Things to do in Oakland


  • 9,401
  • 18 to 24: 67%
  • 25 to 34: 10%
  • 35 to 54: 5%
  • 55 to 64: 4%
  • 65+: 11%
  • White 70.75%
  • Asian 17.79%
  • African American 6.06%
  • Hispanic 3.08%
  • Other 2.28%
  • Less than a high school diploma: 7%
  • High school diploma or equivalent: 13%
  • Some college or associate degree: 15%
  • Bachelor’s degree: 23%
  • Master’s degree or higher: 42%
  • Nichelogo
  • Rent: 72.5%
  • Own: 27.4%
  • Median Home Construction Year: 1954
  • Median Rent: $755
  • Median Home Value: $149,373

On a clear day, the Cathedral of Learning can be seen for miles, dominating Oakland’s skyline. This is the educational and medical heart of the city and a major cultural community with Roman and Gothic-style buildings. Squint and you might feel like you’re in Europe.

The neighborhood is urban and diverse, home to Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, UPMC and nearby Carlow University as well as museums, the Carnegie Library, restaurants and hookah bars.

Students, of course, are everywhere.

Officially, Oakland is divided into four neighborhoods—North Oakland, South Oakland, Central Oakland and West Oakland. Central is where most of the students dwell, an area teeming with activity when classes are in session, especially along the main thoroughfares of Forbes and Fifth.

The architecture on both campuses is impressive, from the Cathedral, the second tallest university building in the world, to the French Gothic Revival Heinz Chapel and Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Within a stone’s throw is the towering St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Carnegie Museum.

Restaurants, independent coffee shops and ethnic eateries abound to feed the thousands of hungry students (10,550 people actually live here). Classics such as Essie’s Original Hot Dog Shop, aka the O, is known for heaping mounds of French fries and is never closed. Newer locales like Conflict Kitchen continue making political statements through food (and garnering lots of national attention).

Oakland is an emerging center for startup companies as well, with incubators like CMU’s Project Olympus, Idea Foundry, Revv Oakland and Startup Oakland that provide affordable work environments in the creation of new technologies. Even Facebook is here.

It’s an affordable alternative to the West Coast for many, with all the charm and grit that Pittsburgh ingenuity can offer.

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