U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 11-14-2018, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
172 posts, read 257,713 times
Reputation: 168

Advertisements

So I love spending time traveling around the Bay Area and northern California and seeing the different communities and interesting places the region has to offer. But there are a few specific types of historic ambiences - or places with a certain "feel" - that I have loved in other regions, yet cannot find locally. So I thought for fun I'd ask whether the collective wisdom here has any knowledge of anywhere local, or within a few hours of the Bay Area, that could fit these descriptions:

- Quaint American Main Street community. Not just a downtown strip in a bedroom community, but a true self-contained town with original building stock, mix of businesses and public buildings, organic development, that kind of thing. I'd say places like Petaluma or Los Gatos come pretty close, but still somewhat lack a certain old-fashioned charm you get in other parts of the country. Maybe some towns in Gold Country?

- Tougher to describe, but anywhere with a kind of combination of grand architecture and vibrant, pleasant streetscapes. I am thinking of places in southern California like Pasadena or Santa Barbara that have preserved/restored grand buildings and spaces, lovely streetscapes and homes, but also are approachable and pedestrian-friendly. Closest I can think of in the Bay Area are parts of SF like Civic Center or Nob Hill, but I would not consider those really pleasant or approachable locations for the most part.

- Anywhere with a true "old world" feel, such as you might find in Europe or old sections of northeastern cities like Boston, or maybe even somewhere American like Annapolis, MD or Alexandria, VA. Features like narrow roads, authentic historic buildings, cobblestone streets, gas lamps, etc. I think this might simply not exist in the area due to stuff just not being as old out here, but would love to be proven wrong.

Thanks for any ideas anyone has!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 11-14-2018, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Bay Area
3,927 posts, read 7,735,173 times
Reputation: 4485
Downton Folsom, Auburn, Old Sacramento/and the "fabulous 40's" neighborhood all have a historic (California/Old West style). Guerneville, Occidental, Murphys... Farther away, there's Placerville, Nevada City. Ft Bragg/Mendocino, Truckee. Occidental looks kinda East Coast.

Closer to SF-- Downtown Pleasanton has a cool old downtown, Napa and Sonoma, Benicia, downtowns are all kinda historical in feel. Port Costa and Martinez are small, but feel stuck in time.

You won't really a whole lot an English influenced style like you would in Boston out here on the West Coast (outside of the facades of many San Francisco Edwardians/Victorians) We are part of the Gold Rush era and the architecture reflects a different style/history.

Oh yeah-Solvang--looks/feels very Nordic/Swedish--strange place, but "cute"/historical, I guess.

Last edited by clongirl; 11-14-2018 at 05:51 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-14-2018, 10:44 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,539 posts, read 70,455,727 times
Reputation: 76499
Yup, Placerville, Ft. Bragg, Mendocino, and further up the north coast: Eureka, Ferndale. Lots of Victorian architecture preserved, from back in the day. You can take in the redwoods, while you're there.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-14-2018, 11:50 PM
 
Location: Boulder Creek, CA
173 posts, read 189,289 times
Reputation: 243
You could look at Boulder Creek, it's technically next to Los Gatos.

Some buildings from the late 1800's still stand. Looking at old photos, downtown hasn't changed since the 50's, sans the cars.



It's a little town that time forgot.

Last edited by tehsquishmeister; 11-15-2018 at 12:05 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-15-2018, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,165 posts, read 29,650,120 times
Reputation: 26646
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestcoast View Post
So I love spending time traveling around the Bay Area and northern California and seeing the different communities and interesting places the region has to offer. But there are a few specific types of historic ambiences - or places with a certain "feel" - that I have loved in other regions, yet cannot find locally. So I thought for fun I'd ask whether the collective wisdom here has any knowledge of anywhere local, or within a few hours of the Bay Area, that could fit these descriptions:

- Quaint American Main Street community. Not just a downtown strip in a bedroom community, but a true self-contained town with original building stock, mix of businesses and public buildings, organic development, that kind of thing. I'd say places like Petaluma or Los Gatos come pretty close, but still somewhat lack a certain old-fashioned charm you get in other parts of the country. Maybe some towns in Gold Country?

- Tougher to describe, but anywhere with a kind of combination of grand architecture and vibrant, pleasant streetscapes. I am thinking of places in southern California like Pasadena or Santa Barbara that have preserved/restored grand buildings and spaces, lovely streetscapes and homes, but also are approachable and pedestrian-friendly. Closest I can think of in the Bay Area are parts of SF like Civic Center or Nob Hill, but I would not consider those really pleasant or approachable locations for the most part.

