Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery


You can eat a taco here that will leave you speechless, desperate for more, until you have pork and leek dumplings and decide those are your gastronomic destiny. You can play an Atari 2600 in a museum and drink a beer under a wall of skulls before listening to some of the nation's freshest hip-hop – live.

These days, Oakland is where San Francisco's diversity and radicalism have fled to escape an astronomical cost of living. Oaklanders are fiercely proud their home retains the mixed ethnic tableau and unapologetic left-wing politics San Francisco once enshrined, and they know this backdrop is threatened by million-dollar residential homes, already present even in middle-class neighborhoods.

Is this the last of what the Bay Area was? We're not sure, but between the food, nightlife and fabulous outdoors scene, Oakland is a great example of what the Bay Area can be.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Oakland.