Updated: Mar 14
If you live in San Francisco long enough, you may be lucky enough to meet someone to spend the rest of your life with. Then you might eventually have children. At some point, with a kid in first grade and a toddler in daycare, you might try hard but can’t quite find that house in a family-friendly - but still edgy enough - neighborhood in your price range. Introduce the future you to Adams Point - the neighborhood in Oakland that may be the best-kept secret you never considered.
With a mix of tall Art Deco apartments, Craftsman and Edwardian houses, and Mission-style buildings, Adams Point is reminiscent of SF’s Noe Valley; dense and urban while still remaining a family-friendly place to live. Unlike Noe, but similar to the Richmond district in San Francisco, Adams Point is diverse in terms of ethnicity, age, and income level but housing costs 20-30 percent less. A three-bedroom two-bath apartment with parking in Adam’s Point averages $4000 per month but the same apartment in Noe Valley, a comparable, walkable SF hood would set you back around $5800 per month. Adam’s Point was described by a UC Berkeley study as being “in an advanced state of gentrification” but in actuality, there are many long-time residents who have built an enduring community network that survives the stream of newcomers. The area is convenient, family-oriented, and just trendy enough to make working parents still feel like they have a bit of an edge. The National Night Out is actually fun, and despite its reputation as a hipster neighborhood, there are lots of young families here meeting up with their kids at parks and community events in the area.
There are now three playgrounds including the newly renovated Snow Park within a 20-minute walk and Lake Merritt, the “crown jewel” of Oakland, which provides Adams Point residents with three-plus miles of continuous waterfront access. Other amenities to the area include the Lakeview Library, the Junior Center for Art and Science with drop-in hours throughout the week, the newly renovated Rotary Nature Center, the beautiful, serene and free botanical garden, and the landmark, Fairyland! The nearby YMCA offers swim lessons and childcare while parents work out and just a 7-minute drive away is the amazing Oakland Museum of California. Becoming a member is one of the best investments you can make for rainy day entertainment and, on Friday nights, the museum hosts food trucks with half-off admission.
The school situation in Oakland requires care and attention no matter what the neighborhood. Part of Adams Point is assigned to Lincoln Elementary in Chinatown which is highly-rated with great parental reviews. The other part of Adams Point is assigned to Piedmont Elementary and, while not as highly-rated, it tends to get good reports from parents. The assigned high school is Oakland Tech and, with a wide range of programs, is considered possibly the best high school in Oakland. Oakland Tech graduates report it as a standout in their educational journey for the unique opportunities introduced to them as students there.
The day-to-day convenience of the area is hard to beat with Whole Foods, a Grocery Outlet and Sprouts just blocks away. Kaiser Oakland is close by along with dentists, banks, yoga studios, pet stores all within a few minutes' walk or drive. Adams Point is also within walking distance to downtown Oakland so working there, one would never need a car. The delicious and cool Grand Lake Kitchen is a weekly destination for some loyal locals. Bay Grape offers fun and interesting wine events, and the Grand Lake Farmer’s market is the best place to see-and-be-seen while picking up what’s fresh and in season on a Saturday in California. Neighboring Grand Ave and Lakeshore are home to a wide variety of interesting restaurants and cool bars with styles and prices ranging from casual drop-in friendly dining to date night destination spots.
The downsides of Adams Point are the downsides of most urban neighborhoods. Parking is a challenge and cars do get broken into a fair amount if parked on the street, though a recent study showed Adams Point has an 8% lower crime rate than in Oakland overall. School selection requires care, and it is still the Bay Area so you are going to pay more for less space than in more suburban areas. On the upside, in Adams Point, the best of the entire Bay Area is just outside your door. With tons of Go Bikes and electric scooters around to take you anywhere close by, it is also walkable to BART for longer treks into the City proper, Berkeley and other Oakland stops as well as the airport. For drivers, it is close to the 580 freeway which quickly connects drivers to many Bay Area highways. So whether you decide to head north for a day hike in Marin, or south to the Tech Museum in San Jose or dip east toward International Blvd or Fruitvale for Bánh mì or tacos the convenience of Adams Point has you covered as an affordable central hub for working, living and loving life in the Bay Area.