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Aerial view of Oakland, CA on a sunny day.

Safe, Affordable Neighborhoods in Oakland

Thinking about living in Oakland? This Bay Area city has affordable housing (especially compared to nearby San Francisco), a diverse restaurant scene, unique job opportunities, and beautiful outdoor recreation spots. Here are five safe, affordable Oakland neighborhoods to consider settling down in!

Bushrod

  • Home Price: $612,055 median purchase price; $1,270 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 71% of Oakland neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

If you want to live somewhere with tons of local bars and restaurants, bike-friendly streets, and lush green space, check out Bushrod! This Oakland neighborhood has low crime rates and housing options from Spanish-Colonial houses to cozy bungalows. Residents help improve the local environment by growing their own produce at the Bushrod Park Community Garden, an opportunity that’s open to the public for a small annual fee! Living in Bushrod also means you’ll have access to great schools like Sankofa United Elementary School and American International Montessori School.

Things to Do in Bushrod

Shoot some hoops, practice your tennis swing, or play some Pickleball at Bushrod Park. Take an Abrazo Queer Tango Class or a Private Tango Lesson at Mira Barakat Argentine Tango. Peruse literature, textbooks, and audiobooks from around the globe at the long-standing European Books & Media. Dance the night away at LGBTQ-friendly Oakland nightlife staple, White Horse Bar. Wake up with a cup of Espresso and a fresh pastry, Breakfast Burrito, or Breakfast Sandwich from the quaint Earthly Coffee. Grab a slice of Spinach & Mushroom, Midnight Special, or Key Route Pizza made “Oakland-style” at Nick’s Pizza. Try authentic Ethiopian food like a Lamb Alicha, Bilen Plate, or Shrimp Tibsy made with love at Shewat. Or order a craft cocktail and munchies from a rotating menu sourced by local farms at The Rendez Vous.

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Cleveland Heights

  • Home Price: $552,700 median purchase price; $1,312 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 76% of Oakland neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Located next to Lake Merritt, Cleveland Heights has something for everyone—convenient commutes into San Francisco via I-80, outdoor activities, and several dining and nightlife spots! This neighborhood’s location along the east bank of Lake Merritt means waterfront strolls are a must—and beautiful local attractions like Cleveland Cascade or the Oakland Pergola and Colonnade are great options for relaxing lakefront views. This safe Oakland neighborhood has top-rated schools like Cleveland Elementary School and Oakland High School, as well as a variety of housing options, including Colonial-style houses and refurbished apartments.

Things to Do in Cleveland Heights

Walk, jog, or bike alongside the water on the Lake Merritt Trail. Attend a cooking class, enroll your children in an after-school program, or check out books at Oakland Public Library’s Lakeview Branch. Attend community events, let your kids explore the playground, or practice your basketball skills at FM Smith Recreation Center. Bring the kids for youth swimming or try an Adult Fitness or Adult Lap Swim session during the summer at Live Oak Pool. Enjoy flavorful Savory French Toast or a Warm Polenta Bowl for brunch, with bubbly drinks by the bottle at Grand Lake Kitchen—or wake up with an Americano and a Hummus Bagel Sandwich at the down-to-earth Rooz Cafe. Try unique pizzas like the Pear and Gorgonzola Special, Burrata Pistachios Special, or Detroit Style Pepperoni at Leaning Tower. Or order a round of on-tap brews and enjoy homey decor with friends and regulars at Baggy’s By the Lake.

Grand Lake

Tall grey Craftsman-style home in Grand Lake. Photo by Instagram user @ericjsteiner.

Photo via @ericjsteiner

  • Home Price: $285,940 median purchase price; $1,329 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 84% of Oakland neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Families, retirees

Grand Lake is the perfect Oakland neighborhood for anyone who likes the quiet atmosphere of the suburbs, but still wants big-city amenities. Community events like the year-round Grand Lake Farmers Market are a great way to enjoy fresh air, buy local products, and interact with your neighbors. Further creating the safe feeling in this Oakland neighborhood is the presence of nearby schools like Grand Lake Montessori and Westlake Middle School and spacious American Foursquare houses on bikeable streets. Plus, with easy access to I-580 and great local restaurants and shops along Grand Ave, Grand Lake is an ideal neighborhood for anyone settling down!

