8.6 out of 10

Ivy Hill

37.8005199470878 -122.244364706178
Great for
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Public Transport
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Eating Out
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • Childcare
  • Gym & Fitness
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping Options
  • Schools
Who lives here?
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Retirees
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters


5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5

"Wonderful neighborhood with Lake Merritt as your front yard"

Ivy Hill is an absolute gem of a neighborhood. Incredibly diverse and integrated, this is mostly working class families and retired people. The majority of residents are very friendly and polite; you'll get a lot of greetings and smiles. With Lake Merritt literally one or two blocks away, you get the best of all worlds - the serenity and quiet of a residential neighborhood and the mirth and excitement of Lake Merritt. At night, the area is eerily quiet - you can hear a pin drop. This is not a party neighborhood by any means. While there are many apartment buildings, there are equal number of single family houses which creates a wonderfully diverse mix. Parking isn't great but you don't need a car in this neighborhood if you are able-bodied. Several bus lines are one or two blocks away, Lake Merritt BART is one mile away for most residents, there are Zipcars and Gig Cars available to rent, as well as private companies that do car rentals, and there is a Ford GoBike bike share station. Lucky grocery store and Walgreens are also down the street, and there are great dining options such as: Casa Vallerta, L&S Fish and Chips (which serves a lot more than fish and chips), Woody's Cafe (amazing family-owned cafe), Rooz Coffee and Cafe, Subway sandwiches, Vegan donuts, Anh Dao, a great taco truck, Portal's, Rockin' Crawfish and a few more blocks away is the very popular Champa Garden. This area is teeming with all of the best that Oakland has to offer and is surprisingly still affordable! That might change as more people become aware of the area. This area is also safe, though one should always be aware of their surroundings and not make themselves a target. I've seen tons of cars with items very visibily left inside that are parked for days on the street. I do not recommend that but they haven't been broken into (doesn't mean you should do this!). I can't say enough great things about this fantastic neighborhood.
  • Diverse
  • Safe
  • Friendly
  • Affordable Rents
  • Close to Lake Merritt
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
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
  • LGBT+
  • Hipsters

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