Moving to or within the Bay Area? The small city of Lafayette, CA is a hidden gem near Oakland in the East Bay area. Lafayette is an amazing place to live and is known for a thriving downtown area, good schools, and excellent weather. It’s also a commutable distance to San Francisco and Oakland with its own BART station!
Lafayette was settled in 1848 and named for American Revolutionary War officer Marquis de Lafayette. It wasn’t until the 1960s that the area was officially incorporated. This mirrors when the town was transformed from a small agricultural community to a bedroom city of San Francisco.
Here’s everything you’ll love about living in Lafayette, California and how it lives up to its motto: Green Hills, Great Schools!
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Where Is Lafayette, CA?
Lafayette is in Contra Costa County, California about 14 miles northeast of Oakland and 23 miles out of San Francisco. The city is in the East Bay hills area of the San Francisco Bay Area. Together with its neighbors, Orinda, Martinez, and Walnut Creek, it forms an area called Lamorinda by locals.
Lafayette is separated from greater Berkeley and Oakland by the Caldecott Tunnel and the Berkeley Hills. It’s served by the BART Lafayette Station, a huge perk for commuters.
Lafayette Population & Demographics
The population of Lafayette is 25,391 according to the 2020 census, up from 23,893 in 2010. It’s part of the San Francisco Bay Area with a metropolitan population of more than 7.7 million.
Lafayette, CA is a very affluent community with a median household income of $188,140. That’s more than double the California median and much higher than the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley area of $110,900. The city is also highly educated: more than 73% of residents hold at least a bachelor’s degree!
Additional Lafayette demographics:
- Median age: 45.5
- Sex ratio: 51 females to 49 males over 18
- Educational attainment: 73% bachelor’s degree or higher
- Foreign-born population: 15.4%
- Homeownership rate: 71%
- Racial and ethnic composition: 76% non-Hispanic white, 10% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 6% two or more races, and 1% Black or African American
Olympic athlete Natalie Coughlin, NBA coach Michael Malone, and professional golfer Brando Harkins are Lafayette natives.
Lafayette, CA is a very safe place to live. It has 56% less crime than the national average and 86% less violent crime! The Lafayette crime rate is just 1,024 crimes per 100,000 people with 56 violent crimes per 100,000. By comparison, California has 442 violent crimes per 100,000 on average.
The city is served by the Lafayette Police Department which has 19 officers on staff.
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Cost of Living in Lafayette CA
The Lafayette cost of living index is 287.9. That means it’s almost 3x more expensive than the national average and far more expensive than average for even California which has a cost of living index of 150.
How much does it cost to live in Lafayette CA? According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four needs to make about $159,013 per year for a modest, comfortable lifestyle. Expect to spend $3,553 on housing per month, $1,109 on food, $1,798 on childcare, $1,481 on healthcare, $1,152 on transportation.
Housing is the biggest factor that makes living in Lafayette so expensive. The median home price in Lafayette is $1,940,000. The average monthly rent cost in Lafayette is $2,993 according to RentCafe. You can take a look at Lafayette, CA homes for sale here to get an idea of what’s within your budget.
Lafayette Typical Monthly Living Expenses
- Average Lafayette utilities: $221.19
- Gallon of Milk: $5.64
- Eggs: $5.15
- Gasoline: $6.23
- Fitness club per month: $101.27
- Jeans: $64.44
It may be small, but there are several distinct neighborhoods in Lafayette. The many smaller communities in Lafayette are divided into four main neighborhoods:
- Happy Valley is popular with families and home to the elementary school. The community jewel is the Lafayette Reservoir Recreation area, and 6,200-acre Briones Regional Park is just north of the neighborhood.
- Reliez Valley boasts a rural environment with pastures and open space.
- Burton Valley offers lots of open space and it’s popular with hikers and dog owners. There are several popular developments in the valley including Los Pallos and Lafayette Valley Estates.
- Downtown Lafayette is a walkable place to live and home to schools and Restaurant Row on Mt. Diablo Boulevard.
Lafayette Climate | What’s the Weather Like in Lafayette CA?
Lafayette has a Mediterranean climate. Weather can be dramatically different here in the East Bay area from Bay Area cities west of the Berkeley Hills mountain range. Summers are long, arid, and mostly clear but morning fog is somewhat common. Temperatures can exceed a sweltering 100 °F when the western part of the Bay Area is up to 20 °F cooler. July is the hottest month with an average high of 87 °F but a record high of 117 °F!
