Hayward, California

Heart of the Bay

Looklyloo Score: 78

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What's it like to live in Hayward?

What is it like to live in Hayward, CA?

Haven’t lived in Hayward in about 20 years. But I grew up there and my dad still lives there in the same home I grew up in. It depends on where you live. Folks have mentioned the downtown…it has gotten pretty nice. If you live north and a bit east of there it’s decent. West Hayward, near Chabot College is very reminiscent of how it was in the 80s…lots of the old residents from my childhood are still there…it has an old neighborhood feel. South Hayward, had problems in the past in the Tennyson area…gangs, crime, urban blight…yeah; sort of rough there.

You will be in the middle of the East Bay. There are two (?) Bart Stations…the San Mateo Bridge to the Peninsula. You’re 10 - 30 minutes from Oakland. 20 - 45 minutes from Pleasanton. 30 - 60 minutes from San Jose. The Oakland Airport is about 20 minutes away and the San Jose Airport about 30.

I would consider it, definitely…especially if you’re going to work in the East Bay or in San Francisco.

What is it like to live in Hayward, CA?

I live in the Hayward Hills and we bought here because of as he CCAs, low HOAs, and planned communities make it very scenic. Someone compared it to Woodlands, CA on the peninsula. Also, my husband was reared here.

There has been a major rejuvenation recently with the new federal administration. Lots of demo and building along Mission Blvd which used to be a sea of unsightly used car lots or vacant buildings. Could it be that the City of Hayward Building Division is finally releasing its grip of red tape?

The rents and home prices remain among the lowest in the bay area mainly due to its abysmal public school system. When citizens’ inquire, the city council is quick to reply that the school district does not fall under their supervision. I find this quite ironic as Fremont Unified School District is very strictly governed by the City of Fremont City Council. I know firsthand as a teacher in FUSD.

As a result, families in my neighborhood send their children to the local Catholic schools including Moreau HS. Others transfer their children to neighboring Castro Valley USD which has strong schools. My husband (reared in the Fairway Park area) was fortunate to attend schools in New Haven USD.

Would you recommend living in Hayward or Fremont in the Bay area?

Fremont was my choice 47 years ago and I feel the same way today. The housing options, the location, the safety and any number of other factors all weigh in favor of Fremont. Housing costs are higher in Fremont that may make Hayward more attractive. Traffic is bad in both cities. Neither city has great night life options. Fremont has a much better K-12 school system, with one of the highest rated high schools in the country, but Hayward has California East Bay State College (formerly Hayward State College). Both cities have an excellent community college. Fremont has a lower crime rate and is one of the safest cities with a population of over 100,000 in the United States, but both have excellent police departments. Both have very good medical facilities and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) serves both cities.

Advice about Living in Hayward

RE: Can you still buy a house for $500k in the Bay Area? (Sep 6, 2019)
I don’t know if you can get a house in Hayward for $500Kish, but if you can, I would at least check it out. I have lived in Hayward for the past 17 years (rented in Berkeley before that), and given my modest income I LOVE it. Despite the low ratings, there are several good schools in Hayward. I know tons of kids who have gone through Stonebrae Elem/Bret Harte Middle/Hayward High and have thrived, but there are also other strong schools, so don’t limit yourself to those attendance areas. HHS and Mt Eden HS have lots of AP options and programs for all types of kids, including high achieving ones, musicians and artists. Burbank Elem and Stonebrae Elem have dual immersion programs and higher test scores than other schools. Both buildings are fairly new. I can not vouch for the special ed dept. I fear your child would be underserved, but I really don’t know. There are a bunch of charter schools at the high school level and a very popular Montessori charter that starts at 1st grade. Since you spend time here, you probably know that Hayward is very diverse (majority Latino and many racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic groups represented) and also very liberal. It’s a union town, sanctuary city and very accepting in general. We have an awesome gay prom every year, just for the record! Like many gentrifying and blue collar cities, homelessness is a problem. The city council is working on it, but not making huge headway. We have a good farmer’s market, brand new library and small downtown with new restaurants and things to do. If I were a millionaire plus, then maybe I would choose to live in N Berkeley (my old hood), but on my income, Iiving in hayward means I have enough cash after paying the mortgage to take a few vacations, do some shopping, go to theater in the city, etc without breaking the bank. Good luck!

In a local review ranking the most underrated cities in the Bay Area one local notes:
The reason Concord and Hayward tie is because both cities are well connected to Public transport, offer diversity, but with safer than average streets, that's really nice. Concord is only 30 miles from SF, 22 miles from Oakland/Berkeley, and has two BART stations. Hayward on the other hand is literally the best located suburb in the Bay Area. 30 miles from SF, 30 miles from San Jose and 20 miles from Oakland/Berkeley, and it has a beautiful waterfront on the bay.

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