3.8 out of 10

Fairview Park

37.8474430185848 -122.258839656517
Great for
  • Internet Access
  • Childcare
  • Public Transport
  • Schools
  • Cost of Living
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Neighborly Spirit
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Students


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

"Great Architecture and Ethiopian Food"

Fairview Park is just south of the Elmwood neighborhood in Berkeley. It extends from Woolsey Street to Highway 24 with Telegraph as its western border and College Ave. and Claremont as its eastern border. Like much of the Berkeley/Oakland area it is made up of older homes and buildings. If you like older homes as I do, you will love these streets. Along them you find a Mission Revival apartment buildings (a touch on the rare side unlike the single story homes that are plentiful), next to Tudor Cottages with pointy roves and gables, decorated in shingles, next to a squat Craftsman houses with characteristic thick square columns and front steps that rise onto a short thin verandas with a protective overhangs. The variety is really fascinating, actually.

Rental prices in the area are very reasonable with few listings popping over $1000 and when they do go into the higher ranges, these are for entire houses. On the other hand, this is still close enough to the Berkeley campus that Victorians get parceled out and many households are made up of strangers and therefore unstable. Turnover is high and tends to follow the UC calendar.

Unlike the neighborhoods closer to campus, however, this feels like a truly functioning residential neighborhood with actual families living here and not just a bunch of college students. There is, for example, an actual supermarket (Safeway on the corner of College and Claremont) and not just a corner liquor store. There are also hardware stores, an antique store and an elementary school—Peralta Elementary. Peralta, by the way, is well-loved by local parents who are very involved in it and like the quality of the teachers and administration.

The neighborhood also has a lot to offer in terms of commercial establishments. For example, although Telegraph is not the prettiest of streets at this point, and has its share of run down looking KFC’s and liquor stores, it also has an acupuncture place, a tattoo parlor and a nice hair salon—Down at Lulu’s—that can handle anything from a simple bob, to a weave, to getting just the right shade of purple. It is definitely the kind of place that has seen it all. There are some slightly sketchier elements in the area in terms of stores including a palm reader, a strangely non-descript tavern/hotel and an adult movie store but there are also some eclectic clothing boutiques like Says Who.

In terms of crime, there have been no homicides within the Fairview boundaries since 2007, although next door Bushrod (on the western end) has had a handful. Crime in the area is mostly of the property variety.

Public transportation is strong here as in other Bay Area neighborhoods. Not only does Highway 24 run along the southern border, but Fairview Park has the Rockridge BART station right near its south eastern border. In other words, you could easily live here without ever owning a car.

That said, the choice of restaurants makes it worth braving the less savory aspects of Telegraph. You can find sushi (Naked Sushi), East Asian BBQ (Chicken Town) and Thai food (Saysetha). By far, however, the highlight of Telegraph are the two Ethiopian restaurants: Café Colucci and Addis (right around the corner at Alcatraz), both well worth a visit.

College Avenue on the eastern end, however, is the far more aesthetically pleasing lane, featuring not only the supermarket but perhaps the most attractive stretch of shopping and restaurants in the Berkeley area. This is the stretch of College that becomes Rockridge once it crosses under the freeway and the BART station, so that often establishments will list themselves as in Rockridge in order to cash in on that city’s cache. Technically, however, these establishments are in Fairview Park. You will find a Zachary’s Pizza, a Barney’s Burgers, and Wood Tavern (a nice drinking establishment). The Claremont Diner, the Graduate and Boe’s Café are also on this lane, along with several stores. Put simply, you could, if you were forced to stay within a mile of College and Claremont, squeeze quite a bit of enjoyment out of this area.

One final note is that there are also several places of worship in the area including St. Augustine’s, the local catholic establishment. And, in case you are wondering, there is a park in Fairview Park, but it is actually named Colby Park. It’s not really much to write home about except for its odd traffic circle like configuration.

Overall, this is a pretty good place to set down roots and raise kids.
  • Ethnic Restaurants
  • Working Family Neigbhorhood
  • Good Public Transportation
  • Old Architecture Problems
  • Nearby Crime
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students
christineb27 Well-written, thanks for the in-depth review!
May 10, 2020
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2/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 2/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 2/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 3/5

"Lacking greenery and privacy"

I grew up in the Fairview Park area of Oakland, California. I can honestly say that I don’t miss either. Oakland is filled with smog and way too many people. The houses in Fairview Park are so close together that the houses and people seem to lack privacy all together. Everyone is in a hurry it seems and I remember as a kid riding my bike in the street and cars would zoom by without any respect for the neighborhood speed limit. There is a dire lacking of greenery which makes everything appear grey and dull. There are lot’s of Iranian and Afghan shops in the Fairview area which is probably the most interesting part of the neighborhood. A little cultural touch is always nice. The people are not unfriendly but they aren’t exactly friendly either. It seems that everyone is lost in their own little world. The houses are all reminiscent of a bygone era and they appeared to be stacked on top of each other. The roads also need a little updating as well as the cracks in the sidewalks.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees

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