Congratulations, you’ve landed your dream tech job at Google!
But now, here comes the hard part: finding a place to live. After all, Silicon Valley is a pretty big place, and where you choose to rent an apartment will play a huge part in determining your daily commute to work to the Google headquarters.
Do you want to live in the city center? Do you need a car or can you rely on public transit? How long do you need to travel to work? These are all questions you need to consider before choosing where to live in Silicon Valley.
If you’ve ever considered moving to Silicon Valley but have no idea where to rent an apartment, we’ve got you covered! Here you’ll find our picks for the five best suburbs in the area, as well as a guide to living in this high-tech hub.
A Little Bit of History
Silicon Valley is one of the most well-known places in the Bay area for several reasons. First, some of the biggest names in the tech industry have their main headquarters there, such as Facebook, Google, Netflix, and Apple, to name a few. Second, Silicon Valley is known to be a startup paradise; there are regulations in place that are designed to safeguard business interests for companies that are just getting off the ground. Finally, Silicon Valley is known to have great schools, amazing economic opportunities for young professionals, and an attractive quality of life that’s perfect for families. What’s more, if you live in Silicon Valley, you’ll enjoy the great Bay weather and diverse cultural scene!
Historically, Silicon Valley got its name because of the wave of computer and electronic companies that spring up in the region in the mid-20th century. Originally, the name only referred to the Santa Clara Valley located in Santa Clara County, but over time has expanded to include the surrounding regions. Today, Silicon Valley stretches from San Jose to San Mateo.
Silicon Valley Map
5 Great Suburbs to Consider in Silicon Valley
- Mountain View
- Palo Alto
- Los Gatos
(Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,593)
Mountain View is home to more tech companies than you can shake a stick at, so be prepared to live next to giant names such as Google, Upwork, and LinkedIn. It is ranked as the best place to live in Santa Clara County because of the highly-rated school system and affordable housing options.
If there’s one way to describe the vibe in Mountain View, it would definitely be “urban”! City living is at its finest, and you’ll never run out of dining, shopping, and entertainment options here. The population of this area tends to skew towards young professionals and starter families, and you’ll find friendly faces no matter where you look.
Great Things to Do
Even if you don’t work at Google or Amazon, there is something to be said about taking part in the Silicon Valley tours where you can visit their headquarters! However, if outdoor activities are more your style, Cuesta Park and the Bay Trail are both great options. The Mountain View Farmers Market is also a must-visit during the weekend.
If you’re working at Google, then Mountain View should be your dream Silicon Valley location! Since the headquarters is located in this area, you might not even need a car to go to work. Depending on where you rent your apartment, you can bike or even walk.
(Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,877)
According to Nerdwallet, Palo Alto is among the top five most educated cities in the USA, making it one of the best places for highly-trained professionals and college degree holders to jumpstart their careers. It’s not surprising, given that Palo Alto is home to top-notch learning institutions such as Gunn High School and Stanford University.
Palo Alto is a unique mix of urban and countryside! You’ll find big-city amenities such as upscale restaurants, trendy boutiques, and a vibrant nightlife, alongside a staggering 36 nature preserves and parks. Even in the heart of the city, you’ll see immaculate tree-lined streets thanks to the locals who are passionate about keeping their city green. Also, did you know that the city was named after a giant 110-foot redwood tree called “El Palo Alto”?
Great Things to Do
For families with small children, the Palo Alto Junior Zoo is a weekend favorite, followed by a visit to Barron Park Green Railway. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, the Winter Lodge features an outdoor ice rink. Once you work up an appetite, head on over to the Palo Alto IKEA branch for some of their world-famous Swedish meatballs.
As you can see on the map, Palo Alto is virtually next to Mountain View! This means that you can easily drive to work within 30 minutes. However, you can also take the bike lane, as long as you follow the local biking regulations. In Palo Alto, it is illegal to ride a bike through business districts.
(Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $3,110)
If you’re an Apple fan or you want to be inspired by the likes of Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, then Cupertino is the place for you. This suburb is not only home to Apple’s main headquarters, but you can find other big players in the tech industry such as Amazon Lab and Symantec as well.
