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San Ramon – Suburban Jewel of the Bay Area
San Ramon is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, and is located 34 miles east of San Francisco.
More importantly, San Ramon is home to Boomcycle Digital Marketing! Well, perhaps not more importantly, but…we digress.
San Ramon’s earliest beginnings as a proper city trace back to when Southern Pacific Railroad opened its San Ramon station in 1891. The city of San Ramon was incorporated nearly one hundred years later, in 1983.
In 2018, San Ramon’s population was estimated to be just under 76,000 people, making it the fourth largest city in Contra Costa County, behind Richmond, Concord and Antioch.
San Ramon’s largest business and retail park is Bishop Ranch. Bishop Ranch is home to the brand new City Center Bishop Ranch, Chevron Corporation, 24 Hour Fitness, the West Coast headquarters of AT&T, the Global Software Center of General Electric, and the San Ramon Medical Center.
The San Ramon Art and Wind Festival is held annually on Memorial Day weekend. The Run for Education is held annually in October.
City of San Ramon & City Hall
The city of San Ramon is managed from its headquarters in City Hall, at 7000 Bollinger Canyon Road.
City Hall is a newly built facility, features ample parking, and is easily accessible to all residents and persons wishing to do research or conduct business with the city.
The contemporary, two-story City Hall houses the City’s Council Chamber, public meeting rooms, offices, and a very spacious lobby. It is located next to Central Park, a skateboarding ramp and just east of the beautiful new City Center at Bishop Ranch.
It is said that City Hall is so nice, it even makes the many board meetings tolerable.
San Ramon Residents Resource
The amazing San Ramon Residents section of the city’s website is a wonderful resource where you can find out things like jobs offered by the city, recreation and library information, garbage collection and general clean-up information.
The Residents section is a great resource for people interested in finding out more about the area in which they live, or moving to this safe, prosperous and clean Bay Area city.
Population Density of San Ramon
San Ramon is currently the 478th largest city in the United States. That sounds a lot bigger than the city feels!
The population density was recently estimated to be nearly 4000 residents per square mile. This number doesn’t impart the feeling that you get from living here.
There are clusters of homes in specific areas, but lots of wide open spaces for recreation: walking, biking and jogging.
San Ramon Real Estate
Real estate is San Ramon is pricey, when compared with general real estate prices in the rest of the country. For California, and especially in the East Bay Area, the real estate prices in San Ramon are attractive to Silicon Valley commuters and people looking for the great quality of life that suburban areas like San Ramon offer.
Currently, the market is still competitive, meaning, there are typically not many homes that stay on the market for very long in San Ramon.
However, recent trends show that the area is becoming more affordable, as prices have cooled off from their peak a few years back.
The average home price as of this writing is $829K, nearly a 9% decline from the same period last year, according to the real estate resource Redfin.
As most residents are home owners, generally speaking there are not a great number of homes for rent in San Ramon.
Points of Interest in San Ramon, CA
The hub of commerce in San Ramon is most certainly the office and retail park, Bishop Ranch. The beginnings of Bishop Ranch trace back to one of the area’s earliest divorce cases. Lawyer Thomas Bishop served as counsel in the separation of a Mr. and Mrs. Norris in 1891. Mr. Bishop was compensated for his troubles with 960 acres of temperate farm land. In the years to follow, Bishop and his family grew Bishop Ranch with pear trees, walnut groves and sheep.
When the 680 freeway was built in the mid-1970s, San Ramon suddenly became a viable place to run big business.
A plucky young upstart named Western Electric bought the entirety of Bishop Ranch, and even proposed the creation of a “model city” with master-planned parks, integrated housing, retail stores and more. The idea was to mark the transition from agricultural area to a new era of expansion and development.
What actually happened was that Bishop Ranch became a hub of corporate commerce, with Chevron, AT&T and 24-Hour Fitness smartly making their defacto headquarters in the area. Large companies took a great deal of the available office space, but smart and smaller companies too thrived.
