Oakland and its many parts

Oakland is the 8th largest city in California and only 8 miles east of San Francisco. Oakland, alongside Long beach, is the most ethnically diverse city in all of California with over 150 languages spoken.  There are many great attractions in Oakland, such as Jack London Square, the Oakland Zoo, the Oakland Museum of California, the Chabot Space and Science Center, Lake Merritt, the East Bay Regional Park District ridge line parks and preserves, and Chinatown.

Downtown Oakland
Between 980 and Webster, Grand and the 880, you will encounter old hotels from the 1870’s that have been converted in offices, shops, restaurants and condominiums.

On its core downtown Oakland encompasses a hip heritage full of spirit and life. Newer restaurants and clubs are lining the streets and tend to attract crowds from the outlying areas. While walking the streets you will instantly become aware of the diversity and rich culture this town ensues. Easy access to two BART stations makes downtown Oakland easily accessible.

Grand & Lakeshore Avenues
The Grand-Lakeshore district is the destination of many who venture into Oakland. Everyone seems to spend time here, whether it is to pick up seasonal produce from the Farmer’s Market, catch a movie at the Grand Lake Theater, sip a midday latte at DiBartolo’s café, or eat a slice of pizza from Arizmendi, you are sure to find something to pass the time.

The district is just a short walk to Lake Merrit and is conveniently located near the 580 freeway and major bus lines. The two streets run parallel and are connected by the busy Lake Park Avenue, which is home to a park, a hamburger stand, and a farmer’s market.

Jack London Square
The old wooden wharves and walk-in bars of Jack London Square’s heyday are all gone; today you will find yachts and sailboats dotting the shoreline. Just across the water you can see the island of Alameda and restaurants and shops line the square.

Many of my favorite places aren’t found in the square; instead, they are located in the surrounding streets where wholesale produce marts combine with tantalizing restaurants and lively clubs, where small markets combine with commercial and loft spaces. There is a great farmer’s market on Sundays and artisan fairs can often be found on weekends.

Jack London Square is also the home to the future Jack London Marketplace (http://kristashouse.com/2009/04/jack-london-market-planned-opening-in-2009/). Scheduled to open in 2009, the Marketplace promises to be the Oakland hub to the culinary world. It will combine culture, cuisine and commerce in a beautiful waterfront setting with destination restaurants, sophisticated shopping, and a boutique hotel.

In 2002 Money Magazine deemed Rockridge as the TOP place to live. Today many who live there would still argue it as being the best place to live. A combination of pleasant weather, atmospheric cafes and gourmet restaurants, antique shops and independent bookstores, and Craftsman bungalows dotted along leafy streets near good schools is what makes Rockridge a huge draw. Consequently, real estate prices have soared- to the point that most people cannot afford to live there. Regardless, with its easy access to BART and convenient location to major freeways, it makes for a pleasant day trip.

The heart of Rockridge is College Avenue. It is here where you will find a few of my favorite destinations: Rockridge Rags, Katrina Rozelle, and À Côté, each an experience that will be sure to bring you back time and time again.

Temescal is one of the oldest neighborhoods in North Oakland. Primarily residential, Temescal has undergone some dramatic changes over the past 10 years. New developments with upscale shopping and dining have entered the neighborhood making Temescal the new hot spot. Large numbers of young couples with children moved to Temescal as the real estate prices in nearby Rockridge grew too expensive for middle-class families. People of different racial and economic backgrounds live side-by-side in the neighborhood.

The commercial heart of Temescal is Telegraph Ave., from MacArthur BART station northward to 55th Street. Three of my favorite bites can be found here: Doña Tomás (try their sweet potato puree), Bakesale Betty (it’s all about the chicken sandwich and banana bread), and La Calaca Loca (their carne asada nacho’s are the b·e·s·t·!). Mama’s Royal Cafe is also known for its amazing breakfast.

Temescal is also home to one of the few tool-lending libraries in the Bay Area (the Berkeley Public Library, South Branch, also has one), which operates out of the Oakland Library and lends tools to the public, free of charge, for home repairs and improvements.

Dimond and Laurel
The Dimond and Laurel Districts are diverse, older communities with many of its families residing here for over four generations. Both are undergoing a renewal, attracting larger chain establishments as well as smaller mom-and-pops with a huge potential for growth. Mills and Merritt Colleges are nearby, providing an influx of younger people and families. Real estate here is much more affordable than its surrounding neighbors.

Montclair/Oakland Hills
Amidst the windy streets and steep terrain, the hills above Oakland provide some of the most spectacular views of the bay.

Montclair Village is nestled amongst the hills and pine trees and encompasses a small-town feel. Many of the businesses here are run by the same people who opened them years ago. People from all over the bay come to the village to shop at the unique stores, enjoy a latte at a coffee shop, or dine at a sidewalk café. The businesses and residents take pride in the village which makes it a comfortable place for visitors.

The older districts of the Oakland Hills include Claremont (which overlaps into the City of Berkeley), Montclair, Trestle Glen, Crocker Highlands, Broadway Terrace, Glenview and Rockridge. Newer developments include Hiller Highlands and Leona Heights.


City of Oakland
Oakland Chamber of Commerce
Oakland Unified School District
Crime Statistics

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