Hidden in the flatlands to the north of Richmond, San Pablo sits in a land-locked nook close to the waters of the San Francisco Bay. While densely urban like its neighbors Richmond and El Sobrante, San Pablo doesn't harbor any of the stretching skyscrapers of the other notable skylines in Bay Area. The city houses a high density of residents and commuters who work in larger cities around the Bay Area, imparting on the city a much-treasured and diverse culture. From San Pablo, you can reach San Francisco in a little over half an hour and Berkeley in just 20 minutes.
Restaurants & Nightlife
San Pablo's culinary diversity benefits from the wealth of cultures circulating throughout the Bay Area. Restaurants serve a variety of Asian, Indian subcontinent and Mexican menus, all located within the relatively small confines of San Pablo's city limits.
Blue Bay Thai charms with its playful decor and family-friendly atmosphere. While the menu sports a selection of Thai standards like pad thai and pad kea-mao, customers return time and time again for their crispy garlic baby ribs. Make sure to inquire about the cocktail menu.
Sukie's Country Kitchen brings the buttery delights of the American South all the way to the San Francisco Bay Area. Customers love the corned-beef hash for its adherence to the traditional dish and the chicken and waffles for its decadent take on the nouveau Southern comfort standby.
Anyone looking for a less-prevalent Central American menu should look no further than Pupuseria La Paz, an establishment serving traditional Salvadorean pupusas, a cheesy flatbread often stuffed with beans or meat. Try any of the day's pupusa entrees — a rotating menu of pupusa-based dishes changes with each day of the week.
While San Pablo's nightlife can't match the denser districts of Oakland, Berkeley or San Francisco, locals certainly have enticing options come sundown. Clancy's serves up $3 bottles of beer and karaoke on Friday nights, plenty of material for a night on the town, and Jerry's Cocktail Lounge serves low-priced but high-quality cocktails. Anyone looking for dancing or live music must head over to nearby El Sobrante to the Rancho Sports Bar, an all-in-one stop for televised sports, DJs and a raucous good time.
History & Culture
Before colonization by Spanish conquistadors, San Pablo used to be the home of the Ohlone community who lived between the two creeks that run through the present-day city. Explorers from the Spanish mission in San Francisco reached the area in 1811 and began setting up farms and ranches on the Ohlone land.
Until World War II, the city mostly housed farmers and ranchers plying their trades. The Richmond shipyards, erected as part of the war effort, brought in many migrant workers who transformed the town into its current-day incarnation as a dense suburban district. Public amenities like libraries and large schools replaced the saloons and gambling halls left over from the rough-and-tumble ranching days.
The San Pablo Historical Society operates archives in the Alvarado Adobe Museum and the Blume House. Because of the city's Mexican heritage, the city celebrates Cinco de Mayo at Saint Paul's Catholic Church.
Denizens of San Pablo use cars to move around the area for the most part. While the city may not take long to traverse as the crow flies, the densely-packed streets make walking an unattractive option.
Alameda County Transit, better known as AC Transit, serves San Pablo with a variety of bus options and connects the city to nearby Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) light rail lines. Between AC Transit and BART, public transport users can navigate the Bay Area within a few hours.
Hailing a cab in San Pablo doesn't come easy. Taxi users ought to call ahead as cabs don't often cruise through this more residential city. Uber does serve the area.
Public parking abounds in San Pablo, costing little to nothing in most places. Drivers can access I-80 from all parts of San Pablo in about 10 to 15 minutes, connecting them with the greater grid of interstates that serves the entire Bay Area.
San Pablo earns a score of 67 from WalkScore.com, meaning you can get around somewhat easily on foot. However, Richmond doesn't serve bicyclists with bike lanes and streets frequently congest with traffic, making the streets of San Pablo particularly unfavorable to bike commuters.
Living in this neighborhood costs 16.3 percent less than the state average for normal expenses. A single ride on AC Transit costs $2.10, which can take you to all over San Pablo and to many destinations in Alameda County. One-bedroom residences cost $1,068 on average, a beer costs around $3.50 and gas costs around 22 percent higher than the national average.
Shoppers turn to San Pablo Avenue when looking for a shopping fix. The city holds no high-value stores, but makes up for that dearth with a few neat local shops sure to turn heads.
Horticulture lovers turn to Alicia's Flower Shop to feed their passions. The shop offers bouquets and single flowers for a variety of occasions, and the generous staff helps you pick out the perfect flower for that special someone in your life. Browse a wide selection of beautiful rock furniture at Westend Stone, a small San Pablo manufacturer of granite tables. Its sleek, sturdy furniture may just be the perfect complement to your furniture assortment at home.
Supermarket San Pablo serves the neighborhood with most of its grocery needs, while Mercado La Hacienda and Honakhong Market serve more specific cultural cuisines. The San Pablo Farmers Market provides customers with locally sourced produce during the summer growing seasons, from May until October.
San Pablo contains one main recreational park: John Hubert Davis Park. The park contains two baseball fields, a soccer field, a playground and a multipurpose room for ceremonial and event purposes. The park is free to use, but you may reserve the fields for a fee (the city advises to reserve far in advance due to several organizations holding long-time reservations on the fields). The playground areas make the perfect spot for the little ones to socalize, and this park welcomes dogs on leashes. The city holds annual fireworks on the soccer fields for Independence Day celebrations.