Oakland, California

Diamond In The Rough

Looklyloo Score: 90

View Full Profile

The Area

The city of Oakland is just east of San Francisco, across the Bay. The west side of the city runs along the bay and the east side is surrounded by natural preserves including Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, and the University of California Botanical Garden. Just south of downtown Oakland is Alameda. Located in the bay, it’s a city that includes Alameda Island, Bay Farm Island, and other minor surrounding islands. Just north of Oakland is the popular area of Berkeley, home of UC Berkeley. Inside the city limits of Oakland is the city of Piedmont. It's a separate city although it’s completely surrounded by Oakland. The city detached itself from Oakland in the early 1900s and has since kept its reputation for being a more wealthy area. Local Piedmont residents, because they have a higher median income and, by design, better schools and local services, fear rejoining Oakland because they believe it would reduce their standard of living. The geography of Oakland can be split into what is called “the flatlands” and “the hills.” These terms can also symbolize the economic divide between Oakland’s residents. The hills cover about ⅓ of the land in Oakland and were historically considered to be more affluent.


Young Professionals

Oakland is California expensive without being SF expensive, and that’s an important distinction. If you’re moving to Oakland, take into consideration your budget, how close you want to be to bars and restaurants, and how close you need to be to BART. We suggest you start your search in Temescal. It has an artsy, slightly hipster vibe, in a good way. It’s super convenient to BART and Telegraph Ave has coffee shops, breweries, restaurants and more.

  • Temescal
  • Grand Lake
  • Downtown



While Oakland doesn't have a particular neighborhood like the Castro known as the center of LGBTQ+ community the town has the highest concentration of lesbian couples of any city in the country and the second-highest same-sex couple households right behind San Francisco.

Popular areas include Temescal; a hip, spot with a growing arts scene, coffee shops and easy access to the local BART station. It also has its own craft brew scene, plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightlife to enjoy.

Uptown is another good option. It runs along Broadway in downtown (we get the irony) and the area is home to the Fox and Paramount theaters, tons of bars and restaurants, and even an ice skating rink.

Piedmont Ave

Young Families

If you don’t want to give up the Oakland scene, but need to find a place to settle down, we suggest looking for a home or apartment in Piedmont Avenue. It feels more suburban than other areas of Oakland, but still has walkable amenities. It’s just northeast of Downtown, but not in the hills. You’ll have your choice of apartments, bungalows and super cute American Foursquare homes. Despite feeling suburban, Piedmont Avenue runs through the center of the neighborhood and has a grocery store, theaters, coffee shops, and restaurants.

  • Piedmont Ave
  • Grand Lake
  • Lake Merritt


Established Families

If you’re looking for a suburban feel with a dash of city living, check out Rockridge. It’s not the Hills, so you can avoid feeling like you’re super far away from Downtown. It can be expensive, so keep that in mind when you start house hunting. We thing it’s worth it for the tree-lined streets and the bungalow style homes. It’s mostly residential, but the west side of the neighborhood has restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques. It’s close to BART and, to top off the pros, it has a Trader Joe’s.

  • Rockridge/Upper Rockridge
  • Montclair
  • Temescal