There are more than 50 neighborhoods throughout Oakland, grouped into the East Oakland division, which makes up more than half of the city, and the North Oakland division, which covers neighborhoods between downtown and the Emeryville neighborhood. Downtown Oakland neighborhoods include the Central Business District and Oakland Hills, while West Oakland covers the area between Downtown and the bay. Oakland is also considered one of the most walkable cities in the country.
Lake Merritt, an urban estuary located close to Downtown, is one of the most popular destinations. Its mix of saltwater and fresh water from the Oakland Harbor is unique to the state and the lake itself was designated as the first wildlife refuge in the U.S. back in 1870. Lake Merritt is surrounded by business and residential districts, but still maintains habitats for several rare and endangered species.
Oakland has 61,170 single-family homes, 15,046 multi-family homes, and 11,575 condo units. Other residential properties include 87 coop units, seven residences with one or more story, 645 residential buildings that don’t fall into other categories, and 1,374 townhomes. There are 3,065 commercial buildings, 1,380 industrial structures, 1,793 buildings zoned for mixed use, and nearly 4,000 vacant lots.
3 major airports are within driving distance of Oakland: San Francisco International Airport, San Jose International Airport, and Oakland International Airport. Regional and long distance passenger train service is available via Amtrak. Nearly 25% of Oakland residents use public transportation, walk, or bike to work and more than 17% of households in the city don’t have a car. Bus service is provided by the Alameda and Contra Costa Transit District and Bay Area Rapid Transit. There’s also a ferry that offers services from Jack London Square to San Francisco, Alameda, and Angle Island.
The majority of public schools within the city are operated by the Oakland Unified School District, which oversees 86 schools and 32 charter schools, along with numerous adult education programs. As of 2015 there were nearly 49,000 students and about 4,600 employees. The three largest public high schools are Oakland Technical High School, Oakland High School, and Skyline High School. There’s a wide range of private and charter schools within the city, as well as a number of colleges and universities, including the University of California system’s headquarters.
Kaiser Permanente, the largest managed care organization in the country, is headquartered in Oakland. Other hospitals include the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, the Alameda County Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Oakland. Highland Hospital, located in East Oakland, is the trauma center for the northern East Bay.
According to the FBI, 2015 saw 6,051 violent crimes and 24,568 property crimes in Oakland. The Oakland Police Department employs 612 officers and has taken numerous steps to lower crime in the city, like increasing police presence during prime crime hours, improved intelligence gathering, and, most notably, Operation Ceasefire, a plan targeting gang violence.
There are nearly 6,000 acres of public parks and recreation space in Oakland. Popular spots include Joaquin Miller Park, Allendale Park, and Lake Merritt. A number of East Bay Regional Parks are located either partially or entirely within the city, including Redwood Regional Park and Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve. The Oakland Art Murmur, held on the first Friday of every month, gathers food trucks, live music, and grants access to more than 30 galleries. It brings in about 20,000 people to the 20-block event.
Downtown Oakland is brimming with bars and nightclubs – everything from dive bars to dance clubs, modern lounges and vintage jazz bars can be found here.
Fox Oakland Theatre brings in a wide range of music acts including rock, punk, blues, and reggae, while the Paramount Theater primarily features headlining musical tours.