Best for... hipsters
Oakland is to San Franciscans what Brooklyn is to Manhattanites. Once a working-class haven, Oakland is now home to a vibrant, art and performance scene – and burgeoning waterfront – bolstered by a rich literary and social history for those looking to explore across the bay. It also happens to be the gateway to Napa Valley’s vineyards and the great Yosemite National Park.
While San Francisco is surrounded by water, downtown Oakland’s tidal Lake Merritt is surrounded by city, which makes it a welcome respite for the locals who will be doing everything from barbequing to outdoor yoga on a nice day
Oakland is still short on hotels, but hip, urban Hotel Zetta in San Francisco is the ideal launch pad for visits to the city. Situated in SoMa and a stone’s throw from the Powell Street BART station – which gets you to Oakland in 13 minutes – the luxury boutique hotel is all about style, thoughtful touches and hi-tech amenities with minimalist décor.
The haute Michelin-starred Commis might be the Bay Area’s best value fine-dining spot ($125 for a multi-course menu). The focus is on the craft, using seasonal, local ingredients to create ingenious flavour combinations in a minimal, intimate setting. Or follow the locals to the Ramen Shop in Rockridge, which is renowned for its springy noodles in rich, interesting broths with non-traditional ingredients such as broccoli di ciccio, Brussel sprouts, and delicata squash.
While San Francisco is surrounded by water, downtown Oakland’s tidal Lake Merritt is surrounded by city, which makes it a welcome respite for the locals who will be doing everything from barbequing to outdoor yoga on a nice day. For the literary buffs, look no further than Oakland waterfront’s Jack London Square for a reconstruction of the aforementioned author’s Klondike cabin.