San Leandro (known locally as SL) is in Alameda County in the East Bay portion of California's Bay Area. Historically a town with dozens of huge cherry farms and a Spanish missionary ranch, San Leandro today is a rapidly growing city home to prominent business firms and is a suburb of Oakland. Founded in 1872, it is one of the oldest cities in California. San Leandro does not have as much to offer as its neighbors, however its central location may make it a very economical home base for tourists and commuters, and its panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and its hills are worth a trip for visitors.
San Leandro has a diverse population, with Asians forming a plurality at roughly 30% of the population, Whites and Hispanics each at around 27%, African-Americans at 12%, and one of the lower 48 states' larger Pacific Islander populations forming about 1% of the city's population.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Weather in San Leandro is very comfortable throughout most of the year, ranging from the mid 50s to upper 70s (F). However, early morning weather in the winter (5AM-7AM) can reach as low as the mid 20s with frost, and in high pressure systems in the summer can cause temperatures to reach as high as the mid to upper 90s.
San Leandro is easy to access by car, it is located by two major Bay Area freeways, Interstates 580 and 880. 580 leads to the Civic Center, Downtown, Bayfair Center and the BART station. The exits on 580 to San Leandro include, Grand Avenue/Downtown, 150th Avenue/Fairmont Drive, 164th Avenue/Miramar Avenue and Junction California State Route 238 to Hayward, when traveling westbound, the exits are, Carolyn Street/164th Avenue, Fairmont Drive/150th Avenue, Benedict Drive and Estudillo Avenue/Downtown. Exits on 880 are, Davis Street, Marina Blvd., Washington Avenue and Junction Interstate 238 to 580.
Other highways include Interstate 238, which begins in Castro Valley before arriving into San Leandro at the first exit. 238 connects 580 with 880 and vice versa. Also in San Leandro is an off-ramp to California State Route 238 to Hayward off 580. California State Route 185 is East 14th Street, which leads non-freeway traffic to either Oakland or Hayward. California State Route 112 is Davis Street, which begins in Downtown San Leandro before turning into California State Route 61 (Doolittle Drive) which leads to Alameda. 580 Eastbound leads people to Hayward, Stockton, Fresno and Los Angeles the latter which is via Interstate 5. 580 Westbound leads people to Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento (via Interstate 80) and San Rafael. 880 Northbound leads people to Oakland, Downtown Oakland, Berkeley (via Interstate 980 to 580) and San Francisco (via Interstate 80). 880 Southbound leads to Hayward, San Jose and Santa Cruz (the latter via California State Route 17).
By public transportation
San Leandro is also easy to access by public transportation. BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit, is a subway that connects San Francisco, SFO, Concord, Fremont and Pleasanton/Dublin with 2 stations (San Leandro and Bayfair). San Leandro also has bus services that service thorughout the town.
San Leandro is 5–20 minutes from the Oakland International Airport (OAK IATA), and bus services and BART link San Leandro with the airport. San Francisco International Airport (SFO IATA) is also accessible to San Leandro by BART and bus services and is about 25–30 minutes from San Leandro. San Jose International Airport (SJC IATA) is the least accessible to San Leandro, because BART doesn't go into San Jose, so access by car, bus or an expensive taxi ride are the only options, San Jose International Airport to San Leandro is 30–40 minutes.
San Leandro is close to the Oakland Amtrak station and is accessible to San Leandro by BART or bus.
San Leandro is linked to Bay Area cities by bus services, and has local bus services, Flex Shuttle and LINKS linking parts of town to another.
San Leandro's former ferry pier and building have closed and are being threatened with demolition. The closest ferry terminals are in Oakland's Jack London Square and in Alameda. They can be accessed to San Leandro by car or bus. Ferry services also take riders to San Francisco and Sausalito.
San Leandro's scenes and landscape is best seen by biking around the city and comes in handy in downtown rush hours, when streets are clogged by cars and buses. Miles and miles of bike lanes are found on practically every major street and residents enjoy biking in the city's parks and shoreline.
