Reasons to move to Oakland

Okay, I’m tired of the anti-Oaklandism. A friend is considering moving from the City to Oakland with her boyfriend. She said she had looked up the crime stats and felt it’d be unsafe living in Oakland, compared to the Haight. My pet peeve! argh! I once went to a networking event at Ramblas in the Mission, and one of the guys had the balls to ask me if I were afraid living in Oakland, and he admitted he’d never gone over the Bay Bridge to check out the East Bay. Don’t blast Oakland if you’ve never been. True, Oakland has a notorious, murderous rep, but all parts of Oakland don’t harbor raving lunatics (I do admit I hate the MacArthur BART station). I used to work for the City of Berkeley Police Dept and read police reports for a living. I know that even chintzy North Berkeley can be dangerous (last year a girl slashed an old woman’s throat at the Berkeley Rose Garden). No place is 100% safe.


Here are reasons why I “hella love Oakland”:

My #1 thing – there are trees and grass in Oakland, and it’s warmer! It’s not the “concrete jungle” that SF is.

Chabot Space Center – see Jupiter and Venus from the Oakland Hills!
Redwood Park
Sibley Volcanic – yes, you read right! volcanic!
Davie Tennis Courts – best public courts around
Lake Merritt – 3 miles of paved trail, watch the rowers or see Disney’s inspiration for Disneyland (Children’s Playland)
Lake Temescal
** Club One has the best health club in the Bay at Oakland’s City Center. Indoor track, lap pool, spas in the locker rooms. A reasonably priced version of SF Bay Club (I know, I used to be a member there!).

The Parkway – snuggle in comfy couches and eat pizza and drink beer while you catch up on movies you missed in the big houses
Grand Lake Theater – historic art deco theater – well known for its political activism via its marquee
Piedmont Theater – another Landmark favorite

College Avenue – Jeremy’s, Heartfelt, The Homesteader
Piedmont Avenue- The Bees Knees

Yoshi’s Jazz – World class jazz in Oakland!
Oakland Metro
The Alley – Rock that piano, Rod Dibble!
The Paramount – fine art deco building, reminds me of the Emerald City of Oz
G.S. Warriors – okay, they’re not doing that great, but hey it’s fun to watch, plus you’ve got the Cal Bears!

Farmer’s market at Lake Merritt and Jack London Square
Citron and A Cote – college
GG – Oakland’s speakeasy
Tropix – Cajun food with a super patio

If you’re considering moving to Oakland, look up these districts on There are plenty of wonderful arts and crafts bungalows as well as Victorians and lofts:
Montclair – Mountain Blvd, Snake Road
Broadway Terrace
Piedmont – specific streets include 41st, 40th, John, Monte Vista, Bayo Vista, Santa Rosa, Jean, Chetwood
Lakeshore – Grand Avenues – specific streets include Warfield, Mandana, Vermont, Brooklyn
Lake Merritt – specific streets include Bellevue, Perkins, Adams, Orange, Pearl
Rockridge – try searching College Avenue, Manila, Hudson
North Oakland/Claremont – Alcatraz, Claremont
Jack London Square – Oak, 3rd and 4th Streets
Laurel District
Glenview – Trestle Glen

14 Comments so far

  1. Roland Dobbins (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 7:31 pm

    Are you smoking crack? Wait, I guess that’s an unfair question for someone who lives in Oakland, heh.

    Oakland is an end-to-end slum – I know, I’ve been there. All your reasons listed above, besides being both tenuous and trite, are just rationalizations, pure and simple.

    Oakland sucks.

  2. Peter (unregistered) on April 4th, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

    I’ve been to Oakland – I lived in Emeryville worked in downtown Oakland – and walked everywhere – mistake. Oakland is scary, period. I’ve been to a lot of rough places all over the U.S. and overseas, and Oakland is by far the worst I’ve seen yet. I think I was very lucky not to get jumped, and if I didn’t walk from a couple of situations I’m sure I’d have an ongoing feud with some folks in Oakland right now – and some mending bones. I love the idea of Oakland (more open, less expensive, Black Panthers!, etc.), but that mess is just not safe – not even close. Emeryville, downtown, Ashby. I mean, all the white people lock themselves inside their condos-as-compounds – driving everywhere, and I can’t say I blame them – they wouldn’t be safe, otherwise.

    We’ve got serious problems over there – serious. I have no idea how to solve them. These problems are massive – on multiple levels, and it may take generations to solve once we actually have a plan for how to get it right. So, for now, or until I’m really broke, Oakland will have to wait before this white boy heads back over the bridge.

    All that said, of course it’s possible to get jumped/robbed/beaten/raped/murdered in SF, but in Oakland I suspect it’s more likely. One of my co-workers go his ass kicked and robbed in broad daylight on broad street. Heard a story about some girl – which I admit I never checked the truthfulness of the report – who got gang-raped in a bathroom at a local fast food restaurant right in downtown. Thugs hangin out on the corners harrassin anyone and everyone in sight – just beggin for a fight. Oakland is jacked up – bigtime.

