Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay and the sixth largest city in California. It has been called one of the most integrated cities in the United States. The nationally respected Oakland Museum is situated near picturesque Lake Merrit, and its downtown has many architecturally important buildings listed on the Register of Historic Places. The recently restored Old Town district and Preservation Park are nearby. The city has its own ballet company, numerous jazz and blues clubs, a thriving Chinatown, and a Farmers’ Market set up twice a week. It is home to the three major professional sports teams, the Oakland A’s, the Raiders, and the Warriors.
Miles of East Bay Regional parkland run the length of the eastern ridge of hills and make up several parks, perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and biking. The Chabot Science Center makes its home high in these hills and offers family programs and night-sky viewing. Oakland has an International Airport and one of the largest seaports in North America. Situated along miles of bay front, the City of Oakland extends up to the ridge of the East Bay hills; and within its borders is a multitude of special neighborhoods that lend this major city a decidedly small town feel despite its size.
Jack London Square
The Jack London Square area offers waterfront living at its best—a blend of Old World charm and upscale sophistication. Brick warehouses stand alongside converted lofts and new stylish high rise condominiums, many with panoramic bay and bridge views. Life is dynamic here with waterfront shopping at the Square itself, more than 30 restaurants, movie theaters, bookstores, a world-class jazz club, and a bustling weekend Farmers’ Market.
Easy freeway access, BART, and the ferry, peaceful alternatives to the San Francisco commute, make living in the Jack London Square area an excellent option for those who work in San Francisco, but don’t want San Francisco prices, and value the warmer weather of the East Bay.
The Amtrak train station for points north, south and east is nearby.
While Montclair is officially an Oakland district, it has a small town feel. In 1920, The boundaries go roughly from the Warren Freeway east to Skyline Blvd. and north from Joaquin Miller Park to Highway 24.
The homes—large Craftsman bungalows, shingled cottages, Prairie, period revivals, ranch-styles, and contemporary modern date from the 20’s through the 90s—are situated among the canyons and forested hillsides. A sizeable portion of the north end burned in the 1991 firestorm and has been rebuilt. Along the winding streets, many homes have large lots with lovely gardens and bay views.
The shopping district, referred to as Montclair Village, features quaint, one-of-a-kind shops which have often been owned by the same families for generations, professional services, and two major chain grocery stores. A Sunday Farmers’ Market is held on one of the main streets. The village is central to the neighborhood, and it is clear from the local cafes, which are always busy and which sport dogs tied to parking meters out front, that this is a place people come to meet with friends and neighbors. The local public schools are high performing and several regional parks are within minutes as is the educational Chabot Science Center.
A lovely forested horticultural nursery lies on Thornhill Road (formerly a toll dirt road that went over the hill down to current Pinehurst Road into Moraga).
Freeway access is a breeze whether you are traveling east, west, north or south, making Montclair convenient to just about anywhere in the Bay Area.
Lake Merritt and Adams Point are adjacent neighborhoods that share benefits. Condominiums and apartments with a handful of Mediterranean and Craftsmen style homes sprinkled throughout lend this area an urban character. Add beautiful Lake Merrittand and its historic boat house surrounded by a broad three-mile long walking path and the bustling shopping streets of Lakeshore and Grand and you have an urban oasis.
Trendy restaurants, jazz clubs, and the historic Grand Lake Theater are an integral part of the community, and downtown Oakland is a short bus ride away. This area is a commuters’ paradise with easy access to public transportation and the I-80, 980, and 580 freeways. It is also a hub for who wait in line for drivers going to San Francisco. The Lake Merritt/Adams Point area is a vibrant option for those who like convenience and character in their neighborhood.
Rockridge a thriving upscale community with a decidedly urban twist is a nationally recognized model of a “sustainable neighborhood district.” Stately turn-of-the-century Craftsmen mingle with Victorians and California Mediterraneans, while many ultra-modern homes built after the 1991 fire line the hillsides up to Highway 13.
Rockridge borders (approximately) Alcatraz Avenue on the north to Broadway Terrace on the south anchored by the prestigious Claremont Golf and Country Club, and west from Telegraph Avenue to Highway 13.
The community is intersected and served by a vibrant stretch of College Avenue. Along this bustling corridor are numerous acclaimed restaurants, a vast array of retail shops, professional offices and personal services. Among the notable draws are Ver Brugge’s for meats and seafood, Katrina Rozelle and La Farine bakeries, as well as Market Hall, a European inspired open-air market. The best way to experience Rockridge’s Craftsmen charm, wonderful shops, and urban character is by foot.
It is served by a BART station, public transportation, and easy access to all the major freeway exchanges.
Oakmore, Glenview, Dimond & Laurel
The Dimond, Oakmore and Glenview neighborhoods comprise an area running perpendicular to MacArthur Boulevard and the Warren freeway, between Park Boulevard and Lincoln Avenue, much of it canyon.
At the upper eastern end of the canyon, logging and lumber operations flourished from 1851 to 1860, effectively clearing the Oakland Hills of trees. Today large upscale homes line curving streets in a reforested area. Many Tudor, Mediterranean, and Spanish Colonial styles are found here. Quiet and secluded Oakmore is just minutes to Montclair or Park Avenue Glenview shops
Craftsman bungalows, Prairie style homes, and more modest bungalows line the hillside down into the Glenview shopping district of Park Blvd. with restaurants, locally owned stores, and a bustling Saturday Farmers’ Market.
