Oakland Moving Checklist

Your Oakland Moving Checklist

Oakland may not have the same global reputation as San Francisco just across the Bay but moving to Oakland is becoming increasingly popular as people seek more affordable homes. The Oakland Bay Area has consistently worked to improve its living standards and quality of life in an effort to attract more newcomers to the city. Here’s everything you need to know to make your move to Oakland as smooth as possible.


A Few Facts About Oakland


Traditionally known for its automotive and shipping industries, anyone moving to Oakland, CA, will soon discover the 78 square miles of this port city have a lot to offer. Ranging from trendy boutique stores to delicious restaurants and an energetic nightlife scene, Oakland has quickly become a location known for its commitment to green issues and political activism.

Whether you are moving to Oakland for work, family, or a just change of scenery, here are nine essential facts you need to know about the city:

  1. Where is Oakland located? Oakland is located in central California across the Bay from San Francisco. 
  2. What is the cost of living in Oakland? Regardless of your new place’s Oakland location, this is the sixth most expensive city in America, meaning you will need a serious budget to work out whether you can afford it.
  3. Is Oakland safe? Sadly, Oakland does have a relatively high crime rate. 
  4. Is Downtown Oakland safe? Not so much, but there are still plenty of wonderful neighborhoods in the city so make sure you do your research before moving.
  5. What is the weather like in Oakland? The year-round temperate climate makes Oakland a fantastic place to live if you hate extreme highs and extreme lows.
  6. Does Oakland have public transit? Oakland is super walkable and the BART transit system along with the ferries mean that unless you live in the distant suburbs, you can survive without a car here.
  7. What are Oakland’s sports teams? Support the Oakland A’s, Golden State Warriors, and Oakland Roots SC all in one. If you love sports, you will have plenty to cheer for while living in Oakland.
  8. What is the food like in Oakland? Oakland is an underrated hub of international cuisine. Foodies will have a great time exploring the city’s eateries.
  9. What kind of attractions does Oakland have? Discover the best of the Bay Area from Oakland. You have everything from San Francisco to the wine regions of the Napa Valley just a stone’s throw away.

Learning what living in Oakland, California, is like will help you make the decision that’s right for you and your family. Make sure your checklist is complete before starting the next chapter in your life.


Is it Expensive to Live in Oakland?


It’s now six weeks before you’re moving to Oakland, so you should order the supplies you’ll need for the move. This usually means moving boxes, but if you go with the traditional cardboard kind, you’ll just be making more work for yourself. Instead, use Boxbee, based out of San Francisco, and you’ll get highly durable plastic boxes to make your move easier. You can always order more if necessary and Boxbee will drop them off for free (pickup is free too).

Now is also the time to start using things you don’t want to move too. Perishable items are a good example, as are any frozen food you may have. You probably want to start doing the same with cleani

Like the rest of the Bay Area, the Oakland, CA, cost of living is extremely high relative to the rest of the country. On the other hand, moving to Oakland remains the budget alternative if living in San Francisco itself is way out of your budget.

The cost of living is higher than the national average on all counts, other than utilities. First, housing prices are 118% higher than the national average. Your average weekly grocery cost will rise at least 11.3% compared to what you were paying before, as it is even 6.2% higher than California’s own average.

Transportation is 25.8% more costly but you might be surprised to learn that healthcare is just 3.5% more expensive than the nationwide average.

Overall, your cost of living in Oakland will be 74.4% higher than you can expect to pay in the average American city. So, what does that mean for your job prospects?


Thankfully, highly skilled individuals will have plenty of job opportunities in Oakland. Tech, finance, and bioengineering are the fastest-growing industries in the area. Expect to earn an average annual salary of $77k to cover your expenses and provide yourself with some wiggle room.

Of course, the exact amount you will need to move to Oakland depends on your lifestyle and hobbies. You can certainly get by on less, but you will need to budget.

ng supplies too, though leave enough do you can clean your home before leaving.

Take a trip to your new home in Oakland and take measurements of every room and door. This way you’ll be certain you can bring certain pieces of furniture with you. Otherwise, now’s the time to get rid of it.


Is Living in Oakland Safe?


Is Oakland safe? Sadly, the city has garnered a reputation for high crime rates. The crime facts regarding moving to Oakland are simple. You have a 1 in 77 chance of falling victim to violent crime and a 1 in 15 chance of being a victim of property crime, according to the statistics from 2021. In other words, Oakland is about as safe as New York City and San Francisco.

These figures may make you think that Oakland is a scary place to live, but the crime rates are elevated by a selection of neighborhoods inhabited by gangs. There are plenty of safe neighborhoods in the city.

Moreover, its statistics are also inflated by its relatively low population. With a population of just 425,000, Oakland is far smaller than the average American metropolitan area.

