East Oakland
NewInTown · October 19, 2015 ·
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What’s Great

East Oakland is rich with history. It is predominantly known as the area where West Coast rap was popularized. Tupac, Mac Dre, and Too Short are just a few famous names that got their start here, in what is fondly referred to in hip hop culture as “O‐Town” or in recent years, “The Town.”

Oakland’s largest Latino community resides in Fruitvale, where The Chicano and Black Panther Movements of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s had spread to and centralized.

If you’re looking to learn about the East Bay from a historical context, East Oakland is a cultural hub that has managed to preserve its essence. Cinco de Mayo and Dia de Los Muertos are can’t miss days in this neighborhood. Gentrification isn’t prevalent here, unlike most parts of the Bay Area.


  • Residents of East Oakland experience high rates of poverty and unemployment.
  • Healthful food options are scarce.
  • Noise and air pollution from the frequently passing diesel trucks affects long‐term health.


Crime & Safety

East Oakland is notorious for its crime‐ridden neighborhoods. As heard in West Coast rap lyrics since the’80’s and as seen on the news, violence has been an ongoing problem in this community for decades. However, East Oakland gets a worse rep than it deserves and its lack of safety tends to get sensationalized. These days, while the crime hasn’t been completely wiped out, East Oakland is a lot more approachable and welcoming. The average person only deals with a smashed car window at most. Which, most city neighborhoods are susceptible to, anyway.


Community Profile

Black and Latino families largely populate East Oakland. There is also a fairly big Southeast Asian community right where downtown ends and East Oakland begins. For years, these were the only dominating demographic groups. Now, there are a growing number of young professionals making the move to East Oakland to run away from the skyrocketing rent rates of San Francisco.


Newintown Picks
  • Fruitvale Public Market – Home to arts and crafts, performances, a year‐round farmer’s market, and fresh ethnic foods.

  • Taqueria Sinaloa – Some of the best tacos in town! This is a food truck with restaurant style indoor and outdoor seating around it to use once your food is ready.

  • Nieves Cinco de Mayo – Refreshing ice cream and snow cones with wacky flavors like cactus, corn, tuna, and rose petals. They have traditional flavors too for the less adventurous connoisseurs of dessert.

  • Bakery El Sol – Latino family-owned bakery with the best Tres Leches in the Bay.

  • Mi Grullense – Famous Fruitvale taco truck—cheap eats starting at $1.50.

  • Rue de Merde – A mural and mosaic wall along East Oakland’s Jingletown neighborhood—a popular hangout spot for creatives.

  • Poor Honey’s – A mom and pop shop with affordable used furniture and antiques.

  • Chthonic Theater – Works with local artists to put on shows, parades, musical theater productions, and more.

  • Oracle Arena – Official home of Oakland’s Golden State Warriors—catch a game!


  • Driving is one of the main modes of getting around East Oakland. The freeway is easily accessible. That said, between the train tracks, potholes, and dodging the many freight trucks that line San Leandro Street, traveling by car doesn’t make for the smoothest ride.

  • BART is easily accessible via Fruitvale Station.

  • There are several AC Transit buses that run through East Oakland—the 51A being a notable one.

  • The terrain isn’t best for biking, however, there are small pockets of flatlands and residential neighborhoods where bikers can make due. Bike lanes are also present in most, if not all, parts of the city.






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