Alameda was once a peninsula connected to the Oakland docks. In 1902, a canal was dredged to enable easier shipping access, and that turned Alameda into an island. A little off the beaten track, Alameda has a laid-back vibe all its own. Despite its 80,000 residents, there's still a small-town feeling in Alameda.
A 4th of July Parade, complete with horse-drawn carriages, embodies the small-town feel in Alameda, which has preserved much of its Victorian housing stock, cottages, and central, walkable shopping district along Park Street. The Alameda Theater on Park Street was restored to its art deco glory. Civic pride runs high here; formerly the Carnegie Library, the Alameda Free Library was transformed into a multimillion-dollar showplace that earned a Silver LEED certification. Kids play soccer on former parade grounds of the converted army barracks. Crown Memorial State Beach and Shoreline Drive attract wind surfers.
With more than 10,000 buildings constructed before 1930, there is a rich and varied architectural heritage in the area playing a role in Alameda's real estate market conditions. Historic Queen Anne's, more than 1,500 ornately decorated Victorians, and California Craftsmans are some of the most desirable homes here along its tree-lined streets.