Creative Oakland – Buzzing, vibrant, vivid and varied
Rumour has it that Oakland is fast catching up with its big sister San Francisco, becoming a creative capital in its own right. The arty crowd, priced out of the big city, are taking over and a rash of excellent restaurants, galleries and independent shops follow in their wake. It's home to a growing number of festivals, pop ups, vintage fashion outlets and off-beat events, and the whole scene is wonderfully diverse.
See live jazz all year round at Chapel of the Chimes, a brilliant venue rich in the area's quirky flavour.
Like San Francisco, this city celebrates its LGBT community, loud and proud - the Oakland Pride Festival is Northern California's second biggest. And there's something for everyone.
Visit the Chabot Space and Science Center for a night under the stars
Lose yourself in a spectacularly fragrant maze of roses at Morcom Amphitheatre of Roses
Combine great wines and cycling fun, courtesy of Bay Winery Bike Tours
Fancy kayaking across the Oakland Estuary to the excellent Brotzeit Beer Garden? Want to tour the USS Potomac or swim in lake Temescal? It's timeless fun and something you'll relish for years to come.
Golden Gate City From £1179.00 (inc flights and hotels)
From the manic gold rush of the 1800s to the birth of the hippy movement in the 60s, San Francisco is a city of social revolutions. Lose your inhibitions and leave your heart for San Fran is free and fabulous, but beware, trips like this come with a warning – you may ne...
Eco-friendly is Oakland's middle name, including the excellent farmer's market at Grand Lake where you can buy into the state's legendary fresh food scene, experience live music and even buy locally-made beauty products. The end result of all this change is lively, welcoming and very, very cool indeed.
Oaklanders are rightfully proud of their burgeoning city with its brand new, uber-creative culture, and there's plenty to do whatever your taste. Here are just three of the best Oakland experiences.
Eat out at Penrose, one of the city's most-discussed restaurants
Sample the creations of California's best fashion designers downtown
Explore the gorgeous Oakland Hills on horseback
Once you've enjoyed all three, you'll have a real flavour of Oakland to take home with you.
“For people who know both New York and the Bay Area, it is a complement to say that Oakland is San Francisco's Brooklyn.” - Mitch Kapor
Take part in the outdoor fun at Jack London Square. Enjoy a tour of a Chinese cookie factory. Cruise the beautiful blue bay between the city and San Francisco. Or live the Amelia Earhart dream at the brilliant Oakland Aviation Museum. Spend a day rummaging in Piedmont Avenue's excellent shops. Or simply bask in the sun and watch the great and good of Oakland walk by - it's great for people-watching. Eccentric Temescal alley is your destination for creative outlets, everything from paintings and sculpture to jewellery and fashion. Visit the remarkable Mormon Temple. Delve into black history at the African American Museum and Library of Oakland, or join in the celebrations at the city's Greek Festival. You can even go all Mariachi down in funky Fruitvale.
Oakland is an amazing technicolour dreamcoat of a city, a happy place with a lively year-round artistic and musical culture, home to entertainment and experiences as diverse as nature centres and mountain walks, historic estates like Dunsmoor and contemporary pleasures like fine dining and even finer wines. Whether you're absorbing the city's remarkable architectural past at Preservation Park or dancing the night away to smoky live jazz, Oakland is a fantastic choice for a California holiday with a difference. It's fun, it's friendly... it's happening, man!
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