Oakland, California

Oakland is a city in the Bay Area of California in the United States of America. While it neither has the concentration of tourist ammenities present in its glamorous neighbor San Francisco nor the suburban safety of sprawling San Jose to the south, the visitor can easily spend a few pleasant days here. The often negative opinions of those who have neither lived in nor even visited Oakland should not deter you from exploring what is the Bay Area's and probably America's most diverse city and undervalued cultural center. If nothing else, you can simply enjoy what Rand McNally rated as the best weather in the country.

Oakland, like New York, is constituted of a number of very distinct, village-like neighborhoods, all of which play host to a heady mix of cultures and peoples. For example, the popular Rockridge district is a little eccentric town of tree-lined streets, young professionals and their families, breezily going about their way down leafy lanes lined with renovated craftsman bungalows and Victorian homes. The heart of Rockridge is its main street, College Avenue between Claremont and Broadway, which houses any number of charming boutiques, bookstores, and coffee shops, but also boasts some of the Bay Area's most notable restaurants, including the nationally-honoured Oliveto's, and Bay Area favourites, Le Citron, A Côté, and Girabaldi's. This Oakland neighborhood-cum village even has its elite area: Upper Rockridge, a hilly domain of luxury homes and mansions, largely rebuilt after the devastating Oakland-Berkeley Hills fire of 1991. In upper Rockridge, one finds some of Oakland's most beautiful--and most expensive-homes. Styles run from Mediterranean (Spanish, French Provencal, Tuscany) to English Tudor, with a few glaring examples of high modern. The views of Oakland and San Francisco Bay are breathtaking.

things to do in Oakland:

Grand Lake Theater
This beautiful Art Deco theater (built in 1926) shows first-run movies. It has a spectacular sign which they don't light every night, but when it's on, it's worth seeiing.

Paramount Theater
This gorgeous Depression-era theater, completed in 1931, has been completely restored and is maintained in almost mint condition. It's worth just looking at the sculpture, the paintings, even the carpets. Shows include classic movies, concerts, and other live performances.

Parkway Theater
An absolutely fabulous repertory movie theater, the Parkway has two huge screens with large comfy couches to sit on. Best of all, they serve pizza, salads, and beer that you can eat and drink while you watch the movie. A funky, laid-back staff and good karma all around. Why aren't all movie theaters like this? $5 ($3 Sa matinee, food and drink not included).

Children's Fairyland
Amazing, dynamic playground and destination for children, right on Lake Merritt. Make sure you get a Magic Key.

The Oakland Raiders
Known as "The Team of the Decades," The NFL's Oakland Raiders have a long tradition of victory, commanding the fierce support of Oaklanders and enjoying a large fan base across America. Be sure to enjoy the famous pre-game tailgating scene in the Coliseum parking lot, as well as the Black Hole of hard-core fans in the endzone section. Most home games are not sold out, so it should be possible to buy tickets up until game time.

Chabot Space and Science Center
Surround yourself with dazzling sights of the universe at Chabot Space and Science Center, located in the Oakland hills, just 10 minutes from downtown Oakland. The Center features a fascinating array of interactive exhibits that take you to the known edges of deep space, fun-for-the-whole-family hands-on activities, an exhilarating immersive experience in a state-of-the-art digital fulldome planetarium, thrilling large screen movies, and powerful telescopes that deliver stunning revelations of the night sky.

Oakland Museum of California
A museum that displays nature, art and the history of California, and which is known for its re-created "environments" rather than its exhibits.

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