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Things You Should Know Before Moving to Richmond, CA

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It was the backdrop for scenes in Forever Young and Patch Adams films, and was founded and incorporated in 1905. Located in the eastern part of the San Franscisco Bay area, the 53 square-mile California city of Richmond offers history, many different types of wildlife, sunshine and variety of activities for a new resident.

Is Richmond a top city on your potential relocation list? If so, take a look at the following guide for helpful information and tips to help make your decision on whether or not to move to this exciting western city!

Richmond Climate

Richmond is located on the East Bay of California near San Francisco and enjoys a Mediterranean climate with hot, drier summers and mild winters. Temperatures generally range from the mid 50s to high 70s year-round, but Richmond's climate is not consistent in all parts of the city, due to some parts being further inland, while other parts are closer to the bay.

September is usually the hottest month, with higher temperatures inland, and the sun shines for approximately 10 months collectively out of the year. October through April is when the most rain occurs, averaging about four inches per month.

Richmond Neighborhoods

Richmond is divided into smaller areas like Northern Hilltop/El Sobrante, Eastern Central/East Richmond, Downtown/Iron Triangle and Southern Point Richmond/Marina Bay.

Iron Triangle, that gets its name from the nearby railroad tracks that form a triangle around the neighborhood, is mostly residential but includes Richmond's downtown business district. Iron Triangle is the center of the city, Richmond's downtown area, which has many commercial and retail stores and upscale homes, bungalows and villas for those wishing to cut their commutes working in the city.

For more upscale living options, check out Marina Bay, with apartment complexes, condominiums, townhouses and single family houses all on the water front and protected by Richmond's Inner Harbor. Homes in the area are currently priced anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000.

To experience a small-town feel, head out to Point Richmond, more commonly known as "The Point," filled with many historic buildings and retail shopping including surviving mom-and-pop stores.

Registering Your Car

In order to avoid any penalties after you've moved to Richmond, you must register your vehicle within 20 days of entry or residency, according to the state of California's DMV website. You will need an application for Title or Registration signed by the owner as they appear on the out of state title, the last issued out of state title, smog and weight certification (if applicable) and money for any fees or taxes. The vehicle must be also inspected by the DMV.

Upon moving to California, you have 10 days to acquire a California driver's license. You will need to complete application form DL 44, give a thumbprint, have your picture taken, and provide your full name and social security number. You must also pay the application fee, pass a vision exam and pass a traffic laws and signs test.

Richmond Schools

West Contra Costa Unified School District serves the city for public education. It is comprised of 68 schools in total, with four high schools, six middle schools, one K-8 school, almost 40 elementary schools and a number of charter schools.

There are no colleges or universities directly in Richmond, but some notable colleges in the area include: Contra Costa College (San Pablo), California College of the Arts (Oakland), University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University and the San Francisco Art Institute.

Richmond Employment

The economy in Richmond is fueled by a number of different industries from petrochemical, to education, to health care and government. Recently, the city has made a name for itself in the retail industry with additions like the Macdonald 80 Shopping Center, Hilltop Mall, Costco and various other department stores in the area. Some of the largest employers in 2012 were: Chevron, West Contra Costa Unified School District, Social Security Administration, Kaiser Permanente, Dicon Fiberoptics and the City of Richmond.

The unemployment rate as of March 2013 was at a high 12.8 percent, but lower than the 14 percent rate in previous months. Be sure to check out your employment opportunities before packing up and heading straight out to the city.

Living Costs in the City

No matter where you are in California, the cost of living is usually significantly higher than the national average, and Richmond is not much different, so be prepared for your bills to increase. The overall cost of living is over 30 percent higher than the national average, while housing costs can be close to double that. Sales tax is nine percent, and the average house price ranges from $250,000 to $700,000, but there are many homes that exceed $1 million in the area.

If you rent, expect to pay upwards of $1,000 per month for a single bedroom apartment, not including utilities. As of early 2013, the city has adopted an initiative to supply green energy and replace its current electrical company, so you should expect to see a slight increase in your energy bill because of this.

Richmond Moving Resources

Moving and storage companies can get you prepared for your move to Richmond, whether you're moving from out of state or from another county in California. Make sure you get estimates from multiple moving services before you commit to hiring any (at least three estimates). Check back to our guides for tips on how to choose your moving service wisely with important questions to ask, differentiating between types of estimates, and mistakes to avoid. Visit the following pages at Movers.com to get quotes for the following services:

Richmond Transportation

Whether it's by rail, bus, ferry, personal car or your own two feet, there's plenty of ways to get around this California city. Use Amtrak for intercity rail service from Oakland through Richmond to the Central Valley through Stockton and Fresno. The Bay Area Regional Transit (BART) has a station in Richmond, too.

AC Transit provides numerous bus lines throughout the city, including a service across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. The commuter ferry service is based out of the Richmond Ferry Terminal and travels to the San Francisco Ferry Building on weekdays. You can also take a special ferry to the Giants Ballpark during baseball season.

For biking, you will have almost 17 miles of biking trails currently in existence, with many more paths and trails under construction.

If you drive, the main highways for commuters are: interstate 80, Interstate 580, Richmond Parkway and State Route 123. Smaller roads include Macdonald Avenue, Cutting Boulevard and 23rd Street.

Culture & Contemporary Life

If you somehow tire of exploring and picnicking in the endless parks and trails located within Richmond, don't worry - you'll still have plenty to do! Visit the SS Red Oak Victory Ship, a World War II wartime vessel or The Plunge, the city's natatorium, or even browse through the quaint shops at Point Richmond.

For cultural experiences, catch a show at The Masquers Playhouse or learn about model railroads at the Golden State Railroad Museum. Do you own a dog? Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is the largest dog park in the U.S. that allows pets to run freely without a leash.

The city is also home to various celebrations throughout the year, like Juneteenth and Cinco De Mayo, and partakes in a number of activities for Independence Day and Earth Day.

Richmond Relocation Tips

  • The cost of living in California is generally much higher than the rest of the U.S., so plan your move carefully and research job opportunities well in advance so you can have employment when you get there.


  • Most Richmond public schools have banned junk food and soda in an effort to combat childhood obesity, so keep this in mind when enrolling any children in their new school.


  • Get fit, new Californian! Richmond is cyclist and walker friendly, with plenty of park trails and bike paths throughout the city.

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on June 7, 2013

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