  3. charles (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 9:51 am

    I used to agree with you.I lived there on Lake Merritt for over 10 years..and while it is beautiful,”there is no there…there,”as Gertrude Stein had been quoted as saying.I too loved the areas you mentioned,and especially remember being a guest at the Park-Bellevue and sunning around the pool,and having dinner at my frinds apartment.Now it is condos..still doorman,and a greater value than SF,where I now a rental at rent control prices..and I remember too the Bellevue Staten and the valet and beautiful apt I looked at to rent on the 6th floor with views of the Lake and a woodburning also condos,but still very elegant and far superior to anything here in the city for the price.However,there is nothing else,no downtown stores to spreak of,no downtown..only gentrified areas..and very expensive places to shop and such.It is all spread out..and not convienient like here in SF..where I walk to everything,Union Square,theaters,grocery stores,and I have lots of neighborhood markets and family owned stores that each have a unique flavor of wares and of their own lives..I cherish that..and once moved back to Lake Merrit for 6 months..into a high class building on the Lake with a concierge and a maid once a week..and drug dealer’s running around at night through the halls and ringing the intercom/phone afterhours,or the door wedged open afterhours.No thank you. I moved back to the very building I the same rent..and back to the shop keepers who welcomed me with open arms and delivery service of my bundle laundry to my door.They are what made me come back..their smiles and dancing eyes as I am their customer and friend again.

  4. dre (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 10:33 am

    you people are seriously retarded. oakland is one of the most beautiful diverse rooted and creative cities in this country. i’m a proud oakland resident and somewhat relieved that fools like you don’t visit us.

  5. Vera (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 11:34 am

    Thanks for speaking up Dre!

    There are parts of SF I wouldn’t walk in broad daylight either…like the Tenderloin. I admit that my co-workers and I hate walking to our parking lot at 6pm near Hayes Valley (Gough and McAllister) because sketchy guys hang out in the shadows.

    Why do San Franciscans gotta hate?? :P

    Obviously, Peter’s never been outside of downtown Oakland and Emeryville. How unfortunate. And sounds like Roland hasn’t been anywhere but 102nd and International in Oakland. Too bad.

  6. beachbiased (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 12:27 pm

    i love the east bay in general, but no surf a couple blocks from my house!? true, there’s wind and kite surfing, and by many standards ocean beach is suburban san francisco.

  7. kyle (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 2:55 pm

    been to Oakland and as an East Bayer would say “its hella lame”. if I wanted to live in a suburb, I would move to southern california.

  8. Peter (unregistered) on April 5th, 2006 @ 3:58 pm

    we can talk all day long about Oakland’s pluses, but that’s just being dishonest when we’re discussing ‘anti-Oaklandism’. people aren’t hating just to hate – we’re hating because we don’t want to be harrassed/robbed/beaten/raped/murdered/etc. having the chance to move to Oakland with its crime is like having the chance to date a supermodel with a $500/day crack habit. thanks, but no thanks.

    oh, snap! what now? more Oaktown cheerleading? of course.

    p.s. that stylesheet is all jacked up.

  9. Jason D- (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 8:44 am

    I hate when people dismiss places out of hand, even though I do sometimes find myself guilty of it. I’ve only been through Oakland to get to SF or Alameda and have never stopped. You hear a lot about the crime in Oakland and how bad it is so I think it’s a pretty big turn off for a lot of people. But then look at the big city. My first 2 weeks in the city I saw a dead body 2 blocks from my apartment. Yesterday I visited the scene of a body dumping and when my mother visited in the fall we saw a high speed chase by citizens and a guy getting beat down by 3 other guys both happened 200 feet out my front door and my ex-girlfriend had people shot a block from her place while we were watching movies one night. The city isn’t safe by any shot. In the city I think we either have better blinders or better PR so people don’t talk about it as much. With Oakland though it comes up in maybe 1 and 5 conversations. I dunno. Since I’ve never been I’m not going to pass judgement one way or thhe other but it is definitely on my plans to pop over when the weather stabilizes a bit :-)

  10. violet (unregistered) on April 6th, 2006 @ 3:31 pm

    Crack kills. My mother was born in Oakland. My grandfather worked in the Oakland steelyards. My father, and his father were born in San Francisco.

    I got ejected from SF during the dot com bullshit and got stuck in Oakland for 2 long awful years. I tried to like it, but ended up in SF every day and night. All the east bay areans being so vehemently pro-Oakland and anti-SF have made me dislike Alameda County even more.

    So, on record: Oakland sucks, and San Francisco rules. I will visit my friends in Oakland when we pave the bay. In the meantime I hope someone starts Metroblogging: Oakland so I don’t have to visit Oakland on the web, either.

  11. Shinobithedog (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 12:40 am

    I must say that most of the comments above suprise me. I understand hometown pride but you guys sound like a rival collge team picking and judging at things just to be part of the “anti-Oakland” cool kids. Oakland and SF are beautiful. You can get killed just as easily in whatever city you choose. Relax and enjoy your backyard

  12. BenJ (unregistered) on April 7th, 2006 @ 6:02 pm

    This is a great list of Oakland stuff. I love Redwood Park, and was surprised that it was included — it’s just about my favorite hiking spot around. Extra bonus that it’s about 15 minutes away from my house in Temescal.

  13. East oakland (unregistered) on April 9th, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

    all yall bitch ass niggas is right you bedda hate oakland because if i catch n e faggot ass niggas in the town like yall i might just rob beat (you know the rest)the hell out of yall.


  14. click (unregistered) on April 11th, 2006 @ 10:12 am

    i can’t believe some of these comments. some of you are SO racist. oakland is huge, and yes, there are a few seedy areas that i wouldn’t have any reason to end up in, but on the whole many of the districts in oakland are wonderful and diverse. just because black and white people live in the same neighborhood doesn’t mean we’re all criminals, doesn’t mean it’s a bad neighborhood. i am a young, single woman and feel fine walking most places in oakland, and have.. and i didn’t even grow up in a city.

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