About Royal Oak
Located about 15 miles north of downtown Detroit, Royal Oak is known for its trendy shopping areas, bars, and walkable neighborhoods. This affluent suburb is home to many families and working professionals, who enjoy the short commute to downtown offices. It’s perhaps best known as the home to the annual, one-day Woodward Dream Cruise, the world’s largest classic car cruise, which attracts 1.5 million visitors each year.
Living in Royal Oak
Home to about 60,000 residents, Royal Oak has a small-town feel. It’s a place where you know your neighbors and can shop at locally-owned stores, but it also comes with the amenities of a large metro area. It also has a vibrant nightlife, with many bars and clubs, as well as dancing, music, and theater options. Known as the “City of Trees” because of its many tree-lined streets and urban forests, this Oakland County town provides the best of city and suburban life.
Local Communities in Royal Oaks
Notable Royal Oaks neighborhoods include Royal Oak Manor, Northwood, Oak Run, Starr Acres, and Vinsetta Park. The city’s business districts and neighborhood stores support a lively community
Local notable businesses
- Frentz & Sons: Popular Mechanics named it as one of the best hardware stores in the country, with friendly staffers eager to help you find what you need.
- Hollywood Market: This small neighborhood butcher shop and specialty store opened its doors in 1954 and has grown into a huge market that focuses on high-quality products.
- The Royal Oak Farmers Market: Since 1925, local farmers have sold their produce to their neighbors. They also host food trucks, events, and craft shows.
- Rust Belt Market: Located in nearby Ferndale, this market is a hub with more than 40 independent shops.
Local malls and shopping plazas
- Twelve Oaks Mall: With more than 200 stores, Twelve Oaks is the largest shopping destination in the Detroit metro area.
- Oakland Mall: Located just off I-75 in nearby Troy, it features more than 100 retailers, including big-box stores.
- Somerset Mall: This upscale mall is also in nearby Troy.
Notable popular eateries/restaurants
Royal Oak restaurants provide a diverse range of food and drink options, including establishments that use locally sourced ingredients and offer Michigan-made craft beverages.
- Royal Oak Brewery: Located in the heart of downtown Royal Oak, it’s well-known for its food and back deck, as well as its beer.
- Vinsetta Garage: Located in nearby Berkley, this diner serves up American classics in a vintage garage.
- Pinky’s Rooftop: This downtown hotspot serves craft drinks and small plates in its indoor dining room and its year-round covered, heated patio
- Bigalora Wood Fire Cocina: This Main Street Italian eatery serves up Neapolitan pizzas, small plates, and gelato.
Most Royal Oak students attend the Royal Oaks School District schools. Some live in the Berkley School District. Notable public schools include Northwood Elementary, Oakland Elementary, Keller Elementary, and Royal Oak High School. Shrine Catholic High School and Academy is a private school. Nearby higher education options include Central Michigan University (Southfield) and University of Detroit Mercy.
Moving to Royal Oak
Royal Oak offers a wide range of neighborhoods and housing options. Many are within easy walking distance to retail, restaurants, and other attractions.
Apartments and condos in the area
- The Fifth: This 19-story luxury condo is located in downtown Royal Oak.
- The Griffin: This pet-friendly apartment complex offers 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments.
- The James: This complex offers many amenities for independent seniors (55+).
For the curious, we’ve brought together answers to a few commonly asked questions about.
Is Royal Oak a nice place to live in?
As one of Detroit’s closer-in suburbs, Royal Oak is relatively close to downtown offices and all the action in the city. It’s a leafy town with a vibrant Main Street and quiet neighborhoods.
How expensive is Royal Oak?
Because of its location and liveability, Royal Oak is one of the more expensive places to live in the Detroit metro area. It has plenty of luxury homes and apartments and upscale shops and restaurants, but it also offers budget-friendly options.
Why is it called Royal Oak?
The story goes that Lewis Cass, the second governor of Michigan Territory, was exploring the area and found a nice area of dry, high ground near the intersection of what is now Main, Rochester, and Crooks roads. His party spotted a large oak tree, which reminded Cass of the legend of the royal oak. According to legend, England’s King Charles II took refuge from enemies under a large oak tree in 1660. Cass named the tree the “Royal Oak,” which became the name of the town that grew up around it.