North America > United States of America > California > Bay Area > East Bay
Lying across the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, the East Bay consists primarily of Contra Costa County and Alameda County. It has a unique culture that's more laid back and uncomplicated than its Western neighbors.
Oakland, the area's largest city, is famous for its somewhat smaller Chinatown and its beautiful waterfront Jack London Square, as well as its large port and eucalyptus-spotted hills. Berkeley, just north of Oakland, is home to the University of California and tens of thousands of students, as well as left-leaning politics and great food.
- 1 Alameda County - The densely populated northern part of Alameda County is home to the many parks and museums of Oakland, the counter-cultural hub that is Berkeley, and even a historic aircraft carrier in Alameda. The county's southern region provides a chance to experience dozens of immigrant communities, particularly in Fremont, while the eastern part of the county is rural, with the windmills and rolling hills surrounding Livermore offering opportunities for outdoor activities.
- 2 Contra Costa County - Contra Costa County is a primarily residential county that offers a vast array of food, shopping, and lodging options for Bay Area visitors. The landscape is dominated by Mount Diablo, a peak that provides excellent hiking opportunities and, on clear days, summit views that stretch for well over 100 miles in all directions. Other attractions include the John Muir Historic Site in Martinez, the estate of Nobel winning playwright Eugene O'Neill in Danville, and a WWII shipyard, now a national historic site, in Richmond.
- Alameda - An island community separated from Oakland by a narrow channel
- Berkeley - Home to the world famous University of California, Berkeley
- Concord - Birthplace of jazz legend Dave Brubeck
- Fremont - East Bay's 2nd largest city with one of the largest Afghan communities in the U.S. and the northern edge of Silicon Valley
- Hayward - California State University, East Bay
- Oakland - The East Bay's largest city, and the home of Oakland International Airport
- San Leandro - World headquarters of Otis Spunkmeyer, hotels, Chabot Dam (first dam in Northern California), shopping malls, parks, beaches and business industries
- Walnut Creek - The best shopping in the Bay Area behind San Francisco
- 1 Mount Diablo State Park - This 20,000 acre park provides great hiking opportunities on a mountain that dominates the landscape for most of central and eastern Contra Costa County. It offers an incredible viewshed, with views on clear days stretching 181 miles to Mount Lassen.
What the locals call "the East Bay" is really two fairly distinct regions separated by the East Bay hills. On the bay side of the hills in the west, the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Leandro and Hayward rise from the edge of the San Francisco Bay up the western face of the foothills. The climate tends to be temperate, the culture diverse and the traffic horrendous.
On the eastern side of the hills, the towns of Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and Livermore lie in the area known as the Tri-Valley region (named for the Livermore, San Ramon and Amador valleys). The climate here is more like that of the San Joaquin Valley, with foggy winters and scorching summers. The population is more homogeneous, but the traffic is still pretty awful. Originally, when the small towns of the Tri-Valley area began to grow into immense suburbs in the 1970s, many people commuted over the hills to work in the South Bay, the Peninsula or the City. Today, many large corporations have offices in the Tri-Valley area, and the suburbs of Pleasanton and Walnut Creek are growing into small cities.
However, due to the population exodus from "The City" (due to $$$ high prices and low bang for the buck) and the movement of some families from the west side of the hills it is growing very rapidly and the traffic is now as terrible as any place in Northern California. As the locals would say "The traffic is like, um like, hella bad here"
Contra Costa County in itself is divided into three parts simply referred to as: "West County" near Richmond, "Central County" for the booming area near Walnut Creek, Concord, and Mount Diablo, "East County" for the area near the Delta which includes Antioch or Brentwood.
The two main area codes are (510) for Western Alameda county and the "West County" region of Contra Costa, and (925) for central and east Contra Costa County and for the central eastern part of Alameda county near the fairgrounds Pleasanton and Livermore.
There are many malls and shopping centers in the east bay. Sunvalley Mall (Concord), Stoneridge Mall (Pleasanton), Bay Fair Mall, New Park Mall, Southland Mall, and Hilltop Mall are some of the largest.
The East Bay Regional Park District maintains 65 parks across the East Bay, ranging from easy access picnic areas to off-limits wildlife sanctuaries. More than a dozen campsites range from "family camping" to backpack areas.
There are three professional sports teams in Oakland: Oakland A's (baseball), Oakland Raiders (football), and the Golden State Warriors (basketball).
The University of California, Berkeley (often called "Cal-Berkeley", "Berkeley", "California", or just "Cal") is world renowned for its educational standards and its liberal viewpoint of most things. There is a Cal State school in Hayward (CSU East Bay - formerly known as "CSU Hayward"). There are many two year junior colleges here but one of the biggest is Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, CA Contra Costa County
The East Bay also has two NCAA Division I sports programs:
- The California Golden Bears field teams in 30 sports, mostly in the Pacific-12 Conference. Most Cal sports venues on campus, with the most notable being the ancient Memorial Stadium (football), which sits right over the Hayward Fault.
- The Saint Mary's Gaels, representing Saint Mary's College in Moraga, field teams in 19 sports, mostly in the West Coast Conference. Unlike Cal, Saint Mary's doesn't have a football team. Men's basketball is the hot-button sport here, with NCAA tournament appearances not unheard of.
- See also: Bay Area public transit