Winters are wet, cloudy, and short. Lafayette gets 24” of annual rainfall, mostly in the winter. The coldest month is January with an average daily temperature of 39 to 54 °F.
Things to Do in Lafayette CA
Lafayette is a gorgeous, green city surrounded by oak tree-covered hills and forested parks. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the San Francisco Bay and a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You’ll find no shortage of activities to enjoy like hiking, horseback riding, and swimming. Lafayette also offers excellent shopping at La Fiesta Square, Whole Foods Market, and many upscale boutique shops.
Here are just some ideas for what to do in Lafayette, California!
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to walk around and get your steps in, the Lafayette Reservoir is an excellent option. The reservoir sits in a park which is a great place to explore with your family. There are many hiking trails, plus the opportunity to boat and picnic.
3849 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549 925-284-9669
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Do you enjoy gardening and an opportunity to connect with your community? If so, consider joining the Lafayette Community Garden. This center offers plots used for sustainable gardens. There are also tours two times a week during the growing season, so you can look at the area.
If you’re an experienced hiker, you will adore the Lafayette Ridge Trail. This moderately difficult trail takes you to the top of Russell Peak. From there, you’ll get gorgeous views of Briones Regional Park, Mount Diablo, and even Lafayette itself. You can bring your dog on this trail if you’d like.
Additional attractions in Lafayette, CA:
Best Restaurants in Lafayette CA
Lafayette has a booming restaurant scene along Mt Diablo Blvd, also known as Restaurant Row. You’re sure to find something that you’ll love after moving to Lafayette. The city has an excellent balance of places where you can grab a quick bite and those where you’ll sit down for an elaborate dinner, so choose appropriately. Whether you’re looking for American favorites, Italian or otherwise, Lafayette has a host of delicious eateries that will satisfy your hunger.
Here are some of the best restaurants the city has to offer.
- The Hideout Kitchen & Cafe: There’s a reason this restaurant has hundreds of five-star reviews on Google; it really is that good. This relaxed cafe serves delightful American comfort dishes and offers a stylish yet comfortable vibe. 3406 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549 925-900-8861
- The Cooperage American Grille: Locals call this spot ‘The Coop.’ If meat is a big part of your diet, you should try this beloved Grille. Some of the menu highlights include the burgers, steak, and rotisserie chicken. The grille boasts a pleasant outdoor area and is known for its polished decor. 32 Lafayette Cir, Lafayette, CA 94549 925-298-5915
- Postino Restaurant: If you’re on the hunt for the perfect restaurant for a special occasion (think: a birthday, anniversary, or other big event), look no further than Postino restaurant. This is one of Lafayette’s most posh restaurants. It serves tasty Italian food in an intimate setting with fireplaces and exposed bricks. 3565 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549 925-299-8700
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Jobs in Lafayette
Many people living in Lafayette work in Oakland or San Francisco, a prospect made easier thanks to the city’s BART station. There are employment opportunities within the city too. You can start a search for Lafayette, CA jobs on Indeed to get an idea of what’s available.
According to Payscale, the average salary in Lafayette is $76,000 or $22.45 per hour.
Lafayette CA Schools
If you’re moving to Lafayette CA with school aged children, you are probably interested in the quality of the schools. You’ll be happy to learn Lafayette is known for its outstanding school district! Students attend the Lafayette School District, a highly rated district with schools ranked in the top 100 in California!
You can also pursue a private education. There are many quality private schools in Lafayette including Meher School, Contra Costa Jewish Day School, and St Perpetua School.
Lafayette Statistics & Information
- Lafayette county: Contra Costa
- Area: 15.21 sq mi
- Lafayette zip codes: 94549, 94556, 94563
- Area code: 925
- Elevation: 320’
- Time Zone: PST (UTC-8)
- Closest airport to Lafayette, CA: Concord Airport (CCR), 7.7 miles
Map of Lafayette, CA
Get a taste of everything this gorgeous city close to the coast offers.
Moving to Lafayette? We’re Ready to Help!
Lafayette’s proximity to San Francisco and Oakland and gorgeous setting in the green East Bay hills makes it one of the best places to live in the Bay Area.Are you ready to experience the Lafayette CA lifestyle for yourself? Give our Lafayette movers a call at 650-284-2931 for a free quote.