Best Neighbourhoods For New Families
There’s a lot more to consider when taking your young children to a new country than just the standard of the schooling. Finding the right neighbourhood to live in can determine not only who your children’s friends are but also how occupied they’re kept, how healthy they are, how happy their parents are, and even how much time you get to spend with them.
Here are what we consider the top ten neighbourhoods for young families among our most popular destination cities.
Park Slope, Brooklyn
Now that’s shaken off its reputation as a ‘bad area’ there’s nowhere better for a young family in NYC than Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighbourhood.
The proximity to Prospect Park - 585 acres of landscaped greenery which includes several playgrounds, a zoo and a lake - is the biggest plus-point. Others include PS. 321 (one of the city’s best regarded elementary schools), child-friendly restaurants and a large selection of youngster-themed shops; foremost among which is the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
Crystal Palace, London
Now that it’s connected not just to central London by a commuter train but also to the media mecca of Shoreditch by the new overground line, Crystal Palace is seeing a huge influx of young families looking to take advantage of affordable house prices, green spaces and good collection of schools. With a slightly bohemian vibe that ensures access to vintage stores and yoga classes, Crystal Palace also has a packed schedule of groups and activities for young children.
Lying just 10km from the Melbourne CBD and connected to the city by a speedy tram service, Elsternwick is an understated suburb. Quiet yet cosmopolitan, hipster-free but not daggy, close to the city but good for families. There are a ton of schools both public and private to choose from, excellent shopping facilities, a 37 hectare park, colonial-era estate and gardens, bagels galore, and the beach is just a 5 minute drive away.
Dundarave, West Vancouver
This picturesque seaside community isn’t part of the Vancouver Metropolitan area proper but is only a 20 minute drive away from the city centre over the Lions Gate Bridge. What you get in return for that commute are sandy beaches, prime fishing spots and upwards of twenty schools including some of British Columbia’s top rated elementary schools. You also get to live on the doorstep of some the province’s most breathtaking scenery and a head start on the trip up to Whistler, where you can get the tots skiing like pros before they can even string a sentence together.
Like Eslternwick in Melbourne, Glenelg is another suburb that’s close to the coast and about 10km from the CBD. But unlike it’s Victoria counterpart this South Australian ‘burb is a popular holiday resort as well as a great place for young children.
The old amusement parks are gone now - the resorts heyday was back in the 1930s - but the beautiful old trams remain, as does the jetty, the long, white, sandy beaches and the dolphins of Holdfast Bay.
A district of Berlin composed of two historic neighbourhoods, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf was the home of the Prussian/Brandenburg Royals for over a hundred years and still bears the hallmarks of a regal neighbourhood. The Charlottenburg Palace is merely the most ostentatious of these upmarket signifiers - others include high-end boutiques, five star restaurants and expensive hotels. The atmosphere is thus quiet, reserved, family-friendly, seemingly a million miles away from the nightlife of Kreuzberg. Several bilingual schools make this area an excellent choice for expats with young children, as long as the high rents don’t price you out.
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The Thalwil municipality in the district of Horgen in the Canton of Zurich is a popular choice for expat families relocating to German speaking Switzerland. The main draw is the proximity to the Zurich International School: a 10 minute drive away in Wädenswil; it’s close enough to utilise but not close enough to push property prices through the roof. Located on the western shores of Lake Zurich, Thalwil offers fantastic views, total tranquility and a mere 12 minute drive to the city centre.
Latin Quarter, Paris
Once a bustling student neighbourhood, the 5th arrondissement of Paris has now become a bit too expensive for many students and intellectuals but still maintains a slightly bohemian feel.
With stunning architectural features, a thriving cafe scene and Paris’s most famous English language bookstore for the grown ups, this neighbourhood in the heart of the City of Light also boasts an impressive array of distractions for children. The Menagerie at the Jardin des Plantes is the star attraction.
San Cugat, Barcelona
Sant Cugat del Valles, to give it its full name, is separated from the city by the Collserola mountain range and so has a much quieter, more serene vibe than Barcelona proper. The open spaces, greenery and views, a town where you can buy all you might need, and an international school mean that you could get by without ever taking the ferrocarril (regional train) into the metropolis. But if you do need to, it only takes twenty-five minutes.
Mission Bay, Auckland
Beautiful beaches, big parks, a million outdoor activities to keep the little ones occupied. Mission Bay, a coastal suburb of Auckland, has much to offer a young family in search of healthy lifestyles, safe neighbourhoods and excellent primary education. There’s an excellent selection of restaurants to keep mum and dad happy and with the drive to the city centre only taking 13 minutes there’s no need for the main breadwinner to miss the best parts of their children’s days.