Now that you know about Oakland, CA, safety, where should you choose to live if you want to find the safest part of Oakland? Here are three of the safest neighborhoods in Oakland and why you should consider moving there:

  • Montclair – Families looking for great schools and lots to do should consider the Montclair area. There are lots of local shops, highly rated schools, and a lower-than-average crime rate. You can also enjoy attractions like the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve and the Montclair Egg Shop.
  • Upper Rockridge – Upper Rockridge is a neighborhood that is perfect for anyone. Not only is it an excellent place to raise your children, but it’s also fantastic if you are a professional looking to network and climb the corporate ladder. Home to Lake Temescal and the Claremont Country Club, there’s plenty to keep you busy here.
  • Oakmore – Nestled underneath the Oakland Hills, this is the neighborhood with a youthful energy about it. It is among the quieter parts of the city with plenty of walkable places, so if you are searching for some peace and quiet, Oakmore is the neighborhood for you.

The above three neighborhoods are a small sampling of what you can expect when moving to Oakland. Look beyond the statistics, and you will find that thousands of people enjoy the peace, quiet, and harmony that this city has to offer.

What’s the Weather Like?

Oakland is usually associated with San Francisco due to their close proximity. The truth is that while they have plenty of similarities, Oakland’s climate is undoubtedly more pleasant. This makes moving to Oakland an attractive option.

Oakland is positioned slightly away from the gateway to the Pacific Ocean, meaning that the pouring rains and uncomfortable summer winds that bother the locals of San Francisco are not a factor in Oakland.

The city is considerably less breezy, receives less rain, and enjoys lower humidity rates. Of course, it will rain throughout the winter, but it is far from constant.

The Mediterranean-like climate of Oakland is just one of many reasons why an increasing number of people are flocking to the city, in spite of the higher Oakland, CA, cost of living.

How Good is Oakland’s Public Transportation?

Public transportation is one of the reasons why moving to Oakland is such an attractive proposition for people looking to relocate to California.

Oakland City Center is connected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. Using the BART, you have easy access to the Oakland/Alameda Ferry Service. You are only 12 minutes from San Francisco, 22 minutes from Walnut Creek, and 36 minutes from Fremont and San Francisco International Airport.

You can also choose to cruise across the bay, with Jack London Square ferry dock being 12 minutes to 555 City Center in San Francisco. The ferry can also take you into Angel Island State Park and Alameda City.

The AC Transit system is the city’s modern bus system that connects Contra Costa Counties and Alameda. You will find bus stops for the AC Transit system across the downtown area of Oakland.

You can also check out the Broadway Shuttle that runs from Grand Avenue to Jack London Square for free.

Finally, if you want to cut down on your carbon footprint, you can benefit from the city’s car sharing service, ZipCar Services. Members can use cars at locations throughout Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco without buying a car of their own.

Try its Food and Restaurants

The tastes of Oakland are those that represent the rich history and cultures of the city and the lands around it. To give you an idea of some of the foods that remain popular throughout the city, you can find everything from good, old-fashioned chicken and waffles to Korean bulgogi, spongy injera bread, and steamed dumplings.

Many people who have visited its neighbor on the other side believe that they are similar, whereas this could not be further from the truth. If you have tasted San Francisco’s food, moving to Oakland will provide you with something entirely different.

Remember, Oakland has its own history, art, social movements, and sounds, which have informed the food scene. Its complex history dates back to the 1850s when Chinese immigrants flocked to Oakland. On a side note, Oakland has one of the oldest and largest Chinatowns in the whole country – so this is the place to try some authentic Chinese food.

After moving to Oakland, you will also find Latino influences from the influx of Latino laborers that came from Mexico under the Bracero program. There’s also plenty of Southern cooking flavored with African ingredients that came from freed slaves who migrated west.

Some of the terrific restaurants that have made a mark on the Oakland food scene include:

  • Grand Lake Kitchen
  • Brown Sugar Kitchen
  • Gogi Time
  • Aunt Mary’s Kitchen
  • Bowl’d BBQ
  • Asmara Restaurant
  • Tacos Sinaloa

These are just a small smattering of the incredible restaurants that make Oakland an underrated and relatively unknown foodie haven.

Find an Apartment Before Moving to Oakland, CA

One of the top tips for moving to Oakland is to do your research and secure an apartment before planning your move.

Moving to Oakland will provide you with 14 neighborhoods to choose from. Each area comes with its own distinct flavor. The most expensive neighborhoods are the Jack London District, Downtown, and Old Oakland.

Before beginning your search, if you are moving from outside California, the prices may be a shock, but the rental costs are nowhere near as ridiculous as in San Francisco.

Here’s how to begin the process of finding an apartment:

  • Set Your Budget – Avoid disappointment early by setting your budget so you can narrow down your search. If you have already secured employment, you will have a rough idea as to what you can afford. Ideally, you should not be spending more than 33% of your monthly gross income on rent.
  • List Your Needs – Everyone is different, so start outlining what matters most to you. Do you want to be close to public transport, nature, or the best art scene in the city?
  • Start Searching – You know the drill. CraigsList, Gumtree, Zillow, and other popular sites are all places where you can find apartments up for rent.

Narrow down your listings and get in touch with the landlords before moving to Oakland. While you may not be able to visit for an in-person tour if you are moving from afar, many rental agents will offer virtual tours to show you what the apartment looks like.

