Oakland Makes National Geographic Travel’s Best Trips List for 2019

Oakland among 28 Best Places to Visit in the World for 2019, According to National Geographic Traveler’s Editors and Explorers

With the publication of its annual Best Trips issue, National Geographic Traveler magazine has revealed its 28 must-see destinations and travel experiences for 2019. Together, Traveler editors and National Geographic Explorers have selected their top places to travel across four categories: Cities, Nature, Culture, and Adventure – and Oakland was selected in the culture category. Oakland was one of only four U.S. destinations included in the list and the only city in California chosen.

"Oakland’s ‘there’ is in its diversity, its distinction, its sense of place, its people,” - National Geographic Traveler

“Support what makes Oakland Oakland." - National Geographic Traveler

Click here for the National Geographic Travel’s Best Trips List for 2019 full article!

Check out 11 things to do in Oakland that highlight The Town's culture! 




1. Oakland Art Month

The entire month of May is dedicated to promoting events, performances, and shows that highlight the diversity of artists and work created in Oakland. The Town has long been home to innovators, creatives, and artists and Visit Oakland invites visitors and locals alike to explore new types of art or revisit old favorites.

Johnny 5 at First Friday

The Black Joy Parade exists to provide the black community and allies, a live experience that celebrates our influence on cultures past, present, and future. Oakland will unite a diverse community by creating a space to express everyone’s unique contributions to the black experience. You're invited to be creative, be open, be present, be free.

The parade will journey 8 blocks through downtown Oakland and conclude with a community celebration. Black Joy Parade is an inclusive event, welcoming people from all different backgrounds, across race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and identity to volunteer. This includes people with disabilities, as well as the elderly.

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Black Joy Parade




Oakland has a proud and resilient Black history/community that celebrates the influence on cultures past, present and future. This is certainly reflected and embraced in its food. With everything from Caribbean jerk chicken and plantains to Ethiopian injera with wat and comforting Southern fried chicken, Oakland’s culinary scene is inherently vibrant, flavorful and Afrocentric.

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Home of Chicken and Waffles




One of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, Chinatown Oakland was settled in the 1850s, shortly after the gold rush. No longer just Chinese, this 16-block area is Pan Asian, with Koreans, Vietnamese and Japanese. Visitors will find foodie bliss in the hand-pulled Chinese noodles at Shan Dong; chew jow ho fun at Vien Huong; seasoned banh mi at Cam Huong; and boba tea at Sweet Booth. Wares are displayed on the sidewalks or in the windows, from herbal teas, live seafood to porcelain and delicious shaomai at bakeries. What you won’t find in this Chinatown are ticky-tacky camera and T-shirt kiosks. This is the real deal. Look out for the expressive murals from block to block, including the Chinese Zodiac dragon on 10th and Jackson.

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Chinatown Neighborhood

This urban stretch at the base of the Oakland Hills that once a land of, you guessed it, fruit trees, became a center for the Chicano Movement in the late 1960s and 70s, including the Brown Berets. Today, the population is almost half Latinos with a solidly preserved culture and village-y vibe centered around International Blvd. As you can imagine, Cinco de Mayo and Dia de los Muertos are big days on these streets. But visit any day of the week—you’ll find a vibrant community awaits you.

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Fruitvale Neighborhood


Things To Do


The East Bay has long been an environment that is cannabis-friendly, and the city of Oakland continues to be at the forefront of legalization. Oaksterdam (located downtown on Broadway) is recognized as America first cannabis college. Learn more through Cannabis Tours or grab some friends and check out Puff, Pass & Paint off of Mandela Blvd.

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Magnolia Dispensary

Oakland embraces the original and the creative. Visitors and residents alike feel free to be themselves here and immerse themselves in our diverse city. Our inclusive community will make you feel safe to explore as you wish, but here are a few businesses that are owned, or well-respected, by our friends in the LGBTQ community to help get your planning started! Want to learn more about Oakland? Check our these stories on Oakland's LGBTQ Nightlife and Creative Scene.

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LGBTQ Nightlife

In Spring 2019, the Oakland Museum of California will present a major exhibition exploring California’s LGBTQ+ history and culture. Going beyond mainstream narratives, Queer California: Untold Stories will deepen and expand our understanding of this history through a multifaceted exhibition. Visitors will experience powerful examples of social activism through contemporary artwork and historical materials and view rarely-seen artifacts, archival documents, photographs, costumes, and ephemera such as zines, stickers, and flyers. The exhibition aligns important milestones in LGBTQ+ culture with lesser-known stories, focusing on a diversity of queer identities, civil rights, and resistance to oppression.

OMCA nurtures its deep ties to the community by offering many educational and outreach programs. We welcome schools, scholars, local audiences, and all visitors to participate in our events and activities and to discover their place in California's past, present, and future.

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Oakland Museum

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland AAMLO is dedicated to discover, preserve, interpret and share the historical and cultural experiences of African Americans in California and the West for present and future generations.

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African American Museum and Library

The Remember Them: Champions for Humanity Monument stands proudly in the new Henry J. Kaiser Memorial Park, in downtown Oakland California. This inspiring larger than life bronze sculpture depicts 25 culturally diverse role models who have made significant contributions toward global peace, freedom and human rights over the past 150 years.

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Remember Them Monument

The White Horse is said to be the oldest continuously operating gay bar in the United States today! It is both a monument to the lesbian and gay past and one of the only bars where gays can feel a true sense of community, where younger and older gays can enjoy each other’s company.

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Click here for the National Geographic Travel’s Best Trips List for 2019 full article!