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Alameda and Bay Farm exudes small-town charm while still offering all the modern conveniences of city life.

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Welcome to Alameda

Just across the estuary from Oakland and a short, scenic ferry ride from San Francisco, the island of Alameda feels like another world entirely. With its leafy, tree-lined streets, quaint shops, and picturesque Victorians, the city — which is actually composed of two islands, Alameda and Bay Farm — exudes small-town charm while still offering all the modern conveniences of city life.

In addition to two shopping centers, South Shore Center and Alameda Landing, Alameda have a thriving business district with independent, local retailers and ample dining options — much of it within walking distance to a good portion of the island’s residents. This is a place that cherishes its history, from its old-fashioned waffle house and ice cream parlor to its lovingly restored movie theater and annual Fourth of July parade — one of the largest and longest-running in the country.

Speaking of history, Alameda is known for its antique dealers, and on the first Sunday of the month, it hosts the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. A sprawling, outdoor market with more than a thousand vendors and a spectacular view of the San Francisco skyline, the fair draws people from all over the Bay Area with its eclectic mix of furniture, housewares, clothing, and much, much more.

Not surprisingly, Alameda is considered a highly desirable place to live, especially for those with children. But anyone seeking a laid-back atmosphere will appreciate the flat, bike-friendly streets, six-mile beach, and 25-mile-per-hour citywide speed limit. Culturally rich, Alameda also has theaters, art centers, galleries, and a monthly art walk.

Despite its faraway feeling, Alameda is close and accessible to the busier hubs of the Bay Area: Buses link to Fruitvale BART and the San Francisco Bay Ferry connects to both Jack London Square and San Francisco. For an island living in the middle of an urban center, look no further than Alameda.

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