These Are The 10 Best San Francisco Suburbs


We analyzed over 43 places around San Francisco to identify the most kickass place to live.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of San Francisco are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado, here are the 10 best suburbs around San Francisco:

  1. Piedmont (Photos)
  2. Foster City (Photos)
  3. Woodside (Photos)
  4. Hillsborough
  5. Burlingame (Photos)
  6. Mill Valley (Photos)
  7. Corte Madera (Photos)
  8. Belmont (Photos)
  9. Atherton (Photos)
  10. Tiburon (Photos)

If you happen to be a resident of Piedmont, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 San Francisco ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

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How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around San Francisco

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around San Francisco was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people

Then we used the 2010-2014 American Community Survey to research each suburb. FYI: We defined a suburb based on the Census’s designation of being part of an “Urban Cluster,” but not the main city of said urbanized area. For example, the Census considers all of these places to be part of the San Francisco–Oakland, Ca Urbanized Area.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to non-CDPs that have over 5,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 43 suburbs to evaluate around San Francisco.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 43 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near San Francisco.” We’re lookin’ at you, Piedmont.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

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1. Piedmont

Piedmont, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,957
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $212,222

2. Foster City

Foster City, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 31,809
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Median Home Price: $850,800
Median Income: $114,651

3. Woodside

Woodside, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 5,427
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $206,528

4. Hillsborough


Population 2014: 11,148
Unemployment Rate: 5.8%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $250,001

5. Burlingame

Burlingame, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 29,618
Unemployment Rate: 5.0%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $90,890

6. Mill Valley

Mill Valley, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 14,178
Unemployment Rate: 4.1%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $132,192

7. Corte Madera

Corte Madera, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,478
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Median Home Price: $912,800
Median Income: $113,279

8. Belmont

Belmont, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 26,503
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Median Home Price: $910,600
Median Income: $106,287

9. Atherton

Atherton, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 7,034
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $250,001

10. Tiburon

Tiburon, California

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 9,100
Unemployment Rate: 7.2%
Median Home Price: $1,000,001
Median Income: $130,661

Welcome to the ‘Burbs

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like San Francisco, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
For more California reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Burbs To Live Around San Francisco

City Rank Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
Piedmont 1 10,957 4.6% $1,000,001 $212,222
Foster City 2 31,809 6.6% $850,800 $114,651
Woodside 3 5,427 3.4% $1,000,001 $206,528
Hillsborough 4 11,148 5.8% $1,000,001 $250,001
Burlingame 5 29,618 5.0% $1,000,001 $90,890
Mill Valley 6 14,178 4.1% $1,000,001 $132,192
Corte Madera 7 9,478 4.5% $912,800 $113,279
Belmont 8 26,503 7.2% $910,600 $106,287
Atherton 9 7,034 6.7% $1,000,001 $250,001
Tiburon 10 9,100 7.2% $1,000,001 $130,661
Palo Alto 11 65,998 5.7% $1,000,001 $126,771
Sausalito 12 7,043 9.0% $1,000,001 $111,702
Millbrae 13 22,177 6.8% $915,400 $91,846
Menlo Park 14 32,792 5.9% $1,000,001 $115,650
San Carlos 15 29,166 7.5% $939,600 $125,747
Larkspur 16 12,131 9.1% $1,000,001 $82,568
Albany 17 19,020 7.6% $639,500 $78,769
Pacifica 18 38,283 6.6% $613,700 $96,875
Hercules 19 24,596 5.7% $372,900 $100,267
San Anselmo 20 12,527 8.0% $837,900 $100,681
San Mateo 21 100,114 7.4% $736,600 $90,087
San Francisco 22 829,072 7.6% $765,700 $78,378
Berkeley 23 115,688 8.3% $719,500 $65,283
Redwood City 24 79,736 6.6% $795,000 $81,955
Emeryville 25 10,497 7.5% $317,200 $69,329
Daly City 26 103,897 8.7% $564,000 $74,489
Fairfax 27 7,546 5.1% $681,000 $93,354
South San Francisco 28 65,537 7.9% $589,100 $78,101
Fremont 29 221,654 7.6% $614,500 $103,591
San Bruno 30 42,090 7.8% $602,300 $81,420
San Rafael 31 58,588 7.4% $691,400 $75,668
Newark 32 43,635 7.4% $455,500 $86,521
Alameda 33 75,763 8.7% $628,500 $76,439
El Cerrito 34 24,136 9.1% $589,100 $88,380
Novato 35 53,451 7.4% $554,400 $76,609
East Palo Alto 36 28,920 11.8% $386,100 $52,716
Pinole 37 18,754 8.3% $346,800 $74,379
Union City 38 71,675 8.9% $484,300 $82,564
San Leandro 39 87,159 9.4% $372,600 $64,279
Oakland 40 402,339 11.8% $435,000 $52,962
San Pablo 41 29,516 14.1% $183,300 $42,746
Richmond 42 106,469 11.8% $271,300 $54,857
Hayward 43 149,596 12.8% $339,700 $62,691

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