I live in North Oakland. It's an interesting mix of gentrifying hipsters and activisty locals, I definitely feel a stronger sense of community than from what I've seen in SF. The community is generally and understandably not a huge fan of more gentrifying tech startup types. Santa Cruz I'm told is basically a big college town, and the housing market is really tight because UCSC has more students than dorms. Palo Alto is very suburban feeling, car centric and most of it is totally dead at night.