|City of Alameda|
The Island City
Location in the San Francisco Bay Area
Alameda (Northern California)
Alameda (the United States)
Alameda (North America)
|June 6, 1853|
March 7, 1872
|• Mayor||Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft|
|• State senator||Nancy Skinner (D)|
|• Assemblymember||Mia Bonta (D)|
|• U. S. rep.||Barbara Lee (D)|
|• Total||23.10 sq mi (59.83 km2)|
|• Land||10.45 sq mi (27.07 km2)|
|• Water||12.65 sq mi (32.76 km2) 53.79%|
|Elevation||33 ft (10 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||7,426.00/sq mi (2,867.30/km2)|
|Demonyms||Alamedan, Islander|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
|Area code||510, 341|
|GNIS feature IDs||277468, 2409669|
Alameda (// AL-ə-MEE-də; Spanish: [alaˈmeða]; Spanish for "tree-lined path") is a city in Alameda County, California, United States. It spans Alameda Island, Bay Farm Island, and a few minor islands. It is adjacent to and south of Oakland and east of San Francisco across the San Francisco Bay. Bay Farm Island, a portion of which is also known as "Harbor Bay Isle", is part of the mainland adjacent to Oakland International Airport. The city's estimated 2019 population was 77,624. Alameda is a charter city, rather than a general law city and adopted a council–manager government in 1916.
Alameda occupies what was originally a peninsula connected to Oakland. Much of it was low-lying and marshy. The higher ground nearby and adjacent parts of what is now downtown Oakland were the site of one of the largest coastal oak forests in the world. Spanish colonists called the area Encinal, meaning "forest of evergreen oak". Alameda is Spanish for "grove of poplar trees" or "tree-lined avenue." It was chosen as the name of the city in 1853 by popular vote.
The inhabitants at the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the late 18th century were a local band of the Ohlone tribe. The peninsula was included in the vast Rancho San Antonio granted in 1820 to Luis Peralta by the Spanish king who claimed California. The grant was later confirmed by the Republic of Mexico upon its independence in 1821 from Spain.
Over time, the place became known as Bolsa de Encinal or Encinal de San Antonio.
The city was founded on June 6, 1853, after the United States acquired California following the Mexican-American War of 1848. The town originally contained three small settlements. "Alameda" referred to the village at Encinal and High streets, Hibbardsville was located at the North Shore ferry and shipping terminal, and Woodstock was on the west near the ferry piers of the South Pacific Coast Railroad and the Central Pacific. Eventually, the Central Pacific's ferry pier became the Alameda Mole, featuring transit connections among the San Francisco ferries, local trollies, and Southern Pacific (formerly Central Pacific) commuter lines.
The first post office opened in 1854. The first school, Schermerhorn School, was opened in 1855 (and eventually was renamed as Lincoln School); Encinal School was opened in 1860 (and closed in 1980). The San Francisco and Alameda Railroad opened the Encinal station in 1864. The Encinal area was also known as Fasskings Station in honor of Frederick Louis Fassking. Encinal's own post office opened in 1876, was renamed West End in 1877, and closed in 1891. The West End area was originally called Bowman's Point in honor of Charles G. Bowman, an early United States settler.
On September 6, 1869, the Alameda Terminal made history; it was the site of the arrival of the first train via the First Transcontinental Railroad to reach the shores of San Francisco Bay, thus achieving the first coast to coast transcontinental railroad in North America. The transcontinental terminus was switched to the Oakland Pier two months later, on November 8, 1869.
The borders of Alameda were made coextensive with the island in 1872, incorporating Woodstock into Alameda. In his autobiography, writer Mark Twain described Alameda as "The Garden of California."
In 1917, a private entertainment park called Neptune Beach was built in the area now known as Crab Cove. Often compared to Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, the park was a major recreation destination in the 1920s and 1930s. The original owners, the Strehlow family, partnered with a local confectioner to create treats unique to Neptune Beach. Both the American snow cone and the popsicle were first sold at Neptune Beach. The Kewpie doll, hand-painted and dressed in unique hand-sewn dresses, became the original prize for winning games of chance at the beach – another Neptune Beach innovation. The Strehlows owned and operated the beach on their own. They filled in a section of the bay to add an additional Olympic-size swimming pool and a roller coaster, which must have given riders a tremendous view of the bay. The Cottage Baths were available for rent.
