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A Guide to Oakland’s Neighborhoods

Roxanna Ahlbach


Oakland is one of the largest cities in California and is home to several upscale and distinctive neighborhoods. It is conveniently located just six miles east of San Francisco across the bay. There are plenty of family attractions, nightlife, and cultural opportunities for an active lifestyle with plenty to do. Due to its location, it has better weather than its neighbor across the Bay. The location, climate, and amenities make Oakland real estate an excellent investment. With so many wonderful neighborhoods to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to begin. Below are the top five Oakland neighborhoods to start your search.


The small but delightfully charming city of Piedmont is next to the city of Oakland and consists of two main areas: Lower Piedmont and Upper Piedmont. Lower Piedmont's distinctly eclectic vibe should not be confused with Piedmont itself. Upper Piedmont is situated above the Highlands and includes more spacious and extensive yards and homes.

Known in the 1920s as the city of millionaires — it housed the most millionaires per square mile in the United States at the time — this 1.7-mile area features irresistible charm and stunning architecture. While many mansions still stand in Piedmont, you will also find newer estates.  Homes highlight the spectacular views of the Bay Area, including large Craftsman bungalows, Spanish colonial revivals, tutors, and contemporary architecture.

While Oakland and Piedmont surround one another, Piedmont is its own single, self-contained neighborhood with gorgeous homes burrowed among mature trees and expansive hillsides. With over 44 acres of parkland, Piedmont is an idyllic community of tree-lined streets and beautiful surroundings.

Thanks to the intimate nature of Piedmont, residents typically know one another by name, and neighbors are often engaged in the city’s frequent community events such as fundraisers, holiday parades, and tree-lighting ceremonies. The neighborhood  — frequently listed among the best places to live in the Bay Area — caters to families and is known for high-quality public schools.

Crocker Highland and Trestle Glen

Often referred to as the “Lower Hills,” Crocker Highland and Trestle Glen exude character and charm typical of the finest distinctive and upscale neighborhoods. This area boasts delightful shopping, dining, and other desirable amenities in a walkable neighborhood set among tree-lined streets and traditional homes.

The two areas of Trestle Glen and Crocker Highland are often referred to together thanks to their shared history and cohesive style. In 1917, the sons of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead designed the area and followed the philosophy of the English garden city movement. Winding streets follow the natural contours of the hills, and generous green spaces dot the area. Some of the finest early 20th-century homes in Oakland were built in the area and included architectural styles such as Tudor, Spanish Mediterranean, and Beaux-Arts. Residents often stroll or bike to the Grand Lake and Lakeshore area to enjoy an extensive and popular Saturday farmers market, go shopping, or catch a bite at one of the many fine restaurants available.

For lovers of traditional architecture and mature gardens, the woody nature of Crocker Highlands and Trestle Glen is an idyllic oasis known for its emphasis on preserving and developing the natural beauty of these unique properties.

Upper Rockridge

Nestled in the Oakland Hills, you will find Upper Rockridge, a highly coveted neighborhood noted for its expansive homes situated among winding streets with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay. Mid-century cottages, Craftsman bungalows, and numerous modern mansions add to this distinctive and architecturally significant neighborhood.

The storybook enchantment in Upper Rockridge features romantic stone stairs and pathways constructed in the early 1900s that are still used today as shortcuts for residents to access urban conveniences such as public transportation, shopping, and dining. These popular, well-maintained paths provide yet another reason to fall in love with this exceptional neighborhood that is part of Oakland's real estate.

Panoramic Hill

Recognized as one of the most stunning neighborhoods in the Bay Area, Claremont and Strawberry Canyons surround Panoramic Hill. Local wildlife enjoys over 200 scenic acres of woods, trees, and organic landscape that make up the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve. A beautiful balance of rustic architecture nestles into a natural setting where homes sit among abundant trees on hilly and asymmetrical lots.

Architects such as Julia Morgan, Walter Steilberg, and Bernard Maybeck designed several homes in this desirable and sought-after neighborhood. Unusual contemporary homes, including a Usonian house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, feature commanding views of the Bay Area.

Just one winding, narrow road provides access to Panoramic Hill. Therefore, the well-connected network of pathways, trails, and staircases makes for charming and stunning vistas and offers necessary access to area amenities. The fusion of homes, landscaping, and paths creates a unique and idyllic vibe.

Hiller Highlands

You will find spectacular views of the Bay Area in this newer community with modern homes and open-concept floor plans. Development in this community began in the early 1960s. However, fire consumed the neighborhood in the Oakland Firestorm of 1991. Entirely rebuilt, this hillside community is notable for its exceptional collection of stand-alone homes, townhouses, and condominiums. Each structure enjoys a 180-degree view of the Bay Area, with houses constructed on a near-vertical incline.

The Hiller Highlands location allows easy access to San Francisco and the shops and restaurants in Lafayette and Walnut Creek. Thanks to the Bay Area breeze, the Hiller Highlands area is reminiscent of the sublime Mediterranean climate with the bonus of giant Redwood trees in the nearby forests and parks.

Looking for a home for sale in Oakland?

If you are looking for a realtor who will walk you through every step of your real estate journey, contact Roxanna Ahlbach. Specializing in Oakland real estate, Roxanna leverages her streamlined approach, targeted marketing, and strong negotiating skills to deliver an exceptional real estate experience to each client. Her thorough understanding of the real estate climate in Oakland will ensure you make a successful investment in the Oakland area for you and your family. Contact Roxanna today to view current homes for sale in Oakland.

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