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Why Oakland is Better Than San Francisco

Two friends riding their bikes in the city

Summary / TL;DR

People choose to live in Oakland over San Francisco because it offers a more affordable cost of living, better weather, additional space with less crowding, job opportunities with with Oakland-based tech companies, and easier commutes — all within a more diverse community with a fabulous arts, culture, and dining scene.

Want to read more? Here are five reasons in-depth to choose Oakland over San Francisco:

1. Easier Commutes

The commute in Oakland is typically smoother than in San Francisco due to less traffic congestion and easier parking availability. BART is so readily accessible in Oakland that you oten don’t even have to drive to get to a station; locals typically leave their vehicles parked at home and walk to BART, taking the train to and from the city anytime they would like.

Additionally, Oakland's easy proximity to major highways like Interstate 880 and Intrstate 580 facilitates quicker travel to other parts of the Bay Area. Oakland generally has less traffic congestion compared to San Francisco, especially during peak commuting hours. Finding parking in Oakland is also typically less challenging and expensive than in San Francisco.

2. Fewer Temperature-Dropping Fogs

San Francisco's notorious microclimates, influenced by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, lead to frequent fog, strong winds, and temperature fluctuations.

Conversely, Oakland, located inland and sheltered by hills, experiences fewer foggy days, milder winds, and slightly warmer temperatures, making its weather more favorable. Despite both cities having mild climates, Oakland is known for having better weather and sunnier days.

3. Cost-of-Living is More Affordable

Rent is high in the city, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone living in Cali. Even at those over-the-top prices, decent housing is hard to come by. San Francisco is the New York of the west in terms of housing.

However, NerdWallet estimates that the cost-of-living is over 20% higher in San Francisco than in Oakland.

4. Local Job Opportunities Are Abundant

Oakland-based companies routinely make Forbes’ list of the top 100 fastest growing business in America.

Tech and media industries are following young talent across the bay, setting up permanent headquarters within the town. Pixar (located just across the border in Emeryville) and Pandora are two of the top names, along with the 3D printing giant Fathom, cult favorite Blue Bottle coffee, and more.

The local community also places an emphasis on the importance of small business. Local products and services are heavily favored over corporate giants, giving entrepreneurs an incredible edge. The local nonprofit Oakland Grown provides ample support for small business through the Sustainable Business Alliance, which has helped everyone from brewers to grocery store owners.

5. More Space, Less Crowding

Oakland is home to thousands of acres of parks. The city's focus on preserving green spaces, coupled with its larger land area and lower population density, fosters a more spacious and less crowded urban environment compared to its neighbor across the bay. You can feel miles from the hustle-and-bustle admist the majestic behemoths at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, exploring the abundant trails at Joaquin Miller Park, or even relaxing on the green-blue shores of Lake Merrit near downtown.

Moreover, Oakland's lower population density relative to San Francisco results in less crowding and more room for development of public spaces. While San Francisco is known for its compact layout and limited space, Oakland truly benefits from having more available land.

6. Bonus Points for Arts & Culture

One of the most diverse cities in America, Oakland brings multiple ethnicities in one cosmopolitan city. This blending of peoples gives the area a rich cultural feel and the creative spirit that California is known for. You’ll find that combination gives way to ethnic eats, a multitude of festivals, and an art scene that rivals SF in every way.

This spot on the bay features everything from high-end art galleries to laid back collectives and performance venues on nearly every street. Building walls are lined with talented graffiti works, and pop-up galleries happen throughout the year.

7. Bonus Points for Sustainability

Both Oakland and the West Bay have taken serious initiatives to make the Bay Area even more eco-friendly than it has been in years prior. Their commitment has been called a green revolution, inspiring several other parts of California to do the same.

Oakland’s efforts include empty lots turned into vegetable gardens that provide organic produce for residents, restructuring agriculture laws to make urban farming more accessible to the public, and several conservation efforts to protect the area’s water supply. This push for greener living has also reduced the area’s energy consumption tenfold.

These efforts are made possible thanks to Oakland’s location and geography, something San Francisco simply cannot share.

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These modern homes come complete with upscale furnishings and access to a wide variety of carefully selected amenities that cater to a variety of lifestyles. Blocks away from BART and the ferry, residents get an a eco-friendlier commute to the city as well as the surrounding Bay Area.

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