Interstates 580, 880 and 238, California State Routes 238, 185, 112 and 61, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) 2 stations, San Leandro and Bayfair, local bus services and close access to Oakland International Airport. When visiting downtown, the civic center or Wells Fargo Tower parking meters are always likely to be full. Instead, park at the 2-story Estudillo Parking Garage, which is free of charge, but has a time limit of 1 hour, unless you are a Wells Fargo Tower employee.
During rush hour on weekdays (8AM-9AM) and (4PM-6:30PM) traffic on all interstates can be terrible. Traffic on 580 is troublesome from Downtown on both sides and at the Bayfair Center on Eastbound 580 at 150th Avenue. 880 and 238 are clogged during these times. On weekends, 580 and 880 fare better while 238 is clogged on Sundays. Traveling on California State Routes 185 and 112 are also troublesome on Sundays.
- Oyster Bay and Oyster Lighthouse (at the end of Neptune Drive). A regional park, shoreline and landmark. Historic site of the former Oyster Bay Beds, the largest oyster fishery in the Americas, the oyster beds are a California Historical Landmark.
- San Leandro Marina and Shoreline, 13801 Monarch Bay Dr. A city park and San Leandro's only city shoreline and one of the city's four water recreational facilities.
- 1 Lake Chabot Regional Park, 17930 Lake Chabot Dr, ☏ . One of the largest regional parks in Northern California, this park offers great views, picnic areas, boat trips on the lake, a coffee shop, golf, fishing, birdviewing, camping and sightseeing. Parking $5, dog fee $2.
- Washington Manor Park and Pool, 14900 Zelma St, ☏ . Summer hours: Mon-Fri 1PM-4:30PM and 7:30PM-9:30PM, Sa 1PM-6PM and Su 12PM-5:30PM. Boasts one of the tallest waterslides in the Bay Area. $4 per person over 3 years of age.
- Chabot Dam (on the border of Lake Chabot Regional Park and the city park Chabot Park). The first dam built in Northern California.
- C.Burrell Field, 2451 Teagarden St. A football stadium that hosts local football events.
- San Leandro Ball Park, 1193 Aladdin Ave, ☏ . A baseball field that hosts local baseball games, including the minor league.
- Fairmont Ridge Regional Park, 2200 Fairmont Dr. A scenic path that is an alternative to Lake Chabot on busy days.
- Root Park, 1071 East 14th St. The only park that gives a close-up view of the locally famous and important San Leandro Creek. The portion of the creek closest to the creek is a California Historical Landmark due to the rainbow trout that thrive in the creek, possibly the largest rainbow trout population in a Californian creek.
- 2 Casa Peralta, 384 West Estudillo Ave, ☏ . Sa Su 11AM-3PM (calling ahead on day of visit is recommended). A Spanish adobe-like building, remnants of a former ranch owned by Spanish in colonial times. Free.
- San Leandro History Museum, 320 West Estudillo Ave, ☏ . Th-Su 11AM-3PM. A museum about San Leandro's history, from its founding to present day.
- San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Ave, ☏ . M-Th 10AM-9PM, F 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM. Main branch, one of the largest libraries in the East Bay, it hosts a book store, cafe,art gallery and convention stage.
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory and Headquarters, 1111 139th Ave, ☏ .
- Otis Spunkmeyer Factory and Headquarters, 14490 Catalina St, ☏ .
- Rancho San Antonio (Peralta Grant) commemorative plaque, on San Leandro Blvd. at W. Estudillo Ave (A California Historical Landmark).
- Peralta Home, 561 Lafayette Ave (A California Historical Landmark;the first brick home built in Alameda County).
- Mulford Point, 40 Mulford Point Dr. A scenic vista point next to the San Leandro Marina that offers a view of the San Francisco Bay and the Oakland Airport.
