Oakland’s Hidden Gem
Crocker Highlands is tucked away in the hilly folds of Oakland–artists, musicians and parents alike live here. Patrick, a journalist/artist and recent Crocker Highlands transplant came from living in the hustle-and-bustle of city life in San Francisco. He is originally from Philadelphia and talks to us (along with his sparkly-eyed dog Chloe) about his appreciation for this friendly nabe that gives him some home away from home vibes and hosts some lively night spots and kid friendly appeal.
Can you describe this nabe for folks who have never been here before?
Friendly, hospitable, a bit bourgie, but also there’s a bunch of artists here, musicians. A really nice place to raise kids. It’s kid friendly and it’s still diverse.
Would you consider Crocker Highlands your ideal nabe?
Yea, because you can have the lifestyle of an adult: You can have your 9-5, water your yard/garden lifestyle and then you’re a skipping stone away from some of these great restaurants and bars. Everything is really convenient—There’s a Safeway down here, a Trader Joe’s over there… a Whole Foods. Parking is free, there’s barely any street cleaning up here, and everyone is incredibly nice—super nice. I know all my neighbors and that is the one thing different than SF. I’ve had more meaningful conversations with my neighbors here than practically all years I’ve lived in SF. And I’ve only been here a month.
Were you surprised by anything when you first moved here?
The fact that it’s sunnier, the fact that it’s warmer and the fact that there’s all these little hidden gems around.
Are there any myths or stereotypes in this nabe you’d like to dispel?
No, but the stereotype of Oakland is that it’s rough. Hard—rough around the edges. You always associate crime with Oakland, but knock on wood it hasn’t been my case at all. Everyone seems so down to earth. I’m from Philadelphia. It’s more of like an East Coast vibe for some reason. The cost of living is so much cheaper! I have a dog, I live with my girlfriend, we have a house now, and to have the same type of place here (I’m paying 2,000/month now)–to have that kind of house in the city (even if I was in the Sunset) would be 4 (thousand). So people are less stressed [here], I think.
Is there anything about this nabe you’d want to change?
The parking on that street (below). There’s all this parking space out on the strip so people are always reversing onto traffic. but that’s about it.
Are there any other nabes in the area you’d like to live in?
Berkeley seems really accommodating, similar vibe, little more laid back. Anywhere near the lake is nice. I’ve seen so many parts of Oakland and this is just like a gem in comparison. I’m not afraid to walk my dog at 11 at night.