10 Best Neighborhoods: #1 Uptown, Oakland

Editors Note: America is filled with great places. The eclectic pulse of Manhattan’s streets or Lake Tahoe’s white sandy shores may come to mind. But great places, neighborhoods and streets can be found hiding in plain sight in the cities in which we live and work.

The American Association of Planning (APA) has unveiled its list of Best Neighborhoods for 2014. HotPads has featured each of the top 10 neighborhoods. Did yours make the list?

 #1 Uptown, Oakland, California

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And the 2014 Best Neighborhood as decided by the APA is … drum roll please… Uptown in Oakland, California!

To see what all the talk was about, I decided to hop the BART across the Bay to spend an afternoon strolling through this hyped up hood. What I found was a transit accessible, artistic community that is clearly (as its name suggests) on the up.

In addition to its photogenic art-deco architecture that begs to photographed (or for those much more talented than myself, painted), I found delightfully-placed street art and a palpable artistic and entrepreneurial vibe down each street I ambled.

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With a number of independent coffee shops dotted throughout the area and impromptu street dance practices taking place beyond at least one of their doors, it’s easy to see why Uptown was designated as the “Arts and Entertainment District” by the City of Oakland in 2009. Home to 40 galleries and mixed-use art spaces, visitors also flock to the area to see performances at venues like the Fox Theater, Paramount Theater, New Parkway Theater and New Parish, all of which are located  within just a few blocks from each other.

Uptown also got a shout out from The New York Times recently when it ranked Uptown number 5 on the “45 Best Places to Go in 2012.”

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But the real action in Uptown takes place after the sun goes down. The Oakland Art Murmur First Friday Art Gallery Walk and the Oakland First Friday Festival, have been known to attract more than 20,000 people within this neighborhood’s borders. Nighttime is also the best time to see the LED, color-shifting wall sculpture by nationally-known artist Dan Corson, conveniently located at the 19th Street BART exit.

New housing, including a project spearheaded by the Coalition for Workforce Housing and other community organizations, has brought a 100-percent affordable housing development to the neighborhood for those earning less than 60 percent of area median income.

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Ready to explore Uptown?

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Ready to rent in Uptown?

1389 Jefferson Street
Specs: $2,596 | 1 + 2 beds 
1006 Jefferson Street
Specs: $925 | Studio
500 Williams Street
Specs: $2,992| 2 beds

Check out all of the rentals in Uptown.