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CHMer

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Hey all,

I was wondering if someone could fill me in on the ins/outs of living in the
SF-Bay Area. I'm not from the west coast, but there's a good chance I'll be heading there for internship/residency this year or the next.

Does anyone know if it's at all practical to live in SF but commute to Palo Alto? Or would it be too time-comsuming and congested of a trip? I love SF as a city (having only visited, not lived there), but I really liked some of the other bay area programs (Santa Clara, Stanford). I may want to live in SF but commute out of the city if possible.

Outside of the city, what parts of the bay area have the best singles scene and the most to do outside the hospital?

Thanks in advance for any info. It's amazing how every imaginable practical detail seems to be factoring in to compiling my rank list.
 

pickles

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It's so funny because i'm in exactly the same position you are with the same question..so i don't know if i can be much of a help. i went to san fran for the first time during the interview season and fell in love with the place. Then i interviewed at stanford and the program seemed to fit too. this is..i'd love to live in a "city" with lots of people, things to do and I don't know how much is going on in palo alto (anyone who lives there can help me out on that one). I'd be moving from east to west coast too and not knowing a soal so i'd like to be in a happening place, and san fran seems to be one.
So the advice i got from the residents at stanford was that about 3 of them out of the 10 live in san fran and commute to stanford. i talked to them and they said the commute wasn't bad at all and really do-able...about 35 minutes and they usually never have to travel at peak commute times. They say it's totally worth it, livin' in the city and i could see where they are coming from. So my plan, because i've been thinking incessantly about next year, would be to live in palo alto my first year (they even have low cost resident apt) get my bearing, get through the gruel of intern year and then move to the city for my 2nd and 3rd year. I just don't know if palo alto living (aka suburb) can compare to san fran...so i'm in the same boat! Good luck to you:)
 

cali-ob

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Hey,
I spent 7 years in the bay area (from so cal) and lived only in the east bay. I would say if you could, live in Palo Alto, (or East Palo Alto if you're looking for cheaper housing and are not afraid of the "ghetto" ;-) ) San Fran is very expensive a (unless you're coming from New York) and the singles scene is much more happening if you're same sex oriented, in which case, enjoy. Berekely is a great city to meet people, and there are lots of places in the East bay to meet people. I'm much more of a so-cal person, but people from other states definitely seem to really like the bay area. The weather's mostly nice, although it can be foggy in the mornings, and the transportation system is great. There's good sporting events, and lots of culture. You should like it.

good luck
 
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DarksideAllstar

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I'll preface this by saying that I lived in San Francisco for a couple of years, and spent one year visiting my girlfriend while she was living in Palo Alto. These are my opinions, and if anyone disagrees, feel free to chime in.

Does anyone know if it's at all practical to live in SF but commute to Palo Alto? Or would it be too time-comsuming and congested of a trip? I love SF as a city (having only visited, not lived there), but I really liked some of the other bay area programs (Santa Clara, Stanford). I may want to live in SF but commute out of the city if possible.

Its not practical to live in the city and commute to Palo Alto. On a good day, without traffic it will take you 45 minutes on the 280, and that's if you are leaving at like 6AM, 6:30 at the latest. Commuting to the East Bay (Oakland) would be much easier, as most traffic goes into San Francisco in the AM.

Outside of the city, what parts of the bay area have the best singles scene and the most to do outside the hospital?

I have only really been out in Berkeley. There are a ton of Cal students out, and fewer "young urban professionals". Some good bars, if you like clubbing, you'll be disappointed. Palo Alto is kind of lame-- there are a couple of ok spots, but overall I give it a thumbs down for nightlife. There are some good restaurants though. San Jose is similar- kind of mediocre.

Thanks in advance for any info. It's amazing how every imaginable practical detail seems to be factoring in to compiling my rank list.

I'm in a similar situation with my top two choices being UCSF and Stanford and I definitely thought about living in the city and commuting to Palo Alto if I match at Stanford; after realizing that I'm a complete idiot, I decided just to save the 2 hours a day that I would spend commuting and live close to the hospital in either case. BTW, I would recommend against living in East Palo Alto. Good luck with your decision.
 

sdn1977

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OK - I'm a pharmacist living in the South Bay & much, much older than any of you. But, I've worked at Stanford & other peninsula hospitals & know the are pretty well.

