Living in the East Bay
The East Bay, comprised of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, is
located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. It encompasses
approximately 1,540 square miles (22% of the Bay Area) 33 cities and
nearly 2.5 million residents. Over 36% of the Bay Area’s population and
workforce reside in the East Bay. More than a third of the Bay Area’s
workforce is employed here.
Housing and commercial space in the East Bay is more affordable than neighboring San Francisco or San Jose. We have room to grow your business and family!
The San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean contribute to the region’s temperate climate. Along the East Bay shoreline, the average 2010 temperature was 56 degrees (with a high of 95 and a low of 33 degrees) and humidity averaged 69%.
Inland just 20 miles, the East Bay’s coastal range – capped by 3,849 feet Mt. Diablo – results in less moderate temperatures and lower humidity. The average temperature in this part of the East Bay was 63 degrees, with a high of 106, a low of 32 and 52% average humidity.
The East Bay is comprised of six sub-regions with their own micro climates, micro-economies (with areas of specialization), business opportunities and life styles. Together, they provide the opportunity and diversity to meet almost any expectation.
The cultural and ethnic diversity characteristic of California and the
Bay Area is reflected through the East Bay’s offerings of art, dance and
The State’s rich history of people, places, events and eras is on display at the Oakland Museum of California, acclaimed as one of the best regional museums in the country. For a more global perspective, stroll through the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, featuring Asian, pre-twentieth century European and modern art and a film and video collection of over 7,000 titles. And if a glimpse of today’s emerging artists interests you, be sure to spend an afternoon touring galleries in Emeryville’s warehouse district or a weekend touring over 400 artists’ studios in Oakland and 13 other East Bay cities during one of Pro Arts’ twice yearly events.
Each August you can also find local and national artists and musicians at the Fremont Festival of the Arts (the largest free street festival west of the Mississippi) or the Art and Soul festival in Oakland.
Berkeley’s Cal Performances, the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra have also achieved international acclaim and offer complete seasons of live music and performing arts. The Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek is the home of the highly acclaimed California Symphony, Center REPertory Company, the Diablo Ballet and the Bedford Gallery.
In addition, the East Bay features over 36 theaters, playhouses and outdoor amphitheaters such as the renowned Berkeley Repertory Theater, La Val’s Subterranean Theater, Altarena Playhouse, Contra Costa Civic Theater, Douglas Morrisson Theatre, Zellerbach Hall and the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts. Outdoor performances are offered at the Bruns Amphitheatre in Orinda by the California Shakespeare Festival and at the Woodminster Amphitheater in the Oakland hills.
For growing families, the East Bay offers a wide array of communities
with excellent public schools that achieved some of the highest SAT and
Academic Performance Index (API) scores in the state. According to
California Department of Education 2010 data, more than 40% of the East
Bay’s 625 K-12 schools and 84% of the districts had schools that rated A+
and 117 schools exceeded the state’s top decile of the API (see
Opportunities section for more info).
Two East Bay students, Matthew Feddersen and Blake Marggraff, were awarded the top prize at the 2011 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest such competition. They received $75,000 and the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a potentially more effective and less expensive cancer treatment.
The East Bay is the only place in California with three professional
sport franchises: football, baseball and basketball! Seasonal and
individual game tickets are available for the Oakland A’s, Golden State
Warriors, and the Oakland Raiders.
Golfers can play a different course every day of the month in the East Bay and many of those courses such as The Course at Wente Vineyards, Poppy Ridge and The Bridges Golf Club are of championship quality. The East Bay’s 57 golf courses, 35 of which are public, provide year-round, mostly short-sleeve golfing with a blend of natural beauty, easy to challenging terrain and outstanding amenities.
Rural landscapes and picturesque countrysides are visible and accessible throughout the East Bay as urban areas occupy only 33% of the East Bay’s acreage. In fact, only 17% of the Bay Area’s 4.4 million acres are considered urbanized and all but 27% are protected park lands or are at “low risk” of development. From inviting lakes to gently rolling hills, the East Bay Regional Park District has something for everyone.
In the Tri-Valley Region of the East Bay, you will discover the Pleasanton Ridge, an oak-covered parkland overlooking Pleasanton and the Livermore Valley. Traversed by hikers, equestrians and bicyclists, this ridge overlooks the Sunol Regional Wilderness, an area that spans 6,858 acres of oak woodlands and grasslands. It connects with the Ohlone Regional Wilderness, a collection of uplands, woodlands and a 3,817 foot peak. Deeper within the Livermore Valley lies Del Valle, a park complete with an excellent fishing lake, two swimming beaches, a campground, picnic grounds and boat rentals.
In the East Central Region, the “secret wilderness” of Briones Regional Park, surrounded by the towns of central Contra Costa County, offers hiking and riding trails with vistas in every direction. Las Trampas Wilderness in southern Contra Costa County has 3,600 acres of mostly undeveloped land for hikers and horseback riders. Morgan Territory Preserve and Round Valley offer majestic views and riding and hiking trails while 3,849 feet Mt. Diablo offers views across hundreds of miles of Northern California.
Most of the waterfront in the Northern Region lies along San Pablo Bay, a favored saltwater recreational fishing destination that is also a popular, primary wintering stop and migratory staging area for numerous species of waterfowl. In addition, the San Pablo, Contra Loma and Lafayette Reservoirs all offer water-oriented activities.
In the North Eastern Region you can cruise for days exploring islands, fishing, swimming or sunning in the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta’s network of rivers, tributaries, and channels. Originally used by miners and settlers during the 1848 Gold Rush, the Delta is still as beautiful and mysterious as ever.