Neptune Beach's two large outdoor pools hosted swimming races and exhibitions by such notable swimmers such as Olympian Johnny Weissmuller and Jack LaLanne. Weissmuller later starred in films as the original Tarzan character. LaLanne started a longlasting chain of health clubs and appeared on television. The park closed down in 1939 because the Great Depression left many people without much money, the completion of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge changed traffic patterns, people avoided paying the admission price, and the rise of car culture gave people many more choices for recreation destinations.
Once the Bay Bridge was complete, the rail lines, which ran past the entrance to Neptune Beach on the way to the Alameda Mole and the Ferry, lost passengers in great number as people shifted to automobiles. People began using their cars to escape the city and the close suburbs like Alameda and traveled further afield in California. More distant locations appealed to cash-rich San Francisco tourists in the postwar years. Youngsters in town became aware of ways to avoid paying the dime for admission to the park. Strong swimmers or waders could sneak in on the bayside just by swimming around the fence.
Some resort homes and buildings from the Neptune Beach era still exist in present-day Alameda. The Croll Building, on the corner of Webster Street and Central Avenue, was the site of Croll's Gardens and Hotel, used as training quarters for some of the greatest fighters in boxing history from 1883 to 1914. James J. Corbett, Bob Fitzsimmons, Jim Jeffries, Jack Johnson, and several other champions all stayed and trained here. Today, this preserved building has been adapted for retail and restaurants. Neptune Court, a block away on the corner of Central and McKay avenues, is also a surviving building from the resort era.
The vast majority of the Neptune Beach structures – the hand-carved carousel from the world-famed Dentzel Company, the Ferris wheel, the roller coaster, and other rides – were auctioned off in 1940, yielding pennies on the dollar of their original cost. the city did not construct any swimming facilities or develop a local beach to replace that of Neptune Beach.
When the railroad came to town in 1860s, Park Street developed as the major thoroughfare of the city. After the main Alameda train station was located here, residents of Old Alameda pulled up stakes and moved across town to the new downtown. The street's location was chosen by two landowners who wished to attract tenants and development to their land. They designated their mutual property line as Park Street.
The need for expanded shipping facilities and increased flow of current through the estuary led to the dredging of a tidal canal through the marshland between Oakland and Alameda. Construction started in 1874, but it was not completed until 1902, resulting in Alameda becoming an island.
Most of the soil from the canal dredging was used to fill in the nearby marshland. The area of Alameda called Bay Farm Island is no longer an island but is attached by fill to Oakland. In his youth, author Jack London was known to take part in oyster pirating in the highly productive oyster beds near Bay Farm Island, today long gone.
The Alameda Works Shipyard was one of the largest and best-equipped shipyards in the country. Together with other industrial facilities, it became part of the defense industry buildup before and during World War II, which attracted many African-American and European-American migrants from other parts of the United States for the high-paying jobs. In the 1950s, Alameda's industrial and shipbuilding industries thrived along the Alameda Estuary. This was the site of operation of the world's first-ever, land-based, containerized shipping crane.
In the early 21st century, the Port of Oakland, across the estuary, has become one of the largest ports on the West Coast. Its operators use shipping technologies originally experimented within Alameda. As of March 21, 2006, Alameda is a "Coast Guard City", one of seven then designated in the country. As of 2018, it is one of twenty-one within the country.
In addition to the regular trains running to the Alameda Mole, Alameda was also served by local steam commuter lines of the Southern Pacific (initially, the Central Pacific). Alameda was the site of the Southern Pacific's West Alameda Shops, where all the electric trains were maintained and repaired. These were later adapted as the East Bay Electric Lines. Southern Pacific's electrified trains were not streetcars, but full-sized railroad cars that connected to the mainland via bridges at Webster Street and Fruitvale (only the latter bridge survives today). The trains ran to both the Oakland Mole and the Alameda Mole. A line that ran between the two moles was dubbed the "Horseshoe Line" for the shape of the route on a map. Soon after completion of the Bay Bridge, Alameda trains connected directly to San Francisco by the lower deck of the bridge. The ferries became unnecessary.
In the 1930s Pan American Airways established a seaplane port along with the fill that led to the Alameda Mole. This was the original home base for the China Clipper flying boat. In 1929, the University of California established the San Francisco Airdrome located near the current Webster Street tube as a public airport. The Bay Airdrome had its gala christening party in 1930. The airfield was a busy place, as an early home base for Coastal Air Freight, Varney Air Lines, West Coast Air Transport, Western Air Express, the Transbay Air Ferries, and Boeing's Pacific Air Transport. The Airdrome was closed in 1941 when its air traffic interfered with the newly built Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS Alameda). With the advent of World War II, a vast stretch of the marshy area southwest of the Alameda Mole was filled and the NAS Alameda established. This major Naval facility included a large airfield, as well as docks for several aircraft carriers. It closed in 1997.
