Neighborhood Guide

People choose neighborhoods for a number of reasons including cost, proximity to campus, lifestyle, or needs of a significant other or children. Our students live all over the Bay Area. Many prefer the convenience of living in Berkeley or nearby communities, such as Albany, El Cerrito, or the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. For those who enjoy urban living, San Francisco is an option across the Bay. Some live as far away as Silicon Valley to the south (over 60 minutes driving each way), to Napa Valley in the north, and Walnut Creek to the east.  

Here is a neighborhood map and descriptions of the neighborhoods closest to Berkeley Law.

Berkeley_Neighborhoods

This is one of the nicest areas to live, especially if you like the outdoors. The adjacent East Bay Regional Park system throughout the Berkeley/Oakland hills offers great areas for mountain biking, hiking and jogging. South of campus, the Berkeley Hills turn into the Oakland Hills, which are entirely residential. In either the Berkeley or Oakland hills, most of the homes are single-family dwellings. Many of these homes have great Bay views, and may be expensive depending on the view, size and condition of the house. Since there is little in the way of nearby shopping, a car is almost a must, unless you are an athletic bicyclist and can handle steep streets.  

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, IN-LAW, ROOM
COMMUTE TIME: 10-15 MIN DRIVE

This is a very popular area and is close to campus. Services such as supermarkets, restaurants, bookstores, public transit and laundromats are usually within walking distance. University Avenue, the southern border of this area, is a diverse, busy and commercial street.  

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 5-10 MIN WALK, 10-15 MIN DRIVE

This area is closest to campus and rents are relatively modest. Many undergraduate students live in this area, so some graduate students may find the environment hectic and noisy, especially with the hustle and bustle of Telegraph Avenue. However, the convenience of the proximity to campus outweighs other factors. Farther south along College Avenue  is the upscale and tranquil Elmwood district, where rents tend to be higher. Cafes, shops and restaurants are all within a fairly easy walk, bus, or bike ride from campus. 

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 5-10 MIN WALK

This area, in addition to West Berkeley and the Westbrae neighborhoods, is where the most affordable housing is likely to be found.  Cute cafes, antique shops and the Ashby BART station with its weekend flea market in the parking lot are part of the South Berkeley scene.

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, DUPLEX, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 15-25 MIN WALK, 10-15 MIN BIKE

This includes the downtown Berkeley area located a few blocks west of the campus near the Berkeley BART station and stretches all the way west to the freeway (Interstate 80). Proximity to services vary depending upon the neighborhood, although University Avenue is primarily commercial (restaurants, supermarkets, laundromats and other retail establishments). The popular Oceanview district starts at the northwestern edge of this area along 4th Street and University Avenue. Explore the many hip and diverse places to shop and eat.

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 25 MIN WALK, 15 MIN BIKE , 10-15 MIN BUS

Many students live in this town just north of Berkeley. Solano Avenue, with its plentiful and popular shops, restaurants, bookstores, and movie theatres runs east-west through Berkeley and into Albany. Plenty of graduate students live in Albany, including those who have University-operated apartments in the large complex of University Family Housing known as University Village. Although the nearest BART station is actually across the border in El Cerrito, much of Albany is sufficiently close to walk or bike ride to the El Cerrito Plaza BART station.  

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 15-20 MIN DRIVE, 30 MIN BIKE, 20 MIN BUS, 10 MIN BART

This town is just north of Albany and is similar to it in terms of rent and services. One advantage of living in El Cerrito is that it has two BART stations. Housing tends to be less expensive in this area than in Berkeley or Albany simply due to the fact that it is just a little bit farther from campus.

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 25-30 MIN DRIVE, 40 MIN BIKE, 10 MIN EL CERRITO PLAZA BART, 20 MIN DEL NORTE BART

The Rockridge neighborhood begins along College Avenue south of the Elmwood District. This area continues the upscale flavor of Elmwood and has many shops, restaurants and cafes. The Rockridge BART station is one of the major hubs to all lines in the East Bay Area and San Francisco. Due to its proximity to Berkeley, the campus and its pleasant, tree-lined side streets, rents are  more expensive here than some other parts of Oakland.  

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 10-15 MIN DRIVE, 20 MIN BIKE, 10-15 MIN BUS

Just south of the Rockridge neighborhood are the areas that form the Piedmont Avenue District and Oakland’s Lake Merritt. These areas are worth exploring, particularly if you are house-hunting during a peak time, such as August. About five miles from campus, these areas offer pleasant shopping and other urban amenities. Since there is more urban density, housing is much more plentiful here and generally less expensive than areas closer to campus.

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, DUPLEX, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: DEPENDS ON NEIGHBORHOOD

For those who enjoy city living, San Francisco is the place to be. Advantages include being close to cultural events, great public transportation, and the entire City experience. The major disadvantage is the commute. Prices vary by neighborhood and range greatly.

HOUSING TYPE: HOUSE, DUPLEX, APARTMENT
COMMUTE TIME: 45-60 MIN DRIVE, 30-45 MIN BART

Don’t overlook other Oakland neighborhoods, like Lake Merritt or Temescal, or other communities 3+ miles of campus, like Kensington, Emeryville, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek.