The Bay Area has become one of the country’s most desirable zip codes. It’s progressive, the weather is mild, the art scene is next level, and really, do we need to mention the California coastline? Oakland is quickly becoming San Francisco’s more affordable, equally as trendy, and maybe even more artsy neighbor across the bridge. Everyone’s moving to Oakland — creatives, young professionals, and everything that accompanies them. Here’s why.
- The proximity to San Francisco is unbeatable
Living in The Bay proper plunks you in the priciest real estate market in the country. Luckily, Oakland is only a pretty quick ride on the BART from everything you want downtown — more restaurants than you could ever try out, top-notch musical acts, and you won’t have to worry about parking for the yearly (free!) Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival at Golden Gate Park. You can have the luxury of being a “local”, and then escape the city at the end of the day and tuck in at home — and when the tourists hit hard for the Blue Angels exhibition, you’ll be glad you’re living in Oakland. Looking for affordable eats while you’re out and about in The Bay? Check out this blog post.
- Oakland is more affordable
Median rent in Oakland was at $1,812 in 2013, while in the Bay its a staggering $3,396. That’s a massive price difference for just a little jaunt across the bridge. A quick look at Craigslist will illustrate clearly the greater availability of decent apartments, too. In Oakland, there’s no need to live in a shoebox studio just so you can call the area your home! What’s more, being a foodie on the east side of The Bay is a bit more affordable — spots like Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe and Doc’s of the Bay make conscious and tasty bites that are reasonably priced, so you can stick to your budget and your culinary ethics too.
- Shorter commutes, believe it or not
Oakland to downtown SF is about a 16-minute ride on the BART — and a far more direct route. If you live in the city you’ll be contending with the roundabout network of bus lines and trolleys or the MUNI, which unfortunately is just less efficient. Google Maps says it’ll take at least 30 minutes to get from Golden Gate Park to downtown, whether you take the MUNI or the bus. And? You can leave your car in Oakland, where parking is abundant. Easy.
- Job opportunities are more abundant than you’d think
You might imagine that with a community of creatives and young professionals tit would be tough to find a job in Oakland, but with big companies like PIxar and Pandora, some small independent publishers, and an exploding startup culture in the city, jobs in media and tech are not so hard to find. What’s more, seven companies within Oakland made Forbes’ list of the country’s top 100 fastest growing companies — including 3D printing specialist Fathom, which made #2 in the nation.
- The weather really is better in the East Bay
It seems illogical that such a short distance could change the weather patterns, but it’s true: you’ll see more sun and warmer temperatures in Oakland than in West Bay. Temperatures hover around the 60’s and 70’s all year round, and on average there are 261 sunny days per year in Oakland. Let’s note that there are only 365 days in a year, shall we? That also means there is significantly less rain in Oakland than the rest of the country (only 64 days of rain per year), so things are pretty dry. Expect an arid, dry landscape.
- Small businesses get a leg up
The Oakland community puts a big emphasis on shopping local and keeping revenue in the East Bay — and with so many small businesses to choose from, you can keep it local and take care of all your shopping needs. The local nonprofit Oakland Grown gives small businesses a wide range of support under the umbrella of the Sustainable Business Alliance, so if you’re relocating to Oakland with a big idea brewing, this might just be a great place to plant seeds and grow your new project.
- The landscape is just gorgeous
It speaks for itself, really, but you can get a little bit of everything in Oakland: the salty sea air, the rambling trails up to sunset views like the Claremont Canyon Fire Trail, urban parks, and of course, Lake Merritt, the 155-acre lagoon in the middle of the city. Oakland’s residents are pretty proud of their landmark tidal lagoon, which is surrounded by parks and 3.4 miles of shoreline.
- Oakland loves to be green
Environmental consciousness is a way of life in the West Bay. The city has become the epicenter of urban farming now that agriculture laws have been restructured, and organizations like City Slicker Farms are making growing food in the city accessible for everyone with education programs as well as assistance for creating your own backyard mini-farm. Sustainable Oakland represents the city’s efforts at sustainability, from water protection and conservation to financing tools for clean energy projects.
- Oakland hearts art
The DIY culture in the East Bay is alive and well, and where there are creatives, there is art all over the place. Graffiti murals in Oakland are downright stunning and the trashcans are installation pieces, and when a warehouse or another space opens up, it’s often repurposed into studio spaces for rent as combination living/working spaces. Word also has it there is a burgeoning gnome population spreading around the city, so keep your eyes open as you wander.
- Parking and driving are blessedly easy
If you’ve ever tried to find parking in San Fran, or you’re relocating from New York, Oakland’s driving and parking situation will make you smile. No more circling the one-way blocks for half an hour to find a place to park for the day. No more insane parking fees. It’s true: in a magical place called Oakland, you can have the city vibe without the city parking headaches.
Moving to Oakland and want a little help? Check out our list of recommended movers in Oakland.
And… check out more great articles about Oakland: