Living in Trestle Glen / Piedmont Ave.
Welcome to the Bay! Just so you aren't disappointed, nothing in Oakland will be like NY/Brooklyn — if you want that level of walkability you'd probably want to live in SF. That said, there are some super walkable neighborhoods in the East Bay. We live off of Piedmont Ave in North Oakland. We can walk to multiple coffee shops, restaurants with food from all over the world, lots of cute shops, a local library, a grocery store and small market that has great produce, and a movie theater (in non-covid times). There are two schools within walking distance that are great for bike riding/scooting with kids on the weekends and a tot playground on Linda Ave. There's also a small creek with a walking path alongside that runs behind Piedmont Ave where my kids love to play. Bigger playgrounds are a little further but there are several that are either a long walk, short bike ride or even shorter drive. And we have the Oakland and Berkeley hills 10-15 minutes away for awesome hiking and mountain biking.
The area around Lake Merritt is also super walkable with all of the above plus the lake itself. Rockridge is also walkable but quite a bit more upscale (and has immediate access to a BART station if that is a priority). There are lots of up and coming neighborhoods further out in Oakland but these are the ones we've lived in and being able to walk to places rather than drive has been a huge priority for us (we also have two kids). If you have the opportunity for even one of you to fly out for a visit in advance I'd say you'd get a pretty strong feel for the neighborhoods just based on that. Good luck!
Hi!! We moved here from Brooklyn 3.5 years ago and miss it sooooo much, the walkability being the main thing! We at first lived in SW Berkeley, right on San Pablo Ave and assumed we would love it because you can walk to a lot of things. We ended up not really liking it, because, while it was possible to walk to a lot of things, almost no one did, so the streets felt kind of “empty,” especially coming from Brooklyn!!
we now live In Oakland, between Broadway Ave and piedmont ave, and just south of college Ave. WE LOVE IT!!!! I think the neighborhood is called “piedmont ave neighborhood,” and is just south of rockridge and just west of piedmont. You can easily walk to piedmont ave and college Ave, and importantly- people actually do! So you get that nice foot traffic that makes walking to errands and stuff more pleasant and less desolate.
good luck with your move!!! California is growing on me now that we found the right neighborhood for us :)
There are definitely walkable neighborhoods in the East Bay! Until recently, we lived close to Piedmont Avenue (which is in North Oakland), a wonderful neighborhood with great independent grocery store, a movie theater, lots of shops and cafes, good restaurants, one of the best preschools (Ducks Nest 41st street campus) and then the big Safeway shopping plaza up on Pleasant Valley. It definitely has a good little community vibe. We are a one-car family and while my husband had it at work, I did just fine with a stroller w/ a big basket (three cheers for UppaBaby). Or you could look at Rockridge (all the same attributes as Piedmont Ave, basically, just a little further North), Elmwood, or yes, North Berkeley (like the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood, centered near Shattuck & Vine). Good luck!
