Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay, with a population of approximately 420,000 and a geographical area encompassing about 78 square miles. It is a major west coast port and has an International airport.
For thousands of years, the original inhabitants of Oakland were the native Ohlone. Today, it is a true socio-economic melting pot, a constantly evolving city with a diversity of architecture ranging from Victorians to Craftsman houses, from large contemporary homes to condos and bungalows. The census bureau data shows Oakland to be one of the most diverse cities in the country. It is no longer just the city across the bay from San Francisco, but a thriving and developing metropolis in its own right. Originally its growth was a result of its natural timbers being logged in order to build San Francisco. It got another population boost after the 1906 earthquake, with many Friscans looking for new homes. It has thrived, weakened and thrived again. For many buyers who cannot afford Berkeley or who prefer Oakland, there are many wonderful neighborhoods.
Today, Oakland is an urban city that is home to prospering companies and organizations such as Kaiser Permanente and Van Jones’ Green For All. Its diversity is reflected in the variety of architectural styles, throughout its lively neighborhoods, some of which are filled with top restaurants, coffee houses, shops and small businesses. Oakland has more than 50 distinct neighborhoods covering the area from the San Francisco Bay up into the East Bay hills. It is home to many small parks and large tracts of parklands up in the hills. The commonly referred to neighborhood divisions in the city are Downtown Oakland and its greater Central Business District, East Oakland, North Oakland, and West Oakland.