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What is Oakland like?

Hi I'm staying in 6 different places in California, the one place I'm not sure off is Oakland is it a safe/nice place.



7 Answers

top answer by
Marissa from Oakland

Oakland is great! If you're looking for places to potentially live, try Lakeshore, Rockridge, Elmwood, Montclair, and Piedmont Avenue. For entertainment there are great places in Jack London Square to have fun and eat/drink (like Yoshi's Oakland) and Uptown Oakland (where the Fox Theatre is).  My favorite bar/snack place there is Dogwood.  Chill atmosphere and great grilled cheese sandwiches/charcuterie plates.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Yoshi's Oakland (restaurant)
  2. Fox Theatre (attraction)
  3. Dogwood (restaurant)
4 thanks

answered first by
Debbie from San Francisco

Hey Jack!  Like a lot of cities, Oakland has its good and bad parts.  If it's your first time visiting, here are some of the nicer and safer neighborhoods I would stick to:

  • Jack London Square: Probably one of the more touristy areas of Oakland, but really worth a visit.  Nice view of the water and tons of great restaurants, bars, and other things to explore.
  • Rockridge: Near the Rockridge BART station.  There are a ton of nice restaurants and stores there.  Decent nightlife.
  • Grand Lake: Near that gorgeous Lake Merritt (that I oh so love running around at dusk -- it's the perfect 5k if you're into running!).  Also many grand restaurants on Grand Avenue.  I took this picture during one of my Lake Merritt runs:

I would avoid the West OaklandEast 14th Street Business District, FruitvaleMacArthur, and Chinatown neighborhoods.  When Oakland gets a bad rap, it unfortunately tends to be in those areas.  It's not all bad in these neighborhoods, though; just the good parts are very residential and aren't really worth going out of your way to see.

The above three neighborhoods I listed are safe during the morning and day, and I would say pretty safe at night, too.  Just stay vigilant.  I go to those places for walks and for food all the time.

If you need any food or activity recommendations for any of those neighborhoods, post another question and I can help you out! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oakland (city)
  2. Jack London Square (attraction)
  3. Rockridge (neighborhood)
  4. Grand Lake (attraction)
  5. Lake Merritt (attraction)
  6. West Oakland (attraction)
  7. East 14th Street Business District (attraction)
  8. Fruitvale (attraction)
  9. MacArthur (attraction)
  10. Chinatown (attraction)
4 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Valerie from Los Angeles

Like Mia said, we have a fierce pride for our scrappy city! Oakland tends to have a bad reputation but like all big cities, there are bound to be good and bad parts. 

Oakland is such a culturally rich city with so much to do. For places to live, I would look in the Lakeshore, Rockridge or Montclair area. These tend to be known as the nicer parts of Oakland. I would avoid West Oakland, there are higher crimes rates there. The closer you are to the hills, the safer it will be.  

Hope you have a great time! Oakland is an awesome city. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oakland (city)
  2. Lakeshore (attraction)
  3. Rockridge (neighborhood)
  4. Montclair (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by

Oakland is an awesome city! (Disclaimer: I'm a resident and have fierce pride for my scrappy city.) Sure, there are a few areas that aren't particularly safe, as with all large cities. But general common sense about urban living goes a long way towards personal safety. 

Oakland is geographically a big city and there are lots of neighborhoods that are charming and really welcoming. 

3 thanks

answered by
Joanna from Oakland

Grew up in the East Bay, and I love Oakland. Just gotta know what neighborhoods to visit.

Safe places with nice neighborhoods and good restaurants:

College AveRockridge


W Grand Ave

Lake Merritt (great place to walk around!)

Have fun! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. College Ave (attraction)
  2. Rockridge (neighborhood)
  3. Piedmont (attraction)
  4. W Grand Ave (attraction)
  5. Lake Merritt (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Cassielee from California

I would try and avoid Oakland, lots of gang activity.

1 thanks

answered by

There are parts of Oakland that are really nice. There are other sections of town that you might want to avoid for safety. I made a video about some suggestions of fun/safe places to visit that you might find helpful:  

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