- Veterans Memorial Building, 1105 Bancroft Ave, ☏ . A building dedicated to the veterans of the United States. In 1933 A site for the Veteran's Memorial Building was jointly purchased by the City of San Leandro and the local veterans organizations. From 1927 to 1935, Alameda County funded the construction of ten such memorial buildings throughout the county. County architect Henry Haight Meyers oversaw the designs. When completed the Veterans Memorial building would house activities for the Legion, VFW and the Spanish War Veterans. Ground-breaking ceremony was held on Armistice Day Nov 11, 1933. On March 18, 1934, the cornerstone of the building was placed in position by William Bostaph, a local Civil War Veteran and holder of the Order of the Purple Heart. On July 6, 1934, the building was completed. At the time there was enormous civic pride over the building. It was described as one of the finest Italian-type buildings in Alameda county. The total cost of construction came to $89,000. A dedication ceremony was held on Sep 23, 1934. Over 1500 people attended the ceremony. The $80,000 New Wing was dedicated July 5, 1951.
San Leandro has several annual festivals (listed chronologically):
- Chinese New Year and Têt Festival. A celebration of Chinese and Vietnamese New Years at the San Leandro Public Library, every Saturday before the observed dates, or the observed date if the New Year falls on a Saturday.
- San Leandro Watershed Festival. A celebration of the San Leandro Creek at Root Park, every last Saturday of April.
- Cinco De Mayo Festival. A celebration of Cinco De Mayo at the Civic Center, every first Saturday of May.
- Cherry Festival. A celebration of San Leandro's historic start of the annual cherry harvest season, every first Saturday of June.
- Veterans' Day Parade. The largest Veterans' Day Parade in the county honoring soldiers for World War I to the Iraq War. Held every Sunday before Veterans' Day in Downtown on East 14th Street.
San Leandro has over a dozen parks and recreational areas for tourists and residents:
- Bonaire Park, 14841 Juniper St. A 5.4-acre park with picnic tables, barbeques, horseshoes and a softball field.
- Boys and Girls Club Pool, 401 Marina Blvd. An alternate to the Washington Manor Pool for lap swims.
- Farrelly Pool, 864 Dutton Ave. An alternative to the Washington Manor Pool on crowded weekdays and Saturdays.
- Heath Park, 1220 143rd Ave. A park with 4 tennis courts.
- Thrasher Park, 1300 Davis St. A 12.8-acre park with a softball field similar to the baseball field at the San Leandro Ball Park.
The sales tax rate in San Leandro is 9.25%.
San Leandro is a shopping hub of the East Bay and is home to various malls:
- 1 Bayfair Center, 15555 East 14th St, ☏ , fax: . Macy's, Target, Kohl's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy, Staples, Century Theaters, Petsmart, 24 Hour Fitness, Ross, Michaels, Pier 1 Imports, Lucky, etc.
- 2 Westgate Center. Wal-Mart, Pet Food Express, Costco, Sports Authority, The Home Depot, Office Depot, etc.
- Marina Square Center. Marshalls, Ann Taylor, Eileen Fisher Outlet, Nordstrom Rack, Talbots Outlet, Shoe Pavilion, Office Max, Men's Warehouse, GAP, etc.
- Greenhouse Marketplace. Factory 2-U, 99 Cents Only, Safeway, Food Maxx, Big Lots, etc.
- Pelton Plaza. Safeway, Hallmark, Longs Drugs, Avenue, USPS, Payless Shoe Source, etc.
There are also plenty of shops selling gifts, souvenirs and other merchandise throughout the town. Pelton Plaza is well known for its shops and dining. Located in the heart of downtown, one can enjoy delicious food hailing from various nations, go book shopping at friendly independent stores, buy artisan crafted jewelry, treat oneself to gourmet goods, or take a break with a pint or ice cream cone. Family-friendly Pelton Plaza is a destination for many locals.
San Leandro has a vast array of restaurant options, including typical American chains such as KFC, Baskin Robbins, McDonald's, Denny's and Chevy's.
