The city of Oakland is a historically known community filled with art, social advocacy, and large districts of commerce. The city has nearly 400,000 people and is a primary port hub for the Bay Area. The level of diversity is seen with its wide variety of restaurants, shopping malls, entertainment venues, churches and schools. In fact, Oakland is among the top ten biggest cities in California in one of the most diverse counties in the country. Oakland is stationed along the waterside of the East Bay. The city’s animated culture is a reflection of its roots that has grown into a vast area of opportunity.
The indigenous members of this region were the Huchiun Tribe residing in areas by Lake Merritt, Temescal Creek and Emeryvile. Spanish conquistadors claimed Oakland in the late 1700s. It was deemed to the early Luis Maria Peralta. The Peralta family had a ranch in the city’s current downtown that they called encinal or “Oak Grove.” The region was later titled the city of Oakland. By 1854, the region was re-incorporated and welcomed its first resident, a famous Texas Ranger known as Coffee “Jack” Hayes. The first elected mayor was Horace Carpenter but was overthrown by residents after committing acts of corruption. The Oakland Long Wharf served as the city’s port while railroads grew in abundance. The Transcontinental Railroad and Southern Pacific were major employers of its time. They helped form the town’s first local train station on 16th Street. Dozens of horse cars and cable car lines were constructed that conveniently connected the population to various sections of the bay. It gradually rose to industrial superiority and created the nearby town of Alameda. Mayor Frank Kanning Mott dedicated his time in office to preserving local monuments and areas of significance. By 1920, Oakland played a role in metal, canning, baking, manufacturing and auto industries. This put them in a perfect spot for the economic boom of the “roaring twenties.” William Crapo Durant experimented with an airfield that eventually became Oakland International Airport. Amelia Earhart used that airfield to become the first woman to fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland. The World War II Era brought a plethora of new residents seeking military employment. The canning industry was thriving as well generating over $100 million in 1943. Soon after the war, the auto and shipbuilding industries took a nose dive and the once racially tolerant community became poorer and allocated. In 1946 Oakland experienced a general strike where many employees expressed their disapproval of work environments. It was one of the larger strikes in the state’s history and the first of its kind. Throughout the 60s and 70s, Asian, Mexican and African American residents grew resulting in race related societies to be created.The historical Black Panthers and the Brown Berets stood as defenders of social justice during the civil rights movement. By 1980, the black population accounted for nearly half of the city. The mid 1990’s manifested the much needed economic growth. Millions of dollars was invested in infrastructure, commerce and education. Mayor Jerry Brown started to redevelop several areas by the start of the 21st century. The historic downtown, Jack London and Lake Merritt neighborhoods were primary locations of this initiative. Today Oakland remains a centerpiece for social and economic reform in the midst of a thriving tech industry and continual innovation.
The city is a dense area of artists with a large scene that caters to creativity. In addition, it’s been recognized as one of the country’s top twelve art communities. Dozens of galleries, libraries, museums and theaters exist in its borders. The Oakland Aviation Museum has over 30 vintage and modern aircrafts from various periods of the nation’s history. The city’s Chinatown Neighborhood holds annual cultural events and fairs with a handful of performing art societies. Historically recognized as a force in the Blues and Jazz scenes, there is always a wide variety of places that host live music. The Oakland Symphony Orchestra is a masterpiece of melody specializing in classic and pop tunes. The downtown area is accustomed to classic car shows and similar events of festivity.
Oakland offers a vast selection of restaurants varying in genre and price rates. There are a number of ethnic restaurants offering items such as: sushi, tacos or burgers. The city has something to offer for everyone serving pizza, burgers, breakfasts, Mexican, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean and traditional American diners. Mainstream names such as Dennys and Subway are also all over the place. Lake Chalet Seafood or Pican Restaurant are two venues that embody upscale bay area dining. If you’re into Chinese, try the Plum Restaurant or Yoshi’s in downtown. Additionally, the Italian food will make you scream “Mama mia!” with local favorites such as Oliveto and Luka’s Taproom and Lounge. Lastly, one can’t help but admire homegrown breweries like the Pacific Coast Brewery and Linden Street Brewery. Oakland also virtually has an unlimited selection of shopping choices ranging from discount stores, retailers, boutiques and specialty shops. There are popular names such as Target, Walmart and Sam’s Club. Others are places like: JC Penny, Aeropostale, Forever 21 and Macys. Shopping malls have specialty venues for bath and beauty, electronics and athletic accessories. There are also plenty of shops for the outdoorsman such as REI, Outdoor Pro and Bonanza.
Oakland has dozens of recreation areas and is actually validated for having the 18th best park system among the other densely populated cities in America. In 2013, it was ranked number 4 as an urban location for nature lovers. Lake Merritt Park is a large tidal inlet east of downtown. It has grassy waterfronts, artificial isles, a boating center and a fantasy themed amusement park known as “Children’s Fairlyland.” The lake is nearly 4 miles in circumference and a popular jogging path surrounds the entire lagoon. The Oakland Hills has a popular area of recreation called Joaquin Miller Park. This area stretches over 500 acres covered with redwoods and pine trees. The park features hiking and biking trails, horseback riding paths, leash-free dog areas, picnicking sections and an amphitheater that seats thousands of spectators for local events.
The Oakland Unified School District (2006–2007) includes 59 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, 19 high schools, with 9 alternative education schools and programs, 4 adult education schools and early childhood education centers at most of the elementary schools. In 2005, the Hillcrest Elementary School of the Montclair region demonstrated advanced English skills on the STAR mandatory testing. Lincoln Elementary School and Chinatown performed phenomenally as well. Oakland High School, Oakland Technical High School and Skyline High School are the largest public schools in the region. North Oakland Community Charter School is one of the few public progressive schools in America. The city has over 10 centers for higher education such as Laney College, Merritt College and Lincoln University. Additionally, San Francisco State University instructs lectures near parts of downtown Oakland.
Oakland enjoys a reputation for great quality schools, including public, charter & private. For more educational options, school ratings and reviews, visit Greatschools.org
Oakland serves several big highways such as Interstate 580, Macarthur Maze and Nimitz Freeway. Interstate 80/I-580 helps commute to places near Sacramento and San Rafael. There is easy access to the bay bridge along with areas of the peninsula and San Jose. Oakland residents have access to the three major airports of the San Francisco Bay Area: Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and San Jose International Airport. The Public transit system, AC Transit, has routes that operate throughout the day and all night. There is a free shuttle that runs from downtown Oakland to Jack London Square during limited times of the day. There are eight BART Stations in Oakland such as 12th street, Macarthur and Fruitvale. In addition, the city developed several miles of bike lanes for fuel-free traveling. Oakland became the 7th largest city in the nation where people preferred to commute by bicycle.
It’s very important to keep an eye on the market. Housing prices can ebb and flow due to economic, seasonal and local factors. For a true understanding of your property’s value or determining the “right” price to offer for a home, consult with a Realtor. Johanna provides free marketing appraisals in Oakland.
All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but is subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. No statement is made as to accuracy of any description. All measurements and square footages are approximate. This is not intended to solicit property already listed. Nothing herein shall be construed as legal, accounting or other professional advice outside the realm of real estate brokerage.