In the early years, German immigrants settled along the Dimond and lower Glenview area. Today it is home to a diverse mix of people. The streets are quiet and California bungalows dominate. Sausal Creek runs through Dimond Park, a recreational oasis with tennis courts, a swimming pool, running trails, a picnic area and a tot playground. The Oakland Public library has a branch here too, offering popular children’s programs.
The Dimond neighborhood shopping district is enjoying a renaissance. Locals call it Oakland’s “Gourmet Ghetto,” after the famed North Berkeley gourmet food haven. Among the draws are Farmer John’s for produce, La Farine French bakery, the Food Mill, known for its organic bulk food, and Claws and Paws, a natural pet food store and doggy bath house. Home to young and old, hip and more conservative, the Dimond sparkles with a vibrant energy all its own.
The Laurel District clings to the eastern ridge of the Oakland Hills in a pocket neighborhood that is intersected by MacArthur Boulevard. The quiet, tree-lined streets that span the hillside, the California bungalows, and active neighborhood associations distinguish this cozy and friendly area.
Indeed, many young families choose this neighborhood for their first homes. When asked what makes this neighborhood special, a young mother who calls the Laurel home, said, “Living here, I have everything money can’t buy—wonderful neighbors, a feeling of safety, and a sense of shared commitment to the neighborhood.”
The Laurel shopping district features a variety of stores, restaurants and services—supplying just about everything you could want. Easy access to the 13 and 580 freeways offers an easy commute for those working in many parts of the Bay Area.
When the University of California, Berkeley opened its ivory towers in 1868, the first students lived in Temescal and commuted via horse drawn–trolley to the campus. Berkeley had not yet established enough housing for those attending the university, while Temescal was already a thriving enclave.
Situated at the Berkeley/Oakland border, this neighborhood of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival Victorian homes mixed amongst the 1920s bungalows is a legacy to Oakland’s earliest beginnings. In fact, “This Old House Magazine” voted it one of the” best old house neighborhoods”.
Temescal is enjoying a vibrant renaissance due, in large part, to the wonderful array of unique stores and restaurants that line an approximately 10 block stretch of Telegraph Avenue lending it a hip, trendy feel. Temescal enjoys a warm micro climate, and on any given day scores of people are out and about in this walkable community. Easy freeway access to all the major interchanges, local public transportation and two BART stations as well as a good range of affordable housing options make Temescal an attractive neighborhood in which to live.
Redwood Heights, just above Mills College between the 13 and 580 freeways, offers many appealing benefits. It is a scenic hillside neighborhood with parks, a recreation center offering classes for children and adults, a strong neighborhood association, established in 1944, a diverse population, and a local high-performing elementary school.
The homes date mostly from the 1920s-1950s and feature a wide variety of styles, including Craftsman, Storybook, and ranch, many with stunning views of San Francisco and the bay. Redwood Heights offers the perks of suburban living, with the benefits of city life close at hand.
Trestle Glen, Crocker Highlands & Haddon Hill
The homes in Crocker Highlands and Trestle Glen have much of the grace and charm of those in Piedmont, the affluent enclave directly to the north, but here they tend to be more affordable. Large, stately Craftsmen, Prairie, Mediterranean and Storybook homes from the 20s, 30s, and 40s showcase well-tended gardens. The houses lie along graceful streets that curve their way through the laurel-studded glen. Bay Area luminaries Bernard Maybeck and Julia Morgan designed several homes here. Residents are active in preserving and protecting the natural beauty and architectural integrity of the area through the Lakeshore Homes Association, which is one of the oldest homeowners’ associations in the Western United States. Crocker Highlands is quite proud of its elementary school.
Haddon Hill, a well-kept secret, sits on the south/east side of Lake Merritt. Bounded by MacArthur/Lakeshore/Park Avenue, it has many magnificent, architecturally significant, elegant, large homes.
The Crocker Highlands, Trestle Glen and Haddon Hill neighborhoods are close to several commercial districts, among them Montclair and Lakeshore/Grand Avenue, both lively and fun areas in which to shop and dine. Lake Merritt, with its “necklace of lights,” offers parks, walking/jogging paths, a rowing club, and FairyLand for children.
BART and access to the major freeway exchanges are minutes away. In short, Crocker Highlands/Trestle Glen/Haddon Hill offers a quintessential residential neighborhood with convenience and appeal.
West Oakland is where the city originally began in the 1850s. A diverse group of people came in search of opportunity. The original neighborhood grew after the terminus of the transcontinental railroad was established here, and it grew again with the shipbuilding booms during both World Wars. During the depression the once-thriving area fell into decline
Today home seekers, including artists, blue collar workers, and young professionals take advantage of this waterfront location and call West Oakland home. The area is rebounding. Victorian row houses and “worker” cottages that remain intermingle with old warehouses and factories that have been converted into popular live/work spaces. The new waterfront development, planned on the site of the old Oakland Army Base, will only add to the area’s hip panache. Some already consider West Oakland the “next SOMA.”
The 880 & 980 freeways are easily accessible as is BART and public transportation. Ferry service (www.eastbayferry.com) into San Francisco is also close at Jack London Square. For those looking for a more affordable place to put down roots, West Oakland offers an excellent opportunity.
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