The deed is done. You’ve found a place, and are packing up all of your stuff. Or maybe you are still looking for that perfect spot on Craigslist or Zillow or hitting up your homies who moved here earlier to see if anyone needs a roommate. Or maybe you are sitting on the bare floor in your new place, boxes stacked on boxes around you as that East Bay sun streams through your window. Whatever stage you’re in, what follows is your story of a move to Oakland, and everything that comes with it.
I moved back to the bay after living on the East Coast for the last five years. That East Bay sun was a sight for sore eyes after the winter out there. Being snowed in for five months straight did give me time to work on my pool game though, so there was that (look out Stork Club). Once the weather broke, I packed my stuff into the back of my little car and headed West.
But it wasn’t all East Bay sunshine once I arrived. It was hard getting up and running. The following are the best things/resources/businesses I found and used once I got out here. It takes some digging, but you can find everything you need and want out here in the East Bay.
1. East Bay Express
One of the Bay Area’s only surviving Alternative Weekly Newspapers, the East Bay Express, is your go-to source for cultural events, local news, and left-leaning politics. They are the best media outlet focusing on long-form news in the East Bay.
2. Calling People
It may sound simple, but in the era of Big Data, there is still a huge amount of misinformation on the web. I needed to set up out-water utility from the road, a daunting task I thought. The website was confusing, especially on a mobile device. After we called the office and spoke to someone who was able to walk us through it, it turned out to be simple. Getting people on the phone is the best way to get a clear answer.
3. Buy a bike
We’ve said it before, and we will say it again: Oakland is one of the best cities to be a bicyclist in the country. Do yourself a favor and invest in a bike. It’s good for you, the environment, and it is easy to make a habit of biking when so many people around you are doing it too. BART also has a little-known service that is pretty remarkable. They partnered with BikeHub to offer free bike parking to everyone! So you really have no excuse.
4. Mandela Foods Co-op
I moved to West Oakland, so when it comes to buying food that isn’t liquor store candy, there are few options. This seems to be the case for a lot of Oakland. Luckily, I was able to find Mandela Foods Cooperative. It carries a range of delicious and conscious foodstuffs and is worker owned. I love finding community anchors like this. If you are not lucky enough to be able to easily hit Mandela’s, put finding your local full service grocery store on your moving checklist. You’re going to want to start cooking for yourself as soon as possible. Eating out gets expensive quickly.
These four things were the most important to get me up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible. What was most important for you?