Map of Oakland California Area
Oakland is a huge place with a huge history and a complex culture that runs as deep as neighboring San Francisco. Although these two neighboring cities are mere minutes away, they couldn’t be more different. A unique city in every way, from its airport to its tacos, Oakland is a super friendly, warm, and bright southwest city.
Where is Oakland?
Oakland is a major port city on the western U.S. coast, just east of San Francisco across the Bay Bridge. With a population of 433,031, it’s the largest city in the East San Francisco Bay Area and contains the 5th busiest port in the country.
Oakland is a fantastic place to live and explore. Although there’s a lot to do in the city itself, Oakland is close to some of California’s most popular getaways, making it the perfect starting point for day trips. Oakland is roughly 20 minutes away from both Berkeley and San Francisco and about an hour from the scenic drives of the Pacific Coast Highway.
And you can’t miss out on the following nearby regional parks:
What is Oakland’s climate?
With fantastic year-round weather, Oakland is the place to be for nature lovers. Average temperatures typically range between 50°F – 62°F, which means warm, dry summers and winters that are mild and wet. Best of all, Oakland is sunny for most of the year.
That means you can enjoy biking and hiking for most of the year or kayak around Lake Merritt in the heart of Oakland.
What is Oakland known for?
College and University students from all around the world flock to Oakland to attend school. It’s a major hub for post-secondary education in the United States, whether that’s larger institutions like The University of California Berkeley or The University of California San Francisco. Both are within fifteen to thirty minutes of the city.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system is a masterpiece of engineering. It’ll take you around the bay from the San Francisco International Airport, through San Francisco itself, north to Richmond, northeast to Antioch, and down through the East Bay region.
BART is affordable, clean, safe, and popular with Oakland residents working in the region. From Oaklands 12th Street Center Station, hop on the red line. It’s only a thirteen-minute ride to San Francisco.
San Francisco doesn’t have a monopoly on great shopping. Uptown, Oakland’s official arts and entertainment district, is a popular place for young professionals and retirees alike. Great food and tons of fun things to do are available every night of the week. There’s something for everyone.
- Grab cocktails and play some bocce ball at Make Westing, named after a story by famous Oakland native Jack London.
- Find upscale Art Deco-inspired dining at the well-known Flora Restaurant and Bar.
- Fox Theater has been Oakland’s theatre of choice since 1928.
- Source handmade, locally produced clothes and accessories at Urban Stitch Boutique.
Art and Festivals
Oakland’s reputation as a place with a magnificent artistic spirit is well known, and there are plenty of spots throughout the city to see art of all kinds showcased. Vessel Gallery is in Uptown and has many unique exhibits in all types of genres and mediums. The Oakland Art Murmur Walking Tour takes participants on tours to art locations throughout Oakland.
Festivals always seem to be happening somewhere in Oakland, whether cultural, musical or art-oriented.
- Oakland Chinatown Streetfest hosts 200 vendors showcasing Asian entertainment, products, and cuisine.
- The week-long Oakland Music Festival kicks off in the fall and always has a massive lineup of artists from Oakland’s thriving music scene.
- The Art Plus Soul Festival has been celebrating Oakland music, dance, and food culture for ten years.
Food and Drink
It’s a controversial topic whether Oakland’s food scene is better than San Francisco’s. They certainly are rivals for the title of the best place for foodies in the Bay Area.
Whether your looking for pubs (The Trappist), a brasserie (Wood Tavern), tacos (Tacos Mi Rancho), or a festival devoted to food (Eat Real Fest), Oakland does not disappoint. And if you’re looking for craft beer, the Oakland Ale Trail will tell you where to go.
Is Oakland a good place to live?
Diverse, full of historical riches and unique communities, Oakland has a lot to offer. Although the city has suffered a poor reputation for violence and crime in the past, it has grown into a safe and accepting place to live. Many parts of Oakland have gentrified over the years, and its diversity is always on display.
Much more laid back than San Fran, the weather is beautiful, the houses are affordable, and the community is strong and vibrant. Oakland is unapologetically alive, and this gem of a city can accommodate almost any way of life.
What are the neighborhoods of Oakland?
There are many layers to Oakland, and you can peel back some of them by getting to know the neighborhoods where you’ll find proud locals around every corner.
- Chinatown: Oakland is home to the oldest Chinatown in the U.S., dating all the way back to the 1850s, just after the gold rush.
- Dimond District: Quiet and residential with a proud Latino culture.
- Downtown: An eclectic and diverse melting pot of scholars, techies, government workers, and activists.
- Fruitvale: Located at the base of Oakland Hills, Fruitvale is (unsurprisingly) full of fruit trees and was the center of the Chicano Movement of the 1970s.
- Uptown: One of the hottest neighborhoods in all of Oakland. Here you’ll find the best new restaurants, boutiques, and bars.
- Piedmont Ave: A long stretch of busy sidewalks full of shops and restaurants.
- Old Oakland: Sprinkled with Victorian and late 19th-century architecture, this six-block stretch of Oakland is preserved in picture-perfect condition.