East Shore communities with San Francisco Bay frontage will have marinas and waterfront parks - some have State Beaches. The City of Alameda’s marina has more boat berths than any city in Northern California. Near the University of California campus in Berkeley is Tilden Park, one of the District’s three oldest parks with an 18-hole public golf course, a lake and a beautiful botanical garden. And just 20 minutes away from downtown Oakland, Lake Chabot Regional Park features a beautiful fishing lake, boat marina, year-round public campground, marksmanship range and miles of trails within its 4,972 acres.
In the Southern Region, the Garin/Dry Creek Pioneer Regional Parks provide more than 3,000 acres with deep, wooded canyons, sprawling meadowlands and numerous creeks. There are also two thousand acres of San Francisco Bay shoreline and the West Coast’s largest marsh restoration project to be found in the Hayward Area Recreational District, along with a wide range of parks and activities, including an interpretive center. History buffs will enjoy the Niles Canyon Railway that offers hour-long trips from Sunol through the canyon to Niles aboard a vintage diesel train, amid distant echoes of early western movies and silent films.
The East Bay is the only place in California with three professional sport franchises: football, baseball and basketball! Season and individual game tickets are available for the Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, and the Oakland Raiders. All games are played at the McAfee Coliseum and Oakland Arena, which are easily accessible by BART.
Before or after the big game, the East Bay offers a wide range of cuisine from an assortment of cafes and restaurants. From Oakland's Jack London Square, Old Oakland and College Avenue/Rockridge to Berkeley's ‘gourmet ghetto' or Pleasanton's historic downtown, East Bay eateries reflect the Bay Area's cultural and ethnic diversity. The East Bay's Chez Pannise Restaurant is the birthplace of “California Cuisine”, but you can also find some of the best barbeque, Peking duck, Maryland crab cakes, dolmas, spanikopita, pho, curry, jambalaya, sushi or eggplant parmigiana - to suit the most discriminating gourmet.
The East Bay supports a bustling retail environment, including retail malls, power centers and great shopping districts where upscale boutiques often feature local designers and sell original pottery, furniture, jewelry and clothing. For more day-to-day shopping, retail centers in the East Bay are providing multiplex cinemas and quality restaurants along with convenient groupings of large, exciting retailers such as IKEA, Nordstrom, Macy's, JC Pennys, Frys Electronics, Best Buy, Home Depot and Lowes. It's no surprise East Bay retail sales exceed San Francisco's.
There are also numerous farmers' markets that make their appearance weekly, featuring specialty produce and food. Several of the largest ones operate throughout the year. And of course there are a number of very popular flea markets, drawing bargain hunters and collectors from around the Bay Area, that are also open throughout the year.
Of the five deep-water ports in the San Francisco Bay, the largest is the Port of Oakland, the fourth-busiest container port in the nation. It handles 30 shipping lines that deliver 98% of all the containerized cargo that passes through Northern California ports, with 20 deepwater berths served by 35 container cranes, ten container terminals and two intermodal rail facilities on 1,210 acres. The Union Pacific intermodal facility has been supplemented by an 85 acre Joint Intermodal Terminal that can transfer 250,000 containers per year to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) rail network.
The second largest East Bay maritime facility -- the Port of Richmond -- is a diversified cargo handler, specializing in petroleum and liquid cargos (chemicals, petrochemicals and vegetable oils), dry bulk commodities (coal, bauxite, gypsum and cement) and automobiles.
The Oakland International Airport, located nine miles from downtown Oakland, served a total of 9.5 million passengers in 2010 from eight domestic airlines and two international airlines with service destinations in the United States (including Hawaii), Europe and Mexico. It also carried 510,947 metric tons of cargo - the 12th largest cargo operation in North America - and serves as a West Coast distribution center for Federal Express, United Parcel Service, Airborne Express and Ameriflight. The region is also served by the San Francisco International Airport - 9th in passenger traffic in North America.
Passenger rail is also a key resource with Amtrak providing service through multiple East Bay stations to Southern California, Sacramento and other destinations and a rail service called the “Altamont Commuter Express” (ACE train) carrying commuters from San Joaquin County to San Jose, with stops in Livermore and southern Alameda County.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART), a heavy-rail commuter transit system connecting the Counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo, is centrally located in the East Bay, with extensions planned to reach farther into the North Eastern, Tri-Valley and Northern Silicon Valley sub-regions of the East Bay. Local transit providers help make the connections between these transportation services, businesses and the residences in the East Bay.
In addition, two San Francisco Bay ferry systems (the Alameda/Oakland Ferry and the Alameda Harbor Bay Ferry) offer an attractive, cost effective commute alternative to San Francisco on week days and cruises on weekends.
Livermore wineries, such as Wente Vineyards, also contribute to the East Bay's diverse business opportunities. Producing since the onset of the gold rush in 1849, the Livermore Valley's Golden Wine Region gained international recognition when Livermore Valley captured America's first international gold medal for wine in 1889 at the Paris Exposition—putting California on the world wine map. The region now has over 5,000 acres of vineyards and 72 wineries. Wineries vary in size from limited release, 100-case labors of love to 400,000-case industry heavyweights, and grapes range from familiar Merlot and Chardonnay to Italian, Rhone and Spanish varieties. The award winning wines of the Livermore Valley can be found around the globe.
Livermore Valley wines feature distinctive flavors and textures. While some of these wines can be found nationally, others are exclusively available for purchase at the individual wineries.