Starting in the 1940s and continuing into the 1970s, multiple proposals were considered to build a highway bridge from Alameda to the San Francisco Peninsula, known as the Southern Crossing.
The Bay Area Rapid Transit is currently studying the creation of a second Transbay Tube; some potential alignments would bring BART service to Alameda Island.
In the late 1950s, the Utah Construction Company began a landfill beyond the Old Sea Wall and created South Shore.
On February 7, 1973, a USN Vought A-7E Corsair II fighter jet on a routine training mission from Lemoore Naval Air Station suddenly caught fire, 28,000 ft (8,534 m) over the San Francisco Bay and crashed into the Tahoe Apartments in Alameda. Eleven people, including pilot Lieutenant Robert Lee Ward, died in the crash and fire.
Alameda's nickname is "The Island City" (or simply "the island"). The current city occupies three islands as well as a small section of the mainland. Today, the city consists of the main original section, with the former Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS Alameda) at the west end of Alameda Island, Southshore along the southern side of Alameda Island, and Bay Farm Island, which is part of the mainland proper. The area of the former NAS is now known as "Alameda Point." The Southshore area is separated from the main part of Alameda Island by a lagoon; the north shore of the lagoon is located approximately where the original south shore of the island was. Alameda Point and Southshore are built on bay fill.
Not all of Alameda Island is part of the City of Alameda, a small portion of a dump site west of the former runway at Alameda Naval Air Station extends far enough into San Francisco Bay that it is over the county line and part of the City and County of San Francisco.
Coast Guard Island, a small island between Alameda Island and Oakland, is also part of Alameda and is the home of Integrated Support Command Alameda
Ballena Isle, an even smaller island, is also part of Alameda.
This region experiences warm (but not hot), dry summers, and cool (but not cold), wet winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Alameda has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps. Annual precipitation is about 22 in (560 mm), all rain (snow is extremely rare at sea level in the San Francisco Bay area).
|Climate data for Alameda NAS, California|
|Average high °F (°C)||58.3
|Daily mean °F (°C)||52.3
|Average low °F (°C)||46.4
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||4.21
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.3||9.5||11.4||5.5||3.1||1.4||0.4||0.6||1.6||3.6||8.4||10.6||66.4|
|Source: NCEI (Data Tools: 1981-2010 Normals)|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Alameda had a population of 73,812. (2015 census estimates place the population at 78,630)
The population density was 3,214.9 people per square mile (1,241.3/km2). The racial makeup of Alameda was 37,460 (50.8%) White, 23,058 (31.2%) Asian, 4,759 (6.4%) African American, 426 (0.6%) Native American, 381 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 2,463 (3.3%) from other races, and 5,265 (7.1%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8,092 persons (11.0%).
The Census reported that 72,316 people (98.0% of the population) lived in households, 857 (1.2%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 639 (0.9%) were institutionalized.
There were 30,123 households, out of which 9,144 (30.4%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 13,440 (44.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 3,623 (12.0%) had a female householder with no husband present, 1,228 (4.1%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 1,681 (5.6%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 459 (1.5%) same-sex married couples or same-sex partnerships. 9,347 households (31.0%) were made up of individuals, and 2,874 (9.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40. There were 18,291 families (60.7% of all households); the average family size was 3.06.
The age distribution of the population shows 15,304 people (20.7%) under the age of 18, 5,489 people (7.4%) aged 18 to 24, 21,000 people (28.5%) aged 25 to 44, 22,044 people (29.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,975 people (13.5%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
Per capita money income in past 12 months (2013 dollars) in 2009–2013 was $41,340.00 per US Census. Median household income in 2009–2013 was $74,606.00 per the US Census.
There were 32,351 housing units at an average density of 1,409.0 per square mile (544.0/km2), of which 30,123 were occupied, of which 14,488 (48.1%) were owner-occupied, and 15,635 (51.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.1%; the rental vacancy rate was 5.7%. 37,042 people (50.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 35,274 people (47.8%) lived in rental housing units.
