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Oakland vs San Francisco: Which City is the Most Comfortable and Safe in 2024?

If you are deciding to move to California’s Bay Area, Oakland vs San Francisco must be your top choice. These cities offer various benefits to call the Bay Area home, such as diverse cultures, food scenes, weather, and job opportunities.

However, the San Francisco Bay Area and Oakland have several drawbacks, including violent gangs, crack epidemic, and economic hardships. Without further ado, let’s dive into a detailed comparison of both cities to find the better choice for you!

Oakland vs San Francisco

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Quick Comparison of Oakland vs San Francisco

San Francisco and Oakland are beautiful places to live in, but one surpasses the other in desirability.

  • Oakland, situated in the East Bay, is known to be the birthplace of numerous large parks, such as Joaquin Miller Park. These parks give easy access to outdoor activities, including hiking and biking trails.
  • San Francisco has beautiful outdoor arenas, such as Golden Gate Park; yet their accessibility can be challenging, and rampant overcrowding leads to frequent car break-ins.

However, there is still much more to know about these two cities. Continue reading to discover the pros and cons of both cities, how their climate varies, the types of sports each bay provides, which one is more affordable, and so on. Let’s get started!

Comparison Chart

Check the comparison between Oakland and San Francisco in the table below:





Offers food at a convincing price.

Have more upscale and expensive dining options

Housing expenses

Affordable in terms of housing in the country.

Has the highest rents and home prices in the country.


Transport system is more extensive

Transit system is more extensive but with poor connectivity for commuters.


Oakland has had higher crime rates historically throughout the city.

Has several affluent and touristy areas that tend to be safer.

Crime rate

It has had a higher crime rate in the past, particularly in certain neighborhoods.

Has all over crimes, but rates can vary widely within the city.


Has more diversity and authenticity, with thriving arts and music.

Full of culture from galleries to historic sites like Chinatown.


Has warmer and sunnier weather, with fewer fall in temperature.

Known for its cool,due to its geographical location.

Job opportunities

Do not offer as many tech-specific jobs

Offers abundant jobs in the industrys.

Pros and Cons of Living in Oakland

Oakland, in the East Bay of San Francisco, has numerous reasons why it stands as one of the premier destinations to live in California. However, this city has opposing sides, such as the high cost of living. So, make sure you go through the following pros and cons of living in Oakland:

Pros of Living in Oakland

Let us look at the advantages that make most people prefer Oakland to other California cities:

Pros of Living in Oakland
  • Nice Weather: Most people prefer living in Oakland mainly because of its pleasant weather. Oakland offers a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, making it ideal for folks who enjoy the great outdoors.
  • Superb Location: Oakland’s proximity to San Francisco Bay, Berkeley, and Pleasanton makes it easily accessible. Thanks to Oakland Airport, intercity buses within the city, and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) that serves the metro area. Getting to remote work, entertainment events, or meetings is never a problem.
  • Eclectic Nightlife: Nightlife in Oakland City will depend on your personal preference. Whether it’s all about unwinding after work, networking, or stepping out on a hot date, the city’s nightlife has something for everyone.
  • Food Scenes: From traditional to modern culinary scenes, Oakland’s vibrant food scenes have made the east side of San Francisco a culinary destination for fine dining.

Cons of Living in Oakland

Let’s examine the cons of living in Oakland below:

Cons of Living in Oakland
  • High crime rate: Oakland Bay Area is known to have a higher crime rate than other cities in California. It is advisable to walk in groups, especially in East Oakland, West Oakland, and Downtown Oakland.
  • High housing cost: Oakland is known to be the most expensive place in the Bay Area due to unaffordable houses. This makes most people in the city to be homeless.
  • High tax rate: Living in Oakland means part of your income will go to the government. Sales tax here is higher than in other cities, which is 9.5%, while in other cities is 7.5%.
  • Prone to natural disasters: Oakland’s location in the East Bay Area makes it vulnerable to earthquakes. Other disasters include wildfires, landslides, and sea-level rise.

Pros and Cons of Living in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco is generally a desirable city to stay in because of its thriving job market, vibrant cultural scenes, and many others. Still, there are other negatives that draw back the city such as the cost of living, traffic congestion, etc. Now, let us go through the pros and cons of living in SF.