But...I have a niece who chose to live in SF & commute to Cupertino for a big company. She's 30 & the she found the peninsula/South Bay very boring & mostly "couples". Yeah - the commute is bad - but, nothing like LA or other large metropolitan cities - just far. The previous poster's assessment of 45-60 min is accurate if perhaps on the conservative side since Sand Hill Rd gets very congested at peak times. I used to work in SF & commute to Cupertino - about 15 min south of Stanford without traffic. When I'd come home at midnight - I'd bite my cheeks to stay awake - 280 is absolutely empty at that hour & I'd take 101 just to stay awake.

But...during the commute time - 2:30 - 7PM..you'll get traffic - going north or south - doesn't matter.

Now...I'm old - but yes - SF has hands down the better night life - for any age. I lived there while I was young & going to school at UCSF - a rare & fabulous experience...but, not one I'd do with chldren. Remember - the worst weather in SF is the summer - "the worst winter I ever had was the summer I spent in SF" - paraphrasing Mark Twain - and its true! Fog, cold & clammy is what summer is in SF - but the spring & fall are beautiful - still cool, but beautiful.

Personally, I'd never do a bridge commute - to what one poster mentioned to the East Bay - Berkeley. Its a great place...but the Bay Bridge adds a whole different problem to the commute. One accident can make your day late & awful! Personally, I have never, ever taken a job where I'd have to cross a bridge just because of the traffic delays. I cannot be late to work!

Berkely is vibrant as well...and actually I was just there. It seemed a bit more "undergrad" style - but perhaps thats my age talking. I think the newer renovated parts of Oakland are more vibrant for the late 20's - early 30's.

You'd be surprised about what is happening in EPA - condos sell for $300,000 - go figure!

I'm not sure how much time you'll have outside the hospital nor what your interests are. If clubs & such are your thing....SF & east bay college towns are your place. If you like surfing, water stuff...go farther south along the coast - Pacifica, Daly City, etc...If snow stuff is more your thing...you need to live in the east bay - the Fri commute out of town is horrendous!!!

Good luck & have fun!
 

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According to happiness theory, a shorter commute makes a person happier than a bigger house. I don't know if that applies to a more happening social scene. Traffic can be unpredictable, and every day can be a different hell.
Also, to drive from SF to Palo Alto isn't just about the distance. Remember, gas runs about $2.80 right now per gallon in Palo Alto. You figure you get 25 miles per gallon, and the distance from SF to PA is about 20 miles, you are spending more than $5 per round trip, assume you commute 6 days per week, and 50 weeks per year, that would be $1500, a sum that can really take you out in STYLE! Then, there is lame parking issue/cost, for both SF and @ Stanford. Why not live in staff housing and walk over?!
Commuting across a bridge, is death, in my mind. The Bay Bridge sounds like it is always backed up. I have only seen the 'hospital curve' not congested a few times, and I grew up here. And then, there is toll.
Finally, is it responsible to generate so much green house gas, if there is a choice?
However, if you think you will die in Palo Alto, then do live in SF.
 

DarksideAllstar

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According to happiness theory, a shorter commute makes a person happier than a bigger house. I don't know if that applies to a more happening social scene. Traffic can be unpredictable, and every day can be a different hell.
Also, to drive from SF to Palo Alto isn't just about the distance. Remember, gas runs about $2.80 right now per gallon in Palo Alto. You figure you get 25 miles per gallon, and the distance from SF to PA is about 20 miles, you are spending more than $5 per round trip, assume you commute 6 days per week, and 50 weeks per year, that would be $1500, a sum that can really take you out in STYLE! Then, there is lame parking issue/cost, for both SF and @ Stanford. Why not live in staff housing and walk over?!
Commuting across a bridge, is death, in my mind. The Bay Bridge sounds like it is always backed up. I have only seen the 'hospital curve' not congested a few times, and I grew up here. And then, there is toll.
Finally, is it responsible to generate so much green house gas, if there is a choice?
However, if you think you will die in Palo Alto, then do live in SF.

Commuting across a bridge is bad, but if all the traffic is heading into SF and you are heading out, it shouldn't be a problem--and given this person will most likely have to be at the hospital at 6 AM or before (depending on specialty, of course), it shouldn't be much of an issue. I lived in Berkeley for a couple of weeks and commuted into San Francisco, and all I can say is it was literally like playing Russian Roulette every morning. You have be at the Toll Plaza by 6am or else you will sit there for at least 30-45 minutes. Not to mention accidents. I have some severe PTSD from a couple of my bridge commutes. I think I could die in Palo Alto, but I am willing to take my chances rather than make that commute everyday.
 