Cupertino’s low crime rate and top-rated schools make it one of the best places for families. You’ll find a great mix of urban and suburban; closely-knit communities are nestled between shopping, dining, and entertainment centers. Oak Valley, one of Cupertino’s newest neighborhoods, has a small-town feel with friendly residents and hillside views.
Great Things to Do
There is no shortage of amazing outdoor spaces to visit in Cupertino. On a sunny weekend, you have your pick among places such as Cupertino Memorial Park, Stevens Creek County Park, or Rancho San Antonio Preserve. Go biking, explore a wilderness trail, or have a picnic with your family! Cupertino also has a huge Asian-American community, so there are plenty of delicious Asian restaurants to choose from as well.
To get to the Google headquarters, you’ll need to pass through Sunnyvale to get to Mountain View. You can make the drive in less than 30 minutes if you take either Miramonte Avenue or go through I-280.
(Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,410)
One of the oldest communities in Silicon Valley, Los Gatos can claim the title of “entertainment capital” since you can find Netflix AND Roku here. It has one of the lowest crime rates in all of California, as well as access to beautiful green spaces such as the Lexington Reservoir County Park and the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.
Locals in Los Gatos are fiercely committed to maintaining their small-town vibe. The community is closely knit and focused on family. Many of the businesses are locally owned, and Downtown Los Gatos is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places!
Great Things to Do
Many of the activities in Los Gatos are perfect for those who love the outdoors, such as the Los Gatos Creek Trail and Castle Rock Falls. Los Gatos is also perfect for wine connoisseurs as there are several great vineyards around, such as Silver Mountain Vineyard and David Bruce Winery.
The distance between Los Gatos and Mountain View is around 15 miles, and it will take you around 20 minutes if you take a car. Make sure to follow the CA 85-S route to save time during your morning commute.
(Average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment: $2,238)
One of the best things about living in Fremont is the easy access to San Francisco. Thanks to two BART stations, you can quickly head on over to the Golden Gate city and enjoy the famous food and culture scene. If you’re working at Tesla or Logitech, Fremont is where you want to be.
Fremont is an ideal place for young families and singles. The abundance of parks as well as a great school system makes this area perfect for young, inquisitive minds! There are three public libraries and a ton of museums to visit.
Great Things to Do
If you love getting in touch with nature AND history, make sure to visit Ardenwood Farm. It’s like stepping back in time: visit the blacksmith shop, explore the Ohlone Village, or bring your kids to the petting zoo. Got a free weekend ahead? A hike up Mission Peak is just what the doctor ordered for a memorable experience with friends and family.
Fremont is the farthest area from Mountain View on this list. The distance between the two regions is 21 miles, and you’ll need to pass through Milpitas, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale before you get to Mountain View. The drive will take around 30-40 minutes, depending on the traffic, so follow the CA 237-W Route to save some time.
Silicon Valley Weather
Silicon Valley weather is interesting due to its geographic location. Since it is sandwiched by an ocean on one side and an arid landscape on the other, the climate is a unique mixture of extreme conditions. Summers can get hot (in the 95-100 degree range), and winters can get downright freezing (below zero).
On average, however, the weather in Silicon Valley leans toward the warm side. You can expect sunny days most of the year, with intermittent showers during fall and winter.
Silicon Valley Transportation
Admittedly, it can be quite difficult to get around Silicon Valley without a car or at least a bike. While most neighborhoods in the area have a great walk and bike score, it can be difficult to run errands simply because of the distance.
If you don’t want to drive, you can opt to take the BART train. There are two railways: one connects San Francisco and the East Bay, and the other connects San Francisco and San Jose. However, moving between the various counties in Silicon Valley can be challenging without a private vehicle.
Cost of Living in Silicon Valley
When you consider the type of industries you find in Silicon Valley, it’s not surprising that this area is ranked as one of the most expensive places to live in the USA. Therefore, it’s essential to find as many ways to live affordably as possible.
There you have it, a quick and easy guide to great places to live in Silicon Valley. As you can see, this tech hub has so many great things to offer residents! There is something for everyone, whether you love a fast-paced lifestyle or you’re looking to settle down in a quiet suburb.
The key to finding your perfect apartment in Silicon Valley is using the best apartment rental website possible. This way, you’ll be able to filter listings according to your needs and budget.