Just as San Francisco is quite different than other major U.S. cities, Oakland also has its own personality. There’s plenty worth knowing before you go, but once you arrive, you’ll find that Oakland residents are almost always willing to offer travel advice.
Get Around – Oakland is conveniently located in the center of the Bay Area and takes pride in its sustainable practices and strong support of public transportation. There are many ways to travel throughout the city, including trains (BART-Bay Area Rapid Transit and Amtrak), busses (AC Transit), ferries, biking, and walking. Oakland has been deemed as one of the U.S.’s most walkable cities.
Identity – Oakland is not San Francisco, and that’s how the locals like it. It’s the largest city in the East Bay (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties). Oakland is referred to as “The Town,” while San Francisco is “The City.”
Tipping – If you don’t travel in large cities often, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the tipping standards. Most importantly, tips acknowledge good service. You should not feel obligated to tip exceptionally poor service.
Drivers/Cabbies – 5-10% for a smooth and safe ride
Wait Staff – 15% for good service, 20% for excellent service
Safety – Oakland is widely misrepresented in the media. Oakland is safe to travelers, and is just like any other urban city. The main tourist neighborhoods are Jack London Square, Downtown Oakland, Uptown Oakland, Old Oakland, Piedmont Avenue, and Rockridge.
Climate – Oaklanders tend to believe they live in a city with the best weather in the country. Oakland has a Mediterranean climate with an average of 260 sunny days per year, making travel to Oakland easy year-round
What to Bring – Comfortable walking shoes, a camera, and a cell phone or notepad with a list numbers including your hotel and taxi services, sunscreen and a fun attitude!