Things to Do in Grand Lake

See exotic roses in bloom from May through October while strolling through Morcom Rose Garden. Train your body and mind with yoga classes at Left Coast Power Yoga. Let your kids play on the playground and cool off in the water features at Oakland’s iconic Splash Pad Park. Have a picnic or go for a walk through the scenic Mandana Plaza. Get a Rib Eye Steak cooked to your liking, Chicken Parmesan, or some Fish & Chips at Grand Oaks Restaurant & Sports Lounge. Treat yourself to Carrot Cake, Cheesecake, Almond Pound Cake, and other desserts at Ladyfingers Bakery. Dig into a classic Detroit-style Pepperoni Pizza, or a Little Star or Italian Combo Pizza from The Star On Grand. Let loose and enjoy good drinks like a Hot Toddy, Old Fashioned, or Manhattan in a cool yet casual atmosphere at Heart & Dagger Saloon. Or swing by one of the best Mexican restaurants in Oakland to try the Alpastor Tacos, Pescado Tacos, or Chile Relleno at Rico Rico Taco.

Redwood Heights

Spanish Revival home in Redwood Heights. Photo by Instagram user @cilantrosue

Photo via @cilantrosue

  • Home Price: $630,583 median purchase price; $1,289 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 86% of Oakland neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families, retirees

Want to live close to Oakland’s top outdoor recreation spots? Consider Redwood Heights, which is just minutes from Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park! Of course, the camping, horseback riding, hiking, and more at Redwood Regional Park aren’t the only reasons to love this family-friendly Oakland neighborhood. The quiet residential area offers affordable Colonial and Craftsman-style homes at multiple price points, near excellent schools like Redwood Heights Elementary School, Julia Morgan School for Girls, and Mills College! To top it off, residents of Redwood Heights can find multiple arts and entertainment venues, including Littlefield Concert Hall and Mills College Art Museum just outside of the neighborhood borders.

Things to Do in Redwood Heights

Book a personal training session, small group training session, and a variety of workout classes at Bay Area fitness center Body Mechanix. Learn how to fly fish or sharpen your skills at the practice pond at The Oakland Casting Club in George E McCrea Memorial Park. Introduce your children to the performing arts by enrolling them in dance, music, theatre classes, and other activities at Kids ‘N Dance. Attend a gallery show or make your own work in the shared art space at RBA Creative. Order Lemongrass Pork Ribs, Curry Tofu, and other authentic South Asian dishes at Phnom Penh House. Track down the Fist of Flour Pizza Co. food truck to sample their Poblano Mambo pie or a slice of Funghi Deluxe. Jam out to live music and eat your fill of finger-licking barbecue like Sliced Beef Brisket, Smoked Pork Ribs, or Homemade Beef Links at Everett & Jones BBQ. Or get your seafood fix at Fountain Garden, where Chinese entrees like Prawns with Curry Sauce or Sweet & Sour Rock Cod Fillet are sure to satisfy.

Temescal

Craftsman style home in Temescal. Photo by Instagram user @redoakrealty

Photo via @redoakrealty

  • Home Price: $600,733 median purchase price; $1,289 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 61% of Oakland neighborhoods
  • Perfect For: Singles, young professionals, families

Not only is Temescal one of the safest neighborhoods in Oakland, but it’s also a trendy district with tons of local restaurants, shops, and breweries. Plus, convenient MacArthur Station means BART is never far away for commuters! So while singles and young professionals flock to this Bay Area neighborhood—residents mostly consist of new and established families. Those moving to this Oakland neighborhood will find Modern condos and Mediterranean-style homes nearby high-quality schools like Emerson Elementary and Oakland International High School.

Things to Do in Temescal

Send your kids to swim lessons or get your laps in at Temescal Pool. Take a ceramics class or learn how to paint at Studio One Arts Center. Shop obscure vinyl and see on-site performances from local bands at 1-2-3-4-GO! Records. Get dishes like a Classic Cuban or Oakland’s Cheesesteak with Fried Green Tomatoes at one of Oakland’s top New American restaurants, Clove & Hoof. Mix and match your favorite sushi rolls from Dragon Rolls to the house special Kansai Roll at Kansai. Head to Homeroom Mac + Cheese, where the entire menu is built around transforming the classic macaroni dish—the Pizza Mac is a must-try! Sip brews like the Temescal Hazy IPA or Turkish Porter in a relaxed atmosphere at Temescal Brewing Company. Or lounge in the neighborhood beer garden with a plate of Arty’s Hot Wings, King Salami Pizza, or Jackfruit Taquitos at Arthur Mac’s Tap & Snack.

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