When people are relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area, and are thinking of different places where they can afford to rent an apartment, often they hesitate to think about Oakland. “I hear it’s not safe in Oakland,” I frequently hear. But, I tell them, there are popular pockets of Oakland that are vibrant and flourishing. Here are some of them to consider.

San Francisco’s Burma Superstar opened up its Temescal location in 2009. I remember when my daughter took me there – it was my first real introduction to Temescal.

The neighborhood is a real arts scene, with hip coffee shops on Telegraph Avenue, and convenient access to the MacArthur BART station. Affordable apartments can be found on quiet little streets, just around the corner from all the activity. It’s safe and starting to be populated with young residents wanting a vibrant scene, but not able to afford living in San Francisco.

Rockridge is a chic, quiet, and pleasant neighborhood. The tree-lined streets have restored bungalow-style homes, well-kept gardens, and upscale restaurantss. It’s very family-friendly and has its own Rockridge BART station right in the middle of town. When you get off BART, the decision is whether your turn left or right – because there is so much to see and do on both sides. Because it is so charming and a safe community to live in, it can be competitive to find housing to rent – so many people want to live there.


I was really surprised the first time I walked down Piedmont Avenue. I found upscale tapas restaurants and cute boutique shops on a tree-lined street.

There are lots of apartments and cottages only a block or two off Piedmont Avenue that are charming, sometimes funky, but affordable and convenient enought to not need a car to go shopping or dine out. It’s a really safe neighborhood where the people are really friendly.


My daughter lives in Oakland, just above Lake Merritt, and I can’t tell you how many times we have met at her townhouse and then walked to so many different coffee shops, restaurants, and outdoor activities taking place around the lake.

The lake is a 3.4 mile walk around, and offers outdoor activities like biking rowing, jogging, and walking the dog. A large concentration of the neighborhood’s bars, restaurants, and entertainment can be found along Grand Avenue. The Grand Lake Theater, a staple in this neighborhood since 1926, is an art-deco inspired gem showing all the latest movies.


Uptown is a neighborhood within Downtown Oakland, with Broadway being a very long street through the center of town. The 19th Street/Oakland BART station provides easy public transit access for those who want to bop around the city or head into San Francisco.

Some of the fun things to do in Downtown Oakland are to visit the Oakland Museum of California, attend the summer Friday night street music festivals, and watch a movie outdoors on the side of a building.