Across the bay from San Francisco, the East Bay area developed into an important and impressive part of the Greater San Francisco area. Growth spurred in Oakland and led the largest city in the East Bay area to its position as the largest port in the San Francisco Bay area. The seat of Alameda County, Oakland stands front and center as the trade center for the San Francisco area. The Port of Oakland handles most of the containerized shipping business for Northern California.
Also, the East Bay area ranks as one of the top demographic areas for higher education. The University of California, Berkeley, the oldest campus in the University of California system manages and operates the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, along with the Graduate Theological Union, one of the most prominent religious studies institutions in the US.
Tourism contributes to the East Bay area as visitors are drawn to the sophisticated restaurant and nightclub scene, the area’s historical music culture, and its overall “cool” factors. An area with a mixed economy of services, in addition to manufacturing, small and large businesses mix it up in the East Bay. Corporations headquartered in the East Bay include Kaiser Permanente, Chevron, and Safeway. Ask.com and Pandora Radio also call the East Bay area home and in recent years, a concentration of startup tech and green energy enterprises can be found in downtown Oakland neighborhoods, as well as in the downtown neighborhoods of other East Bay cities. The establishment of The East Bay Economic Development Alliance, founded in 1990 promotes small businesses and startups in Alameda County.