photo by mk30

Uptown is a neighborhood in the downtown area of Oakland. It has experienced significant revitalization. The Oakland Redevelopment Agency specifically planned an ambitious development program to create the Uptown neighborhood as an entertainment/retail district. It purchased parcels and properties in the area and contracted with private developers to formulate and enact a development plan and recruit retail and entertainment businesses to the site.

According to the Oakland City Planning Commission "the "Uptown" district is characterized by small scale ground floor commercial spaces under upper story residential units, as well as freestanding modern buildings such as the Broadway/Grand mixed-use building, small restaurants, and automotive service businesses.  Residential buildings along and behind the commercial area include two-story Victorian houses and apartments, as well as newer condominium buildings.  Construction materials in the area include primarily stucco buildings with glass transoms and tile roof details; brick with wood details, wood shiplap and shingle walls with composite roofs, and other early-to-mid-20th Century materials." 1

Some long-time Oaklanders say "there's no uptown in Oakland -- it's all downtown." Which is mostly true, because while the term was used in the early 1900s as Oakland grew to refer to things past 14th Street versus towards the waterfront, the term didn't wasn't used much in recent times until Jerry Brown's 10K Plan began pushing development in the area. 3,4


Unbuilt elements of the Uptown redevelopment plan: 2

  • Retail center anchored by 16-screen cinema
  • Sonic City entertainment center at 18th and San Pablo

Things you might find in Uptown

Add new "uptown"


1912 Sanborn1951 Sanborn

Links and References

  1. Oakland City Planning Commission Staff Report Case File Number CMDV12-171 October 3, 2012
  2. Source: City of Oakland Business Development Office fact sheet, 4/29/1998. Available in the Oakland History Room
  3. Is it Uptown or Downtown? A Bit of History April 2, 2020
  4. Broadway Department Store ad Oakland Tribune April 22, 1927