- Anywhere with a true "old world" feel, such as you might find in Europe or old sections of northeastern cities like Boston, or maybe even somewhere American like Annapolis, MD or Alexandria, VA. Features like narrow roads, authentic historic buildings, cobblestone streets, gas lamps, etc. I think this might simply not exist in the area due to stuff just not being as old out here, but would love to be proven wrong.

Thanks for any ideas anyone has!
I would say this stuff doesn’t particularly exist in California since much of the state grew up during the car boom in the 50s/60s. It just isn’t the heritage here in CA.

While small, the Old Oakland part of downtown is one of few examples of commercial Victorian architecture. So visit the little boutiques like Umami Mart, grab a beer at the Trappist, a margarita at Tamarindo or a coffee at Blue Bottle. And say hi to Marshawn Lynch or one of his family members at Beastmode.
Where to Shop, Play, and Eat in Old Town Oakland
https://yelp.to/qTKq/qevifMvSRR
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-15-2018, 01:36 PM
 
11,929 posts, read 20,376,242 times
Reputation: 19328
The Niles district of Fremont. It’s adorable, has a great cafe (Skilletz) and lots of antique shops and is home to a the Silent Film industry with the original Essannay Studio!
__________________
Solly says ó Be nice!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-16-2018, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
172 posts, read 257,713 times
Reputation: 168
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, definitely a few new places to check out. Niles and Old Oakland look particularly interesting considering they're central to the rest of the inner Bay Area and yet so different looking than their surrounding cities - surprising that I've never made it to either in all my years here.

The theme of the rest of these suggestions seems to be they're all small, historic towns, which is definitely part of what I'm interested in. But any other thoughts about places (maybe just a neighborhood or block, not a whole city) more European and/or Colonial in design? Or neighborhoods like those SoCal locations I mentioned with lots of vibracy mixed with stately historic architecture? I'm resigned to thinking these things might just not exist near us and I just have to travel more :-)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-20-2018, 08:01 PM
 
Location: Bay Area, CA
29,041 posts, read 45,010,327 times
Reputation: 20425
I don't know if this fits your vision, but check out the town of Sutter Creek when you have a chance... it's just so gosh-darned cute!



You probably will have a hard time finding something "European and/or Colonial" in style, though, since we're just not that old of a state. Most of our towns were developed around the Gold Rush era, and therefore have an old-West or Spanish feel to them. Anything you did find with the look you're seeking would likely have a very "manufactured" facade.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-21-2018, 12:23 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
78,539 posts, read 70,455,727 times
Reputation: 76499
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestcoast View Post
Thanks for the suggestions everyone, definitely a few new places to check out. Niles and Old Oakland look particularly interesting considering they're central to the rest of the inner Bay Area and yet so different looking than their surrounding cities - surprising that I've never made it to either in all my years here.

The theme of the rest of these suggestions seems to be they're all small, historic towns, which is definitely part of what I'm interested in. But any other thoughts about places (maybe just a neighborhood or block, not a whole city) more European and/or Colonial in design? Or neighborhoods like those SoCal locations I mentioned with lots of vibracy mixed with stately historic architecture? I'm resigned to thinking these things might just not exist near us and I just have to travel more :-)
"Colonial"? What do you mean by "colonial"? The CA colonial architecture is the Hispanic mediterranean style, like in Santa Barbara's "Old Town" (now a shopping Mecca), and SF's Presidio. Santa Fe, NM is full of "colonial" architecture, but it looks nothing remotely like New England colonial. "American colonial" in California is Victorian. The American colonists after the Spanish and Mexicans built in the Victorian style. There are entire neighborhoods of that in West Berkeley and Oakland, and the famous part of SF's Western Addition that's on many SF postcards. Victorian is everywhere in Humboldt County, too. Sonoma has the adobe-style Hispanic colonial, in buildings preserved from the Mexican era. Heck, there's even Russian colonial, at Fort Ross on the Sonoma coast.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 11-21-2018, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Richmond, CA
518 posts, read 506,571 times
Reputation: 586
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastwestcoast View Post
- Quaint American Main Street community. Not just a downtown strip in a bedroom community, but a true self-contained town with original building stock, mix of businesses and public buildings, organic development, that kind of thing. I'd say places like Petaluma or Los Gatos come pretty close, but still somewhat lack a certain old-fashioned charm you get in other parts of the country. Maybe some towns in Gold Country?
If you head up north, be sure to visit Ferndale. If you think Los Gatos even comes close to what you're looking for, you will be blown away.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > California > San Francisco - Oakland
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top