As of the census of 2000, there were 72,259 people, 30,226 households, and 17,863 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,583.3/km2 (6,693.4/mi2). There were 31,644 housing units at an average density of 1,131.3/km2 (2,931.2/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 56.95% White, 6.21% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 26.15% Asian, 0.60% Pacific Islander, 3.29% from other races, and 6.13% from two or more races. 9.31% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 30,226 households, out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.7% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. Of all households, 32.2% were made up of individuals, and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 21.5% under the age of 18, 7.0% from 18 to 24, 33.6% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $56,285, and the median income for a family was $68,625. Males had a median income of $49,174 versus $40,165 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,982. About 6.0% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
There is a large Filipino community; and also a major Portuguese community, from which Tom Hanks' mother came and where Lyndsy Fonseca was raised for some time. Alameda also has a historic Japanese American community and had a small Japanese business district on a portion of Park Street before World War II, when the city's Japanese population was interned. A Japanese Buddhist church is one of the few remaining buildings left of Alameda's pre-war Japanese American community.
According to the California Secretary of State, as of February 10, 2019, Alameda has 48,609 registered voters. Of those, 27,323 (56.2%) are registered Democrats, 5,240 (10.8%) are registered Republicans, and 13,950 (28.7%) have declined to state a political party.
Vehicle access to Alameda Island is via three bridges from Oakland (Park Street, Fruitvale Avenue, and High Street Bridges), as well as the two one-way Posey and Webster Street Tubes leading into Oakland's Chinatown. Connections from Alameda to Bay Farm Island are provided via the Bay Farm Island Bridge for vehicular traffic as well as the Bay Farm Island Bicycle Bridge (the only pedestrian/bicycle-only drawbridge in the United States). California State Route 61 runs down city streets from the Posey and Webster Street Tubes, across the Bay Farm Island Bridge, and south to the Oakland Airport. The island is just minutes off Interstate 880 in Oakland. The speed limit for the city is 25 mph (40 km/h) on almost every road.
Public transportation options include:
Victorian houses comprise 9% of all single-family houses (1,500) in Alameda and many more have been divided into two- to four-unit dwellings.
Due to its proximity to the Bay, wind surfers and kite surfers can often be seen at Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. From the beach, there are also views of the San Francisco skyline and the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
The aircraft carrier USS Hornet, a museum ship, has been moored at the former Naval Air Station as the USS Hornet Museum since 1998. This ship was originally named the USS Kearsarge, but was renamed in honor of the previous Hornet (CV-8) (famous for the Doolittle raid), which was lost in October 1942.
Alameda was twice home to the official offices and training facility of the National Football League Oakland Raiders. First from 1966 until 1983 when the team moved to Los Angeles and the offices and training facility moved to El Segundo, California, and again from 1996 until 2020 when the team moved to Las Vegas and the offices and training facility moved to Henderson, Nevada.
At the turn of the 19th century, the city of Alameda took a large chunk of Charles Froling's land away to build a street. Froling had planned to build his dream house on the plot of land he received through inheritance. To spite the city and an unsympathetic neighbor, Froling built a house 10 feet (3.0 m) wide, 54 feet (16 m) long and 20 feet (6.1 m) high on the tiny strip of land left to him. The Froling spite house is still standing and occupied.
The Fourth of July parade is advertised as the second oldest and second-longest Fourth of July parade in the United States. It features homemade floats, classic cars, motorized living room furniture, fire-breathing dragons, and marching bands.
The Historic Park Street Business District has many buildings that date back to the 1800s and is a designated Historic Commercial District on the National Register. This main thoroughfare of downtown Alameda Is filled with local shops, restaurants, drinking establishments, and services. The renovated 1932 Alameda Theatre & Cineplex is the cultural centerpiece of the commercial district.
According to the city's 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Alameda Unified School District||1100|
|2||Abbott Diabetes Care Inc||900|
|5||City of Alameda||518|
|7||Wind River Systems||447|
|8||Kaiser Foundation Health Plan||425|
Main article: Alameda Point
Naval Air Station Alameda (NAS) which was decommissioned in 1997, has been turned over to the City of Alameda for civilian development.
The 33rd America's Cup Race was won by Golden Gate Yacht Club racing team BMW Oracle, founded by Larry Ellison. Possible use of the air station that was considered was to partner with San Francisco for 34th America's Cup. Within 2 weeks of the Golden Gate Yacht Club winning the America's Cup, Alameda city council with local support sent a unanimous letter of support to hold AC 34 in San Francisco Bay Area. In early 2011, the City Council created an ad hoc America's Cup Citizens Advisory Committee to look for ways that Alameda could draw interest from teams and potential spectators. Through these efforts, the Swedish Artemis Racing team created their team based in one of the former air station hangars on Alameda Point, with a dock at Seaplane Lagoon.