GoSprout24

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I spent my undergrad days at Stanford, and an extra year on the Peninsula working. I've been out-of-state for medical school, but hope to move back to the Bay. The Stanford program is perfect for me, so I'll be ranking that #1. For a long time, I thought that, if I match at Stanford, I would live in San Francisco. But then... on my interview day, I was driving from my brother's apartment in SF to Stanford and it took me 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES! :eek: It was raining that morning -- and as we all know, Californian's can't handle the slightest weather change. I was almost late for my interview, and driving caused me so much stress, I decided then and there that I would not commute from SF to Stanford. I figure that with the time I save living in Mountain View or Palo Alto, I would be healthier and happier on a daily basis (I could go for a run or to the gym in the time it would take me to commute). On my days off or on my nights off, I could just drive to SF to hang. Or Cal-train it.

Just my two cents. That said, my brother commutes every day from San Francisco to Cupertino (as a prior poster said, about 15 minutes further south of Stanford). He loves it and wouldn't change it for the world. But he also rarely goes to the gym or cooks a real meal -- both activities I very much enjoy.
 

GoSprout24

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Also, if I may add... Living in Palo Alto/Mountain View is not really that bad, unless you're a city person that ABSOLUTELY needs to be surrounded by tall buildings. Tons of restaurants are within easy distance -- with any ethnic food imaginable. I actually think the Korean food in Sunnyvale is better than anything in San Francisco. The night scene may not be as happening as SF, but there are plenty of bars -- from the hole in the walls to the more ritzy -- to go to if you just wanna go out for a drink after work. There's a great farmer's market in Mt. View for fresh groceries. It's not all that shabby down on the Peninsula... and it's only 40 min to SF, 40 min to the beach, >1 hr to Santa Cruz, and ~4 hrs to Tahoe and Yosemite. Those, to me, are the absolute highlights of living in the Bay Area... and all are easily accessible whether you're in SF or PA.

Plus, are you really going to have time to go out clubbing on a Tuesday night during residency?
 

monkeyarms

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i have a question about life as a highland/alameda resident....i figure i would live in berkely or oakland and drive to my oakland rotations, but would do 2-4 months a year at sf general and moffitt...is it feasible to take the train to these hospitals?
 

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i have a question about life as a highland/alameda resident....i figure i would live in berkely or oakland and drive to my oakland rotations, but would do 2-4 months a year at sf general and moffitt...is it feasible to take the train to these hospitals?

You'll have to ride BART to San Francisco (>$3 each way, I think you might be able to get a discount if you buy a month pass or something) and then either bus it to the General or take the N-Judah to Moffitt. It'll probably take you 45min- 1 hr to get from the east bay (read: Berkeley) to Moffitt (depending on a lot of different things, like if you just miss a train, etc). Not sure about how long it would take you to get to the General, though. I imagine its faster because you don't have to go as far, but then again you have to take a bus rather than the N-line.
 

sdn1977

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i have a question about life as a highland/alameda resident....i figure i would live in berkely or oakland and drive to my oakland rotations, but would do 2-4 months a year at sf general and moffitt...is it feasible to take the train to these hospitals?

BART to Moffitt would be impossible, IMO. ANY problem on ANY Bart line will slow down ALL Bart lines. Then...you have to wait for one of the lines to Moffitt - the N Judah or 66 Parnassus - if they're full, they'll pass you by. I can't imagine how you'd be sure to be there on time unless you planned a whole lot of time ahead.

General is not that far from one of the Mission stops - but...it can be a scary walk or wait if you have to walk or wait - depends on the time of day.

IMO - you'll be better off driving, if you have to be at a certain place at a certain time - when you wake up, you turn on the commute traffic report.

Driving & parking are both expensive. Parking is limited in SF - plan time to find some.

There is no good solution.
 
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pickles

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Hello everyone!
Just looking for some guidance. I matched at stanford so will be living in palo alto, at least my first year. i'm gonna try for resident housing but if i don't get it, i need to find a place somewhere in palo alto. I'm looking for a place where a lot of things are within walking distance, restaurants, activities, bars, parks. Where would a good location in palo alto be to live? Downtown? I heard something about University Ave. but don't know many details. any help is much appreciated!:)
 

sdn1977

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Hello everyone!
Just looking for some guidance. I matched at stanford so will be living in palo alto, at least my first year. i'm gonna try for resident housing but if i don't get it, i need to find a place somewhere in palo alto. I'm looking for a place where a lot of things are within walking distance, restaurants, activities, bars, parks. Where would a good location in palo alto be to live? Downtown? I heard something about University Ave. but don't know many details. any help is much appreciated!:)

Try looking on rentnet.com and apartments.com. If you google palo alto rentals - they will be listed on the first page.

