I am so far from being a pessimist…on the contrary, in spite of my scars, I am tickled to death at life.
― Eugene O'Neill, Nobel Prize Winner and long-time Danville resident
The Best Thing About Danville?
Like many of the Bay Area suburbs, Danville offers residents more space, great weather, top-rated schools, plenty to do and a historic and quaint aesthetic. But where it truly stands out from the rest is its now six-year streak winning the “Safest City in California” according to Safe Wise (as of 2023). This is no small thing, especially for residents with children.
Speaking of, Danville is widely regarded as an excellent place to raise a family. Here you’ll find the best of both worlds: safe small town for the kids meets luxury metropolitan amenities for the folks. After the little ones get out of their “A+” rated school for the day, first stop to play at one of the city’s six community parks before handing them off to a sitter to enjoy a fine dining date at a top-notch Danville classic like the Esin Restaurant & Bar or Bridges Restaurant and Bar. Don’t worry parents, you won’t be out too late, about everything here closes by 9 PM (it is the suburbs, after all).
In other words, Danville largely skirts the biggest critique of suburbs surrounding metropolitan hubs like Oakland and San Fran: that there’s not enough to do. Here, you get the safe, tight-knit community within the slower-paced town without missing out on classy dining or unique, locally-owned shops. Have your cake and eat it too, as they say.
The Worst Thing About Danville?
The Danville Bubble
Like so many of the other cities in the Bay Area, we were sure this section was going to be about cost of living (the average home value here is nearly $2 million, after all!). But after listening to what residents have to say, it’s clear the worst thing about Danville is that it can feel like living in a bubble.
Looking at the numbers, the city does not reflect the ethnic, cultural and economic diversity of the Bay Area. The Bay Area is reported as roughly 40% White as opposed to Danville’s 73%. Some residents complain that this lack of diversity can limit children’s cultural competency and worldview. Some even go so far as to say that children here are too sheltered and embody a sense of entitlement. That said, there are parents who actively stave off the impacts of “the bubble” by regularly taking their children beyond city limits. Slowly but surely, residents believe Danville is trending towards reflecting the “melting pot that is the Bay Area.”
Lifestyle of Danville
The ‘Burbs Meet City Amenities
While residents and realtors will admit that Danville is on the more expensive side (home prices are often comparable with San Francisco), each dollar buys you more square footage in a more peaceful environment. For many, Danville is proof that you don’t have to suffer the hectic energy and urban noise of a big city to enjoy top-tier amenities and exquisite dining, shopping and living.
Residents here live in home styles ranging from condos to $5+ million custom homes (average price being $1.8 million). In some ways, the price tags certainly make sense, but in other respects more money doesn’t always buy you more convenience. For residents who commute to San Francisco 30 miles southwest, their drive can be over an hour during rush hour. The commute to Oakland is closer to 30 minutes, so not as bad, but it’s worth noting that you would definitely need a car living in Danville. Public transportation isn't the best. For example, the nearest BART station is an 11-minute drive up 680 in neighboring Walnut Creek.
When they’re not working or attending school, residents and families entertain themselves with the city’s variety of strip malls, restaurants, movie theaters, boutique shops and hiking spots. There’s typically something for everyone. Taste your new favorite wine or creative cocktail at The Vine and Spirits, support small business with big style at The Flaunt Boutique or let loose while dancing to live music at the area’s best dive bar, Meenar Music Club. And if you do grow tired of the local amenities, there’s always neighboring cities like Diablo, Pleasanton and Alamo to explore.
For outdoor activities, options range from golf and swimming at the Blackhawk Country Club to walking or biking the Iron Horse Regional Trail. More casually, residents’ desire to walk and bike around a lot helps cultivate the sense of community as friends and neighbors will run into each other while out and about. All around, families in Danville enjoy a charming and peaceful lifestyle without sacrificing the finer things in life. Here you’ll find a tight-knit, small town community that takes pride in the schools, cultural attractions and natural spaces that make Danville a popular place to live.
Schools in Danville
Danville lies in the heart of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. This district, rated A+ on Niche.com, boasts an impressive selection of schools including 22 elementary, 8 middle and 4 high schools. Being some of the best schools in Contra Costa County, they are one of the top considerations for families looking to move here. There isn’t a single public school serving Danville families that is rated lower than a B+ by Niche.com, with an overwhelming majority ranking as A and A+ institutions.
Even with all these top marks, there are a a few that stand out from the pack. Diablo Vista Middle School (6-8) offers a holistic curriculum where students develop a well-rounded range of skills and interests. In addition to a well-equipped learning center and impressive library, students can also stretch their legs on the school’s 15-acre sports field. Another school, San Ramon Valley High School (9-12), is a designated National Blue Ribbon institution and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Tassajara Hills Elementary School is a recipient of the California Gold Ribbon Award and does an excellent job of balancing student’s core academic skill development with social and emotional development.
In addition to some of the best public schools in the area, families also have plenty of private options to choose from. If you’re leaning towards private schools for your kid(s), you’ll definitely want to check out The Athenian School (6-12), rated by Niche.com as the top private school in the county, as well as Ramon Valley Christian Academy (K-8) and St. Isidore School, all conveniently located within Danville.
Why You Should Move Here Now
The Bubble Has to Burst Eventually
As we’ve outlined, Danville’s safety rating is both its greatest strength and in some ways its greatest drawback. In no way are we endorsing exposure to crime as a positive life experience, but being too sheltered can be a hindrance to a person’s and community’s development too. All that makes Danville a very attractive place to live – great schools, great houses, great restaurants – are not going anywhere, while there is a shift towards a more diverse and open-minded community culture. So, if you want to benefit from the city’s existing awesomeness while helping it to continue to get better, you should consider moving here now.