Pros of San Francisco

There are the pros of San Francisco:

Pros of San Francisco

Read also: Why Is California So Expensive: 7 Important Factors to Know

  • The beautiful scenery:  San Francisco offers a remarkable natural beauty with a pleasing view of the Pacific Ocean, and the city’s hills and mountains. Other beautiful sceneries include Golden Gate Park and Bridge, the Presidio, and Lands End.
  • Job opportunity: The San Francisco Bay Area offers various industries and companies that provide job opportunities to the residents.
  • The mild weather: The most exciting thing that makes people prefer San Francisco is the mild weather. Its cool summers and mild winters make it an ideal place to relish outdoor activities throughout the year.
  • The delicious culinary scene: San Francisco is like a small paradise in terms of food options, with diverse restaurants and vibrant cuisine options.

Cons of Living in San Francisco

Discover the drawbacks of living in San Francisco:

Cons of Living in San Francisco
  • Limited outdoor space: Despite San Francisco being a beautiful city with numerous attractions, it has limited space for outdoor activities in some parts because they are densely populated.
  • High housing prices: Whether you want to buy or rent, the housing price in San Francisco is highly elevated, making it an expensive city to live in.
  • High traffic congestion and limited parking: San Francisco faces significant problems with traffic jams and a shortage of available parking, creating obstacles for daily travel and completing tasks.
  • Natural disasters: San Francisco is prone to natural disasters, with earthquakes being a severe concern. Other disasters include rare and extreme storms and flooding.

Oakland and San Francisco: Size, Population, And Location

Let’s discover some details about Oakland and San Francisco’s size, population, and location:

  • San Francisco boasts a higher population density of 17,500 residents within a square mile. Conversely, Oakland has a population of 7,787 residents per square mile.
  • Oakland has a total area of 78.0 square miles while San Francisco has an area of 46.9 square miles.
  • In terms of location, San Francisco is directly accessible from San Jose along US-101, while Oakland is due north of San Jose via I-880.

Oakland vs San Francisco: The Housing Market

Both cities have expensive housing budgets and almost the same price for buying and renting a house:

Oakland vs San Francisco: The Housing Market

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  • Buying a house in San Francisco is $1,212,500 while in Oakland is approximately $850,000 for a single-family home.
  • Renting a house in SF is approximately $3600 while in Oakland is around $2407 for a single bedroom.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Cost of Living

The cost of living in San Francisco is 12% higher than in Oakland city. While Oakland might have the same price as San Francisco, other amenities in Oakland are more budget-friendly.

The cost of living in Oakland is 2% higher than the state average and 44% higher than the national average. On the other hand, SF is 25% higher than the state average and 76% higher than the national average.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Cost of Living

Job Opportunities in Oakland and San Francisco

Both cities provide countless job opportunities in several industries such as:

  • Technical companies;
  • Tourism;
  • Education.

The average salary per year in Oakland is approximately $75,720, while in San Francisco is around $79,000 annually.

Education in Both San Francisco and Oakland

Both San Francisco and Oakland are great destinations for high-quality education. Let us look at what each city has for its students:

Schools in Oakland vs San Francisco

The best schools in Oakland include:

Best schools in Oakland

Read also: 15 Safest Cities In Northern California With Low Crime Rates

  • Yu Ming Charter School;
  • Lincoln Elementary School;
  • Manzanita Seed;
  • American Indian Public Charter School.

The best schools in San Francisco include:

best schools in San Francisco
  • The College Preparatory School;
  • Crystal Springs Uplands School;
  • Castilleja School.

Preschools in Oakland vs San Francisco

Preschools in San Francisco include:

  • Building Kidz of San Francisco;
  • Aspire Berkley Maynard Academy;
  • L’Academy Mandarin Immersion Preschool.

The best preschools in Oakland include:

  • Broadway Children’s School;
  • Sequoia Nursery School.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Weather

During summer and winter, Oakland temperatures range from 55 to 75 degrees, and 55 to 65 degrees respectively. Conversely, average summer and winter temperatures in San Francisco Bay range between 59-75 °F and between 50-59 °F respectively.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Weather

Oakland experiences strong winds SW at 10 to 20 mph and annual precipitation of 22.61 inches. On the other hand, SF experiences strong winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph and precipitation of 22.89 annually.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Crime Rates

Oakland, California,​​ is Number 1, having the highest overall crime rate in the state. Some of the crime rates that are higher in Oakland include homicides, robberies, and assaults. SF also experiences lower violent crime rates, robberies, thefts, and car break-ins.

Oakland vs San Francisco: Food, Culture, and Vibe

Oakland is home to world-class restaurants, eateries, food trucks, bars, and clubs that offer both traditional Vietnamese flavors and classic California cuisines. Furthermore, Oakland offers top-notch restaurants such as:

Horn Barbecue
Credit:, @Horn Barbecue
MAMA Oakland

San Francisco is known for its culinary landscape that offers diverse cuisine options from the region’s history and traditions. Examples of restaurants in SF include:

  • Monsieur Benjamin;
Monsieur Benjamin
Credit:, @Nightbird
  • Suragan.

