The Best thing about Pleasant Hill?
Pleasant Hill is indeed a pleasant place. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere in this article we accidentally refer to is at Pleasantville (not anything like the movie, we promise). Residents report feeling safe, enjoy easy access to nature, and benefit from a strong sense of community and good schools, all within a reasonable drive of big city amenities.
Safety is a priority for many who choose to move and raise their families in Pleasant Hill. There is a visible and strong police presence here (read: you feel perfectly fine walking home at night). A walkable and cute downtown area and shopping centers like The Verdana offer a collection of restaurants, stores, coffee shops and entertainment options. Plus a full calendar of local festivals and community events where you’re likely to run into your neighbors enhance the small town vibe.
You may not get ocean views like other parts of the Bay Area, but the view of Mt. Diablo ain’t bad either. Nature lovers need not look far for things to do. Enjoy great access to parks like the popular Briones Regional Park just 3 miles away where hikers (and their pups!) can enjoy 6,255 acres containing scenic hiking trails, camping and picnic areas and even an archery range. Or, hop on your bike or horse to explore the Contra Costa Canal Trail, a secure off-road pathway connecting the cities of Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Concord. Want to go bigger? Only 1 hour to the west is Muir Woods National Monument with its iconic redwoods and 3 hours to the east lies Yosemite – yes, the Yosemite – and the infamous Half Dome skyline. Other weekend getaway options include Lake Tahoe and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park.
The Worst thing about Pleasant Hill?
Lacking in Diversity
When you live close to vibrant, culturally diverse meccas like Oakland and San Francisco, it can be difficult not to directly compare them to your suburb’s characteristics and offerings. This leads to mixed reviews from residents on if PH is relatively culturally and economically diverse or not. But one thing most residents can all agree on? There is a real lack of good ethnic food options.
According to the 2022 census, the largest racial groups represented here are White (60+%), Asian (15%), Hispanic (15%) and Black or African American (4%). Ten percent of respondents identified as being of two or more races. Although on paper this place doesn’t look very diverse, from what we’ve heard, residents of all ethnicities and economic backgrounds find Pleasant Hill to be a welcoming, inclusive and friendly city to call home. Through Niche.com, the city earned an “A” rating for diversity and when asked what word or phrase best describes the people who live in Pleasant Hill, the majority surveyed responded: “welcoming.”
You might also be thinking: isn't the cost of living a big downside of life in Pleasant Hill? And the answer is yes, for many it is. Some prospective residents realize quickly that you have to pay a “Pleasant Hill premium” of about $200,000 above what you might dole out for the same house in surrounding cities. However, this isn’t what most actual permanent residents seem to complain about. The individuals most concerned about rising costs are the 35% of more transient residents who rent.
Lifestyle of Pleasant Hill
The exceptional schools, abundance of outdoor spaces and local events like farmers markets and outdoor concerts offer families a well-rounded and community-oriented lifestyle. If you want to know your neighbors and care about volunteering within your community, you’ll fit right in in Pleasant Hill. Residents remark on the opportunities for adults and especially children to invest in and give back to their community, like on the annual Community Service Day.
It’s worth mentioning again that living surrounded by trees, parks, mountain views and some of the country’s most iconic parks and preserves is just one part of what makes Pleasant Hill so pleasant. Niche.com gave the city an “A” in Outdoor Activities, Health & Fitness, Weather and Diversity. Closely followed by an “A-” for Good for Families, Schools, and Nightlife, and “B+” for Commute.
While life here is certainly slower than Oakland and San Fran, residents do have dining and entertainment options, including the popular night-out spot Jack’s Taps. And for those who need or want to commute into the city, it’s about a thirty minute drive to Oakland from your serene suburban streets. Or, hop on the BART and get to San Francisco in just over an hour.
Schools in Pleasant Hill
A- is Basically an A
Mount Diablo Unified School District, Martinez Unified School District and Acalanes Union High School District all serve the Pleasant Hill region. If they’d like, students can go all the way from preschool through one of the best community colleges in the county - Diablo Valley College - without leaving the city. The 23 public elementary, 14 public middle and 11 public high schools in Pleasant Hill have an overall “A-” rating by Niche.com. Acalanes Union High School District stands out in particular and has been named one of the top 15 school districts in California. In addition to strong academic opportunities, children within the community also benefit from quality sports leagues, like the PHMSA, which help them cultivate new friendships and strengthen community ties. Private school options in the area are also plentiful, the most distinguished being The College Preparatory School in Oakland.
Why You Should Move Here Now
Hot Housing Market, Downtown Development
Like other prime suburbs, Pleasant Hill is extremely popular with families bailing on the big cities looking for good schools, chill lifestyle, and the possibility of buying or renting a home big enough for the kiddos. Pleasant Hill has also made strides in building out a downtown and as that effort expands and the downtown area becomes more of a thing, the city will only get more popular. If you want in, you should get in now.