San Leandro (known locally as SL) is in Alameda County in the East Bay portion of California'sBay Area. Historically a town with dozens of huge cherry farms and a Spanish missionary ranch, San Leandro today is a rapidly growing city home to prominent business firms and is a suburb of Oakland. Founded in 1872, it is one of the oldest cities in California. San Leandro does not have as much to offer as its neighbors, however its central location may make it a very economical home base for tourists and commuters, and its panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay and its hills are worth a trip for visitors.
San Leandro has a diverse population, with Asians forming a plurality at roughly 30% of the population, Whites and Hispanics each at around 27%, African-Americans at 12%, and one of the lower 48 States' larger Pacific Islander populations forming about 1% of the city's population.
Weather in San Leandro is very comfortable throughout most of the year, ranging from the mid 50s to upper 70s. However, early morning weather in the winter (5AM-7AM) can reach as low as the mid 20s with frost, and in high pressure systems in the summer can cause temperatures to reach as high as the mid to upper 90s.
Population: 84,950 (2010 United States Census)
Elevation: 56 feet
San Leandro is easy to access by car, it is located by two major Bay Area freeways, Interstates 580 and 880. 580 leads to the Civic Center, Downtown, Bayfair Center and the BART station. The exits on 580 to San Leandro include, Grand Avenue/Downtown, 150th Avenue/Fairmont Drive, 164th Avenue/Miramar Avenue and Junction California State Route 238 to Hayward, when traveling westbound, the exits are, Carolyn Street/164th Avenue, Fairmont Drive/150th Avenue, Benedict Drive and Estudillo Avenue/Downtown. Exits on 880 are, Davis Street, Marina Blvd., Washington Avenue and Junction Interstate 238 to 580.
Other highways include Interstate 238, which begins in Castro Valley before arriving into San Leandro at the first exit. 238 connects 580 with 880 and vice versa. Also in San Leandro is an off-ramp to California State Route 238 to Hayward off 580. California State Route 185 is East 14th Street, which leads non-freeway traffic to either Oakland or Hayward. California State Route 112 is Davis Street, which begins in Downtown San Leandro before turning into California State Route 61 (Doolittle Drive) which leads to Alameda. 580 Eastbound leads people to Hayward, Stockton, Fresno and Los Angeles the latter which is via Interstate 5. 580 Westbound leads people to Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento (via Interstate 80) and San Rafael. 880 Northbound leads people to Oakland, Downtown Oakland, Berkeley (via Interstate 980 to 580) and San Francisco (via Interstate 80). 880 Southbound leads to Hayward, San Jose and Santa Cruz (the latter via California State Route 17).
San Leandro is also easy to access by public transportation. BART, or Bay Area Rapid Transit , is a subway that connects San Francisco, SFO, Concord, Fremont and Pleasanton/Dublin with 2 stations (San Leandro and Bayfair). San Leandro also has bus services that service thorughout the town.
San Leandro is only 5-20 minutes from the Oakland International Airport  (IATA: OAK) and bus services and BART link San Leandro with the airport. San Francisco International Airport  (IATA: SFO) is also accessible to San Leandro by BART and bus services and is about 25-30 minutes from San Leandro. San Jose International Airport  (IATA: SJC) is the least accessible to San Leandro, because BART doesn't go into San Jose, so access by car, bus or an expensive taxi ride are the only options, San Jose International Airport to San Leandro is 30-40 minutes.
San Leandro used to have its own ferry terminal near the San Leandro Marina, but due to low ridership, the ferry pier has been closed until further notice. The former ferry pier and building are currently under threat of demolition. The closest ferry terminals are in Oakland's Jack London Square and in Alameda, both can be accessed to San Leandro by car or bus. Ferry services also take riders to San Francisco and Sausalito.
San Leandro's scenes and landscape is best seen by biking around the city and comes in handy in downtown rush hours, when streets are clogged by cars and buses. Miles and miles of bike lanes are found on practically every major street and residents enjoy biking in the city's parks and shoreline.
Interstates 580, 880 and 238, California State Routes 238, 185, 112 and 61, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) 2 stations, San Leandro and Bayfair, local bus services and close access to Oakland International Airport. When visiting downtown, the civic center or Wells Fargo Tower parking meters are always likely to be full. Instead, park at the 2-story Estudillo Parking Garage, which is free of charge, but has a time limit of 1 hour, unless you are a Wells Fargo Tower employee.
During rush hour on weekdays (8AM-9AM) and (4PM-6:30PM) traffic on all interstates can be terrible. Traffic on 580 is troublesome from Downtown on both sides and at the Bayfair Center on Eastbound 580 at 150th Avenue. 880 and 238 are clogged during these times. On weekends, 580 and 880 fare better while 238 is clogged on Sundays. Traveling on California State Routes 185 and 112 are also troublesome on Sundays.
