interest
Berkeley is home to many interesting places that are worth a visit once you move here.
The Berkeley Municipal Rose Gardens is home to over 3,000 rose bushes – a sight you don’t want to miss out on. If you want to visit during peak season, you should plan to go during May. If you’re not going just for the roses, you can take a stroll through the park just to relax as well.
If you’re a fan of areas right on the water, you should hang out at the Berkeley Marina. There are a lot of great views from this area of Berkeley, as well as some walking trails. If you like water sports, this is the area to spend your time in!
Enjoy the Food in the Area
Berkeley has many more dining options than just your typical California cuisine. In fact, Berkeley is known to have some of the most diverse and eclectic styles of food in the Bay Area. Since Berkeley is also known as being a health-conscious area, you’ll have plenty of healthy restaurant options to choose from.
Once you move here, we’re sure you’ll be out and about trying every restaurant you can find. But we do have a few can’t-miss suggestions for you:
- Sichuan Style Restaurant
- Funky Elephant
- Bartavelle Cafe
- The Butcher’s Son
- Pollara Pizzeria
- Berkeley Freehouse
- La Note
- Lavender Bakery & Cafe
- Long Life Vegi House
Whether you decide to dine in for a date night or take out to watch a movie from the comfort of your home, these are some must-try spots in the Berkeley area. Whatever you’re craving, you’ll be able to find an option.
Crime Rate in Berkeley, CA
If you’re serious about moving to Berkeley, you probably want to know the crime rates and statistics of the area.
Ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, Berkeley’s violent crime is 28.5, which is slightly higher than the violent crime rate in the United States. The property crime rate is much higher, coming in at 64.6 out of 100. The average property crime rate in the U.S. is 35.4.
For a more specific statistic, as a person living in Berkeley, you are at a 1 in 171 chance of becoming a victim of a crime.
The Neighborhoods of Berkeley
Moving to Berkeley, CA is not just moving to Berkeley. You have to choose the right neighborhood that fits your vibe and your needs. Each area of Berkeley has its own personality, so learning about each neighborhood will help you decide where to settle down and move.
Downtown Berkeley is known as the city center for university students. You’ll mostly find college students and professors living in this area.
Living in Downtown Berkeley means you’re just a few steps away from nightlife, delicious restaurants, and casual bars. If you’re someone who works from home, there are so many cafes in the downtown area to try out and work from. However, during finals, you may not be able to get a seat in a cafe since the college students flock here to study.
Since Downtown is one of the busier areas, there is a higher crime rate and it may be slightly dirtier than the other neighborhoods in Berkeley.
The Elmwood District is one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the area, with home prices average $1.6 million. With higher prices and more of a residential feel, only about 4,000 people live in this neighborhood of Berkeley.
Although the Elmwood District is much quieter than Downtown, there are still many things to do in the commercial district. You’ll find ethnic cafes, farm-to-table restaurants, and local boutiques to browse.
Since it is mostly residential, there are great schools in the area for families, such as Willard Middle School and Berkeley High School, both of which are rated highly.
South Berkeley is one of the more popular neighborhoods in Berkeley and is home to over 18,000 residents. The farmer’s market, flea markets, gardening classes, and the Juneteenth Street Festival attribute to the popularity of this area. It’s an area that is great for families who want to move here for A-rated schools, but South Berkeley also has a lively nightlife scene for the younger professionals who live here.
The lower home prices, which are around $750,000, also attract more people to this area which makes the population a bit higher than the smaller areas of Berkeley.
Since the Southside/Telegraph Avenue neighborhood is only half a mile from U.C. Berkeley’s campus, it’s another bustling area full of college students, professors, and young professionals.
This neighborhood is home to over 20,000 residents who live in anything from homes to condos, apartments, and small vintage rental homes. The median value of a single-family home is over $2 million, which is why many residents choose to live in rental homes or apartments.
The streets are lined with coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants, and street vendors. Since this is a hub for many university students, the area is always bustling.
North Berkeley is home to many professors and graduate students of U.C. Berkeley. Although a quieter area, this neighborhood has an urban feel. You’ll find quaint wine bars, cute cafes, eclectic artisan coffee shops, and nature parks.
If you choose to move to North Berkeley, most residents rent their homes here. The average renting price is $1,600, which is above the national average but cheaper than many other neighborhoods in Berkeley.
Berkeley Hills is exactly what it sounds like – on the hills. Most homes here have a view of the city and the surrounding bay. You’ll be in a more woodsy area, so it wouldn’t be unlikely to see fox, deer, or coyotes when you’re out and about.
Choosing to live in Berkeley Hills will also up the price tag on your home cost as it is one of the priciest neighborhoods in Berkeley. The median cost of a home in Berkeley Hills is around $1.3 million. Renting prices in Berkeley Hills are also expensive.
Ready to Make the Move?
Berkeley, CA has so many different areas, activities, and sights to offer.
With a beautiful college campus nearby, hundreds of hiking trails, a myriad of nature parks, and one of the biggest cities in California right next door, moving to Berkeley is a great option.
If you’re about to have a long-distance move, you’ll want to hire a moving company to make it easier on you! You can look into our moving services and request a quote for the move.
We’ll make sure it’s a smooth and quick move so you can start to enjoy your new home right away. If you’re hiring a moving company, why not also hire a packing company? With a packing company, you’ll have more time to start making arrangements for your new home and dreaming of your new life.
At Dependable Movers, we’ve got you covered for your long-distance move to Berkely, CA. Say goodbye to moving stress and hello to warm and sunny California!