"basically an outdoor mall, but much nicer"
Walnut street has a lot of the same stores that an upscale mall has including American Apparel, the Gap, Banana Republic, the Apple Store, and Coach. There are a few smaller and more exclusive boutiques that carry higher-end fashion, like Moda, but mainly the stores are chains. That is not necessarily a bad thing, because it means that you will rarely need to drive to the suburbs to shop. Walnut street has a lot of apartments and houses along its length and is near to the Oakland university district. It does get busy and although you can usually find a parking space, it is better to make sure that you get off-street parking if you are planning to move to this street. If you are planning to visit, there are convenient garages and parking lots, but not so many that it ruins the pleasant village-like feeling of the neighborhood. I like Walnut street, but it is more like a mall than other nearby commercial neighborhoods. That said, it is safe, relatively clean, contains a pretty complete collection of shops (food, clothing, housewares, etc.) and has nice landscaping and well-maintained sidewalks.