Relocating to Oakland? 5 Things to Know Before You Move

If you are relocating to Oakland, California, there's a lot to learn about your new town. Oakland is a vibrant city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. With a population of over 425K, it is the largest city in the East Bay and the third largest city in the Bay Area. Oakland is known for its fabulous year-round weather, fantastic cultural amenities, entertainment spots, and beautiful natural setting. The city is made up of 14 unique neighborhoods, each having a unique vibe, including Old Oakland, Downtown, the Jack London District, and many others. The city offers a lot to its residents, including excellent employment opportunities, fantastic public transportation, beautiful parks, museums, entertainment, shopping, dining, and more! If you’re considering Oakland real estate as your next destination, read on for the five things you need to know before moving to the area.

1. Economics

Oakland has a robust economy with major employers in healthcare, education, technology, logistics, and government sectors. Jobs in the East Bay area are plentiful, with an unemployment rate of 3.2%. The cost of living in Oakland is 54% higher than the national average, with housing costs being a significant factor. Although the cost of living is rather steep, Oakland is more affordable than nearby San Francisco, and the median household income of $80,143 is higher than the national average.

2. Transportation

Oakland is a central transportation hub, with an international airport, a major seaport, and multiple freeways and rail lines. As a result, Oakland is well-connected to the rest of the Bay Area and beyond. Oakland is also a densely-populated metropolitan area, so rush hour commutes can be horrendous. Travel by car is doable, but expect delays and long commutes. In addition, on-street parking is nearly impossible to find, so most car owners pay monthly fees to park in designated lots. A job that offers telecommuting or flex schedules is ideal since that type of work will allow you to avoid or work around peak travel times. When commuting to San Francisco, it is generally advisable to use public transportation. The fewer transfers you need to make, the better, so homes and jobs near BART stations are in high demand.

3. Housing

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Oakland is a beautiful city and a great place to live if you are looking for somewhat less expensive housing in the Bay Area. According to the California Association of Realtors, the median price of single-family homes in Oakland is a lofty $1 million, but that is lower than the median home price in other Alameda County cities, such as Pleasanton, Berkeley, Newark, Livermore, and Fremont.
There are 14 great neighborhoods to choose from in Oakland; you'll find the more affordable communities east of 14th Street. If you desire a more high-end and exclusive neighborhood, look for homes in downtown Oakland, Old Oakland, or the Jack London District.

4. Education

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With many outstanding schools, Oakland is an excellent place to receive an education. The public schools offer an excellent K-12 education, with some of the highest-rated schools in the state, including Chabot Elementary School, West Oakland Middle School, and KIPP Public Schools in Northern California. The best private schools in Oakland are Mills College Children's School, Bishop O'Dowd High School, and Park Day School. Colleges and universities in or near Oakland include Laney College, Holy Names University, Samuel Merritt University, Lincoln University, Mills College, and the University of California, Berkeley. All of these institutions are well respected and offer high-quality education.

5. Lifestyle

Oakland is a fantastic place to live for anyone looking for an urban environment, an energetic vibe, and plenty of fantastic amenities. There is an endless variety of things to do in Oakland and the surrounding suburban areas, including cultural institutions, lovely green spaces, and exceptional dining, shopping, and entertainment.


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You will love living in Oakland if you enjoy regular doses of retail therapy. From corner to corner, there are excellent options, including modern shopping malls and independent shops and boutiques. Some of the best shopping gems and hidden treasures can be found in the communities of Old Oakland, Grand Lake, Temescal, Piedmont, Rockridge, and downtown. From upscale designer fashions and trendy vintage shops to boutiques featuring gifts and home goods, the shopping possibilities are virtually endless.


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Oakland is known for its diverse food culture, and the city's restaurants reflect this diversity. From upscale dining options like Commis, Belotti, Marica, and Pomella to casual cafes and coffee shops like Cafe Ucello, Tierra Mia Coffee, and City Cup Cafe, there's something to suit every taste. And, of course, no discussion of Oakland's dining scene would be complete without mentioning the city's renowned internationally-inspired cuisine. Whether you're in the mood for amazing authentic Chinese food, Pho, or a flavorful Indian curry, you'll find it all in Oakland.

Art and culture

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Oakland is a vibrant city with a thriving arts and culture scene. The Oakland Aviation Museum is a great place to learn about the history of aviation, and the Chabot Space & Science Center offers educational programs and exhibits on space exploration. The Preservation Park Museum of Art & Digital Entertainment is dedicated to preserving and promoting the art and history of video games. The Oakland Museum of California houses a collection of artwork, artifacts, and exhibits on the state's history and culture. The Fox Theater and Paramount Theater are two of the city's most popular live music venues, and they host a variety of concerts and events throughout the year. Whether you're interested in learning about the past or experiencing the best of what Oakland offers today, there's something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Nature and parks

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Oakland is home to many recreation areas and parks offering many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The Oakland Zoo is a popular destination for families. The zoo houses over 700 exotic and native animals and provides innovative and interactive exhibits that educate and promote wildlife conservation. Parks like Redwood Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park, and the Temescal Regional Recreation Area are ideal for anyone that loves to hike, bike, and explore. Lake Merritt is a beautiful and unique urban green space. The tidal lagoon and three-mile shoreline provide an inviting and picturesque spot for a leisurely stroll or picnic.  The GSBF Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is a must-see for botanical enthusiasts and plant lovers from all walks of life. These exceptional parks are just a small sampling of the many beautiful green spaces in and around Oakland.


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Oakland is a city that knows how to root for its home teams. The Oakland Athletics have been a force in Major League Baseball for years, and the Golden State Warriors are among the most successful NBA teams of all time. More recently, the Oakland Roots have brought professional soccer to the city, and the Oakland Spiders are quickly gaining a following in the world of American Ultimate Disc (frisbee).
If you are looking for a hometown that offers beauty, energy, and cultural richness, look no further than Oakland. This city has something for everyone, from great food and shopping options to plenty of family activities. And if you are looking for Oakland real estate and need help finding the perfect home in this vibrant city, Patty Hyun is here to help. Give her a call today – she would be happy to assist you in your search for the perfect new home in Oakland.

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