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Living in Temescal (Oakland, CA)

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Living in Temescal (Oakland, CA)


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2008 - 2012 Reviews


April 2012

Re: Moving to Oakland with small children

Temescal (near Telegraph and 51st) is a bit more 'up and coming' but it has some great shops and restaurants. Just a little grittier than Piedmont Ave or Rockridge.


Sept 2010

Re: New job in SF - where's a sunny place to live?

Welcome to the bay area! Based upon your background/interests, I think you'll like it here. If you are looking for more sun, the east bay is definitely the place to be. And yes, it is definitely possible to have a commute of less than 45 min each way if you live somewhat close to a BART station. We live in Temescal (6 blocks from MacArthur BART), and my husband commutes to downtown (Powell St. station) in about 30 minutes, door to door. His office is right above the station, so that helps.


Moving to the area near the MacArthur BART?

May 2010

My sister is thinking of moving to the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland AND is thinking of beginning the journey to parenthood. The house is on 41st off of Telegraph close to the MacArthur BART station. We went to look at the house and it was VERY charming but not sure what to make of the neighborhood. I went to BPN online and there aren't any recent posts for this area (latest was 2007). Is living in this area a bad idea? Does anyone live there with young children? We would love opinions on raising young children in this neighborhood. Thank you!! Worried Sister & Potential Aunt Anon


I live on the Temscal border and am about to have a child. I'm a little farther downtown (sort of the Uptown/Temscal border) and East of Telegraph Avenue just enough that our neighborhood is better than the heart of Temescal, but if I go walking at night I take a dog, and I plan to move at latest at toddler age (i.e. before school, and around the time a child could be making neighborhood friends).

Advice: drive around during the day and then at night and see what you think.

Temescal is a mixed bag (like much of Oakland); the general rule is that the farther away/East from Telegraph you get (read: away from West Oakland), the better it is. Things can vary from street to street, so it's hard to say what the 'hood is like without specifics.

Both MacArthur and Telegraph themselves can be pretty ghetto, and west of that is just ew. Remember that West Oakland pretty much runs right into Temescal, and with that comes the trappings and people of West Oakland. Temescal is a fabulous neighborhood in terms of its centrality and the restaurant scene, the 52nd street corridor in particular, and a lot of young hipsters have moved in. But this is Oakland, and you will definitely still find a ghetto-ass element that's going to annoy you if you live there. Diversity is great; assholes hassling you for money/cigarettes/whatever on the street is not, and that is a reality of living in Temescal if you walk around.

Most of these annoyance elements are harmless: loud people in loud cars with a booming bass, homeless people rifling through your recycle bins, difficult parking (especially with all the restaurants in), and the occasional hooker standing around late at night.

The upside though is a really colorful neighborhod that is actually improving, and there are some really cool people it the Temescal.

Basically, it's sort of like living in the Mission. You take the good with the bad. I don't think that violent crime is a huge issue (you can look it up on Oakland Crime Watch), but petty theft is something to worry about and is on the rise in a bad economy.

If your sister is a young hip parent who digs cool restaurants and wants to have a convenient BART station nearby and doesn't mind a little urban grit, she'll like this neighborhood. temescal-ish gal


My husband and I lived in Temescal, at 40th & Telegraph, for a little more than one year (about a year ago) and we LOVED it! Absolutely loved it. We moved, reluctantly, once I became pregnant. The apartment building we lived in had lead paint and didn't have laundry facilities, so we decided to look for a new place. Most of the buildings in that area are older, so lead paint was a reoccurring issue. (To be completely honest, I'm not sure if it's really a hazard - it's been covered up by so many layers of new paint... but, better safe than sorry!) We ended up moving to Montclair, but miss Temescal every day.

The neighborhood is diverse, both ethnically and personality-wise. There are young single people, young families, and older people who have lived there their whole lives. While I probably wouldn't let my little kids play outside unsupervised, I always felt safe. It's an urban area, so you will always have the random car break-in, or stolen bike. There are great restaurants, shops and I felt a real sense of community among the residents and shopkeepers. People who live down there love their neighborhood and do their best to protect it. During the summer there were street-fairs, Friday night movie-nights (projected onto the side of buildings), and the farmer's market up the street at the DMV. I think Temescal is great for people who want to live in an urban setting (with close proximity to restaurants, shops, etc.) with a strong 'neighborhoody' vibe.