A cluster of artisan distilleries, wineries, breweries and tasting rooms along Monarch Street at Alameda Point is now referred to by the City of Alameda as "Spirits Alley". These business include Rock Wall Winery, Building 43 Winery, Hangar 1, St. George Spirits and Faction Brewing. In 2017, Admiral Maltings opened at Alameda Point. Designed to supply craft brewers and whisky producers, it is the first craft malting house in California.
The modern era of winemaking in Alameda begins in 1978 when Alameda veterinarian Kent Rosenblum and his wife Kathy founded Rosenblum Cellars. In 2008, the company was purchased by Diageo Estates for $105 million. In 2014, the Rosenblum tasting room at Alameda Point closed and moved to Jack London Square in Oakland. Shauna Rosenblum, daughter of Kent and Kathy, is the winemaker for Rock Wall Winery. In December 2007, St. George Absinthe Verte, produced by St. George Spirits became the first brand of American-made absinthe to be legally produced in the United States since a ban was enacted in 1912.
Alameda Island Brewing is located on Park Street.
Alameda's first newspaper, the Encinal, appeared in the early 1850s and the paper's editor was instrumental in the movement to incorporate the city. Following the Encinal, several other papers appeared along geographic lines, and the Daily Argus eventually rose to prominence. A young Alameda native, Joseph R. Knowland, wrote political and historical articles for the Alameda papers. Later, Knowland owned the powerful Oakland Tribune. Around 1900, the Daily Argus began to fade in importance and east and west papers The Times and The Star combined to take the leading role as the Alameda Times-Star in the 1930s. The Times-Star was sold to the Alameda Newspaper Group in the 1970s.
In 1997, the Hills Newspaper chain was bought by Knight Ridder, at the time, the second-largest newspaper chain in the U.S. Following the buyout, former Hills Newspapers employees recognized the lack of a local community voice in Alameda, and again formed a new locally based newspaper, the Alameda Sun, in 2001. In 2006, Knight Ridder announced its impending sale to McClatchy Corp., a Sacramento-based publishing firm. McClatchy Corp. has put the Contra Costa Times, which under the Knight-Ridder reorganization included all five of the original Hills Newspapers, up for sale. The current owners of the Alameda Times-Star, Digital First Media, based in Colorado, have announced a strong interest in buying both the Contra Costa Times chain and the San Jose Mercury News, consolidating the daily newspaper market of the East Bay, effectively under one owner. MediaNews closed the Times-Star in 2011.
The Alameda community is currently served by two weekly newspapers, the Alameda Journal, owned by the Digital First Media, and the Alameda Sun.
After two previous failures, voters in the city passed a ballot measure in 2000 authorizing a bond measure for construction of a new main library to replace the city's Carnegie Library, damaged during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The city also received state funds for the new main library and opened the doors to the new facility in November 2006.
There are three library locations: the Main Library in downtown Alameda and two library branches; the Bay Farm Island Library serving the Bay Farm and Harbor Bay communities and the West End Library serving the West End of Alameda.
Founded in 1894, Alameda Hospital is located at Clinton Avenue and Willow Street.
Unlike surrounding communities, Alameda has a municipal power service, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), that delivers services directly to consumers. AMP sold the majority of its telecommunications business to Comcast in 2008 but continues to provide telecommunication service at Alameda Point.
During the California electricity crisis of 2000 and 2001, Alameda Municipal Power did not raise electricity rates, while residents in most of the state endured significant price increases.
The Alameda Arts Council (AAC) serves as the local Alameda City arts council. The Alameda Civic Ballet is the ballet troupe of the city. The Alameda Museum features displays on the history of Alameda. The Alameda Art Association has about 80 members as of January 2011, and has a gallery space at South Shore Center mall. The Association began in 1944. An annual benefit, Circus for Arts in the Schools, was started by clown artist Jeff Raz in 2004. Photo-realist Robert Bechtle has painted numerous Alameda subjects, including Alameda Gran Torino, which was acquired by SFMOMA in 1974 and remains one of Bechtle's most famous works.
