Oakland Neighborhoods

Featured Neighborhoods in Oakland

1 Downtown Oakland

Bounded by the Oakland Estuary to the southwest and Lake Merritt to the east, Downtown Oakland is a cultural destination in the Bay Area. A hot spot for creative expression, its multicultural legacy is a source of pride expressed through vibrant cultural events, independent businesses and its historic communities. The African American and Chinese communities remain the biggest influence on Oakland’s downtown despite the city’s continual economic change. Hip new bars and restaurants have been popping up all over downtown, but the area’s older institutions remain the city’s brightest gems. The Oakland Museum of California draws visitors from around the world with art, history, and science exhibits that tell the rich history of California. Food trucks serve gourmet grub and live entertainment in front of the museum every Friday night. An energetic nightlife scene represents eclectic interests, with punk bars, hip-hop venues and upscale wine bars within easy reach of the Civic Center and Lake Merritt BART stations. For an escape from the hustle and bustle of Broadway, Lake Merritt is the unofficial mind/body health center of the city. The lagoon and wildlife refuge hosts a large population of year-round birds as well as joggers, picnickers and drum circles. Sunset seekers enjoy the breathtaking views and Venetian gondola rides that set sale from its historic boathouse. On the south end of Broadway, Jack London Square looks across the waterfront at its Alameda neighbors. This up-and-coming neighborhood is a go-to destination for excellent dining options, gourmet coffee and jazz music. [Photo Credit: City of Oakland]

2 Oakland Hills

The “Oakland Hills” refers to a cluster of neighborhoods that lie between Oakland’s flatlands and the East Bay Regional Park District. These neighborhoods make up the highest elevations within the city. At the foothills, students revel in the beautiful park-like campus of Mills College, an independent liberal arts and sciences university for women. In the Grass Valley neighborhood, the Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park hosts the Oakland Zoo, home to over 660 native and exotic animals. Every year the Woodminster Summer Musicals give visitors and locals their musical theater fix beneath the stars at the open-air amphitheater nestled in the beautiful 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park. In the summer, anglers take to the Temescal Regional Park where Lake Temescal supports a recreational beach stocked with rainbow trout, catfish, and largemouth bass. Montclair Village, a wealthy neighborhood located along the western slope of the Oakland Hills, is composed of windy roads, heavily forested hills, and houses ranging from single-family cottages to mansions and gated estates. Its compact shopping district sits at the bottom of the valley right off of Highway 13. [Photo Credit: Ingrid Taylar]

3 Temescal

In North Oakland off of State Route 24 sits the Temescal, a tree-lined neighborhood that’s a magnet for those seeking out some of the city’s best eats. Temescal is experiencing a revival of activity, especially along the commercial heart of Telegraph Avenue between the MacArthur BART Station and 51st Street. A popular date-night destination, Telegraph patrons enjoy a romantic meal made with seasonal California-grown ingredients, followed by organic ice cream that locals line up for religiously, rain or shine. Ethiopian and Eritrean residents from the diaspora have brought their authentic culinary traditions to Temescal, serving up large plates of legumes and spiced vegies, warm Sambusas, delicious flat bread, and traditional Ethiopian coffee to hungry carnivores and vegetarians alike. From the South, Oakland’s Koreatown is the go-to spot for Korean barbeque, followed by a fun night of karaoke. Bay Area locals let their creative juices flow at the Temescal Arts Center, a volunteer-run arts cooperative that brings the community together with workshops, performances and movie nights. In the spirit of the Bay’s DIY ethos, Temescal is also home to one of the few tool-lending libraries in the country, which lends out tools for repairs and home-improvements free of charge to anyone with an Oakland Public Library card. [Photo credit: Sonny Abesamis / flikr]

4 Rockridge

Bounded by Telegraph Avenue and Broadway, and stretching down from the Berkeley border to 51st Street, Rockridge offers a diverse (if not affluent) mix of people, shops and homes. At the small shops and numerous restaurants, college kids mix with longtime residents, biz pros mix with retirees, and everyone cherishes their personal paradise. People walk home from the Bart station together, chat in line at the markets and friends meet for breakfast. Because of these qualities, home prices have soared much higher than the rest of the city, while keeping its uniquely Oakland charm.

5 Uptown

In Downtown Oakland, between 27th Street, San Pablo Avenue and the City Center, Uptown Oakland is the heart of the city’s vibrant entertainment scene. Home to hipsters, techies, and artists, Uptown’s nightlife scene draws a diverse crowd. Uptown is dotted with classic Art Deco architecture, including the historic Paramount and Fox Theaters. On the first Friday of every month, Oakland Art Murmur sends Uptown buzzing with creative energy. Art Murmur has played a large part in cultivating the city’s rich art scene. Its “First Friday” art walk features over 40 galleries and venues that are free and open to the public. For those who want to avoid the First Friday crowds, the gallery walk is open every Saturday afternoon, as well.

6 Piedmont

The nearby California College of Arts and Crafts provides an ever freshening stream of youth into what some describe as a geriatric neighborhood, but just like the rest of our city, if it wasn't diverse it wouldn't be Oakland. People from all over Oakland take a stroll down the Avenue for shopping or dining or just because Piedmont has so many interesting things to look at. And, despite the encroachment of chain establishments that can't seem to gain a foothold in other neighborhoods (and believe me they didn't build here without a serious fight), Peidmont retains its natural character. Seriously, Piedmont is still the kind of area where people greet each other by name and let their kids run around the parks, where you're just as likely to see an old friend as you are to make new ones.