Oyster Bay and Oyster Lighthouse, (at the end of Neptune Drive). A regional park, shoreline and landmark. Historic site of the former Oyster Bay Beds, the largest oyster fishery in the Americas, the oyster beds are a California Historical Landmark.edit
San Leandro Marina and Shoreline, 13801 Monarch Bay Drive. A city park and San Leandro's only city shoreline and one of the city's four water recreational facilities, hosted the Cherry Festival until 2007, when it was moved to the main library.edit
Lake Chabot Regional Park, 17930 Lake Chabot Drive, ☎ +1-510-562-7275. One of the largest regional parks in Northern California, this park offers great views, picnic areas, boat trips on the lake, a coffee shop, golf, fishing, birdviewing, camping and sightseeing.Parking Fee: $5, Dog Fee: $2. edit
Washington Manor Park and Pool, 14900 Zelma Street, ☎ +1-510-362-7665. Summer hours: Mon-Fri 1PM-4:30PM and 7:30PM-9:30PM, Sa 1PM-6PM and Su 12PM-5:30PM. Boasts one of the tallest waterslides in the Bay Area.$4 per person over 3 years of age. edit
Chabot Dam, (on the border of Lake Chabot Regional Park and the city park Chabot Park). The first dam built in Northern California.edit
C.Burrell Field, 2451 Teagarden Street. A football stadium that hosts local football events.edit
San Leandro Ball Park, 1193 Aladdin Avenue, ☎ +1-510-351-4252. A baseball field that hosts local baseball games, including the minor league.edit
Fairmont Ridge Regional Park, 2200 Fairmont Drive. A scenic path that is an alternative to Lake Chabot on busy days.edit
Root Park, 1071 East 14th Street. The only park that gives a close-up view of the locally famous and important San Leandro Creek. The portion of the creek closest to the creek is a California Historical Landmark due to the rainbow trout that thrive in the creek, possibly the largest rainbow trout population in a Californian creek.edit
San Leandro Public Library, 300 Estudillo Avenue, ☎ +1-510-577-3971. Mo-Th 10AM-9PM, Fr 10AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 12PM-4PM. Main branch, one of the largest libraries in the East Bay, it hosts a book store, cafe,art gallery and convention stage.edit
Rancho San Antonio (Peralta Grant) commemorative plaque, on San Leandro Blvd. at W. Estudillo Ave. (A California Historical Landmark). edit
Peralta Home, 561 Lafayette Avenue (A California Historical Landmark;the first brick home built in Alameda County). edit
Mulford Point, 40 Mulford Point Drive. A scenic vista point next to the San Leandro Marina that offers a view of the San Francisco Bay and the Oakland Airport.edit
Veterans Memorial Building, 1105 Bancroft Avenue, ☎ +1-510-352-3785. A building dedicated to the veterans of the United States. In 1933 A site for the Veteran’s Memorial Building was jointly purchased by the City of San Leandro and the local veterans organizations. From 1927 to 1935, Alameda County funded the construction of ten such memorial buildings throughout the county. County architect Henry Haight Meyers oversaw the designs. When completed the Veterans Memorial building would house activities for the Legion, VFW and the Spanish War Veterans. Ground-breaking ceremony was held on Armistice Day Nov. 11, 1933. March 18th 1934 The cornerstone of the building was placed in position by William Bostaph, a local Civil War Veteran and holder of the Order of the Purple Heart. July 6th 1934, the building was completed. At the time there was enormous civic pride over the building. It was described as one of the finest Italian type buildings in Alameda county. The total cost of construction came to $89,000. A dedication ceremony was held on Sunday, Sept. 23rd, 1934. Over 1500 people attended the ceremony. The $80,000 New Wing was dedicated July 5th 1951.edit
San Leandro has several annual festivals (listed chronologically):
Chinese New Year and Têt Festival. A celebration of Chinese and Vietnamese New Years at the San Leandro Public Library, every Saturday before the observed dates, or the observed date if the New Year falls on a Saturday.edit
San Leandro Watershed Festival. A celebration of the San Leandro Creek at Root Park, every last Saturday of April.edit
Cinco De Mayo Festival. A celebration of Cinco De Mayo at the Civic Center, every first Saturday of May.edit
Cherry Festival. A celebration of San Leandro's historic start of the annual cherry harvest season, every first Saturday of June.edit
Veterans' Day Parade. The largest Veterans' Day Parade in the county honoring soldiers for World War I to the Iraq War. Held every Sunday before Veterans' Day in Downtown on East 14th Street.edit
San Leandro is a shopping hub of the East Bay and is home to various malls:
Bayfair Center, 15555 East 14th Street (Macy's, Target, Kohl's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy, Staples, Century Theaters, Petsmart, 24 Hour Fitness, Ross, Michaels, Pier 1 Imports, Lucky, etc.) ☎+1-510-357-6000, 
Westgate Center (Wal-Mart, Pet Food Express, Costco, Sports Authority, The Home Depot, Office Depot, etc.)