I could go on and on! Feel free to email me if you have more specific questions, I'd love to help if I can. Alexis alexis


I would totally raise my kid in the Temescal area - lots of families & easy walking distance to all kinds of great things... Good sunny weather, too :) Kendra
Temescal is great and getting better all the time. And let's face it, not paying an arm and leg for mortgage/rent and using the money for your family is a very major plus.
Sept 2008

Re: Cheaper but "safe enough" neighborhoods
Not sure on real estate prices but I'm guessing you could get a great deal. Back in 2002 when my partner and I started looking we desperately wanted to live in Berkeley (north) or Temescal. Needless to say, we chose the 3 bedroom place with tons of yardspace in ''Mosswood'' park area which some consider ''lower'' temescal. We mostly do not regret our decision aside from the Berkeley public schools thing. We can literally walk to Piedmont ave. shops and restaurants within 10 min. and Temescal yumminess within 10 min. as well. Even better we can jump on bus to downtown or get to SF within 15 minutes. It's an amazing place with lots of resources and diversity. We relish it. Hope you will join us. Downsides - ''motels'' ie prositution havens and liquor stores, freeway noise.... mostly loving the neighborhood


Safety of walking around Temescal

Jan 2008

I am a new Mom who enjoys walking with my daughter in the Temescal neighborhood. Though not on one day, we will often walk with the stroller from 40th/Telegraph at MacArthur BART to Tumble and Tea at 42nd to Lanesplitters to 51st and Telegraph to the Farmer's Market and Frog Park. We live on the west side of MLK just outside of the official boundaries of Temescal and pass under the underpass to get to Telegraph. I am concerned about recent news of increased street crime in the area and wanted to know what other parents think about the safety of walking with a child in a stroller between the hours of 9:00a.m. and 3:00p.m. both on Telegraph and under the underpass. We do this on weekdays and the weekend. Thanks. Nervous but urban new Mom


I live on 60th & MLK and have taken this stance on neighborhood safety--I can't be afraid of living in my own neighborhood. There has been a huge spike in crime in our 'hood in the last year and it makes me sad but doesn't stop me from taking walks over to the Farmers' Market, Colby Park, etc. I pay attention to my surroundings when out with my daughter and keep my cell phone in my pocket in case something happens (Oakland 911 is the first # in my address book). I don't talk on the phone while walking either. Hope this info helps. Melissa
I walk with a stroller in the same areas you describe, including beneath the underpass. I've never had a problem. I don't want to let fear make me a prisoner in my own home, so I just try to use common sense. I try to be aware of my surroundings, and to appear alert and in control(not absorbed in a cell phone call or on an I-Pod). I don't go walking after dark. I wear a backpack, not a purse that could be easily snatched. Also, unless it seems wildly inappropriate, I make eye contact and say good morning or hello or give a nod to everyone I pass. Enjoy the neighborhood!
I live in Temescal too. Don't stop walking. Do these things instead:


- Program the direct number for 911 into your cell phone on speed dial. I think it's 777-3211. If something strikes you as suspicious, CALL. Not just for yourself, but for the rest of us, too.
- If you see someone who strikes you as suspicious, cross the street.
- Look people in the face as you pass them, acknowledge or say hi to them. Criminals don't want to be ID'd later.
- Watch out for the double-back maneuver: a mugger will innocently pass by you on the street, then turn around and grab you from behind. Don't let anyone get close enough to you to take advantage of you.
- Put a metal whistle on your keychain and keep it within easy reach. BLOW and draw attention to yourself if you are approached by someone creepy.
- Since you're a regular walker in the neighborhood, if you see shady characters in the same location, give the police a call. Telegraph Avenue has its own walking beat officer, Kaiser Albino. His cell phone is 750-4586. You can usually see his car parked outside Walgreen's.

You'll probably never have any trouble, but it's wise to take precautions. Feeling prepared for a situation can increase your confidence level, which will in turn make you less of a target. It's not my intention to add to your anxiety level. These are just common sense tips that everybody should know.

