Known for its great shopping and its community-minded neighborhood, Albany is home to good schools, delicious restaurants and the only horse track in the Bay Area, Golden Gate Fields. Sitting on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay, bordering Berkeley to the south and east and El Cerrito and Richmond to the north, Albany is a thriving middle-class community.
Two main streets form the heart of the city: Solano Avenue, home of Winkler Real Estate Group, and San Pablo Avenue, which travels from north to south. Solano is pedestrian-heavy and filled with small shops, eateries and services. Many of these small businesses are family-run institutions; wandering along Solano is a stroll that in its treasures reflects the diversity of the area, from home furnishings and delis, to pottery, clothing and galleries. You’ll find a bit of everything, and many of the shop owners live in the area. San Pablo Avenue caters more to the car set with its big box stores and newer supermarkets like Sprouts, as well as lots of office space.
Real estate prices have been rising but still offer an affordable alternative to Berkeley or Piedmont. When not busy in San Francisco or Marin, residents have plenty to do here. The Solano Avenue Stroll, an annual street festival, attracts people from all over. This town likes its jazz, its creeks, and its bike trails.
Albany also hosts a popular bowling alley (36 lanes!), a wild shoreline park area with sweeping views (and occasional ad hoc art exhibits by the locals), and the Albany Twin movie theatre, which shows popular foreign and independent films.