Cleveland Heights – Oakland, CA

In the hills east and northeast of Oakland's Lake Merritt, Cleveland Heights, with its quiet, residential streets, borders the trendy neighborhood of Grand Lake, keeping life a stone's throw away from the action. Cleveland Heights also has the advantage of being just under 2 miles from downtown Oakland and 12 miles from San Francisco, with easy access to public transit and the 580 Freeway.

Schools in Cleveland Heights

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Restaurants & Nightlife

With nearby Grand Lake providing a wealth of restaurant and dining options from high end to moderately priced and cuisines from Japanese to New American, residents of Cleveland Heights find themselves within walking distance of some of the best eats in town. Michel Bistro on Lakeshore Avenue serves modern French dishes straight out of the south of France in a cozy, candlelit environment of exposed brick and high ceilings. Start off the evening with a creamy, anise-flavored pastis, a classic charcuterie or cheese plate, and a delectable gem salad with persimmon, blackcurrant, hazelnut and blue cheese fondue. Save room for well-portioned main courses, such as the moules frites, rabbit cassoulet and the hangar steak, grilled to perfection. While enjoying one of Shakewell's well-balanced craft cocktails, such as the El Matador with Four Roses bourbon, Cocchi di Torino, Alvear sherry, SW mole bitters and dark chocolate, try the establishment's elegant yet modern take on Turkish, Spanish and North African cuisine with bacon-wrapped and chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates or the Salt Spring mussels with roasted apple, ham and fennel. Splurge a little in the sleek but relaxed atmosphere, featuring touches of bright Mediterranean color and décor. Brunch much? Locals love Grand Lake Kitchen, a kid-friendly neighborhood deli that serves up an unforgettable pastrami Benedict, chilaquiles — a Mexican dish of tortilla chips, salsa roja, black beans and runny eggs — and French toast served with fruit and Vermont maple syrup. Just across the street from Lake Merritt's shoreline, Grand Lake Kitchen is perfect for a decadent Sunday morning meal followed by a scenic walk. Maybe you need that brunch to recover from all the nightlife nearby. While Cleveland Heights itself has a quiet, residential vibe, neighboring Grand Lake and Uptown have all the music, drinking and entertainment you need for a lively night on the town. Spend a mellow evening out catching the latest flick at the historic Grand Lake Theatre, open every day of the week. Built in 1926, the theater showcases the elegance and grandeur of the era with Egyptian and Moorish style auditoriums. If you're looking for something a little more rock and roll, head over to Heart and Dagger Saloon, where the bar pours up what it calls "good spirits for bad people." In addition to a diverse selection of liquor and beer at wallet-friendly prices, the saloon maintains a pool table and classic arcade video games that keep you and your friends busy playing all night. It's open until 2 a.m., so you can close the night out at this dog-friendly bar. Less than 4 miles away from Cleveland Heights, the Paramount Theatre of the Arts in Uptown hosts everything from a speaking series with luminaries such as Bill Clinton and Gloria Steinem to Disney Live to the Trailer Park Boys. Before or after the show, walk over to Flora, an art deco bar and restaurant, and feel swanky by enjoying a classic cocktail, such as a Martinique negroni or a house old-fashioned.

History & Culture

In 1909, Oakland annexed Cleveland Heights, a part of the township of Brooklyn located in the northwest corner of the San Antonio district. The district itself began in 1851, shaped locally by the railroad lines that ran through it, including the San Francisco and Oakland and the Central Pacific Railroads. Museums near the Cleveland Heights neighborhood include the Junior Center of Art and Science, which hosts programs and workshops that enrich local K through 12 education, such as exhibits on African-American inventors and California Native Americans. The local visual arts scene includes galleries, such as Baraka Gallery for African arts and crafts, in neighboring Grand Lake.


In pedestrian-friendly Cleveland Heights, residents can run most errands by foot or bike. Biking can be a challenge in the Cleveland Heights hills, but riders find bike lanes nearby around Lake Merritt as well as easy access to flat streets in surrounding areas. Residents may benefit from owning a car if they must commute long distances to work. Public parking can be found in the surrounding residential streets. The neighborhood has a convenient location next to the 580 Freeway. People who work in San Francisco often rely on either buses or Bay Area Rapid Transit to avoid traffic and expensive parking fees in the city. The Cleveland Heights area has numerous AC Transit stops, with a BART station approximately 1.5 miles away on 19th Street. Calling a cab or using Uber can also be a convenient option for getting around locally.


With a median one-bedroom rental rate of $1,208, Cleveland Heights has a cost of living about 12.1 percent higher than the Oakland average. A beer runs around $5 to $7 at most pubs. The neighborhood gas average sits at 22 percent over the national average. An AC Transit trip to the BART station costs about $2.10, and the BART ride itself to the San Francisco Civic Center costs $3.30.


Major shopping areas can be found on Lakeshore and Grand Avenues in the Grand Lake neighborhood. Local and specialty boutiques range from high to low priced and carry everything from gifts and clothes to hard-to-find liquors and spirits. The Out of the Closet thrift store in the southern part of Cleveland Heights provides a treasure hunt of an experience to locals who love vintage. Proceeds from the purchase of goods from Out of the Closet benefit the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. For affordable design, Urban Indigo on Lakeshore Avenue has something for residents of all ages, including gifts, jewelry and home furnishings. Here, find a one-of-a-kind piece of art, a cake plate or a Buddha head for your new home. The store defies pretentiousness by carrying products with a sense of humor, such as a fist-shaped cup with a handle made out of knuckle rings or a box of bandages printed with Shakespearean insults. Grocery stores in the neighborhood include a Trader Joe's on Lakeshore Avenue and a Lucky supermarket in the East Lake neighborhood, south of Cleveland Heights. The Grand Lake Farmers Market serves the area with fresh organic produce and locally crafted foods, such as pasta and sauces from Home Maid Ravioli Company and cheese from Cowgirl Creamery.


Cleveland Heights borders Lake Merritt, Oakland's main outdoor attraction, with 3.4 miles of shoreline for walking, running, biking and taking Fido out for a stroll. Featuring artificial islands as refuges for birds including herons, egrets and cormorants, the lake also has rowboats and canoes available for rent. Cleveland Heights' F.M. Smith Park offers two playgrounds, a recreation center, a picnic area and a basketball court in a kid-friendly environment. The annual Eastlake Music Festival, held in the adjacent neighborhood of East Lake along the shores of Lake Merritt, showcases a day of local music, art and food in the month of May.
1146 Mckinley Ave
Oakland, CA 94610
2 wks
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