Alameda has been home to many movie sets. Some of the movies filmed on the island have included Bicentennial Man, The Net, The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions, Bee Season, the original 1968 Your, Mine and Ours and the movie musical Rent. Parts of Alameda High School were animated for the Animatrix episode "Kid's Story". A massive hangar at the former Naval Air Station Alameda was used to film special scenes requiring computer-generated imagery for movies such as Bicentennial Man, Flubber, What Dreams May Come, Mission: Impossible 2 and many scenes from the Matrix trilogy, including the signature bullet time scene. The open space of the decommissioned naval base often hosts MythBusters' more dangerous experiments. The movie "Spirit Of '76" was filmed all throughout Alameda.
The documentary, Shallow Waters: The Public Death of Raymond Zack was filmed at Alameda locations, and chronicled the 2011 Death of Raymond Zack on Crown Beach in Alameda. The film was screened in 2016 at the Michaan Auction House Theater in Alameda.
The USS Hornet Museum, permanently moored at Alameda Point, has been the site for scenes used in major theatrical releases: Pearl Harbor (2001), XXX: State of the Union, Rescue Dawn, and The Master. In addition, the aircraft carrier has been used for television shows such as JAG, Carrier, Looking, The Great Escape, and the special military episode of Fear Factor; plus a number of television commercials.
The city restored the historic Art Deco city landmark Alameda Theatre, expanding it to include a theater multiplex. The public opening was May 21, 2008.
The Altarena Playhouse, which performs comedies, dramas, and musicals, was founded in 1938 and is the longest continuously operating community theater in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Webster Street in Alameda has long been the host of many arts, crafts and holiday festivals. During some of these festivals, the Chamber of Commerce along with the West Alameda Business Association (WABA) will block off a portion of Webster St. for the entertainment of festival-goers. Festivals such as The Island JAM bring a lot of local and outside visitors. Other events on the "West End" include Trick-or-Treat on Webster Street where merchants supply goodies for local children and culminate with a parade and costume contest; in December "Santa Claus Meet-n-Greet on Webster Street" happens with elves, and a photo with Santa Claus.
There are three major events when the street in Alameda's historic downtown district is closed to vehicular traffic. The Park Street Spring Festival takes place every May during the weekend of Mother's Day and attracts over 50,000 visitors. The Park Street Art & Wine Faire takes place the last weekend of every July and attracts over 100,000 visitors. Both street fairs feature over 150 arts & crafts vendors, food vendors, beer and wine pouring, a children's area, and two stages with regional entertainment. The Park Street Classic Car Show is held on the second Saturday every October and displays over 400 vintage vehicles.
The annual Sand Castle and Sculpture Contest takes place in June at the Robert Crown Memorial State Beach. The first contest was held in 1967. Participants compete in three different categories: Ages 12 and Under, Ages 13 and Over and Family.
Main article: Alameda Unified School District
Public primary and secondary education in Alameda is the responsibility of the Alameda Unified School District, which is legally separate from the City of Alameda government (as is common throughout California). The College of Alameda, a two-year community college in the West End is part of the Peralta Community College District. The city has numerous private primary schools, and one private high school, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, a Catholic school.
Alameda's relationships with Wuxi and Jiangyin were initiated in 2005, in part, by Stewart Chen, who then served on the City of Alameda Social Service and Human Relations board, and who went on to be elected to Alameda City Council in November, 2012.
Wuxi, China, is a so-called friendship city, because the diplomacy organization Sister Cities International does not recognize the relationship.
In September 2013, a Tibetan rights group initiated a social media and e-mail campaign  targeting the Mayor of Alameda, complaining that City of Alameda's participation in, and association with, a flag-raising ceremony to recognize National Day of the People's Republic of China on October 1 was tantamount to endorsing the communist regime in China, its human rights abuses, and the occupation of Tibet. The City of Alameda responded that the ceremony was a function of the Alameda Sister City Association and the Alameda Wuxi Friendship Committee, not a function of the City of Alameda. The Tibetan rights group responded that on September 26, the City of Alameda Social Service and Human Relations board appointed a member, Michael Robles-Wong, as a representative to the Sister City Association.
On October 1, 2013, the Tibetan rights groupsTibetTruth and Bay Area Friends of Tibet sent roughly 75 protesters to Alameda City Hall to protest the ceremony, which organizers ultimately canceled before it began. Former City of Alameda Councilmember Frank Matarrese announced the cancellation. Then-city councilmember Stewart Chen subsequently defended the ceremony, as a diplomatic, not political, exercise.