Do you know about the NCPC meetings and the Temescal Families Yahoo Group? Good luck, and see you around the neighborhood. Jennifer


2004 - 2007 Reviews


Nov 2007

I'm thinking of moving to the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland. West of MLK but just off 40th. Is this a bad idea? Does anyone live there with young children? I would love opinions on raising young children in this neighborhood. Thank you!! Worried Mom


My family and I have been living in Temescal for about 5 years now. I will have to say that where you are describing, 0ff 40th West of MLK is a whole different neighborhood than my neck of the woods, between Broadway and Telegraph. West of MLK is rougher, you know that if you are looking for a house, but do-able.

There's a Yahoo group, TemescalFamilies, which you may want to join. There's a lot of back and forth about crime and safety and neighborhood improvement, but again, it's focused on issues from Telegraph toward Broadway.

If I can lend any piece of advice it's this: buy the house with your eyes wide open. You don't say exactly what your concerns are, but if you're worried about crime, graffiti and the like, things aren't going to change overnight. And the only way they will change is if neighbors get together and make changes happen. I know full well that 10-12 years ago the very street I live on wasn't so great (a friend of mine lived 3 houses down from where I do now), and yet here I am today shocked at how much it costs to buy a house on our street, and it isn't even one of the nice, tree-lined ones. Go figure.

So things get better. But please don't delude yourself into thinking that just because you have to spend $500,000 for a house around here somehow that guarantees anything: safety, privacy, cleanliness or anything else. You're looking in an urban neighborhood and have to expect to find all of urban life, the good and the bad. Good luck love my 'hood


We live in Temescal, but on the west side of Telegraph on 55th, which is more affordable than the east side.(Temescal runs generally from 40th street up to 51st or up to the Berkeley border around 60th, depending on who you talk to or which map you are looking at). Great neighborhood, on the upside of transitional, great shops and parks to walk to,farmer's market every weekend, lots of neighborhood events, friendly to every kind of family. We even have monthly gatherings at the local park to hang out and talk about anything that is going on, good or bad. Less than a mile from BART. We have had our share of the same issues pretty much every neighborhood in the Bay Area has, but the response by the community is heartening. Anyway, I just wanted to put in a plug, because there seems to be a lot of good opportunities in our neighborhood right now to gain some space and get in before you can't anymore. Sigh. Hope this helps! Email me if you want more details or have questions! Samantha
I don't live in the Temescal Neighborhood, but do live in an area that I questioned (read worried about). For awhile the issues that concerned me were no big deal, but over time they bothered me more and more - so much so that I'm trying to move. I think you should live where you feel comfortable, not worried, if at all possible. The key questions to me are what environment do you want for you and your child(ren)? I'd recommend that be the driver for your decision. Good Luck with Your Decision
Temescal is wonderful. Great location, friendly people. I see lots of babies in strollers, but not that many kids on the street. I think many of them are in care/at school most of the day.

If your concern is crime, hey, welcome to Oakland. Crime here is no worse than anywhere else. The edges of Temescal definitely have that urban feel because they are on major traffic arteries, but the inner streets are much more bucolic.

Being a few blocks from Piedmont Avenue is very convenient, in addition to the popular commercial strip on Telegraph. Not far from College Ave. either. You can walk to MacArthur or Rockridge Bart. Local parks = two Frog parks up in Rockridge and Mosswood, which, despite its reputation, is lovely.

Temescal is bike-friendly and has a playground, grass, and basketball court at Emerson Elementary, and a new baseball field will open in the spring at Webster between 45th and 48th. We have Temescal Pool and Studio One art center, now being renovated. There is a very active neighborhood Yahoo group. Families carol around the neighborood in December and play pick up soccer on summer evenings. What more could you want? Never moving


I have a friend who was originally from out of state and knew very little about the Oakland area. She lives west of MLK just several blocks from 40th - She has mentioned incidences that did not make her feel safe at all. She feels uneasy about living in the neighborhood and has had little success in trying to sell the property. She does not have any children - but if she did, I think she would leave the house, rent elsewhere and take the loss. I am not sure what your financial circumstances are or how familiar you are with the East Bay, but I think the North Oakland/South Berkeley area is not really a good place to raise your children. Unless you live in Mayberry, I don't think any neighborhood is perfect, but perhaps you might consider another area in Oakland (east of the 580 - go towards the hill). Good luck to you :) Anon
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