5.5 out of 10

Downtown

Ranked 14th best neighborhood in Oakland
37.8073573040084 -122.269763824843
Great for
  • Public Transport
  • Eating Out
  • Internet Access
  • Nightlife
  • Parks & Recreation
Not great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Clean & Green
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Safe & Sound
  • Childcare
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 1/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+

"Oakland's pulse"

Downtown acts as the central business hub of all of Oakland. It has many of the qualities that an average-sized city has to offer while adding a spice of Oakland’s grungy reputation. However, with its proximity to Lake Merritt and its neighboring Lakeside community, Downtown Oakland has much to be thankful for.

The district is one of the busiest in the city and for good reason. It is saturated with a mixed assortment of apartment buildings, retail stores, towering office buildings and a cluster of smaller mixed-use historic buildings. On weekends, the neighborhood is buzzing with trendy nightlife and hungry restaurant goers. New clubs and bars have also been sprouting up in recent years attracting diverse crowds from different parts of the city.

For those commuting to work, the neighborhood is served by two bart stations,12th Street and 19th Street. Otherwise, commuters can hop on Interstate 980, which conveniently skirts the district’s southern border. Parking is typical of a busy downtown community, with street parking being a crapshoot and parking garages filling up before morning work hours.

Like most Oakland neighborhoods, the area hosts a large African American community, many of whom loiter the streets during the day. Crime is always something to look out for in the neighborhood, with public disturbance, petty crime and assaults fostering much public concern.
Pros
  • Good Business Community
  • Great Nightlife
  • Great Public Transportation
Cons
  • Crime
  • Not a Good Family Spot
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 2/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 2/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 2/5
  • Parking 2/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 2/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Where the Spice Monkey's Go for Drinks and Dancing"

So let’s just cut to the chase. Here are the top 5 places to go for drinks/food/dancing in Downtown Oakland:

5. There is a good selection of international food. One of my personal favorites is Vos Vietnamese Restaurant. It has a wonderful décor with a long bar and both seating at intimate tables (perfect for dates) and balcony seating perched above. They also have live piano, though I have never been there when it is in use.

4. Rio California, a great Brazilian food place. Just across the street from Preservation Park in a converted Victorian, the warm interior is perfect for lunch when it gets a pretty good crowd from the local businesses

3. Club 21, a gay dance club that caters to Latinos. If you are straight, you might prefer Penelope’s a pretty good bar—almost with a dive feel to it—except for the rule that says that you can’t be a dive bar and serve mimosas.

2. The Layover is a very swanky, chabby chic type of a joint, with at touch of Turkish coffee house thrown in for good measure. It is really a lounge where you can get great mixed drinks and mingle till you tingle—whatever that means. Enjoy.

1. A place that knows how to make comfort food classy and healthy is Spice Monkey. It also has a very cool décor with high front windows and a tile staircase that really gives you a Mediterranean feel.
Pros
  • Great Nightlife
  • Good Business Community
  • Great Public Transportation
Cons
  • Crime
  • Overly Urban
  • Not a Good Family Spot
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 1/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 1/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"Urban Jungle in Downtown Oakland"

Make no mistake, downtown Oakland has a lot to offer. Bars and restaurants are amazing, featuring some of the best the bay area has to offer (do not miss Everett & Jones on Broadway for the best bbq you've ever had!). Still, I'm not sure I would move back. As a single young woman, walking home at night was always a test of my courage. I do, however, miss the great climbing gym that was just a few blocks away, and the restaurants and shops of Jack London square. I do not, however, miss drivers blasting their stereos outside my window at three am. Downtown is a great place to visit, but not my favorite place to live.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
2/5
2yrs+

"City but too much city"

While I am a city boy at heart and have lived in many many different cities this will never be one I add to my list. This was a horrible city (at least downtown). I thought it was too congested way too loud and wasnt eye pleasing in any way. This was a city in a very typical way. I planned to spend a while day in this part of Oakland enjoying all the city had to offer turn out I was ready to leave in just over an hour. This is one section of Oakland I wont be visiting again if I even go to Oakland. I just wasnt worth wasting my time Ill take NYC anyday.

Travelling to Downtown?

Find Hotels

Unranked Streets in Downtown

13th St

3.5/5
"Good area for photos"
37.8036766794019 -122.271685061166

19th St

2.5/5
"Work Hard, Play Hard"
37.807432137028 -122.268187010848
"A good place to start at the heart of the city"
37.8054043878444 -122.272082985872

Franklin St

3.5/5
"Near China town with good food"
37.8069493426979 -122.268051014346

Best Neighborhoods to Live In

Best Cities to Live In

Tell everyone what you love about your neighborhood!

Leave a Review

Have a question?

How are schools? Is the area safe? What about public transit options?" Why not ask our community of locals!

Ask Now

Selling or Renting Your Home?

Maximize the selling price of your home by sharing what you love about your suburb to increase its appeal...

Leave a Review

Corporate Relocation Manager?

Enable your employees to share local knowledge in a private, trusted environment with those relocating... while building community.

Learn More