From its colorful past to its vibrant present, the outlook for multi-faceted Hayward is favorable for a rosy future. It is the sixth largest city in the Bay Area and is known by its residents as the “Heart of the Bay.” Located between Castro Valley and Union City, Hayward is home to California’s oldest Japanese garden and the site of California’s first Great San Francisco Earthquake in 1868. The 7.0 quake destroyed nearly every structure and held that claim to fame until 1906.

Hayward’s movers and shakers endeavor to strike a balance between residential diversity and the burgeoning business community. It is still one of the Bay Area’s more affordable areas, with a variety of home styles, sizes and neighborhoods. Attention is given to schools, parks, transportation and community as the demands of growth and prosperity are considered.

The Recreation and Park District governs more than 100 facilities and sites with hundreds of programs, classes and events. The Hayward Plunge offers year-round indoor swimming; the Sulphur Creek Nature Center offers wildlife education; and the Rowell Ranch Rodeo is an annual springtime tradition.

Southland Mall includes 150 stores and restaurants, and downtown Hayward is a charming amalgam of vintage shops, artisanal offerings, salons and restaurants. With open spaces, parks and recreation, shopping and entertainment, residents enjoy a pleasant blend of diversions.