Set Your Plan for Moving to Oakland

Start Two Months Out

This is a good timeline for renters especially because most people need to give their landlords two months’ notice. Two months also gives you enough time to begin properly planning your move to Oakland. 

First, start purging your home of all the things you no longer need before moving to Oakland. There’s no point in paying to move things if they’ll just collect more dust there. Think about selling these items and you may have a little extra spending money for making your move. 

Next, buy a binder for you to document all the paperwork that goes along with your move. For example, you’ll want to hang onto all the receipts your move will require. Keep any estimates you made or quotes you were given. Any correspondence from the bank, landlord, moving company, cable company, etc., should be kept here too. Keep an inventory of all the things you’re packing up and moving as well. 

Lastly, if you have children, you must make sure their education records are properly transferred. Visit the school and ask them to do so, then be sure to follow up in the coming weeks if you don’t hear back.

Six Weeks Out

It’s now six weeks before you’re moving to Oakland, so you should order the supplies you’ll need for the move. This usually means moving boxes but if you go with the traditional cardboard kind, you’ll just be making more work for yourself. 

Instead, use Boxbee. Based out of San Francisco, you’ll get highly durable plastic boxes to make your move easier. You can always order more if necessary and Boxbee will drop them off for free (pickup is free too).

Now is also the time to start using things you don’t want to move. Perishable items are a good example, as are any frozen food items you may have accumulated. You’ll want to start doing the same with cleaning supplies too, though leave enough so you can clean your home before leaving. 

Take a trip to your new home in Oakland and take measurements of every room and door. This way you’ll be certain you can bring certain pieces of furniture with you. Otherwise, now’s the time to get rid of it.

One Month Out

With just a month between you and moving to Oakland, it’s time to start making final preparations. Call the moving company you’ve chosen and schedule your move date with them. 

Be sure to get written confirmation from them about the date, how much it will cost, and any other details you discussed. Then begin your own packing. This is definitely not something you want to put off until the last day. 

If you find any especially fragile items, take note of them and ask your moving company for insurance on them. When it comes to extremely valuable items like heirlooms and jewelry, just take those with you in a separate container. 

Put a label on each box so you know exactly where its contents belong. Finally, the last thing you should do is head to your post office and file a change of address. 

With all of these preparations made, moving to Oakland doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. While it will take a lot of work, your new address will make it all worth it.

Choose a Good Moving Company

Making your move a reality is a lot of work. You can streamline the process by choosing a moving company you can put your trust in. Unfortunately, finding the best moving company is far from straightforward.

At Boxbee, we have compiled a comprehensive guide on how to pick a moving company. Here are some quick tips to help you in your search:

  • Check the Reviews – Google, Yelp, and Trustpilot are some great platforms where you can find the latest reviews from previous clients. Read through a selection of the best and worst reviews to gain an accurate picture of their services.
  • Ask for Licenses/Permits – Look for accreditation from trade bodies and, if traveling interstate, that they are registered with the Department of Transportation. You can also take the time to search for their Better Business Bureau record for any complaints.
  • Compare Estimates – Ask for binding estimates in writing from your moving company. Compare these estimates with some other candidates to get the most affordable price.
  • Fleet Considerations – Request some information about their fleet to make sure your movers are using modern, well-maintained trucks. Some movers have even implemented GPS tracking.
  • Look for Additional Charges – Is the price given the price you actually pay? Ask about any additional charges or fees, such as for packing materials. Most movers will have added services, but the last thing you want is a nasty surprise on the bill after moving to Oakland.

The right moving company can turn a stress-inducing move into a relatively calm experience. Take the time to do your research and don’t be afraid to pay a little more to secure the services of a premium moving company.

Rent Plastic Boxes

Plastic boxes are excellent for moving to Oakland because they are transparent, so you don’t need to worry about labeling. They are also sturdy and easily stackable. Moreover, more and more moving companies, including Boxbee, allow you to rent these boxes, so you know they can be reused time and time again.

Switching to reusable plastic boxes is better for the environment and is the best option for reducing your carbon footprint.

Our moving crates are a fantastic alternative to conventional packing boxes because when empty, they fit inside one another, meaning they will not take up space while you are packing and unpacking your belongings.

Plastic boxes also work well with other packing materials, such as bubble wrap. With several sizes to choose from, your belongings are guaranteed to be safe and secure during transit.

Other Moving Bureaucracies

The biggest obstacle many people are unaware of while moving to Oakland is the Oakland moving permit. You will need to plan ahead to obtain your permit, as most moving companies require the client to handle this on their own.

Expect to plan ahead. You will need to install the no parking signs you receive as part of your permit at least 72 hours before actually moving in. You are responsible for putting the signs up and taking them down.

Moving permit fees depend on where you are moving to and how long you need the space. For example, a non-metered spot for one day will cost you $101 and two metered spots for two days will cost you $240.

Moving to Oakland can be something of a headache, but your moving company can likely advise you on how best to approach this problem. Some moving companies may even be willing to complete the paperwork and put up the signs for you for a fee but this is a bonus rather than a standard offering. Typically, only Oakland-based moving companies will offer this service since they are familiar with the system.