Hi! I live in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood (so just South of Rockridge and just East of Temescal) and it's infinitely walkable and lovely in SO many ways. BUT, I also just saw a few responses about your commute to Mission Bay and had to weigh in. I work at UCSF in Mission Bay and the commute is HARD. All the people advocating for BART or the Transbay bus must not actually do the commute. My commute consists of a 1-mile walk, ride, or Uber to BART, then into the city - either to Embarcadero where I get on the Muni "T" streetcar, or to 16th/Mission where I can wait for a UCSF shuttle, then another 20-minute leg to the hospital. Neither is ideal. Those neighborhood "Mission Bay" free shuttles are crowded and not very dependable. This "last mile" problem is significant. I'd be happy with my commute if I didn't have so much trouble getting from BART (or the Transbay bus terminal) to Mission Bay. My commute (even when perfect and streamlined) is at least 1 hr 15 min each way. I also occasionally get carpools straight to work via a matching app called "Scoop" but it's inconsistent. If living in SF is at all appealing to you, that is 100% the way to go. Before we moved to Oakland, we lived in SF for 12 years, and I'd move back in a heartbeat! But now we have kids, and schools, and my husband works in Berkeley so... you know how it goes. Best of luck! feel free to contact me if you want to hash it out! :)
Archived Q&A and Reviews
Moving From Canada - considering Piedmont Avenue
My husband, our 6-year-old son and I will be moving from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to the Bay Area this summer. We've been looking at rentals and we've found what looks to be a very nice potential home between Broadway and Piedmont Avenue. On paper, the area seems to offer a lot of what we enjoy about our current home in Ottawa - pedestrian friendly neighbourhood, good access to transit and nearby public schools. We've been told that Oakland has some fantastic, family-friendly neighbourhoods but that other areas can be a bit dicey in terms of crime. We definitely want to be somewhere that feels reasonably safe for our son. I'm also going to be attending school in SF, so I'm hoping to be somewhere that I can take the BART or other transit and feel secure, especially when I have evening classes. We're very excited about living in the East Bay and this part of Oakland sounds very nice. But I'd love to hear people's thoughts about the Piedmont Avenue area - both the good and the not so good. Thanks!
We live nearby, and think it's a really great place for all of the reasons that you mentioned. We have one car but really only use it to get to work (and wouldn't even need it for that if my job were transit-accessible). The rest of the time, we walk and bike. You're also very close to the Temescal neighborhood, which has a lot of great things going on in addition to all of Piedmont Avenue's amenities. And Grand Lake and Rockridge aren't too far away either. I would say the area is not among the neighborhoods you'll hear frequently recommended the way Rockridge and Montclair are, but neither is it a dicey area. We get some crime, but it's mainly property crime (don't leave your iPhone in your car!) Violent crime is rare and gets a pretty immediate community response when it does happen. Lots of families in the area, but many send their children to private school or to other OUSD schools. Our child is not yet school-aged and I hear that Piedmont Avenue Elementary is improving by the day, but I would visit (if you can) to be sure it's a good fit for your family. I have neighbors who think it's great and others who won't send their children there. I will also say that, although the area around MacArthur BART has improved dramatically in the time we've lived here, I am still not comfortable walking home alone late at night. It's fine if you can have someone pick you up--the waiting area is well lit and often has cabbies and police hovering nearby as extra eyes. When that's not possible, I go to Rockridge BART instead and take the 51 bus down Broadway. Overall, though, we love the neighborhood. Hope that helps with the decision! A future neighbor?
I lived near Piedmont Ave until recently and really enjoyed the proximity to restaurants, shops, and services like banks and groceries. It's wonderful to be able to walk to all of that. But I understand that as you get closer to Broadway, it's less safe - try to be closer to Piedmont Avenue or maybe on the east side, up the hill. Be careful of places advertising themselves as Piedmont Ave that are really not - if it's across Broadway, that's not as nice, and not as convenient to 'the Avenue.' There are a number of Transbay Bus lines in the area, and my husband preferred the nice coach bus to BART. Good luck with your move!
The immediate neighborhood is great, as is the neighborhood called 'Temescal' near Telegraph Avenue. However MacArthur BART still has safety problems, mainly at night. We've had several friends robbed at that station in the last couple of years. Are your classes in the day or at night? It is probably ok in the daytime. If you have night classes I would look for a place near Rockridge BART, or Downtown Berkeley BART, North Berkeley BART, or perhaps Ashby BART, east of Adeline. Or you could take one of the commuter buses instead of BART and that would bring you in to Piedmont Avenue. Go to the AC Transit website to see the routes, and how close it would be to the rental. anon
The Trestle Glen and Piedmont Avenue areas are walkable to shops; I don't know much about their schools. Have fun exploring neighborhoods! Oaklander
The area around Piedmont Avenue (both in the cities of Oakland and Piedmont) are also very walkable and family friendly. In many ways I prefer Piedmont Ave over Rockridge as it feels more like a real neighborhood with a larger variety of businesses along the avenue rather than just restaurants, cafes and boutiques.