San Francisco is known for its high cost of living but there are budget-friendly spots near San Francisco too. San Francisco is a hotspot for both locals and tourists, with tons of entertainment options, cultural sights, beautiful parks, and unique coffee shops and opportunities.

The tech industry in the San Francisco Bay Area is booming, offering plenty of enticing jobs, and attracting a steady stream of young professionals to the region.  There are still some cities in the Bay Area with reasonable rents. 

So to make your life easier, we’ve rounded up a list of the best and most economical spots to live around San Francisco. These suburbs might just be the dreamy, budget-friendly places you’ve been searching for.

Most Affordable Cities Near San Francisco

1. Sacramento

Sacramento

Sacramento has great housing, quality schools, and easy access to fun stuff. The capital of California, Sacramento, sits 88 miles northeast of San Francisco. The weather here is sweet, with mild winters and more than 230 sunny days for outdoor fun.

Sacramento is a relatively affordable place to live, especially compared to other major metropolitan areas in California. The median home price in the Sacramento area is around $525,000, which is significantly lower than the median home price in the Bay Area. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the Sacramento area is around $1,598 (source).

Often called the City of Trees, you get green spaces, parks, and water activities. It’s also known as the Farm-to-Fork capital. It is known for serving up fresh produce at local markets and delicious dishes in its restaurants. If you’re into wine and beer, the local wineries and breweries won’t disappoint. 

In the Sacramento Metro area, you’ve got awesome places like Roseville, Lincoln, El Dorado Hills, and Rancho Murieta. They’re family-friendly and close to Sacramento and highways, so getting to the coast or Lake Tahoe is a breeze. 

Explore California’s top 9 budget-friendly places to live! Live the dream without the high cost.

2. Fresno

Fresno

Fresno, the fifth-largest city in California, is a vibrant place! It’s got a buzzing art scene, loads of fresh produce, and wineries nearby, and it’s super close to Yosemite National Park. A must-visit spot is the RiverPark Center – perfect for some serious shopping followed by a chill dinner and a movie.

Fresno is one of the most affordable places to live in California. The median home price in Fresno is around $350,000. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Fresno is around $1,247, lower than the median rent in the Bay Area of around $3,400 (source).

Fresno has cool attractions like the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and the Island Water Park. And mark your calendar for the Big Fresno Fair, a two-week extravaganza that’s a blast for everyone. Only about 11 miles southeast of downtown Fresno is Fowler, known for its lush vineyards and countryside charm, offering that relaxed small-town life just a stone’s throw away from the city.

Curious about the cost of a California trip? Get a detailed budget breakdown and plan your visit without surprises.

3. Vallejo 

Vallejo 

Vallejo is a city located in Solano County, California, about 30 miles north of San Francisco. It is the largest city in Solano County and is home to over 115,000 people.

Vallejo offers a variety of affordable housing options, including apartments, condos, and single-family homes. The city also has a number of affordable housing programs available to low- and moderate-income residents. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Vallejo is $1,600. Average home prices in Vallejo are $450,000 (source).

The city of Vallejo has a rich history and diverse attractions. It was founded in 1850 and was the capital of California twice, in 1852 and 1853. It is home to a number of historical landmarks such as the Mare Island Naval Shipyard and the Empress Theatre.

Vallejo is also a popular destination for shopping and dining. The city has a variety of stores and restaurants, including both national chains and local businesses. Vallejo is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. The city offers a variety of amenities and attractions, as well as a relatively affordable cost of living.

4. San Pablo

San Pablo

San Pablo is a city in Contra Costa County. It is an enclave city, meaning that it is completely surrounded by the city of Richmond. San Pablo has a population of over 30,000 people and is a diverse community, with residents from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

San Pablo is a relatively affordable place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Pablo is $1,700, which is lower than the median rent in the Bay Area as a whole. San Pablo is also a relatively affordable place to buy a home with prices averaging $475,000 (source).

San Pablo is home to a variety of businesses and industries, including manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. The city is also a major transportation hub, with access to Interstate 80, BART, and Amtrak.

5. Concord

Concord

Concord is a city in Contra Costa County. It is located about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco and 15 miles east of Oakland. Concord is the third most populous city in the East Bay region, after Oakland and Fremont.

Concord is a relatively affordable place to live in the San Francisco Bay Area. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Concord is $2,000. Buying a house here will cost you an average of $600,000 (source).

You’ve got awesome parks, like the Todos Santos Plaza, which hosts events and farmers’ markets. Plus, there’s Lime Ridge Open Space for nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts. If you’re into history, the Markham Regional Arboretum Society and Gardens is a beautiful spot to explore.

The city has a good mix of urban and suburban vibes, offering a variety of dining options and shopping centers. With Bay Area Rapid Transit connections, it’s easy to get around and head to nearby cities or even San Francisco. Concord’s a solid spot for folks looking for a blend of community, amenities, and a convenient location in the Bay Area. 