Culture and Vibe in Oakland and San Francisco

From the beautiful scenery and championship sports to diverse culture, Oakland stands as a cultural hub that enthusiastically embraces diversity and fosters a sense of community. Additionally, Oakland has an awesome vibe of live music that happens on the first Friday of every month.

San Francisco is known as a hub of the American Counterculture and the origin of the gay rights movement. Currently, the city houses a thriving community of artists who engage in media.

Culture and Vibe in Oakland and San Francisco

Oakland vs San Francisco: Sports

Oakland is known as the final destination of the Athletics and Roots SC. Examples of local sports teams in Oakland are:

  • Oakland Athletics;
  • Oakland Raiders;
  • Oakland Roots.

San Francisco is home to the central team, Baseball. Other sports teams include:

  • Soccer;
  • Volleyball;
  • Hockey.

Things To Do And See in Oakland vs San Francisco

Let us discover what San Francisco and Oakland citizens do:


Read on to know what to do while in Oakland:

  • Explore Lake Merritt: Lake Merritt is a picturesque park with spacious meadows, clusters of lush trees, and delightful spots for picnicking. Within the lakeside, you will come across a children’s fairyland that provides a conducive environment for families with kids.
Lake Merritt
  • Jack London Square: Jack London Square has a lively maritime atmosphere in a waterfront setting on the Oakland estuary. You will find restaurants at the entrance offering Oakland food scenes and live music.
Jack London Square
  • Dining and shopping in Rockridge & Temescal: Rockridge and Termiscal offer all-inclusive resorts and countless ethnic restaurants offering top-notch dining scenes for residents and visitors. Take home some historic items of Oakland and housing equipment from Temescal.
  • Morcom Rose Garden: The garden is delightful in springtime and early summer. Visitors and residents can take a leisurely walk through the park.
Morcom Rose Garden
Credit:, @Friends of Morcom Rose Garden

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San Francisco

Explore some of the things that San Francisco residents do:

  • Explore the Presidio Tunnel Tops: Presidio Tunnel Tops, a newer construction of a 14-acre park along Presidio Parkway Highway, offers panoramic Golden Gate Bridge views by the waterfront.
  • Golden Gate Bridge: You can hike, bike, and shop on the Golden Gate Bridge. Furthermore, the vista is breathtaking as you traverse this bridge, featuring urban landscapes on one flank, wilderness on the opposite, and a stunning burst of azure beneath.
Golden Gate Bridge
  • Nightlife: Need to party at night? Explore the following clubs and hotels for lively nightlife Audio Nightclub, Cat Club, Blackbird Bar.
  • Explore Chinatown: Chinatown is known to be the origin of American Chinese cuisine, featuring dishes such as chop suey and fortune cookies and acknowledged dim sum in Western dining; making a culinary pitstop at establishments like Hunan Home’s Restaurant or Good Mong Kok Bakery is essential.
Chinatown, San Francisco

Quality of Life In Oakland East Bay vs San Francisco 

Check out the quality of life in both cities in the table, based on research:




Purchasing Power Index



Safety Index



Health Care Index



Climate Index



Cost of Living Index



Property Price to income ration



Traffic Commute Time Index



Pollution Index



The quality of life index in SF is 139.65 while in Oakland is around 157.65.


Is Oakland better than SF?

In general, Oakland is better than SF. Considering the cost of living, housing expenses and other amenities are more affordable in Oakland than in SF.

What is the difference between Oakland and San Francisco?

Oakland and San Francisco exhibit notable differences. Oakland boasts a greater racial diversity compared to San Francisco, while San Francisco experiences fewer sunny days than its counterpart across the Bay.

Is Oakland cheaper than San Francisco?

Yes, Oakland is more budget-friendly than San Francisco. From housing expenses, food, and health services to recreational activities.

Should I move to Oakland from SF?

Yes, you can move to Oakland from SF if you cannot fit the quality of life in SF. Oakland’s job opportunities are abundant, nice weather, and it is more affordable.


In general, the choice between residing in Oakland vs San Francisco Bay Area depends on personal preference and way of life. Both cities offer high-quality education, diverse attraction sites with things to do, and entertainment such as music and sports.

If you prefer a bustling, metropolitan environment with convenient public transit and a lively nightlife scene, San Francisco could be your most suitable option. Conversely, if you value more significant space, a varied community, and a more reasonable cost of living, Oakland is there for you.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this exploration of Oakland vs San Francisco, and we invite you to share this article with your friends.

Oakland vs San Francisco