Why Should I Retire in Northern California?


If you’re looking for the perfect place to retire, you may wonder what Northern California has to offer. With plenty of stimulating activities, arts and culture, technology leadership, environmental sustainability, shopping and dining, and great weather, Oakland and the surrounding areas may provide just the setting you seek.

As the largest city in the East Bay region, Oakland offers access to a number of activities and amenities available in the San Francisco Bay Area and all of Northern California. We’ve put together some of the top reasons you should consider Oakland and Northern California as your premier retirement destination.

Technology and Sustainability

Since the days of the California Gold Rush, the Northern California region has served as an international leader in science and technology. Top names in tech — including Google and Apple — have their headquarters in the area, and the Northern California region is known as a pioneer in new business models.

Technological innovations have resulted in a variety of practical applications, including new ways of protecting the environment and promoting sustainability. Oakland has developed a reputation for emphasizing sustainability, including using renewable resources to generate energy.

The City of Oakland is viewed as one of the country’s most environmentally sustainable cities, and has won a number of awards for these efforts. If you care about protecting the environment, you’ll benefit from living in a city committed to providing citizens with a clean and healthy natural setting.

Arts, Culture and Education

Oakland is viewed as a major arts hub of the Western United States with world-renowned museums, performances and more.

One example is BANDALOOP, a vertical dance troupe that performs in vertical spaces — including on the sides of buildings, bridges, mountains and other high-altitude spots.

If you’re into experiencing art by doing, you may enjoy The Crucible, where you can participate in a variety of hands-on industrial arts classes for all levels of experience.

The Crucible includes programs in disciplines such as ceramics, blacksmithing, a bike shop, glass blowing, fire and performance, jewelry, enameling, machine shop, textile and leather, welding, woodworking and more. The organization also sponsors a public art program to promote partnerships between artists and citizens to create landmarks for cities, developments and organizations.

For more than 40 years, the Oakland Museum of California has combined natural sciences and history with art to present a one-of-a-kind experience to the public. The museum is home to more than 1.9 million items of interest, including works of art, specimens from nature, photographs and historical artifacts. In addition to enjoying the exhibits, you can dine, shop and participate in special programs at the museum.

The Chabot Space and Science Center is another destination for expanding your horizons. Enjoy a variety of interactive exhibits along with a planetarium and observatory. Planetarium shows are a popular attraction, so consider purchasing tickets in advance for weekend visits.

When you’re ready for a symphony performance or a classic film, consider a visit to the Paramount Theatre. Designed in Art Deco style in the 1930s, the building is known for its unique architecture and combination of several artistic disciplines. After decades of neglect, the city partnered with the Oakland Symphony and private donors to authentically restore the beautiful theatre and have it added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s.

Another well-known and historically unique performance venue is the Fox Theater. This architectural wonder was built in 1928 and renovated in 2009. With its cutting-edge sound system, the theater is one of the Bay Area’s top spots for enjoying a concert.

Pleasant Weather

If you love a temperate climate, you may find that Northern California is your ideal location for retirement. Oakland residents enjoy a Mediterranean-type climate with 260 sunny days each year on average.

Oakland and Northern California typically experience dry summers along with winter seasons that are mild and rainy. With its beautiful, clear days, Oakland receives the top climate ranking from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for cities in the United States.

Oakland’s weather has features of both inland cities like San Jose and coastal cities like San Francisco. Fog from the San Francisco Bay sometimes develops in the northern part of the city, but it typically burns off early in the day, leaving the beautiful sunshine.

Outdoor Activities

If you love nature, you’ll want to spend some time at Lake Merritt. The lake features a 3.4-mile shoreline along with a tidal lagoon and the country’s oldest wildlife refuge, which was designated in 1870. You can participate in a variety of activities at Lake Merritt, including bird watching, walking, biking and boating.

For those with a green thumb, Lake Merritt provides hours of recreation and enjoyment with its many gardens — including Bonsai, Japanese, Mediterranean, Sensory, Succulent and others.

When grandchildren visit, consider a trip to Children’s Fairyland, which has offered a variety of attractions since 1950. The amusement park was said to be Walt Disney’s inspiration for his iconic parks and features friendly animals, live entertainment, rides and more.

The Oakland Zoo offers another fun and active outing for a sunny day in Northern California. With sections including the African Savannah, Children’s Zoo, Rain Forest and Wildlife Theater, you’ll find plenty of attractions to provide enjoyment and education about wildlife conservation.

Dining and Shopping

When you’re ready to spend some time indoors, you can enjoy a variety of shopping destinations and dining venues in Oakland and Northern California.

Oakland boasts a vibrant restaurant scene that offers any type of meals you prefer. Whether you like international cuisine, American standards, fine dining, casual cafes or the neighborhood pub, you’ll find plenty of well-known restaurants and tucked-away spots to please your palate. Check out West Oakland for an eclectic mix of restaurants and art studios.

The Jack London District — named for the American author who called Oakland home — offers urban wineries, restaurants, jazz shows, shops, floating excursions and other attractions.

If you love browsing for gifts and unique finds, you’ll enjoy the range of shopping options in Oakland and throughout Northern California. Larger shops and malls allow you to pick up anything you need, while artisan wares and locally made items are available in a variety of out-of-the-way shopping spots. For vintage offerings, take a look at Piedmont Avenue and Rockridge, along with boutiques on Temescal Alley.

Why Retire in Northern California?

With ample shopping, dining, educational activities, arts and culture, outdoor recreation, and beautiful weather, Oakland and Northern California offer the perfect retirement destination. At Lake Park, you can enjoy an active, maintenance-free lifestyle that allows you the freedom to savor the region’s many attractions.

To learn more about living a vibrant retirement as you enjoy security and peace of mind, please contact us to schedule your visit.