Think … things you read that say “Oakland named “MOST” something” (not necessarily good)


  • April: According to Forbes, Oakland is the 2nd worst city for renters (2nd only to San Francisco). Some of the numbers: Average monthly rent, Q4 2014: $1,815, Year-over-year % change in apartment rent: 10.5%, Median houshold income, Q4 2014: $76,493, Avg. rent as a share of household income: 28% Apartment vacancy rate, Q4 2014: 2.9%
  • March: 7th most interesting city according to SmartAsset. 
  • March: 20th most interesting city for basketball fans according to WalletHub
  • Not Dated: Third Best Startup City by PopularMechanic


  • December: Most diverse city in America according to Priceonomics.

  • December: #8 in Lonely Planet's "Best in the US 2015." The list suggests that Oakland is cool because cause SF is too expensive, so "the quirky artsy cool has moved east across the Bay to find a home."

  • November: "most dangerous city in the Bay Area." the SF Chronicle took the FBI's annual crime data (which the FBI says shouldn't be used to make rankings) and ranked Bay Area cities by level of crime. Oakland came out on top..or on bottom...whichever you prefer.

  • November: Fastest rising rents in the country.

  • August: According to Forbes, Oakland is No. 12  of "America's Coolest Cities 2014." 

  • May: Oakland made a top 10 list (#8) of most expensive cities to live in for 2013. (Also see next item) Kiplinger used the cost of living index "measures prices for housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services." Cities with less than 50,000 people and counties with multiple large metropolitan areas like Orange County were removed from consideration. 

  • May: Oakland made the top 10 list (#10) of least affordable housing markets for the middle class from The Atlantic's "City Lab."

  • April: 5th best city for Tech Entrepreneurs, according to Wealth There were 26 venture capital deals and $262 million dollars invested in the first quarter of 2014.

  • March: 2nd worst place to park a car! (Some think this is a good thing.) According to NerdWallet, who used a combination of price of parking and vehicle theft, Oakland ranks only after Chicago in worst parking. San Francisco is third. (Note: how long it takes to find a spot isn't on this list.) According to the site: "Be extra careful when you park in Oakland because the city has 124.59% more motor vehicle thefts per capita than the national average. It’ll cost you $15.50 a day to park in Oakland or $195 a month for parking. However, Oakland has tried to make paying for parking a little easier; the meters allow drivers to pay for parking using the city’s Parkmobile app."

  • March: "Travel: The top 5 things to do in California." We're a top 5 place to visit in California, even though we're described as "grubby."

  • February: The 14th best place to visit for "Fantasy Food Travel." These are places that Food Republic would "travel to for the food and drink alone." (Hopefully that isn't a backhanded compliment.)

  • Sometime in 2014: According to Smart Growth America, Oakland has one of the best "Complete Streets Policies" of 2013 (10th out of 15, to be exact). The ranking is "intended to celebrate the communities that have done exceptional work in the past year and to provide leaders at all levels of government with ideas for how to create strong Complete Streets policies." The report is available to download.

  • January: The Advocate named Oakland the "9th Gayest City" in the United States. According to the magazine, "No city in the United States can beat Oakland for its percentage of lesbian couple households."

  • January: Oakland in top 10 Housing Markets for 2014 from The "forecast gain" through September, 2014 is 9.3%.

  • January: Oakland recognized as a 2013 "National Community Pacesetter": The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has selected "Oakland Reads 2020" for the National Community Pacesetter is given to communities "set the pace in improving reading proficiency among its youngest students. This honor reflects the energy, mobilization and creativity theOakland community has incorporated in its collaborative efforts. Thirty-seven communities across the U.S. were selected for this honor for 2013."14


  • December: In the list of "10 Rising Star Travel Cities" on HuffPo.
  • December: Oakland made the #2 spot on the 10 Deadliest American Cities in 2013
  • November: Named #3 "most liked" city by Money Journal, although in a slightly backhanded way: "It isn’t known why Oakland is so popular and was a bit of a surprise for us. Perhaps there are far more Raiders fans out there than we assumed. The Raiders will have a successful return to dominance someday."
  • November: Named 5th "most hipster" city by and credits a "90s beatnik mayor" (do they mean Jerry Brown, elected 1999?)
  • November: Named #9 most walkable city in the United States for 2014 by Walk Score. [source]
  • September: #1 nationally for per-capita robberies in cities with populations above 100,000 (2012) [source]
  • August 14th: Oakland named the hottest housing market by the Wall Street Journal. 
  • August: Conde Nast Traveler named Oakland the 2nd Most Unfriendly City
  • July: On July 9th, Oakland was named Facebook's Dance City in an article about fitness. Who knows what that means. Rankings are based on mentions of specified activities over three months.  On July 12, Movoto posted 35 Reasons You Need to Move to Oakland.
  • JuneOn June 12, the City of Oakland’s fleet was named among the 100 Best Fleets in North America by 