University Ave is a great place with lots available.....but - Palo Alto is expensive!!!

Good Luck & congrats!
 

teratogen211

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Hey guys... quick question. I'm looking at a property in Mountain View that is around 7 miles from Stanford's hospital. Mapquest tells me the commute involves around 3 miles on alma street, 1.5 miles on el camino, and 1 mile on sand hill...

Would a 7 mile commute to the hospital from Mountain View be terrible? I think I'll be driving there around 6:30 am and leaving the hospital between 5-6pm. I'm not at all familiar with the area, but am from LA where 7 miles can take an eternity... I am hoping that traffic around Stanford isn't as bad!

Any input from anyone familiar with the area would be great... thanks guys!
 

sdn1977

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Hey guys... quick question. I'm looking at a property in Mountain View that is around 7 miles from Stanford's hospital. Mapquest tells me the commute involves around 3 miles on alma street, 1.5 miles on el camino, and 1 mile on sand hill...

Would a 7 mile commute to the hospital from Mountain View be terrible? I think I'll be driving there around 6:30 am and leaving the hospital between 5-6pm. I'm not at all familiar with the area, but am from LA where 7 miles can take an eternity... I am hoping that traffic around Stanford isn't as bad!

Any input from anyone familiar with the area would be great... thanks guys!

Mountain View is a very reasonable distance from Stanford & much less expensive than PA. Are you buying?? If you buy, you need to see it first!

But, the commute you've outlined in the AM will work fine & will probably work for a few weeks, but I think you'll find the "back ways" a bit easier, particularly in the evenings.

You might find it will be less traffic if you take Alma to El Camino to Arboretum & go in that way. There are others as well,, you just need to find the best one for you.

There is a very, very large shopping center between Stanford & El Camino on Sand Hill - Stanford Mall. That's crowded, particularly at Christmas so you'll want to avoid that traffic. Although they have improved Sand Hill Rd recently, it is still the main way into Pasteur Dr to Stanford & Stanford Mall from 280, so I avoid it when I can.

This commute won't take you 7 min, and at 6:30, it will take you 15-20 & in the evening a bit longer. But, its not the endless freeway inching you're familar with in LA - its more the stop lights & lots of business traffic on city streets.

Good luck!
 

LADoc00

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Hey all,

I was wondering if someone could fill me in on the ins/outs of living in the
SF-Bay Area. I'm not from the west coast, but there's a good chance I'll be heading there for internship/residency this year or the next.

Does anyone know if it's at all practical to live in SF but commute to Palo Alto? Or would it be too time-comsuming and congested of a trip? I love SF as a city (having only visited, not lived there), but I really liked some of the other bay area programs (Santa Clara, Stanford). I may want to live in SF but commute out of the city if possible.

Outside of the city, what parts of the bay area have the best singles scene and the most to do outside the hospital?

Thanks in advance for any info. It's amazing how every imaginable practical detail seems to be factoring in to compiling my rank list.

If you live in SF near the Ballpark you can take an express CalTrain to Palo Alto station, then take a bike to SUMC. Santa Clara Valley Med Center would be closest to the station at the Hockey Stadium (SJ Dridon or something like that) and even at express is at least 45min commute.

The biggest problem is how the heck would yoou do it if you didnt have regular hours, the train doesnt run from 12am-5am that Im aware of.

Dont listen to people here who say you can drive it. That is plain dumb. Post call you will run the risk of dying on 280.
 

LADoc00

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Hey guys... quick question. I'm looking at a property in Mountain View that is around 7 miles from Stanford's hospital. Mapquest tells me the commute involves around 3 miles on alma street, 1.5 miles on el camino, and 1 mile on sand hill...

Would a 7 mile commute to the hospital from Mountain View be terrible? I think I'll be driving there around 6:30 am and leaving the hospital between 5-6pm. I'm not at all familiar with the area, but am from LA where 7 miles can take an eternity... I am hoping that traffic around Stanford isn't as bad!

Any input from anyone familiar with the area would be great... thanks guys!

Easy. Depending on which side of El Camino Real you are on, you can zip down surface streets easy to SUMC. No need to get onto 101 or 280.
Traffic around the Med Center isnt bad, its far worse on the other side of campus near downtown PA.

