With East Bay housing sales skyrocketing, thousands of fresh faces are arriving in the beautiful East Bay area. Some are hungrily seeking Oakland real estate for sale, while others are stepping onto the soft, picture-perfect green hills of Hayward. But East Bay isn't synonymous with one hip scene, business center, or suburb. It's a hub for over 7.7 million people. East Bay stretches across the crystalline waters of San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay into the beautiful tree-littered suburbs and rolling hills of Central California.
It’s normal for this wealth of opportunity, excitement, and dining to be intimidating at first. So here’s a guide to help East Bay newbies become full-fledged West Coast locals.
A quick rundown of the real estate market
Key areas in East Bay
There's possibly no city more synonymous with the East Bay than Oakland. Hip, trendy restaurants occupy every street corner, and local art shows and festivals keep Oakland drenched in culture and mystique. Whether it’s museums, food trucks, galleries, antique stores, murals, bazaars, or parks, Oakland probably has it. Oakland real estate prices are a fraction of San Francisco’s, despite its relatively short commute and overall more vibrant atmosphere.
As a southern city in East Bay, Fremont has a unique mix of Silicon Valley job opportunities and East Bay culture. Tesla, Corsair, Lam Research, Western Digital, Seagate, and Antec provide ample employment in Fremont, making the real estate market a little more competitive than in other East Bay areas. That said, Fremont is still more affordable than many other Silicon Valley areas. In addition, it has tens of thousands of gorgeous trees as part of its ongoing Tree City USA commitment to the Arbor Day Foundation. Between the trees, historic parks, and farms, Fremont is spectacularly nature-driven and embedded with vibrant seas of grass and greenery despite its tech-forward job market.
East Bay transportation
East Bay also happens to have one of the most advanced public transportation systems in the United States: The Bay Area Rapid Transit (or BART). This highly-praised public transportation system stops at most East Bay Area cities. From any of these 30+ stops, you can quickly get to the heart of San Francisco, making it fantastic for daily commuters. And that's only one of your options. Caltrain, The San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni), Ace Rail, and SMART train are other fantastic options.
What’s more, the entire California coastline is heavily connected via public transit. Muni, Peninsula Transit, VTA, Tri-Valley Transit, and Diablo Transit all intersect and connect to create easy travel for commuters and remote workers alike.
Things to do
California is packed with spectacular activities and areas waiting to be tamed. Wine Country offers wine tasting events in faux French châteaus, exceptional golfing among rolling green hills, and exquisite fine-dining restaurants perfect for a night out. San Francisco beckons financial gurus with its state-of-the-art financial district and calls all late-night partygoers with some of California's hottest and most respected clubs. San Jose is a promised land for tech enthusiasts that offers nearly unlimited employment and investment opportunities. Central California is ripe with unique opportunities and peppered with small cities, quaint towns, and stunning natural parks. And sitting in the center of all of these fantastic places is the East Bay. In other words, it's not hard to find things to do around East Bay. Nearly every imaginable opportunity, adventure, and event is close to home.
Everyone should spend at least a few days exploring the many hiking trails across Oakland, as they offer some of the best views and challenging routes. If you’re not looking to lace up your hiking shoes, you can visit the many museums, art galleries, book shops (check out Moe's Books!), campgrounds, parks, historical sites, beaches, or gardens across the East Bay area. There are near-limitless ways to spend your free days in the East Bay area. It isn't just a popular destination for San Francisco commuters or tech gurus looking to escape the Silicon Valley housing market; it's a one-of-a-kind cultural ecosystem that keeps its millions of citizens occupied and engaged daily.
Must-try restaurants in the East Bay area
This Michelin-starred Oakland restaurant may have a very exclusive reservation list, but it's for a good reason. Individual courses are sprinkled with the best, most lavish toppings and fresh local ingredients. BerkeleySide raved about a delicious single egg yolk suspended in a "bath of warm, creamy allium puree" and sprinkled with "crisp smoked dates and malt crumbles." And the Michelin Guide was impressed by the "poached asparagus and charred lemon granité." Of course, the wine menu rivals the food, with top-choice glasses like 2005 Chateau d'Yquem and the 2018 Domaine de la Pousse d'Or En Caillerets.
The Cheese Board Collective Pizzeria
When push-comes-to-shove, this may be the best pizza place in the East Bay area. This vegetarian pizza spot uses interesting cheeses, extremely fresh ingredients, and a one-of-a-kind sourdough-style crust. You can buy partially-cooked pizzas that require a gentle oven finish or piping hot whole pies.
This world-famous Thai spot oozes the hipster Berkeley spirit. Incredibly fresh ingredients paired with delicious, homemade sauces and spices make this place a fan favorite. A delicious option to try is the Pad Thai, which comes with plump gulf white shrimp, crispy peanuts, silky eggs, tofu, and scrumptious noodles.
Fish & Bird Sousaku Izakaya
This izakaya serves up interesting and innovative Japanese dishes and craft cocktails. You can find sashimi, Wagyu burgers, tofu sandwiches, and a wide variety of Japanese comfort foods at this local spot. And they're all equally delicious.