- Pelton Café, 194 Pelton Center Way (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Continental breakfasts
- Emil Villa's, 1800 East 14th St, ☏ . Daily 7AM-9PM. Steakhouse and ribs.
- Cozy Kitchen, 14811 Washington Ave (at Floresta Center), ☏ . Diner
- Ploughman's Restaurant, 1600 Washington Ave (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Ernie's Sea Food, 13775 East 14th St, ☏ . Seafood, salads, sandwiches and soups.
- Bookmark Café, 300 Estudillo Ave (at San Leandro Library main branch lobby), ☏ . M-Th 8AM-8PM, F 8AM-4:30PM, Sa 10AM-3PM.
- Nick's Family Restaurant, 14660 Washington Ave (near Floresta Plaza), ☏ . M-Sa 24 hours and Su until 8PM.
- Mutt Hut, 1904 Washington Ave, ☏ . Hot dogs and salads
- Vila Cereja, 1045 MacArthur Blvd, ☏ . Casual Californian cuisine.
- Nations Giant Hamburgers, 1335 Washington Ave (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Taqueria Los Pericos, 101 Pelton Center Way (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- La Piñata #2, 2699 Merced St, ☏ . Mexican cuisine.
- El Torito, 5 San Leandro Marina, ☏ . Mexican cuisine on waterfront.
- Tito's, 15508 East 14th St (near Bayfair Center), ☏ .
- Taqueria Guadalajara, 14327 East 14th St (near San Leandro Hospital), ☏ .
- Viva Pancho Villa Restaurant, 599 Dutton Ave (near downtown), ☏ .
- La Pequena Taqueria, 2014 Marina Blvd, ☏ .
- Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant, 14393 Washington Avenue, Suite D (at Floresta Plaza), ☏ .
- Taqueria Los Pericos #5, 1389 East 14th St, ☏ .
- Viva Mexico, 15100 Hesperian Blvd (at Bayfair Center), ☏ .
- Joaquin Deli, 275 Joaquin Ave, ☏ .
- Bavarian Bread Company, 14226 Doolittle Dr, ☏ .
- The Rose Garden, 15754 East 14th St (across from the Bayfair Center), ☏ . This is a small mom & pop place that serves really, really good Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese food... and absolutely no MSG. Small place, maybe 6 tables at the most. The folks there are super friendly, enthusiastic, remember many guests, and they whip up their food very fast. Try the Rose Garden Vegetable. They deliver, and at night they usually have coupons for a free appetizer, fried rice, or chow mein with a $20 purchase.
- Chili Palace, 699 Lewelling Boulevard, Suite 270 (at Greenhouse Marketplace), ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-9:30PM and F-Sa 11AM-10PM.
- Asia Delight #2, 156 West Juana Ave (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Hidden Wok, 145 Pelton Center Way (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Chinese cuisine.
- Jasmine, 14393 Washington Avenue, Suite G (at Floresta Plaza), ☏ .
- New Hong Kong, 1750 East 14th St (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Chopsticks Express, 13780 East 14th St (near Palma Plaza), ☏ .
- Daimo Chinese Restaurant, 1456 East 14th St (near downtown), ☏ .
- China Cook, 14400 Washington Ave (near Floresta Plaza), ☏ .
- Imperial Garden, 310 MacArthur Blvd, ☏ . Chinese restaurant and dim sum.
- Lee's Garden Restaurant, 21 Thornton St (near downtown), ☏ .
- China Wok, 14405 East 14th St (inside 88 Food Market), ☏ . Daily 10:30AM–8:30PM.
- Little Pi Express Cuisine, 13876 Doolittle Dr, ☏ .
- Vo's Restaurant, 277 Parrot St (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ . $9–13.
- Phð An Hòa, 14391 Washington Ave (at Floresta Plaza), ☏ . Daily 10AM-10PM. Vietnamese noodle house
- Le Soleil, 1515 East 14th St (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Angelina's, 485 East 14th St (near civic center), ☏ .