Naturally, residents of the Tri-Valley area would much rather “commute” to nearby San Ramon than drive all the way out to Silicon Valley, where a two hour commute each way in grinding traffic is the modern normal.
In the 1990s, a new shopping center opened at Bollinger Canyon Road and 680. This new retail space was anchored by a large Target “Greatland”, and the nascent beginnings for the vision for Bishop Ranch began to take root.
City Center Bishop Ranch
The “model city” vision finally came into being in late 2018, with the grand opening of the City Center Bishop Ranch. The City Center Bishop Ranch is a multi-story collection of retail, entertainment and dining, with a large multi-purpose courtyard and kid’s play water feature as its centerpiece.
Currently, the City Center is home to notables including The LOT Cinema & Restaurant, Delarosa Italian, Equinox Fitness, Williams Sonoma, West Elm, Pottery Barn, Fieldwork Brewing Company, Slanted Door, George Pet Accessories and many more.
With the opening of the City Center, San Ramon can at long last be considered to have a center.
Crow Canyon & Crow Canyon Road
Crow Canyon Road is a handy little cut-through road that goes between San Ramon and Castro Valley, bypassing the usual nightmare of the 580 east or west, depending on which side of the commute you’re on.
Crow Canyon Road is a fairly relaxing drive, as it usually has a decent amount of traffic itself, and therefore speeds are not too high on this stretch of road. There are many interesting farms and side roads, including the beautiful Norris Canyon Road, which takes a slightly southerly route, and climbs up to reveal some of the most beautiful scenery in San Ramon.
Crow Canyon Road also sports several equestrian access points such as the Graceland Equestrian Center, from which you can take lessons and rides up into the hills overlooking San Ramon to the east.
Bollinger Canyon Road
Bollinger Canyon Road is a major thoroughfare through San Ramon, as it cuts from west to east and roughly bisects Bishop Ranch.
No clear data seems to exist as to the exact date this road was built, but the original Bollinger Canyon Road stopped at the Club Sport at the top of the easternmost hill.
In the early 2000s, Bollinger Canyon Road was extended far east, and a new shopping center, anchored by a Safeway, appeared at the corner of Bollinger and Dougherty Valley Roads.
Schools in San Ramon
San Ramon Valley Unified School District – SRVUSD
The San Ramon Valley Unified School District includes Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, San Ramon, Dougherty Valley, as well as a small part of the of Walnut Creek and Pleasanton.
The SRVUSD has 36 schools serving more than thirty-two thousand students from Kindergarten through grade 12.
The District has an annual operating budget of over $337 million, and receives more than $17 million per year in private donations(!), and approximately $6.9 million per year from a local parcel tax (where does all that extra money come from?) Local residents pay for these schools with their taxes.
It is a well-funded, higher-end school district and a great place for kids to get a top-flight education.
There are eight middle schools in San Ramon, encompassing grades six through eight. These schools include Charlotte Wood, Diablo Vista, Gale Ranch, Iron Horse, Los Cerros, Pine Valley, Stone Valley, and the newest, Windemere Ranch.
Most of these schools feature a very nice 12-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, insuring that all students receive plenty of individual instruction from the teachers.
California High School
California High School, or “Cal High”, as most around here call it, was the original high school built in the city of San Ramon. Cal High is one of four public high schools in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
Cal High began in 1973 in a community then known as San Ramon Village.
The school was built with an “open classroom” concept. The four main pods and called Coast Pod, Desert Pod, Mountain Pod, and Valley Pod.
The four pods clustered around a center which housed the library upstairs and science rooms below. This is a similar concept to Northgate High School in Walnut Creek, where the classrooms surround a center library and administrative offices.
San Ramon Library
Major Businesses in San Ramon
Chevron Corporation is a giant global energy provider. Chevron is headquartered on a 92-acre campus in San Ramon. Chevron is incorporated in California, and active in nearly 200 countries worldwide.
It’s probably fair to say that Chevron powers San Ramon. In 2019, Chevron ranked eleventh in the Fortune 500 list of the top US corporations, and 28th on the Fortune 500 list for the entire world.
