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Oakland Story Starters

From a burgeoning art scene to a thriving food culture, Oakland is topping lists nationwide. Use our list of what’s happening and what’s hot as your guide for finding your Oakland angle.

Foodie Special

Looking for the best new Bay Area restaurant? Look no further—it’s right here in Oakland. From Michelin starred restaurants to authentic food trucks, Oakland’s diverse offerings run the gamut. Top chefs from neighboring communities are flocking to Oakland, which has quickly become the hottest dining destination on the West Coast. Don’t believe us? Read up on Travel + LeisureNew York Times or Sunset for validation.

Arts Aficionados

If Brooklyn is the arts hub of the East Coast, Oakland is the arts mecca of the West. More than 10,000 people congregate at Oakland Art Murmur on the first Friday of the month to visit Oakland’s grassroots gallery district. Industrial artists in spacious warehouses are creating larger-than-life pieces for international festivals (a la Burning Man). Whatever the medium may be, creators have chosen Oakland as their home, making the destination the cultural arts metropolis that it is today.

Urban Wine Country

Wine country is so 2010. Oakland’s urban wineries are all the rage. Nearly a dozen local tasters are creating a buzz as a part of the East Bay Vintners Alliance, many of which are located along the waterfront. Want to take tasting to the next level? Hop on a bike with the East Bay Winery Bike Tours. If you are looking for a more traditional experience, Napa and Sonoma County are just a short drive away.

Music Lovers’ Nirvana

On any given night of the week, Oakland’s music venues are filled to the brim. National and international acts at The New Parish, Yoshi’s Jazz Club, and the Fox and Paramount theaters draw thousands of visitors. Talented local acts bring packed crowds to bars and clubs. Whatever you’re up for, Oakland’s nightlife won’t disappoint.

Architecture Buffs

You don’t need to be a history buff to appreciate Oakland’s architectural gems. Some of the best examples of Art Deco, Victorian, Arts & Crafts and Millennial Modern are peppered throughout the city. Architectural greats such as Julia Morgan and Frederick Law Olmsted are just some of the notable names who’ve made their mark on Oakland. Take a free walking tour of Oakland’s Five Historic Ladies, see a show at an Art Deco theater, or visit the lakeside Cathedral of Christ the Light. Wherever you turn, you’ll be smitten with Oakland’s beauty.

Diverse Oakland

With more than 125 languages spoken throughout its 56+ commercial districts, it’s no surprise that Oakland is consistently ranked as one of the most diverse cities in the country. Oakland is also climbing the charts as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities, with the highest concentration of lesbian families nationwide. As a result, Oakland’s diversity is represented year-round, whether it’s at the Chinatown Street Festival, Dias de los Muertos celebrations, or just the everyday farmers market.

The Great Outdoors

Oakland has a lake? In fact, there are two. Recreationalists will be pleasantly surprised at Oakland’s extensive outdoors (and indoors) offerings. Along the 19 miles of coastline, sailors, kayakers and even “SUP”ers can take advantage of Oakland’s access to the San Francisco Bay. Hikers, bikers and horseback riders can explore the 100,000+ acres of parks and trails throughout the hills. In the heart of the city, Lake Merritt is the hub for joggers and walkers, and even the occasional Segway tour.

Family Fun

Oakland may be known for its hipness, but it’s also home to world-class family attractions. Find out what inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland at Oakland’s storybook theme park, Children’s Fairyland. Get up close and personal with more than 450 native and exotic animals at the Oakland Zoo. Learn about California’s past, present and future with the Oakland Museum of California’s interactive exhibits. Get lost in the universe at Chabot Space & Science’s observatory. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, Oakland’s attractions will inspire every family.

Spectator Sports

Whether you’re on Team Oakland or not, Oakland’s sporting events are in a league of their own. As the only California city with national franchises in basketball, baseball and football, the Oracle Arena and Coliseum is buzzing year-round with sporting events. Dragon Boat races, international hockey tournaments and marathons are just some of the other spectator events you’ll find in Oakland.

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