- La Bella Italia Inn, 15015 East 14th St (near Bayfair Center), ☏ .
- Paradiso, 685 Bancroft Ave, ☏ . Lunch: Tu-F 11AM-4PM; and dinner: Su 4PM-8PM, Tu-Th 4PM-9PM, F 4PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM (closed M). Italian seafood. $10–20.
- Porky's Pizza Palace, 1221 Manor Blvd, ☏ . Family atmosphere, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and chicken. 15 California & Northwest microbrews on tap.
- Sergio's Pizzeria and Restaurant, 150 W Juana Ave (downtown, off of E. 14th), ☏ . M-W 11AM-9PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. Free delivery in San Leandro.
- Ohegane Korean BBQ, 1292 Davis St (near San Leandro BART station), ☏ .
- Al Lunardi & Sons Meat Co., 570 Williams St (near San Leandro BART station), ☏ . Also a deli.
- Nikko Sushi, 13805 Catalina St (near San Leandro Marina), ☏ . M-F 11AM-8:30PM, Sa 11AM-9PM. $1–10.
- Sushi Avenue, 1042 Marina Blvd, ☏ .
- Tsuru Sushi, 1427 East 14th St, ☏ .
- Ozeki Sushi Teriyaki, 14701 E. 14th St, ☏ .
- Luke's Grill, 1509 East 14th St (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Also serves Italian cuisine.
- Thai Satay, 1376 East 14th St (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Su 11AM-10PM, M-Th 11AM-10PM, F,Sa 11AM-11PM.
- Sweet Fingers, 464 East 14th St, ☏ .
- Ono Hawaiian BBQ, 13808 East 14th Street, Suite C (at Palma Plaza), ☏ . Be sure to try the chicken katsu.
- Ohana Hawaiian BBQ, 1933 Davis Street #135A (at Westgate Center), ☏ .
- Waikiki Hawaiian BBQ, 635 East 14th St (near Civic Center), ☏ .
- Buffet Fortuna, 1330 Washington Ave (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Chinese cuisine and BBQ.
- Elio's Family Restaurant, 260 Floresta Blvd (at Floresta Plaza), ☏ .
- Cre Asian (Asian fusion), 1269 MacArthur Blvd, ☏ . Lunch (M-Sa 11:30AM–3PM, dinner: M-Th 5PM-10PM, F Sa 5PM-10:30PM. $16–$23.
- Horatio's, 60 San Leandro Marina, ☏ . Casual seafood waterfront restaurant.
- Cherry Pit, 550 San Leandro Blvd, ☏ . American and Chinese cuisines.
- Fifth Wheel Food, 898 San Leandro Blvd, ☏ . Greasy spoon type restaurant.
Snacks & dessert
- Slikker's Donuts, 1321 MacArthur Blvd (at Estudillo Center), ☏ .
- East 14th Bakery, 1780 East 14th St, ☏ . Chinese bakery.
- Loard's Ice Cream and Candies, 2000 Wayne Avenue,401 Bancroft Ave, ☏ , . 2 locations in the town.
Coffee & tea
Starbucks has nine locations in San Leandro and Jamba Juice can be found at the Bayfair Center and Westgate Center. Other options include:
- Tapioca Express, 129 West Joaquin Ave (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Coffee, tea, juice and snow bubble
- Zocalo's Coffeehouse, 645 Bancroft Ave, ☏ . Wireless Internet available
- Café Sorriso, 1746 Washington Ave (near Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Su 6AM-5PM, M-Sa 6AM-5PM. Wireless Internet available
- Sabinos's Coffee, 1273 MacArthur Blvd, ☏ . M-F 6AM-7PM, Sa Sun 6:30AM-6PM. Wireless Internet available.
- Planet Coffee, 1423 East 14th St, ☏ . M-F 6AM-5PM, Sa 6AM-4PM. Wireless internet available.
