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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Best Bay Area Neighborhoods?

Not sure where to post this but I'll try here. We're thinking about relocating to California, potentially the Bay Area. Disregarding the exorbitant home prices, what's the best SF neighborhood or suburb for dogs?

I read online that the culture in SF is dog-friendly, but what is worrisome for me is the leash laws. Apparently everyone lets their dogs run free in all the parks in the area. I currently live in a larger city than SF, and my dog has been attacked repeatedly by off leash dogs, so now my dog and I slink furtively along the side streets and avoid the main parks. It's no fun to always be on the lookout.

I'd love to go hiking around the beaches and parks, or even just walk to the local neighborhood park without being harassed. Are there any particular areas, either in downtown SF, or in surrounding suburbs, where I can avoid this or it's less of an issue? I assume that any of the surrounding suburbs are better simply because they're less densely packed and people have yards?
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-10-2017, 12:02 AM
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I was born in SF and lived there until I was 22. I did not have dogs and I have said over and over to my DH that I would never want to have a dog and live in SF. I don't know where you are now but I'm in the Seattle area and there are just so many more parks to walk my dogs. Big, open spaces where they can be off leash and not run into other dogs.

I have brought my dogs to SF a few times with me. I worry about fox tails in the summer. They are awful. Also, there is NO grass in SF! Except for areas like St Francis Woods, there is nowhere for dogs to pee on a neighborhood walk. My poor girl (who only pees on grass and dirt) finally peed on a small patch of weeds growing around a metal pole while on a walk. There are no grassy parkways and people do not have lawns (except in St Francis woods).

I have been to dog parks like Fort Funston but I hate the fox tails. Crissy Fields is nice on a warm day with no wind (and it's nearly always windy in SF!!) and a section of Ocean beach is off leash but is dirty. The beaches have enough space so you don't run into too many other off leash dogs.

I would think suburbs like Millbrae, Redwood City, parts of Palo Alto, and San Mateo would be better. I love SF and am so lucky to call it my hometown but I would never move back with dogs. I would look in the suburbs.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Vhuynh2 View Post
I was born in SF and lived there until I was 22. I did not have dogs and I have said over and over to my DH that I would never want to have a dog and live in SF. I don't know where you are now but I'm in the Seattle area and there are just so many more parks to walk my dogs. Big, open spaces where they can be off leash and not run into other dogs.

I have brought my dogs to SF a few times with me. I worry about fox tails in the summer. They are awful. Also, there is NO grass in SF! Except for areas like St Francis Woods, there is nowhere for dogs to pee on a neighborhood walk. My poor girl (who only pees on grass and dirt) finally peed on a small patch of weeds growing around a metal pole while on a walk. There are no grassy parkways and people do not have lawns (except in St Francis woods).

I have been to dog parks like Fort Funston but I hate the fox tails. Crissy Fields is nice on a warm day with no wind (and it's nearly always windy in SF!!) and a section of Ocean beach is off leash but is dirty. The beaches have enough space so you don't run into too many other off leash dogs.

I would think suburbs like Millbrae, Redwood City, parts of Palo Alto, and San Mateo would be better. I love SF and am so lucky to call it my hometown but I would never move back with dogs. I would look in the suburbs.
Thanks for your response, confirms to me what I suspected. The city I'm from is probably the only large city with an abundance of parks and grass-lined sidewalks, so it worked for me. I google street view SF and saw that there was virtually no grass along the sidewalks.

For the suburbs you mention, which ones have a sort of "downtown" walkable area, that still also have access to parks and grass?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, it looks like neighborhoods such as Marina in SF are close to the a lot of open grass along the water. But again I fear the off leash dog culture. I think we are better sticking to the surrounding suburbs?
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-11-2017, 11:27 PM
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The Marina is where Crissy Field is, which has a beach area for off leash dog walking. You are right, there are a lot of people who will just walk their dogs off leash in non-off leash areas but you will probably find more people doing it in the Marina because there is that long (and rare) stretch of green from Crissy field to Fort Mason. I feel that the beach is a big enough area that you won't run into too many other dogs, especially if your dog is just focused on swimming and you stick closer to the water. Whenever in SF with dogs I always take them to Crissy Field, especially on nice days. Now that I think of it, Golden Gate Park is an area where I have not seen very many dogs off leash since there are so many busy roads going through.

I don't know the suburbs too well. Palo Alto has a nice walkable area with shopping and restaurants, and I think San Mateo does as well. I have no idea about the parks in the suburbs. There is another forum member here, "outwest", who used to live in San Mateo so you might want to PM her.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-19-2017, 12:22 AM
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We have lived in the South Bay for many years, if price is no object ($1.5M+), then many of the towns on the Peninsula would offer much of what you are looking for. We live in the East Foothills, good places to walk, and belong to a church dog park that is open to all when qualified. PM me if you would like more info.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-05-2017, 09:20 PM
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I am from Napa and Santa Rosa. Most places have leash laws there. Sounds like you want to be closer to SF though.

I am living up north now in Humboldt. Tons of dogs here, they love the ocean and lots of dog parks.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-19-2017, 01:56 PM
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The "best" Bay Area Neighborhoods will be the neighborhoods in the Peninsula. The Peninsula are the towns directly south of San Francisco up until Palo Alto. Towns south of Palo Alto are no longer the Peninsula and considered the South Bay.
Towns in the Peninsula are San Bruno, Millbrae, Burlingame, Hillsborough, San Mateo, Foster City, Belmont, San Carlos, Redwood Shores, Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Atherton & Palo Alto.
Obviously the Peninsula will be the most expensive place to live in all Northern California.
In my opinion, the "best" neighborhood in the peninsula would be Burlingame.

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 09:44 AM
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I've lived in SF for over 40 years and now live in the east bay (still work in the city). There are LOTS of parks for you to walk on leash all over the city. In fact, many have just been recently relandscaped and some are in the process of major overhauls. And I not even talking about Golden Gate Park! The beaches (ocean beach and Fort Funston) are owned by the state. Not much coverage by rangers so there are a lot of off leash dogs there. It is a very dog friendly area.

The North Bay has lots of open space. Most on leash but some off leash.

The East Bay has a few Regional Parks that are all on leash. They have wonderful hiking areas. The only off leash city I know of is Berkeley. There, your dog needs to be in voice command (police will ask for a demonstration). Many cities in the EB have dog parks, literally a large area surrounded by a chained link fence (most have two areas, one for small dogs and one for large dogs). Here the dogs are allowed to run off leash. Many have benches for people and shaded areas. One has an agility run!

My favorite in the EB is Point Isabel Regional Park. 5 paws for people and 5 paws for dogs. In the 20 plus years I have been going regularly I have only seen 2 dog fights and it was the owners fault. Its located in Richmond right on the SF Bay. The dogs have access to the bay, a water way and lots of acres of off leash play.

I cannot comment on the South Bay.

Have fun house hunting!
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