Fruitvale

Come taste the spice of Oakland

The Fruitvale neighborhood is located at the foot of the Oakland Hills, bounded by Interstate 880 to the south and Interstate 580 to the north.  Two main arterials bisect the neighborhood: Fruitvale Avenue runs north/south connecting the neighborhood to the Laurel and Dimond District neighborhoods to the north and Jingletown to the south. International Boulevard runs west/east connecting the neighborhood to the San Antonio and Lake Merritt neighborhoods to the west and the Coliseum neighborhood to the east.

The name Fruitvale comes from the area’s history as home to vast acres of fruit orchards. During the 1960s and 1970s this neighborhood experienced an increase in population, in particular with Latino residents, and became a center for the Chicano Movement that was taking part throughout the Southwest. Since then Fruitvale has become a Latin cultural landmark in the City.

International Boulevard is considered Fruitvale’s “main street”.  Throughout the year one can find various community festivities on this street, ranging from Cinco de Mayo and Easter in the spring, and Mexican Independence Day and Dia de Los Muertos in the fall.

Over the last few decades, the Fruitvale neighborhood has undergone many changes as redevelopment and revitalization efforts have been put in place. As mentioned above, International Boulevard has become the main stage for this neighborhood. Originally E. 14th Street, this arterial underwent rebranding and major street improvements to make it a more pedestrian friendly and welcoming corridor.

Another big change to highlight is Fruitvale Village, one of the first true transit oriented development projects in the Bay Area.  Fruitvale Village was spearheaded by the Unity Council, a local community organization.  The Fruitvale Transit Village houses a bike station, day care center, the Cesar Chavez branch of the Oakland Public Library, ARISE charter school, several retail and service businesses and residential apartments (with a percentage allocated towards affordable housing).  Across the Fruitvale Village is the Fruitvale Public Market, which complements the TOD with additional retail uses and a large public plaza where a weekly farmers market takes place.

How to get to Fruitvale:

  • By bus: AC Transit (1R, 1, 51A, 14)
  • By BART: Take the Fremont or Dublin / Pleasanton line and exit Fruitvale Station.
  • By car: Exit Fruitvale Avenue from I-880 or I-580.

Street festival
Fruitvale street festival

Street vending
street vendor 1

Street vending
street vendor 2

St. Elizabeth’s Church
St Elizabeth's Church

Guide and Photos by Cindy Ma

Demographics

  • population of 4,200 (from VisitOakland.org)
  • 49.5% Latino (from VisitOakland.org)
  • median age of 34.2 (US Census)
  • Many of the residents are 1st or 2nd generation to the United States
  • Sources: VisitOakland.org and US Census tracts 4061, 4062.2, 4063, 4064, 4065, 4066.01-.02, 4070, 4070.02, and 4072

Highlights

  • Explore one of the first TOD’s in the area and BART to the Fruitvale Transit Village.
  • Grab a fresh churro or mangonada at the Fruitvale Public Market.
  • Check out the beautiful and ornate St. Elizabeth’s Church on 34th Avenue.
  • Experience a day full of delicious food that locals enjoy: grab tacos and ceviche at La Costa, and fresh elote (corn with cheese and chili) or fruits with chili at one of the many food carts (Sunday church day is highly recommended for a food tour as there are many more vendors that come out for business along 34th Avenue).
  • Try on some cowboy boots and hats at one of the many stores along International Boulevard.

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