4.4 out of 10

Royal Oak

42.5067258094776 -83.1513760550145
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Medical Facilities
  • Eating Out
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Lack of Traffic
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Students
  • Retirees

Reviews

2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Severely overrated"

I lived in Royal Oak for 5 years and I can say very honestly that I did not genuinely enjoy living there for anything past the first year. Yes, downtown is nice, when people move to Royal Oak they want to live near downtown, that's fine, but people who want to live in a regular neighborhood are going to be severely misled by other reviews

The first thing everyone needs to know about Royal Oak is that all of the trendy creative types, hipsters, young professionals, liberals etc. live mostly in or around downtown. The profile of the neighborhods is a lot different. In the neighborhoods there are some older people who managed to stick around during the financial crisis but when the property values fell it let a lot of unsavory characters in.

I moved in before the crisis and a lot of people moved in during and after the crisis because they thought Royal Oak was a safe bet but since then crime in the neighborhoods has gotten worse, the city has developed a drug problem and the curb appeal has gone down. I didn't have any major problems in Royal Oak (I could put up with the schools and the traffic and the overall rudeness of people) until the 5th year I lived there which was 2011, when in the span of six months my car was stolen, my house was broken into, and I witnessed my new 'neighbors' across the street selling drugs out of their house as well as alcohol to minors.

Before the crisis I paid $115k for my house, I managed to sell it for around $60k and worked out a payment plan. I got a lot of criticism for that decision until a year later when an elderly woman was killed in her home by a pair of homeless people near my neighborhood. A year later the police arrested a man for trying to stab his roomate to death about a mile from where I lived. This is the kind of stuff that doesnt happen in the downtown most reviewers talk about

If you want to move to downtown, more power to you, but I have to warn you that the price to live in downtown is not worth it. Parking is bad. Traffic is bad. Police will hound you wherever you go (which is another thing about the neighborhoods, its unacceptable that you can't get a cop car out to your house in under 30 minutes, yet the police are on nearly every street downtown). And honestly, the loft developers are ruining the architecture. The core of downtown is surrounded by ugly "modern" condos, there is nothing authentic about it.

To sum up my star ratings:
Neighborly spirit - I never even met most of my neighbors
Clean & green - There is a lot of litter and a good amount of grafiti
Peace & quiet - Cars drove down my street playing loud music on a daily basis in the spring/summer and it was even worse with the drag racing and motorcycles during the Dream Cruise
Nightlife - There are some excellent bars and clubs downtown, if that's what you're looking for. A bit pricey though.
Shopping options - A lot of good stores downtown. Not much in the neighborhoods.
Internet access - Most providers are available here and the bandwidth is good if you can pay for it.
Parking - A good parking spot is a needle in the haystack even in the neighborhoods.
Resale/Rental value - It's improved but probably wont stay that way for long. A friend of mine in real estate says it's a very volatile area to try to sell properties in.
Medical facilities - I was right down the street from Beaumont hospital, which is massive and well-run.
Childcare - Didn't have to deal with this one personally but there didnt seem to be a lot of shady daycare centers around which is a good sign
Safe & sound - It was at one point but isn't anymore sadly.
Pest free - I had a fair rodent problem for a while but it went away after my neighbors sold their house and had to clean up the garbage in the yard
Eating out - There is a good variety of restaurants for eating on the cheap or for fine dining.
Parks & rec - Parks could be maintained better. Patchy grass, dying trees, grafiti, etc.
Gym & fitness - There are several gyms as well as fitness and sports stores. Not bad.
Traffic - It's pretty bad even in the neighborhoods. On an average day downtown is bumper to bumper.
Cost of living - Unless you rent section 8, you are paying way too much to live there.
Public transport - The bus service runs on every major road and there is also a passenger train. No monorail or subway or anything like that.
Schools - The schools have a major problem with students abusing and selling heroin. Test scores arent always the best measure.
Pros
  • Good bars & restaurants
  • Enjoyable downtown
Cons
  • Overpriced and surprisingly low income
  • Houses arent taken care of
  • Not as safe as it used to be
  • Horrible traffic
  • Seriously parking isssues
Recommended for
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Students
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 5/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 5/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 1/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 4/5
2yrs+

"Royal Oak – An Artistic and Trendy City"

I have mixed feelings toward Royal Oak, as many people do. I love going into the city to eat and enjoy the bars, especially the rooftop at Woody’s in the summer. It’s a great place to go shop at the boutiques or simply walk around. That being said, I could not live in this city, I find it hard to understand why people pay such a ridiculous amount for the lofts here when they could buy a gorgeous house for the same amount of money elsewhere. Not to mention, the parking issues and noise of the city could drive me insane.

Yes, the lofts are nice, but seriously, parking in this city is horrible. There is minimal street parking so wherever you go, you have to park in a lot and walk. This isn’t bad in the summer but it’s a mess in the winter. Not to mention, traffic is horrible. You know when everyone is on lunch hour in this city because it may take you a half hour to move 2 miles. Traffic is so bad, there are cones set on the streets on weekdays to act as crosswalks and you have to stop constantly to allow pedestrians to cross. Half the streets are one-way too. So, if you miss what you are looking for, you have to go way out of your way to come around again.

Royal Oak is a young, trendy city where everything just feels cluttered, and for the amount that you pay to live here, you would think it would boast a better crime rate. There are great schools in Royal Oak and there are certainly numerous families living here, but I would recommend the city for singles, professionals or even students. If you can find a roommate to afford the housing, the city is only minutes away from seven colleges and universities.
Pros
  • Plenty to do
  • Nice lofts
  • Great schools
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Horrible traffic
  • Seriously parking isssues
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 4/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 4/5
  • Childcare 3/5
2yrs+

"Great community for a young family"

My family relocated to Royal Oak earlier this year, and we have enjoyed living in this quite, pleasant community since moving here. Our neighborhood is very quiet and shady. It is located near two major roadways that traverse the greater Detroit area, but traffic is extremely reasonable. There are numerous parks in the area, and many are within easy walking distance from most neighborhoods. Downtown Royal Oak is very pedestrian friendly and offers an enormous variety of restaurants, bars, and shopping options. Royal Oak is also somewhat of a center of attention from a car and motorcycle enthusiast standpoint. During the summer, downtown Royal Oak becomes a gathering point for motorcycle riders. In August, the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise travels right through the heart of Royal Oak. The Detroit Zoo is also only a few miles from downtown Royal Oak as well. Overall, it has been an excellent community for our young family.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids

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