The East Bay has something for everyone: Urban living that is more affordable than San Francisco, well established smaller towns with gracious neighborhoods and great schools, and new developments offering every modern amenity for family life.
Recently referred to as the Brooklyn of the West, Oakland has wonderful historic buildings, an unspoiled Chinatown, and bustling neighborhoods (such as Lakeshore and Elmwood). Large, lovely homes with impressive views can be found in the hill neighborhoods of Montclair, Claremont, Rockridge, and Hiller Highlands. The "flatlands," located west of Interstate 580, consist mainly of well-cared for two and three bedroom homes. There are also many apartments near lively Lake Merritt and the Lakeshore neighborhood.
Berkeley is home to the University of California at Berkeley, one of the most acclaimed public universities in the world. Telegraph Avenue, just outside the University campus, is alive with street musicians, small shops, and food and jewelry vendors. College Avenue is one long food and fine-goods marketplace, which spans to both Oakland and Berkeley. Shoppers will enjoy Fourth Street in West Berkeley, with its restaurants and upscale specialty shops. Tilden Park, in the Berkeley Hills, is a 2,000 acre preserve that offers hiking and jogging trails, a golf range, and swimming at Lake Anza. Berkeley neighborhoods vary remarkably, offering housing prices that cover a wide spectrum. The Berkeley Hills have one of the most beautiful vistas of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. The flatlands are generally composed of older, more affordable homes.
Composed of an island and peninsula called Bay Farm Island, Alameda is located west of Oakland, across the estuary. Harbor Bay, a waterfront development on Bay Farm Island, is a planned community built around five villages. For those residents who prefer older dwellings with loads of charm, Alameda boasts about 3,500 Victorian and Queen Anne homes. Alameda is also home to many research and bio-tech firms. Alameda's marina holds over 2,000 berths and offers ferry service to San Francisco. There are six miles of sandy beaches here as well as three golf courses.
Well-situated for commuting to both the Silicon Valley and the East Bay, Fremont is a suburban, bedroom community that rises from the Bay to the hills. There are many newer homes near the Bay and in the hills near Mission San Jose — the more upscale part of town. A good number of apartments and older homes can also be found here. Activities are plentiful, with about 40 parks and playgrounds. The restored Mission, a new, larger library, Ohlone Community College, and an annual arts festival offer other amenities.
A family-oriented town an hour from both San Francisco and Monterey, Pleasanton has one of the strongest school districts in California.It also boasts 40 parks peppered with sports fields, picnic areas, 22 miles of scenic trails, and public art displays. You can find Victorians in the quaint town center. Moving out from the town center are single-family homes built between the 1930s to the 1950s. Further out, new developments feature large, modern homes. This small town near everything has much to offer families.