6. Alameda

Alameda

Alameda is located in the eastern San Francisco Bay Area. It is an island city which is a relatively affordable place to live in the Bay Area. You have a variety of amenities and attractions to enjoy here too.

One of the biggest draws to Alameda is its highly-rated public schools. The city is home to some of the best schools in the Bay Area, including Alameda High School, Encinal High School, and Alameda Community Learning Center. This makes Alameda a great place to live for families with children.

In Alameda City, the median home price sits at around $1,182,208. If you’re on the hunt for a one-bedroom apartment, the median rent you’re looking at is about $2,495 (source). It’s a city where the housing market tends to lean toward the higher side, but lower than San Francisco overall.

Alameda also has a beautiful year-round climate. With warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters, the average temperature in Alameda ranges from 55 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer. This makes Alameda a great place to enjoy outdoor activities year-round.

You will get access to a number of family-friendly parks, including Crown Memorial State Beach, and Alameda Point Park. These parks offer a variety of activities, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing, picnicking, and playing on the playground.

Alameda is a truly unique city with something to offer everyone. Whether you are looking for a place to raise a family, enjoy the outdoors, or find a delicious meal, Alameda is a great place to call home.

7. Oakland 

Oakland

Oakland is a city in Alameda County, California, located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. It is the third most populous city in the Bay Area, after San Francisco and San Jose. Oakland is a relatively affordable place to live in the Bay Area, and it offers a variety of amenities and attractions.

In Oakland, the median home price is around $875,000. If you’re looking at a median rent of about $2,800 (source). It’s a vibrant city with a diverse culture and a booming arts scene. The housing costs, while a bit more affordable than neighboring areas like San Francisco. 

The city is home to people from all over the world, and this diversity is reflected in its culture, food, and music. Oakland is also a very safe city, with a crime rate that is lower than the national average.

Oakland is a great place to live for people who are looking for an affordable place to live near Silicon Valley. The city is just a 40-minute drive from San Francisco, and it has a number of major tech companies located within its borders, including Pandora Media and Kaiser Permanente.

Oakland is also a great place to live for people who enjoy the outdoors. The city has a number of parks and recreation areas, including Tilden Regional Park, Chabot Space & Science Center, and Angel Island. Oakland is also a popular destination for cyclists and road trippers.

Indulge in California’s iconic dishes! Dive into a delicious journey through the state’s famous foods.

8. Modesto

Modesto

Modesto is a city in the Central Valley of California, about 100 miles southeast of San Francisco. It is the county seat of Stanislaus County and is home to over 220,000 people. Modesto is a relatively affordable place to live, with a median home price of around $450,000 and a median rent for a one-bedroom apartment of around $1,400 (source).

Modesto is known for its agricultural industry and its many orchards and vineyards. The city is also home to a number of businesses and industries, including manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. Modesto is also a major transportation hub, with access to Interstate 5 and Highway 99.

Modesto is also home to a number of colleges and universities, including California State University and Modesto Junior College.

Modesto is a great place to live, work, and raise a family. The city offers a variety of affordable housing options, a variety of amenities and attractions, and a relatively easy commute to the Bay Area.

Modesto is a diverse city with something to offer everyone. Whether you are interested in arts, history, nature, or recreation, you will find something to enjoy in Modesto.

9. Merced

Merced

Merced, situated in the San Joaquin Valley, lies around 120 miles south of San Francisco. It’s a reasonably affordable city, with a median home price circling $200,000 and a median rent for a one-bedroom apartment at approximately $900 (source).

This city boasts attractions like the Applegate Park Zoo, Merced County Museum, and the Merced Theatre. Outdoor enthusiasts thrive here with plenty of options for hiking, biking, and fishing.

Known for its agricultural industry, Merced flourishes with numerous farms and vineyards. It’s not just about agriculture; the city houses various businesses spanning manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. With easy access to Highway 99 and Highway 580, it’s a significant transportation hub.

Merced is a fantastic place to call home, work, and raise a family. Offering a range of affordable housing choices, diverse amenities, and easy connections to the Bay Area. It’s a city that ticks many boxes for a comfortable and fulfilling lifestyle. 

Conclusion

Ultimately, the best city for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. If you are looking for the most affordable option, Vallejo and San Pablo are great choices. If you are looking for a city that is closer to San Francisco and has more amenities, Oakland is a good option. 

So this was our list of the most affordable cities to live near San Francisco. Any of these cities will give you a chance to live the Californian dream while also being easy on the wallet. So choose wisely before moving as you’ll have a lot of planning to do beforehand! Do extensive research so that you know which city aligns with your preferences!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the average rental prices in affordable areas?

Rental prices vary, but in more budget-friendly neighborhoods, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment can range from $2,000 to $3,000 per month.

What factors contribute to the high cost of living in San Francisco?

The high cost of living in San Francisco is influenced by factors such as the robust job market, limited housing supply, high demand, and the city’s popularity as a cultural and tech hub.

Share the Post: