Scrappy, loveable Oakland is enjoying quite a renaissance, thanks to an influx of people (and cash) displaced by the high cost of living across the Bay. It's Brooklyn to San Francisco's Manhattan, a place where creatives are setting up shop, putting down roots and making quirky tee shirts to commemorate the experience.
Locavore restaurants and indie boutiques are popping up all over town, including Telegraph Avenue and the waterfront at Jack London Square. The revitalized Uptown area is home to restaurants, galleries and two glorious art deco theatres, the Fox and the Paramount. Don’t miss the Oakland Museum of California, with galleries dedicated to art, California history and natural history.
For an urban area, Oakland has a surprising amount of nature. There are hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails at Joaquin Miller Park and Roberts Regional Park, while Lake Temescal offers swimming among the trees. City hikers meet to walk the path around Lake Merritt, where you'll also find gondola rides and Children's Fairyland, a ten-acre park for kiddos.