Bars & clubs
- Englander Sports Pub and Restaurant, 101 Parrott St (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ . Pub and British cuisine.
- Cunha's Cocktails, 155 Pelton Center Way (at Pelton Plaza), ☏ .
- Washington Club, 1746 Washington Ave, ☏ . Broadcasts sports games.
- Pagano's Sports Bar, 14830 Washington Ave, ☏ . Broadcasts sports games.
- Sports Fan Club, 15294 Liberty St, ☏ . Broadcasts Oakland Raiders and Oakland Athletics games.
- Ricky's Sports Theatre & Grill, 15028 Hesperian Blvd, ☏ .
- San Leandro Marina Inn, 68 Monarch Bay Dr, ☏ , toll-free: . Great views of the bay, golf, dining nearby and near San Leandro Marina and Oyster Bay.
- Hilton Garden Inn, 510 Lewelling Blvd, ☏ . Near Oakland Airport, Oakland Arena, Greenhouse Marketplace and restaurant on-site.
- Budget Inn, 16500 Foothill Blvd (near Lake Chabot and Bayfair Center), ☏ .
- Fairmont Inn, 16320 Foothill Blvd, ☏ .
- Nimitz Motel, 555 Lewelling Blvd, ☏ .
- Travelers Inn, 17290 Foothill Blvd, ☏ .
- Valley Inn, 17130 Foothill Blvd, ☏ .
Despite its suburban characteristics, San Leandro does have its tough neighborhoods at its borders with larger cities. One area to be aware of is the portion of MacArthur Boulevard near the Oakland border. This area is next to the notorious and impoverished "deep" East Oakland, which has some of the Bay Area's highest drug trafficking and murder rates. The area between the Hayward and Ashland borders (just south of the Bayfair Center) is reasonably safe during the day, but gets sketchy after dark. Nevertheless, San Leandro is a safe city with designated crime free zones, including the area near the Castro Valley border at Lake Chabot to the end of Estudillo Avenue (where downtown begins), near the marina, and a large portion of the Washington Manor neighborhood (including the Washington Manor Park and Pool) from Interstate 880 to Farnsworth Avenue. Due to the presence of a juvenile hall, Fairmont Drive in the city's eastern hills is heavily secured between Lake Chabot Park and 152nd Avenue. Police patrols are very frequent and security cameras are hidden on trees and fences.
As with almost every city in the United States, San Leandro has at least one hospital. The San Leandro Hospital is a health care facility treating the most basic of health needs such as the flu to various surgeries and basic emergencies. If in a dire emergency head to Eden Hospital in Castro Valley as it is a Level 1 trauma center. San Leandro also has another hospital, Kindred Hospital in the hills. The hospital has no emergency service.
- San Leandro Hospital, 13855 East 14th Street, +1 510 357-6500
- Kindred Hospital, 2800 Benedict Drive, +1 510 357-8300
- Oakland. San Leandro's northern neighbor and a diverse and vibrant city and has been regaining that title due to a growing economy and a general renaissance of the city.
- Hayward. San Leandro's southern neighbor and boasts of a central bay shoreline, a quaint city center with a small town feel in the city flatlands and hills which overlook the bay.
- San Francisco. A 20-30 minute drive from San Leandro, San Francisco is the dominant city in the Bay Area and features many attractions and sights and boasts many upscale hotels and dining.
- San Jose. A 25-45 minute drive from San Leandro, San Jose is the largest city in the Bay Area and is the center of the famed Silicon Valley.
- Fremont. Accessible from San Leandro by BART, Fremont features a suburban lifestyle between Oakland and Silicon Valley.
- Castro Valley. San Leandro's eastern neighbor does not offer much, but has spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay from its hills.
|Routes through San Leandro|
|Oakland ← Piedmont ←||N S||→ Castro Valley → Livermore|
|END ← Oakland ←||N S||→ Hayward → San Jose|