a house in the West End, Alameda, California
Photo: Courtesy of Pacita Dimacali
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Best for Waterfront Views

The West End, Alameda, California

• Beautiful views of San Francisco Bay
• Commute to Oakland in minutes
• Good schools and a low crime rate make it great for families

The Neighborhood
Just off the shores of Oakland, Alameda is a 23-square-mile island located smack-dab in San Francisco Bay. While the area has long been heralded for the stunning Queen Annes and California bungalows on its eastern edge, lately it's the West End that's getting the attention. Once known for the massive Naval Air Station that called Alameda home, the west side's fortunes changed dramatically in 1997, when the U.S. Navy packed its bags, leaving behind enormous hangars. Before long, a new generation of enterprising Californians started to arrive, converting the cavernous spaces into film studios, fitness centers, wineries—even an absinthe distillery. Over the past decade, as retired military families have gradually sold their Arts and Crafts bungalows and Victorian-era cottages, the West End has adopted a young and trendy identity. "It's funky, it's edgy, and it's family friendly," says Kathy Ledner Moehring, a transplanted New Yorker who bought a 1912 Craftsman bungalow here eight years ago. Kathy, who serves as executive director of the West Alameda Business Association, says Alameda's growing popularity can also be attributed to the dozens of restaurants and businesses, new and old, along Webster Street, the neighborhood's main commercial drag. "You have Dick's Barber Shop, which has been here about 50 years, next to Lanvie, a ritzy new women's boutique that sells clothing made by local designers," says Kathy. "It's very diverse."
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