7.0 out of 10

Ivy Hill

37.8005199470878 -122.244364706178
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Cost of Living
  • Internet Access
  • Lack of Traffic
  • Medical Facilities
Not great for
  • Childcare
  • Eating Out
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters


4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 2/5
  • Clean & Green 4/5
  • Pest Free 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • 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 4/5
  • Parking 4/5
  • Cost of Living 4/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 3/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5

"Cheap Way to Live by Lake Merritt"

Ivy Hill is in many ways a microcosm of Oakland in general. It is an amazingly diverse place with fairly even numbers of whites, African Americans, and Asians, and a fairly representative sampling of Latinos. This is, like most of Oakland, a working class neighborhood with the median household income coming in under $50K. The neighborhood is filled with old homes and buildings—more than half of the structures here date from before the Eisenhower administration.

The most attractive part of the neighborhood is up by Park Boulevard. There where you actually get some of the hill, you also get some attractive, leafy steps that rise up in between the old pre-World War II homes and apartments. It is actually quite conducive to walking during the day and in the mornings during good weather it is not unusual to see locals taking in the air. The neighborhood is not quite safe enough to do this after nightfall, however (in fact, even in the day it is a good idea to stay alert).

Parkway Blvd. is also fairly close to the Lake Merritt (so close you can walk) so living here by it is just like living by Lake Merritt but with a hundred or two knocked off the rent. The homes throughout most of the neighborhood are nice enough in themselves. They are mostly those heavy looking Craftsman type bungalows, so you get that overwhelming feeling of shelter when you are in one. Though they are “cozy,” a real-estate euphemism for “small.” Many of the apartments are also those three story Victorian type deals typical of the North Beach area of SF. You don’t quite get the views that you get in North Beach, but you do get a pretty good gander at the Oakland skyline from some points so maybe that is a bit of a consolation.

There’s a pretty typical dive bar in this neighborhood as well, Parkway Lounge. It features live music every so often and the typical grungy feel of a dive bar—though this is mostly a residential neighborhood. The Parkway is right next to a really good little, old style movie theater that plays foreign and art films—well worth the trip for the two in combination. The Rooz Café is also down the street—it’s a restaurant of some kind, but I’ve never been there so I couldn’t tell you much about it.

In the proverbial nutshell, I would say that this is a great, little known neighborhood within walking distance of Lake Merritt but affordable. A steal for those who love this part of Oakland.
  • Close to Lake Merritt
  • Affordable Rents
  • Some Pleasant Spots
  • Crime
  • Old Building Problems
  • Dense
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters

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