I've lived in Martinez for over 20 years and Pleasant Hill for 15 years. What I like about living in historical downtown Martinez are the old custom homes, and the proximity to the water and the weather it brings. I currently live in a house that was built in 1926 on the old Christian Brothers land, which became available after they move to Napa. Regarding the weather, the coolest weather will be experienced North of Highway 4. My current residence is walking distance to downtown, which is less than quarter mile from the Carquinez Straits. This brings nice breezes which helps it cool down when is sunny and warm. During the winter time, it is slightly warmer than the surrounding areas due to the proximity to the water. There is a nice marina with plenty on uncovered berths, and a pier for fishing. There is also a marshland area with walking and biking trails where you can observe plenty of wildlife. There is a large bocce ball field and skate park in the marina as well. Due to the mostly constant Breeze the marina is a great place to fly kites. Amtrak runs through Martinez so there are travel options available. The downtown area is currently thriving, with a new Greek restaurant, bike shop and 3 breweries. There are plenty of other restaurants, a candy shop, beauty shops, a dog park and public swimming pool. Martinez is nestled next to a sizable range of hills with plenty of hiking and biking trails. The current mayor is working towards redeveloping the marina with more businesses in shops, and bringing in a semi-pro baseball team.Being the county seat of Contra Costa, there is a jail, bail bonds, courthouse, and county hospital. After these legal facilities close, the town quiets down substantially. There is also a large oil refinery towards the eastern side which brings plenty of work to the area but may be a turn off to some. Martinez is a mix of blue collar, white collar residences and artists. Currently, homes range between 350k upwards of 4 million dollars. The farther you go south (5-7 miles) the newer the homes are for the most part. There's plenty of horse property and pricey country estates on large lots towards the west hilly side in Martinez. The southwest side of Martinez butts up to affluent Lafayette and middle-class Pleasant Hill. These areas usually have Pleasant Hill School assignments. North of Highway 4, kids will be assigned to the Martinez School District which is rated well and does not except transfer students from less desirable areas as far as I know. Diablo Valley community College in Pleasant Hill is between 1/2 Miles to 8 miles away, depending on which part of Martinez you live in. Downtown Martinez is off the "beaten track" so to say. Given this, it does not experience the crime levels as areas of Concord and Pleasant Hill. Like all cities in this area, there is a homeless population here, but nowhere near the amount as Concord and some areas of Pleasant Hill. Some people still look down on Martinez due to the oil refinery, jail and a history bikers and drugs. They have no idea that this city has changed for the better in the last 30 years. I'm actually okay with that, since it's nice just how it is population and demographic wise, and a nice place to raise a family with a strong sense of community.