8.4 out of 10

Fernside

Ranked 2nd best neighborhood in Alameda
37.7616494897695 -122.231332028316
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
  • Schools
  • Resale or Rental Value
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Medical Facilities
  •  
  •  
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Singles
  • Gay & Lesbian

Reviews

5/5 rating details
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Schools 5/5
2yrs+

"Hard to beat, especially for families."

This is one of the best neighborhoods—and in some respects THE best neighborhood—in Alameda. Ask 10 people in Alameda which neighborhood they’d like to live in, and at least half will say Fernside.

First, let’s talk schools. It has the best elementary school in Alameda, and one of the best in the Bay Area, in Edison. Children here also attend Lincoln Middle— Alameda’s best—and Alameda High, again, Alameda’s best. Hard to argue with that.

Let’s talk location. Fernside is on the east side of the Alameda, which is the island’s most desirable area, and it’s the first neighborhood over the bridge, which means it’s just minutes from 880 or BART. Since it’s the first neighborhood in, it’s surrounded by the channel separating Alameda from Oakland, which means a number of the houses have deep-water docks with one- or two-bridge access to the bay. It’s also minutes from Park Street and has its own shopping center with a Raley’s and a Peet’s. Again, hard to argue with that.

But now let’s talk about Fernside’s best attribute—consistency. Virtually every house in the neighborhood is meticulously maintained and landscaped, and only a tiny handful are in disrepair. Virtually all of the houses are from the same time period, virtually all are the same scale, and there are almost no rental units, condos, or apartments—it’s as close to perfection as you’re likely to find, well, anywhere.

And let’s talk about the houses. While the neighborhood doesn’t have Gold Coast’s “wow” factor (although “The Football” off of Gibbons has some spectacular homes), it more than makes up for it in charm. Someone turned the whimsy up to 11 here; there are more barrel tile haciendas, elfin brick-accented Tudors, and Craftsman cottages than you can shake a stick at, and there’s even a few Art Deco homes, straight-out-of-New-England Cape Cods, and a stray Victorian or two. Cove ceilings, arched doorways, curved staircases, beams, portholes—you name it, it’s here. It’s pricey, but it’s become much more affordable in the last 3-4 years, and it’s by-and-large much less expensive than Gold Coast.

If there’s any downside, it might be scale. Where Gold Coast goes enormous, Fernside goes tiny. Small lots, small homes, small rooms, small closets; if you’re coming from a suburban McMansion, it might be a tough go. An odd downside is the waterfront homes are some of the least attractive in the neighborhood, and—in the maddening Alameda tradition—many of the original large waterfront lots were split in the ‘60s and ‘70s, allowing owners to wedge in hideous, horribly constructed rental units. The same situation is present on the neighborhood’s outer edge (Broadway and Pearl Streets), so those homes should also be approached with caution.

But those are minor quibbles. Throw in decent tree canopy, specially designed street lamps, and Thompson’s famous Christmas Tree Lane during the holidays, and it’s really hard to find fault with this terrific neighborhood.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Close to Park Street Entertainment and Dining
  • Great Schools
  • Convenient access to BART and 880
Cons
  • Smaller homes and lots
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 3/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5
2yrs+

"Great Classic Neighborhood"

Fernside is one of those classic pre-WWII neighborhoods for which the Bay Area is famous. It is filled with California Bungalows and those larger older homes for which I have no name and can only say that I find them simultaneously attractive and rather off-putting. This is because although I like the way they look, I generally find the lighting in these homes inadequate.

I’ve always loved the California bungalow look, however—there is just something very cozy and inviting about it.
By far the most luxurious and attractive lane in all of Fernside—and probably Alameda for that matter—is tree-lined Gibson Lane. The impeccably well-kept homes here are attractive enough that I would recommend a visit just to admire the architecture. If you are an architecture student or similar aficionado, you might even consider taking a walking tour of Gibson.
Gibson boasts a numb of mix of classic home styles with European cottages, Mission bungalows, and Tudor accents—it’s a dizzying array of thatched roofs, red-tiles, adobe walls, woodwork and decorative stones, all managed tastefully. The best part is at the middle point on Gibson where Southwood and Northwood circles around it, creating an enclave of beautiful older homes. Really pleasing!

Fernside Blvd. that skirts the edge of Alameda is also worth a visit. The homes along the eastern end of the boulevard here all have backyard docks where many of the residents keep their sail boats.

The median price of a home here is around $550, with prices ranging from $275K to almost $900 K.

This section of Alameda also boasts the best schools on all of the island. Lincoln Middle School is what makes the difference. It is just a much better school than Wood Middle School that serves the northwestern part of Alameda. The local elementary, Edison, and the high school, Alameda High are just as strong.

You are also close enough to Park Street here to get a bit of nightlife and entertainment without having to drive far ( you could actually walk to the local bars if you so desired).

A really nice classic neighborhood.
Pros
  • Beautiful Older Homes
  • Great Schools
  • Close to Park Street Entertainment and Dining
Cons
  • ATouch Expensive
  • Possible Sea Rise Problems in the Future
  • A Touch of Crime Worries Maybe
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Trendy & Stylish
3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 2/5
  • Nightlife 2/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Cost of Living 3/5
2yrs+

"Well-kept traditional neighborhood"

Framed by Central Avenue, Broadway, Fernside Boulevard and the Oakland/Alameda waterway, Fernside is a traditional, well-kept, middle-class community. It can be a bit boring, considering there is not many entertainment options or dining within close proximity, but it serves as a quaint, family friendly atmosphere. In fact, the district is lush with green foliage plotted on every property and tree lined streets. The area itself is also residentially dense (largely white community), totaling 4,000 resident in a span of 0.5 square miles. Its biggest attribute is that both High Street and Tilden Way feed into the city of Oakland, providing instant access for commuters getting to Highway 880.

Fernside’s residential terrain has a large inventory of housing options. Homes, for the most part, are rather old and Victorian-styled, but they are a bit bigger here than anywhere else in Alameda. They afford about two to three bedrooms of living space and are often two stories in size. They have a small walkway that leads up to a small staircase. There, you’ll find that most house fronts have a bit of an old aesthetic to them, but have been well kept over the years. However, most homes don’t afford a garage (because of their age),and have just narrow driveways that runs deep into the side yards. Others residents just park along the road, which can make for some tough street parking.

For numbers sake, median household income is around $95,000/year, while houses can cost you upwards of $715,000, on average. If you head towards the northeastern end, you’ll hit a strip of beautiful residential real-estate, a bit more upscale than the neighborhood’s usual aesthetic. For something cheaper, there are a few condominium and apartment complex options. Rents can cost you around $1,400/month.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Students

Unranked Streets in Fernside

"Great houses in plesant town, though somewhat heavy traffic at times."
37.7671184739877 -122.232879801607

Eagle Ave

3.5/5
"Condo and apartment galore."
37.7667790002004 -122.234734251044

Eastshore Dr

2.5/5
"Neighbors don't realize they live by the bay"
37.7556985604107 -122.226484499638

Fairview Ave

3.5/5
"Good place for middle class family"
37.7608048776564 -122.227571900622
"Quiet With A Great Vibe!"
37.7589472573195 -122.228331734396
"Great dedication to the Alameda Community"
37.7626576809337 -122.231179939229

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