5 Best And Worst Things About Living In Oakland California

5 Best And Worst Things About Living In Oakland, California

While our channel primarily focuses on Alameda, we also handle numerous property sales in Oakland. Our team ranks number one in Oakland, representing many clients who consider Oakland, and surrounding areas in the Bay Area. So for this video, we’re excited to share with you our list of the five best and five worst things about living in Oakland, CA.

A Quick Overview of Oakland, California

Before we jump into the list, here’s a quick overview of Oakland. The city spans about 79 square miles, nestled between San Francisco Bay and Grizzly Peak. It encompasses a vast geographic area, with approximately 423,000 residents.

Oakland boasts incredible diversity, not only among neighborhoods but across various aspects of life. Now, let’s explore the first highlight of living in Oakland, California: its diversity.

Best Thing no. 1. – The Diversity

Oakland is incredibly diverse, and this diversity extends far beyond just its people, although it’s rich in cultural diversity. The city’s diversity also shines through its neighborhoods, culinary offerings, geographical features, and housing options.

In terms of geography, Oakland encompasses both flatlands and hilly terrain, offering a variety of landscapes to explore. The flatlands are home to single-family houses, townhouses, and condos, providing an urban living experience. As you venture into the hills, you’ll find homes with scenic views, offering a quieter and more secluded lifestyle compared to the bustling downtown.

So when you choose to move to Oakland, California, there’s a lot to learn in terms of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. We’re here to assist you in navigating the specifics, but rest assured that when you move here, you can get pretty much anything you want.

Worst Thing no. 1. – It’s Expensive

On the flip side of its desirability, one of the downsides of living in Oakland is its high cost of living. While it may not reach the same average price point as Alameda, Berkeley, or some neighboring cities like Piedmont, it’s still relatively expensive. In certain neighborhoods, the average home prices soar well above a million dollars. The city’s overall average tends to fall somewhere around the eight or nine hundred thousand mark, depending on how you analyze the data. Regardless of which direction you choose, you’ll likely need to allocate a significant portion of your budget to secure housing in the city.

Best Thing no. 2. – The Weather

Next up on the list of best things about living in Oakland is the weather. The climate here is really temperate, making it highly enjoyable year-round.

The San Francisco Bay Area encompasses a range of microclimates, and Oakland falls within what many consider the most favorable one. Winters in Oakland are mild, with no snowfall, allowing people to comfortably dine outdoors even during the colder months. While we do experience some rain in the winter, the intensity varies from year to year, but it’s generally manageable.

Then comes summer. While other parts of the country swelter in scorching 100-degree heat, Oakland maintains a pleasant climate. Temperatures typically hover around the 70-degree mark, occasionally reaching the 80s or 90s but rarely becoming excessively hot. The shoulder seasons offer a mix of these conditions. Overall, Oakland’s temperature remains relatively stable throughout the year, without the extreme fluctuations seen in other regions.

Worst Thing no. 2. – The Homelessness

On the downside, Oakland faces a significant homelessness challenge. This issue is highly visible and prevalent throughout the city. Discussions are ongoing about potential solutions, including policy changes and policing. The situation is evolving, with funding and resources being reallocated to address the problem. It’s a complex issue that requires careful consideration, and it’s essential to be aware of it before deciding to move to Oakland.

Best Thing no. 3. – The Outdoor Access

Another compelling reason to live in Oakland, California is the exceptional outdoor access it offers. Within the local vicinity, Oakland boasts several magnificent regional parks. These include Redwood Regional Park, Tilden further to the north, Joaquin Miller within Oakland itself, and Chabot a bit to the south. These parks are home to a multitude of trails, perfect for walking, hiking, or mountain biking. Some of them even allow off-leash dog walking, making for delightful afternoons in the hills.

So this is really nice because you’ve got the combination of the bustling downtown with a lot of businesses and people, but then you can easily get away just a short drive right up the hill to the secluded nature.

Worst Thing no. 3. – Property Crimes

Regrettably, property crime is something often associated with Oakland, and it takes the third spot on our list of things to be aware of before moving here. In recent times, property crimes have evolved into other types of criminal activity as well.

The city is actively addressing this issue through various policies, community engagement, and policing efforts. However, it’s important to note that the situation can vary significantly from one neighborhood to another.

Best Thing no. 4. – The Amazing Food Scene

Next up on the list of best things about living in Oakland, California is the amazing food scene we have here. Over the past few years, Oakland’s food scene has experienced a remarkable surge, now even rivaling San Francisco according to some food enthusiasts.

We agree with that. We frequently visit Oakland for dinner, whether it’s downtown, Rockridge, or the Claremont and Elmwood areas. The city boasts an abundance of exceptional dining options. Thanks to its diversity, Oakland offers a wide array of international cuisines, catering to every palate.

Worst Thing no. 4. – The Earthquake and Fire Risk

Regrettably, living in Oakland entails recognizing the earthquake and fire risks that accompany it, taking the fourth spot on our list.

The Hayward Fault runs directly through Oakland, which poses a genuine seismic threat. This may translate into exorbitantly high earthquake insurance costs, potentially deterring many from pursuing such coverage.

Additionally, fire insurance is becoming an increasingly prominent concern during real estate transactions, affecting lender requirements. If you reside in a fire-prone zone, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research on insurance options, costs, and coverage availability for both earthquakes and fires. Some bay-adjacent areas may also necessitate flood insurance, though it’s less common than in nearby Alameda.

Best Thing no. 5. – The Central Location

Finally, on our list of the best reasons to reside in Oakland, California, is its central location within the Bay Area.

A swift drive across the Bay Bridge lands you in San Francisco. Heading north leads to Marin, where you can indulge in abundant hiking and explore the trails of Mount Tam. Eastward, you’ll find Walnut Creek, known for its excellent shopping and relatively warmer summers.

If you’re up for a bit more adventure, Napa is just a day trip away, while journeying south takes you to Carmel and Monterey—ideal for golfing, cycling, or beachfront relaxation. If you’re willing to venture a bit further, Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Wilderness are a three-and-a-half to four-hour drive to the east, offering a splendid weekend retreat. Lastly, Yosemite Valley, about a four-hour drive away, is another scenic option.

Worst Thing no. 5. – The Rush Hour Traffic

The drawback to Oakland’s central location is the notorious rush hour traffic, securing the fifth spot on our list. Commuters should factor in extra time for their daily travels or consider exploring public transit options if available. Due to the converging freeways leading to the Bay Bridge, congestion is a common sight, causing significant gridlock for those traveling north, west, south, or anywhere in between. If you regularly commute or need to traverse the Bay, brace yourself for heavy traffic during peak hours.

That concludes our compilation of the five best and worst aspects of living in Oakland, California. If you reside in Oakland or have visited and believe we’ve overlooked something, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts by sending us a message. Additionally, you’ll find our buyer’s guide below that tells you all the ins and outs of how to be successful in transacting in Oakland real estate.

5 Best And Worst Things About Living In Oakland, California


If Oakland has piqued your interest and you’re considering it as a potential place to explore, or perhaps even buy property in, we’ve put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide for you. This guide contains all the essential insights on achieving success in Oakland’s real estate transactions.

Download our buyer’s guide by simply filling out the form below:

5 Best And Worst Things About Living In Oakland, California

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