The city of Alameda is primarily located on an island off the west coast of Oakland. One of the original suburbs of San Francisco, Alameda maintains the atmosphere of its origins dating back to the 1850’s with a small town feel, even with 75,000 residents. Although Alameda is in the middle of everything, due to its natural boundaries it is a quiet haven of beautiful homes with tree-lined streets, lovely parks, natural lagoons and over six miles of beaches. In addition, the schools in Alameda are excellent and the reason that many residents claim that you can, in fact, “have it all” in Alameda. All of the neighborhoods in Alameda have a few things in common: they are walkable, have pristine parks, are safe, and are home to some of the best schools in the East Bay. In fact, many families move to Alameda primarily for the schools. The city has excellent primary and secondary public schools as well as a private primary school and a private, Catholic High School—St. Joseph Notre Dame High School. Many of the students from the College of Alameda, a two-year community college, live nearby in Alameda’s West End....
If you appreciate Victorian architecture, you will be enamored with the Victorian-era homes in Alameda’s Gold Coast neighborhood and on Gibson Street. Alameda is known around the country for these stunning homes, and has arguably the most of these pre-1906 gems than any other area, per capita.
Weather in Alameda is preferable for many people who do not like the fog of San Francisco or the hotter temperatures of the East Bay. Because Alameda is surrounded by water, it remains cooler than many East Bay communities, yet always seems to be sunny. Year-round it is common to find wind surfers and kite surfers on the beach (where there also happen to be breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay Bridge).
Most people that move to Alameda are pleasantly surprised that a pristine oasis in the Bay exists so close to the hustle and bustle of Oakland. In fact, there are three bridges that lead directly to Oakland for easy access and the beloved ferry with service to San Francisco. There are not many places in the world that you can take a ferry to work!
In general, you can get everything you need in Alameda in the historic, commercial district of Park Street. This area is home to many 19th Century Victorian buildings restored as shops and great restaurants. The entire island is less than 12 square miles and accessible by foot or bike.
While nature and outdoor activities abound in Alameda, the Arts are very much alive. Alameda is home to its own ballet troupe, history museum, movie theater, and large street festivals and fairs. Residents and visitors come to Alameda in May for the Park Street Spring Festival, in July for the Park Street Art & Wine Festival, and in October for the Park Street Classic Car Show.
If you want it all but don’t want to live in the city, Alameda is a perfect choice.
Alameda is often referred to as one of the Bay Area’s best-kept secrets. There is a long list of attributes supporting its ascent to one of the “best places to live” in America, according to Money Magazine. For starters, the island enjoys a “warm-summer Mediterranean climate” according to the Köppen climate classification. Add to this excellent air quality, an abundance of libraries and restaurants, plenty of parks, proximity to educational institutions, rich heritage and historic Victorian architecture, and you have a winning formula for a wonderful hometown.
Many structures in the Park Street Business District are on the National Register, including the Alameda Theater, an art deco movie house dating back to 1932. Notable for being one of the grandest movie palaces still in operation, it was restored to its former grandeur and reopened as a multiplex in 2008.
The canal between Alameda and Oakland was created in 1902, making Alameda an island community. It is one of 12 cities in the U.S. designated as a Coast Guard City and also housed a Naval Air Station from 1940 to 1997. The USS Hornet remains there as a museum. The sprawling 68-acre NAS property is now known as the Alameda Point Project with development plans to create a signature neighborhood complete with residential, commercial, retail and artisan businesses.
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