    Government Fleet magazine. The fleet is managed by Public Works Agency (PWA), was ranked No. 72. To view the 

    full roster of 100 Best Fleets, please visit 

  • June: Downtown Oakland recognized by the International Downtown Association for “its expanding tech and retail industries, public transportation and easy-to-use bike trails and walking paths in the downtown area.”11
  • May: Oakland named Movoto’s Most Exciting City in America based on multiple criteria; Travel Nerd rated Oakland the #4 “Urban Destination for Nature Lovers.” Apparently 14.5% of Oakland is set aside for parkland and it has the cleanest air of all Bay Area cities. Criteria: percentage of total area devoted to parks, national parks nearby and weather (precipitation and air quality).
  • March: NerdWallet named Oakland the 10th Best City to Have a Dog (based on affordable veterinary care, the number of off-leash dog parks, the “sunny and walkable” factor, with woods for dog walking, including Redwood forests); NBC Bay Area calls it the 11th most attractive city for tech startups; names Oakland #1 market to sell a house. Criteria: median listings prices, supplies of homes for sale, and days to sell new listing. Housing markets include the entire metro areas.3
  • January: ArtPlace America names Oakland #7 (of 12) ArtPlaces in America. There are 6 indicators identified by Impresa Inc., a Portland-based consulting firm specializing in the study of metropolitan economies. Four indicators measure ingredients of vibrancy: the number of retail and service businesses; the percentage of independent businesses; the neighborhood’s Walk Score; and the percentage of workers in creative occupations living in the neighborhood. Two arts-related indicators were also used: the number of arts-related non-profits and the number of arts-related businesses. Finally, neighborhood scores were normalized for family income so that neighborhoods with the highest concentration of income did not skew the results.8


  • August: Smarter Traveler ranked Oakland #4 in America’s Best Cities on the Rise (due to the highest number of “resident artists per capita than any other U.S. city,” an “ideal destination for travelers” and the number of top chefs opening restaurants in Oakland. 1)
  • January: #5 on the New York Times list of the top 45 places to visit in 2012, just before Tokyo, after London, and with San Francisco not even making the cut. Praise was given for Oakland’s revitalized nightlife. 2
  • Sometime in 2012: Honest Tea names Oakland the most honest city in America. They put out tea and asked people to pay a dollar for it. 100% of people complied in Oakland.12

2011 (and earlier)

  • May 2011: Yahoo! Finance (I think) named Oakland 6th most dangerous city based on FBI data. It’s not clear exactly how the data was used to come up with the rankings.6
  • April 2010: Sunset Magazine names Oakland one of the 20 most innovative cities of the West and features Novella Carpenter, Ghost Town Farms and the Institute of Urban Homesteading7
  • November 2009: CQ Press names Oakland the 5th most dangerous city. The annual rankings are based on population figures and crime data compiled by the FBI.5
  • July 2009: Environment California named Oakland “Solar Champion” for having one of the highest rankings for solar roofs and solar power installed in the state. According to Environment California, Oakland has more than 642 solar roofs and 7,007 kilowatts installed (or solar capacity).4 Also, Oakland named 4th greenest city in the nation by Mother Nature Network.9
  • July 2008: Outside Magazine named Oakland one of the 20 “Best Towns in America.”
  • February 2008: Popular Science named Oakland the 4th greenest city. They used raw data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Geographic Society’s Green Guide for American cities of over 100,000 people in more than 30 categories, including air quality, electricity use and transportation habits.10

There are a variety of sustainability awards listed here that need sourcing/expanding upon.

You may have noticed that not all of these accolades are super nice. If you're interested in other not-super-nice things written about Oakland, check out the unpopular articles about Oakland entry.

Additional Links

  1. America’s Best Cities on the Rise Smarter Travel (August 31, 2012)
  2. The 45 Places to Go in 2012 The New York Times (January 6, 2012)
  3. 5 best markets to sell a home. (March 3, 2013)
  4. Oakland named “Solar Champion” by Environment California.” El Reportero (July 22-31, 2009)
  5. Oakland named fifth most dangerous city in nation.” Associated Press (November 21, 2010)
  6. The Most Dangerous Cities in America.” Yahoo! Finance (May 25, 2011)
  7. 20 most innovative cities of the West.” Sunset Magazine (April, 2010)
  8. America’s Top Twelve ArtPlaces 2013.” ArtPlace (Jan 7, 2013)
  9. 10 Greenest U.S. Cities” Mother Nature Network (undated)
  10. America’s 50 Greenest Cities.” Popular Science (February 8, 2008)
  11. Downtown Oakland honored for new businesses, walkability.” Oakland Tribune (June 12, 2013)
  12. Oakland is the most honest city in America, says cleverly named ice tea purveyor.” (August 21, 2012)
  13. City Administrator's weekly report dated June 28, 2013.
  14. "Oakland Recognized as National 2013 Pacesetter for its Efforts to Promote Early Reading."