Chevron’s business is energy: oil, natural gas, and geothermal. Chevron also focuses on exploration and production of hyrdrocarbons, and refines, markets and transports same.
While dwarfed by comparison to Chevron, the 24-Hour Fitness headquarters is nonetheless a major source of economic prosperity in San Ramon.
Though their website hasn’t been updated since 2014 (they should look into that!), this 30-year-old company sports over four million members who haunt 430 clubs across the United States.
San Ramon Country Club
The San Ramon Country Club, or San Ramon Golf Club, its official title, is a beautiful 18-hole championship public golf course which winds through the sleepy neighborhoods just off the 680 freeway and Alcosta Boulevard.
Known for its exceptional greens, this meticulously manicured and smooth-rolling course is challenging but fun to play, and rewards the skilled and amateur golfer.
Play time is generally less than 4.5 hours.
The golf course features easy walking, though power carts are also available for rent.
Bridges Golf Course
The fabulous and scenic Bridges Golf Course is one of the hidden jewels of San Ramon.
In addition to the wonderful course itself, Bridges features a beautiful wedding reception and ceremony facility.
The Bridges Golf Course also offers instruction, tournaments, a lighted driving range, online tee scheduling, an elegant private event venue, as well as a restaurant and bar for guests. A wonderful, relaxing afternoon can be spent sipping a cocktail while enjoying the sunset from the scenic porch.
Wedding receptions at Bridges, complete with flashing DJ lights, can often be seen on just about any night of the week when driving east on Bollinger.
Response to Coronavirus & COVID-19
The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic brought San Ramon to a lengthy, if temporary, halt, as it did every other city, state and community around the world.
San Ramon residents were told they could go outside for exercise. However playgrounds, the wonderful dog parks, public picnic areas, the aforementioned golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, and pools were closed.
Only members of the same household were allowed to play sports sharing the same equipment,. How that rule was enforced is anyone’s guess.
The shelter-in-place order had a crushing effect on San Ramon businesses, and the City Center Bishop Ranch became a temporary ghost town.
A relatively small number of coronavirus cases were reported in San Ramon, as the majority of residents dutifully kept their social distance.
The San Ramon Valley
The San Ramon Valley is a colloquialism for the area between the Oakland Hills to the west, and the Diablo mountain range to the east.
The total population of the San Ramon Valley is approximately 130,000 residents. Naturally, the city of San Ramon and the southern tip of Walnut Creek are located in the San Ramon Valley, as are the localities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Camino Tassajara and Diablo.
The town of Danville is also located in this region. People in Danville get upset when you call the area a “city” — it is a town. So they say.
Interstate 680 is the major freeway that bisects the San Ramon Valley.
The Dougherty Valley roughly describes the area east of Alcosta Boulevard. It is essentially the large land mass over the first foothills to the east of the 680 freeway, and is in close proximity to both Bishop Ranch and Hacienda Business Parks.
Dougherty Valley is situated between developed areas in San Ramon to the west, developing areas in East Dublin to the south, the Sycamore Valley and west side developments in San Ramon and the Town of Danville to the north.
There are major regional parks and permanent open space along its borders.
San Ramon – Nearby Areas
The Town of Danville
The Town of Danville is a beautiful and tranquil enclave to the north of San Ramon. It contrasts with San Ramon primarily in its well-planned downtown, lush vegetation and varied topography throughout, with many small hills and valleys.
Home prices in Danville reflect the more charming, tranquil, “home town” feel, and can be easily 20% higher, just because of the boundaries.
The downtown area of Danville retains a true, olde-tymey feel, with perennial local favorites like Dan’s Bar and Meenar’s among some of the favorite watering holes.
Restaurants come and go, and are usually quite tasty, leaving one wondering: what happened? For a real treat, try Piatti in the Livery.
Diablo is what’s known as a “CDP”, or census-designated place, east-northeast of the Town of Danville.
To locals, it’s primarily a left turn off of Diablo Road, wherein one can enjoy the beautiful Country Club and hey, even a post office!