Estudillo Center (Rite-Aid, Jazzercise, Swiss Valley Cleaners, etc.)
Pelton Plaza (Safeway, Hallmark, Longs Drugs, Avenue, USPS, Payless Shoe Source, Washington Mutual, etc.)
Floresta Plaza (Kmart, OSH, Pak' n Save, dd's Discounts, Bally Total Fitness, etc.)
Palma Plaza (Walgreens, Starbucks Coffee, etc.)
Floresta Center (Dollar Tree, etc.)
There are also plenty of shops selling gifts, souvenirs and other merchandise throughout the town. Pelton Plaza is well-known for its shops and dining. Located in the heart of downtown, one can enjoy delicious food hailing from various nations, go book shopping at friendly independent stores, buy artisan crafted jewelry, treat oneself to gourmet goods, or take a break with a pint or ice cream cone. Family friendly, Pelton Plaza is a destination for many locals.
The Rose Garden, 15754 East 14th Street (across from the Bayfair Center), ☎ +1-510-278-1788. This is a small mom & pop place that serves really, really good Szechuan, Hunan, Mandarin, and Cantonese food... and absolutely no MSG. Small place, maybe 6 tables at the most. The folks there are super friendly, enthusiastic, remember many guests, and they whip up their food very fast. Try the Rose Garden Vegetable. They deliver, and at night they usually have coupons for a free appetizer, fried rice, or chow mein with a $20 purchase.edit
Chili Palace, (at Greenhouse Marketplace) 699 Lewelling Boulevard Suite 270, (510) 895-1818. Hours:Su-Th 11AM-9:30PM and F-Sa 11AM-10PM.
Asia Delight #2, (at Pelton Plaza) 156 West Juana Avenue, (510)614-7191.
Hidden Wok, (at Pelton Plaza, Chinese cuisine) 145 Pelton Center Way, (510) 357-6577.
Jasmine, (at Floresta Plaza) 14393 Washington Avenue Suite G, (510) 357-7028.
New Hong Kong, (near Pelton Plaza) 1750 East 14th Street, (510)357-6288.
Angelina's, (near civic center) 485 East 14th Street, (510) 568-8646.
La Bella Italia Inn, (near Bayfair Center) 15015 East 14th Street, (510) 278-5899.
Paradiso, (Italian seafood) 685 Bancroft Avenue, (510)430-9310. Lunch: Tu-F 11AM-4PM and Dinner: Su 4PM-8PM, Tu-Th 4PM-9PM, F 4PM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM (closed M). Price:$10-$20.
Porky's Pizza Palace (Family atmosphere, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and chicken) 15 California & Northwest Micro-Brews on Tap. www.PorkysPizzaPalace.com 1221 Manor Boulevard, (510) 357-4323
Sergio's Pizzeria and Restaurant, 150 W Juana Ave (downtown, off of E. 14th), (510) 895-0880. M-W 11AM-9PM, Th-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 4PM-9PM. Pizza, pasta, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. Free delivery in San Leandro.
Despite its suburban characteristics, San Leandro does have its tough neighborhoods at its borders with larger cities. One area to be aware of is the portion of MacArthur Boulevard near the Oakland border. This area is next to the notorious and impoverished "deep" East Oakland, which has some of the Bay Area's highest drug trafficking and murder rates. The area between the Hayward and Ashland borders (just south of the Bayfair Center) is reasonably safe during the day, but gets sketchy after dark. Nevertheless, San Leandro is a safe city with designated crime free zones, including the area near the Castro Valley border at Lake Chabot to the end of Estudillo Avenue (where downtown begins), near the marina, and a large portion of the Washington Manor neighborhood (including the Washington Manor Park and Pool) from Interstate 880 to Farnsworth Avenue. Due to the presence of the County Sheriff's substation, the County's Psychiatric Hospital (John George), and the County's Juvenile Hall, Fairmont Drive in the city's eastern hills of San Leandro is heavily secured between Lake Chabot Park and Highway 580. Police and Sheriff patrols are very frequent and security cameras are hidden on trees and fences.
As with almost every city in the United States, San Leandro has at least one hospital. The San Leandro Hospital is a health care facility treating the most basic of health needs such as the flu to various surgeries and basic emergencies. If in a dire emergency head to Eden Hospital in Castro Valley as it is a Level 1 trauma center. San Leandro also has another hospital, Kindred Hospital in the hills. The hospital has no emergency service.
San Leandro Hospital, 13855 East 14th Street, (510) 357-6500