Personally, Im not a fan of living near Stanford or UCSF. Davis, Pasadena and Beverly Glen/BH were far more enjoyable times for me.
 

sponch

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If you're going to be working at SUMC do not live in SF. It's technically possible but you'll be miserable, which would defeat the entire purpose of trying to go to sunny CA in the first place. I would live in or near Mountain View, which is conveniently in the middle of SUMC, SCVMC, the VA, and Kaiser. On the weekends, it's easy to get into SF for night life. And there's plenty of nice restaurants, bars, cultural venues, etc., in the South Bay so you won't be bored during the week.
 

takotsubo

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If you live in SF near the Ballpark you can take an express CalTrain to Palo Alto station, then take a bike to SUMC. Santa Clara Valley Med Center would be closest to the station at the Hockey Stadium (SJ Dridon or something like that) and even at express is at least 45min commute.

The biggest problem is how the heck would yoou do it if you didnt have regular hours, the train doesnt run from 12am-5am that Im aware of.

Dont listen to people here who say you can drive it. That is plain dumb. Post call you will run the risk of dying on 280.


Yep. I agree. I grew u in the Bay Area...do not live in SF if you are working at Stanford. The drive is not something you want to do EVERYDAY.
 

oldtown

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Bay area Born and bred here, and I lived in the city and did quite a bit of commuting to the peninsula for work prior to med school. The SF-Palo Alto drive is do-able IF you have somewhat normal work hours (40-60 hrs per week, normal daytime schedule M-F), and plenty of people do it. As a resident however (especially as an intern) i would not recommend living in the city, as your hours will be anything but normal. you'll want to chill during the minimal freetime you have. The city is better than the south bay any day of the week, but it's just not worth it. plus the weather's better in the south bay, so that's a silver lining.
 

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Hi -

I am starting my residency at Stanford hospital and am trying to find a reasonably priced place to stay near the hospital or Downtown. However, I realize that I would get more for my money if I shared with someone else! Does anyone know of any other residents who are looking to share an apartment or bedroom for the upcoming year? (Or are giving up a good lease soon?) Please PM with any help.

Thanks so much!
 

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Hi -

I am starting my residency at Stanford hospital and am trying to find a reasonably priced place to stay near the hospital or Downtown. However, I realize that I would get more for my money if I shared with someone else! Does anyone know of any other residents who are looking to share an apartment or bedroom for the upcoming year? (Or are giving up a good lease soon?) Please PM with any help.

Thanks so much!

The Housing Forum may have some ads...check there.
 

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Hi everyone.

I'll be a PGY-2 in the ophtho program at Stanford starting July 1. I'll be moving to my new place in downtown Palo Alto on June 23. I'd love to hear from any or all of you as I am new to the west coast and am always looking to make new friends. I'm a fun guy who likes sports, the nightlife scene, and having people over for group dinners. You can PM me.

J
 

LADoc00

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Hi everyone.

I'll be a PGY-2 in the ophtho program at Stanford starting July 1. I'll be moving to my new place in downtown Palo Alto on June 23. I'd love to hear from any or all of you as I am new to the west coast and am always looking to make new friends. I'm a fun guy who likes sports, the nightlife scene, and having people over for group dinners. You can PM me.

J

Ophtho used to be the party department at Stanford. Other than that and occasionally Rads, there really wasnt much social scene amongst the residents that I remember. Many, especially the chicks, hated each other with a passion reserved for vicious sorority girl spats. Of course great entertainment for me.

TIP OF THE DAY: Wednesday night, 10pm-2am drive down El Camino north til you hit Menlo Park. On your right hand side is a place called the BBC, the British Bankers Club. Only on Wed.
 

sdn1977

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Ophtho used to be the party department at Stanford. Other than that and occasionally Rads, there really wasnt much social scene amongst the residents that I remember. Many, especially the chicks, hated each other with a passion reserved for vicious sorority girl spats. Of course great entertainment for me.

TIP OF THE DAY: Wednesday night, 10pm-2am drive down El Camino north til you hit Menlo Park. On your right hand side is a place called the BBC, the British Bankers Club. Only on Wed.

Only Wed???? I kinda like the Tequila Tues....2 for 1. Either have 2 yourself, or bring a friend.
 
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Hey, didn't realize this thread was still going. I'd been lurking here a couple of months ago but had little to add.

How is everyone doing with the whole peninsula thing?

I just moved here for residency at SUMC after having spent my entire adult life (and a good part of my childhood) in Manhattan. I'm living in Palo Alto. It is pretty different. Lots of driving. What are y'all doing to make friends? I found a lot of cool events going on but they are mostly in SF, bleh.
 
H

happytime

How is the Stanford neighborhood for biking? I'm assuming the weather would usually cooperate ...
 
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