8.5 out of 10

Piedmont

Ranked 15th best city in California
37.8223094975975 -122.229576068406
Great for
  • Schools
  • Resale or Rental Value
  • Clean & Green
  • Safe & Sound
  • Peace & Quiet
Not great for
  • Cost of Living
  • Public Transport
  • Pest Free
  • Nightlife
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Professionals
  • Retirees

Reviews

5/5
2yrs+

"Upscale Suburbia Smack-Dab in the Middle of Oakland"

With its beautiful tree-lined streets, small-town feel, and excellent schools, Piedmont attracts families in search of a great community with easy commutes to San Francisco.

Incorporated in 1907, Piedmont already had the reputation of being “the city of millionaires” by the 1920s, as wealthy San Franciscans built estates in the East Bay community. Oakland completely surrounds the 1.7-square-mile city, which boasts its own fire and police departments and schools.

The city of 10,800 also offers residents 44 acres of parkland and a beautiful community hall, and both CNNMoney and Forbes magazine have ranked it among the best places to live in the U.S.

With the highest rankings in Alameda County, the Piedmont Unified School District earned an overall state Academic Performance Index score of 938 out of 1,000 in 2012. The district operates three elementary schools, Piedmont Middle School, and Piedmont High School.

Dubbed a “West Coast Mayberry,” Piedmont offers many community events, including a traditional Fourth of July parade and holiday tree-lighting ceremony. The city is primarily residential with just a few businesses on Highland Avenue, including popular neighborhood meeting spot Mulberry’s Market. Residents generally head to Oakland or Berkeley for dining out and shopping.

Many residents commute to the city with “casual carpool,” an East Bay tradition where drivers pick up commuters at specific locations for carpooling to downtown San Francisco. Others take advantage of Oakland’s nearby BART stations.

Much of Piedmont’s architecture is traditional in style and dates back to the 1920s, with a smattering of mid-century and ranch homes mixed in.

Sought-after streets include Sea View Avenue and Glen Alpine Road, although buyers tend to snap up any home close to the center of town or within walking distance of schools or parks.

Piedmont homes for sale in the $1 million to $1.5 million range tend to attract the most interest. In September 2012 the median sale price for a single-family Piedmont home increased 24 percent to $1.49 million, up from $1.2 million a year earlier, according to MLS data.
Pros
  • Very Safe
  • Great Schools
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Best Family City in the East Bay"

Piedmont is maybe the best of the hillside neighborhoods in the East Bay. It is a historic neighborhood that was once known for its millionaires and that still is home to many wealthy residents. Curling around the south face of Mountain View cemetery, Piedmont is largely a woodsy upscale neighborhood. But on it western end, Piedmont flattens out around its main drag, where you find a number of great restaurants, coffee shops, a theater and pretty good shopping as well.

I mostly know Piedmont for the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood area on its western end where I spent a great deal of time with a friend who lived there. It is a great place to live—the kind of place that you can get up in the morning and go get some coffee at a cool coffee shop, sit and read the paper or get some work done until noon-ish—then go for some lunch at one of the many top notch restaurants: Italian at Dopo, Chinese at Szechwan Gardens or even Ethiopian at Messob. Afterwards, you can catch a movie or drop down to the Grand Lake area of Oakland for some of the entertainments there.

The Piedmont Avenue neighborhood is the younger trending area of Piedmont, with a higher concentration of singles and lots of attractions that draw people in from outside the the city. You can find a fair number of older apartment buildings with a classic look to them that are really appealing. The smaller homes in this area are charming and cozy, making the best us of there smaller lots.

Most of the rest of Piedmont is more of family centered neighborhood and skews slightly older. Homes in the Upper Highland area, for example tend to be larger and almost manor-like. The farther east you go the leafier and hillier the neighborhood becomes—but the architecture remains the same: classic and beautiful, making use of the landscape to best effect always.

With its great schools—Millennium High School is one of the best public schools in Oaklnad—and peaceful, almost bucolic streets, Piedmont is a great place to raise kids as well.

Put simply, if you can afford it, this one of the best cities to live if you want to be just slightly removed from the craziness of places like Berkeley, but not so far away that it is a hassle getting there.
Pros
  • Classic Homes
  • Great Restaurants
  • Great Schools
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not Enough Supermarkets
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
JulieDrassinower
JulieDrassinower The Piedmont Ave. neighborhood is actually Oakland;and not in the city of Piedmont.
2yrs+
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Unranked Neighborhoods in Piedmont

"Woody Views of the Bay"
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Crocker Park

3.5/5
"Typical Peidmont Neighborhood--Great!"
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"Piedmont Cash and Gas"
37.8248328952424 -122.232467000296
"A Little Echo...Echo...Echo"
37.8311290864204 -122.226969684652
"Eclectic Hillside Homes"
37.8207718099776 -122.234895168642

St. James

3.5/5
"Nice Family Neighborhood"
37.8171135061429 -122.217720085366
"A Classic Wealthy Neighborhood"
37.8232794217379 -122.225296018009
"Manors, Pond, and Looping Road"
37.8218603426481 -122.218499251759
"The Real Scoop"
37.8257172180873 -122.242266465401

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