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Just the facts
>> Main strip: College Avenue >> Who dwells here: Former Cal Berkeley grads and city-folk raising families in this upscale bungalow-ville >> Population: 4,000 >> Founded: Early 1900s >> Main architecture: California bungalows built in the early 20th century >> Neighborhood giant: Market Hall >> Best burger: Wood Tavern >> Where to mingle with locals: Cole CoffeeMarket HallÁ CôtéDiesel Books

The vibe
At the foot of the Oakland Hills, Rockridge is a lovely burby-like haven where Cal Berkeley grads come to live when they exit their 20s and start yearning for historic cottages, nice gardens, and a 99 walk score. Twitterites and techies who have newly flown the coop are lucky to nab a place to live in this desirable hub. Even so, all ages come to explore this model main street where two indie bookstores thrive (Pegasus and Diesel). Extreme shoppers, and companions of extreme shoppers, bewarned: walking Rockridge will easily swallow an afternoon. There are home goods (Maison D’Etre) to baked goods (Market Hall Bakery), vintage (Pretty PennyLost & Found) to eco (Atomic Garden), jewels (Pavé) to shoes (Tootsies). A break for sustenance is always a storefront away with a dozen new eateries in 2013 alone, including Ramen Shop and A16 Rockridge. Oldies but goodies are Wood Tavern, Á Côté and Dreyer’s Ice Cream Parlor, where the flavor Rocky Road was invented.

The inside inside scoop
The 2,000 hand painted tiles in the Rockridge BART station form a mural that depicts the Oakland hills firestorm of 1991 as remembered by the survivors.

If you only have three hours
Market Hall is like Whole Foods but more neighborhood-y, more curated. It has a butcher, seafood counter, deli, florist, tea shop, and a cheesemonger.

Grab a pie at Zachary’s to participate in the cornmeal-crust pizza warfare between this Rockridge institution and its San Francisco nemesis, Little Star. It’s a whole thing.

Frog Park is a tucked-away walking path that curves through a kind-of-hidden greenbelt of redwood trees and the Temescal Creek bed.

How to get here

  • Freeway exit: From 1-80 E, take the exit toward CA-13 N/Berkeley/Broadway from CA-24 E
  • BART stop: Rockridge
  • Bus lines: 49, 51A, 51B
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