As the San Francisco Bay Area economy continues to boom, the East Bay, centered around the city of Oakland has grown both in terms of the number of companies based there and the number of people living there. An atypical urban and suburban area with soccer moms and strollers mixed in with students, young professionals and hipsters, the East Bay has its own set of unique and exciting neighborhoods suited for youngsters and the young at heart. Below is a list of the best East Bay neighborhoods for young people. If you’d like to learn more about the best furnished apartment housing for interns in the Bay Area, check out our post here.
The San Francisco Chronicle did some great reviews of some of these neighborhoods, so we included those links to learn more, as an added bonus. SFGate also maintains a more exhaustive list of all the East Bay neighborhoods here.
Rockridge – Near the University of California, Berkley, and Oakland, Rockridge is becoming increasingly popular and increasingly younger. Getting to San Francisco is easy via the nearby BART, and the university spillover ensures that young affluent people are always around. It might not be the most affordable area to set up shop, but it is definitely worth a visit.
AreaVibes rates Rockridge a 66, dinged by Crime, Education and Cost of Living:
Berkeley – Berkeley has a little bit for everyone with its hippy roots and new age shopping and eateries. Similar to Rockridge, there are plenty of college students to keep things interesting. Berkley is also home to one of the area’s most notable theater companies, Berkeley Repertory Theatre. One area of town worth mentioning, the Gourmet Ghetto is a very unique and desirable neighborhood. The San Francisco Chronicle did a great review of this particular area. Westbrae and Northbrae are also equally great neighborhoods in Berkeley.
AreaVibes rates Berkeley a 68, dinged by Cost of Living and Crime:
Walnut Creek – Walnut Creek has grown from a quiet suburb to a hip spot on the outskirts of the Bay Area. It is a bit farther from Silicon Valley and San Francisco than most places, but still has some trendy shopping areas and a neat little downtown area. Housing is more affordable and, as such, many young families have taken up roots by purchasing their first homes here.
AreaVibes rates Walnut Creek a 75, dinged only by Cost of Living:
Piedmont Ave. – Known as one of the more eclectic and desirable areas of Oakland, Piedmont Ave. also maintains a hometown appeal. There are many shops and restaurants to keep you occupied on a daytime visit, and nightlife options to keep you there late. Learn more from the Chronicle. Not too far from Piedmont is Alameda, which is a fan favorite, for good reason. One of our favorite 2nd Address homes is in Alameda:
AreaVibes rates Piedmont a 78, dinged only by Cost of Living:
Dublin and Pleasanton – We can’t not mention the Dublin and Pleasanton areas, mostly because it is one of the cheapest spots to live in the whole Bay Area. True, the commute is longer into the city. But if you don’t actually work in San Francisco, then you don’t need to worry that much about how long it takes to get there, right? Access to Silicon Valley is much more manageable. The area is full of great parks and recreational activities, which is why people choose to live outside the city in the first place.
AreaVibes rates Dublin a 77, dinged only by Cost of Living:
So there you have it! The East Bay has many options for those looking for a lively hood, and it will be easier to locate an apartment or rental unit in these neighborhoods than it will be in San Francisco. The main drawback is commute time to get to the city or South Bay and Silicon Valley hotspots is pretty high. Still, you can find a nice spot within about 35-45 public transportation minutes of the city, and pay much less in rent and living expenses. This map has a nice neighborhood breakdown of the area.