East Lake

Where International Boulevard Begins/Ends

The East Lake neighborhood is located east of Lake Merritt, spanning from 1st Avenue all way west towards the Fruitvale District. It is part of the San Antonio District and also known to many locals as “New Chinatown”.  This nickname can be attributed to the number of Asian grocery stories, cafes, and businesses in the area. Outside of Chinatown, come to East Lake to find what you need in way of Asian produce and items!

Primarily a commercial neighborhood, East Lake also includes a variety of other uses such as residential and institutional that make it an eclectic area. The main spine of this district is International Boulevard (formerly E. 14th Street) and 12th Street.

The East Lake neighborhood has a diverse ethnic population ranging from Asian to Latino to African American.  Walking and driving around, the neighborhood may seem like a hodge podge of uses as you will find auto shops next to hole in the wall restaurants, barber shops and grocery stores and cafes all mixed with residential in true mixed use live work conditions.

Outside the International Boulevard spine of the neighborhood are residential neighborhoods where there remains sprinkled throughout some Victorian homes on large lots that provide a glimpse into the history of the area.

How to get to East Lake:

  • By bicycle: Ride down 14th Street and follow the bike path along Lake Merritt to connect up to International Boulevard.
  • By bus: AC Transit (1R, 1, 62, 40)
  • By BART: Take the Fremont or Dublin / Pleasanton line and exit Lake Merritt Station.
  • By car: Coming from the east, exit 5th Avenue from I-880, coming from the west, exit Jackson Street from I-880. Exit Park Avenue from I-580.

Looking westward along E 12th Street
E 12th St and 5th Ave

Clinton Park
Clinton Park

International Boulevard storefront
International Blvd storefronts

East Lake street life
East Lake sidewalk

Guide and Photos by Cindy Ma


  • population of 16,600
  • 43.3% Asian / 26% Latino / 16.1% black or African American / 11.5% white / 2.3% multiracial / 0.5% other
  • median age of 36.2
  • Source: US Census 2010, tracts 4053.2, 4054.01, 4054.02, 4059.02, and 4060


  • Grab some Laotian/Thai food at two of the best kept secrets: Champa Garden and Chai Thai Noodle. Make sure to order the fried rice ball salad!
  • Swing on the swings in Clinton Park.
  • Visit the Native American Friendship Tribal Center on International and check out their schedule of events.
  • Grab some cheap Banh Mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) at one of many spots. Cam Huong is a local favorite where you can grab a sandwich and drink for $5.
  • Bring your car to get the best and cheapest hand car wash at one of many carwashes.
  • Rent a Segway or take a Segway tour of Lake Merritt from Segway of Oakland located in the neighborhood.

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