Just the facts
Main strip: International Blvd. >> Who dwells here: First and second-gen Mexican Americans >> Population: 4,213 >> Founded: 1870s >> Architecture: 1920s bungalows, Mission Revivals >> Neighborhood giant: Fruitvale Public Market and the Village >> Best ceviche: Mariscos La Costa >> Where to mingle with locals: Mexican bakeries like Bakery El Sol
This urban stretch at the base of the Oakland Hills that once a land of, you guessed it, fruit trees, became a center for the Chicano Movement in the late 1960s and 70s, including the Brown Berets. Today, the population is almost half Latinos with a solidly preserved culture and village-y vibe centered around International Blvd. As you can imagine, Cinco de Mayo and Dia de los Muertos are big days on these streets. But visit any day of the week—you’ll find a vibrant community awaits you.
The inside inside scoop
Start taco-hopping in the area that has the highest density of taco food trucks. Some hot spots are the Goodwill parking lot for Mi Grullense, and International Blvd and 22nd for Tacos Sinaloa.
If you only have three hours
Get a little taste of what a day at the Peralta Hacienda might have been like, way back in the 70s. In 1870, that is. The Italianate house that belonged to the Californios’ family is on the National Register of Historic Places and part of the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park. Tours take place Wednesday-Saturday.
Boarding Fruitvale is Jingletown, an artsy neighborhood along the estuary. Here, the Chthonic Theater holds two annual parades that anyone can participate in. Or just be a bystander, if that’s more your style.
Spend an hour or so mural hunting along Rue de Merde, an open-street path with nearly a dozen vibrant murals and mosaics.
The Institute of Mosaic Art rotates exhibits and has a mosaic supply store. Take a class from a local expert.
How to get here:
Freeway exit: 1-880/Nimitz Freeway
BART stop: Fruitvale Station
Bus lines: 51A, 54, 14, 39 (more at ACtransit.org)