Oakland is a city with a lot of character. With a population of over 400,000 people living in this diverse metropolitan area, there are many benefits to moving here. The weather is mild year-round, and the housing prices are much lower than in other parts of the Bay Area. With that said, Oakland, California, is a city with many different neighborhoods. Most importantly, the eclectic culture and thriving economic scene make it one of the most desirable cities to live and work in in 2021. You’ll find people from all walks of life and some amazing food, too.
While it is an exciting place to live and work, it can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared for your move. The city’s urban vibe will put you right at home if you are used to living in a major metropolitan area. But how do you know what neighborhood to live in? How can you find out about local events or restaurants before moving there? What should be on your list of things to pack when preparing for an Oakland move?
These are just some of the questions that we answer in this post!
Best neighborhoods in Oakland: What are the best places to live?
Oakland is home to some of the most diverse neighborhoods in California. While some are more family-friendly, others have a lot of nightlife and restaurants that will be perfect for singles or couples just starting.
Oakland’s Uptown District is one great place to live if you love being around other young people who enjoy going out on weekends. There are lots of bars, nightclubs, coffee shops, restaurants, and cafes so you’ll never lack anything to do! Rent prices here can vary depending on your budget, but it’s not necessary to spend an arm and leg on rent when moving into this neighborhood because there are plenty of affordable places nearby as well.
Starting life in Oakland? The following are some places that you should look for housing:
Rockridge is known for its beautiful houses and walkable streets. As one of the safest neighborhoods in Oakland, it is a great place for families with young children to call home. If you are looking for more upscale amenities here, then consider renting or buying something on College Ave, where there are banks, grocery stores, cafes, pubs, restaurants, and even clothing boutiques!
The rent here can get expensive, so if you want to save some money, look elsewhere because housing prices tend to go upwards from $2000/mo by next year.
Your commute into San Francisco will take about 30 minutes via car during rush hour, but only 15-20 without traffic, which makes this neighborhood an optimal choice when looking at all factors involved, including the cost of living vs. distance traveled daily!
Local Favorites Include:
- The Golden Squirrel
- Rockridge Cafe
- Claremont Country Club
- Rockridge Market Hall
Piedmont Avenue is one of Oakland’s most popular neighborhoods for its quaint shops and cafes. The rent here goes up the further east you go, but there are many family-friendly areas to choose from within a short commute into Downtown, Lake Merritt, or Fruitvale!
The best things about living in Piedmont include being close to Highway 24, which takes you straight downtown, and easy access to BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). So, getting anywhere else will be quick and painless.
Your monthly budget can get blown if choosing this neighborhood because it has some of the highest housing prices in all of California, let alone just Oakland! If that doesn’t deter you, then definitely consider moving here because everything is top-notch, including public transportation options, restaurants, grocery stores/markets, and cafes.
Local Favorites Include:
- Cactus Taqueria
- Gioia Pizzeria & Delicatessen
- Tara’s Organic Ice Cream Shop
- Piedmont Grocery Co. Market Place Cafe
- Genova Delicatessen/Bakery (best sandwiches!)
Montclair is a family-friendly neighborhood that’s also popular with young couples just starting. There are tons of rentals here, so there is no shortage of places to choose from when looking for housing!
The rent varies greatly depending on the size and location, but you can find something affordable if your budget is under $2000/mo. The further west you go, the more expensive houses will get because they have better views over Lake Merritt and Downtown Oakland. In this area, it might be best to look at renting rather than buying though because prices tend to stay upward around $3000/month or higher by next year.
Transportation options in Montclair include BART as well as two bus lines that take residents into nearby areas to shop, eat out, and enjoy the city.
Local Favorites Include:
- Montclair Bistro
- Montclair Park
- La Borinqueña Mexican Food Truck
- Cafe Venezia Italiano
Temescal’s main claim to fame is the fact that it has a huge concentration of Ethiopian restaurants. So if you are looking for some inexpensive, delicious food, then this might be your best bet!
The rent here goes up as well but not nearly as much as Piedmont because housing prices are still relatively low compared to other neighborhoods in Oakland, where luxury living is more common. The further east you go, the cheaper houses will get until they hit Joaquin Miller Rd., which tends to have affordable rentals and homes on offer. Some places even cost under $1000/mo, so definitely consider moving into this area first when deciding what neighborhood suits your budget needs before anything else!
Your commute time from Temescal into Downtown varies greatly depending on where you are working. The best route will be via car, though, because the bus lines are not as good for this part of town, but it’s still doable if that is your only transportation option!
Local Favorites Include:
- Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana
- Temescal Brewing Co.
- Izkali Mexican Cuisine & Tequilera
- Cafe Colucci Ethiopian Restaurant
Oakland’s downtown nightlife is known for having a great mix of locals and hipsters, so you won’t feel out of place even if it isn’t your usual scene. If you like to go out dancing, though, the Uptown Nightclubs are definitely where most people head because they have some unique and high-class venues that only get better during Oakland’s famous First Friday Art Walk!
Downtown also has an incredible array of breweries, with many tasting rooms open late into the evening just in case there was any doubt about how much this part of town loves beer.
The commute time from here into either Downtown or Lake Merritt varies greatly depending on traffic conditions but generally takes between minutes up to 45 minutes when there is congestion. If you can avoid rush hour, though, then it shouldn’t take nearly as long!
How to Find a Safe Neighborhood?
Oakland is one of the most diverse cities in America, with over 75 languages spoken by its residents. This means that there are many different cultures, religions, and lifestyles all sharing space together, which might make some people think twice before moving here because it can sometimes be dangerous due to this, but that’s not always true!
Oakland has several safe neighborhoods just like any other city, so you should take time to research where they are located along with what kind of housing options will suit your budget needs best when looking for a place to live.
Commute times vary greatly depending on what part of town you decide to live in as well as how congested traffic conditions tend to get during rush hour or certain days/times throughout the week. So, plan accordingly!
Most importantly, you should know that Oakland’s police department has a great crime mapping app for your mobile device or computer. This ensures you always know what is going on in your neighborhood and can report suspicious activity as soon as you see it!