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Oakland, the East Bay city that plays second-fiddle to neighboring San Francisco, actually gives the latter a run for its money. Forget Gertrude Stein's misquoted chestnut, "There's no there there!" Oakland has heaps of presence, thanks to a lively Chinatown, fabulous historic districts, an excellent zoo, globe-spanning fine dining, California's finest regional museum, downtown Lake Merritt (the largest urban saltwater lake in the United States), Jack London Square waterfront, and baseball and football teams at the top of their games. And its Mediterranean climate is as salubrious as any in the United States. Adjoining Oakland, the ...

Oakland, the East Bay city that plays second-fiddle to neighboring San Francisco, actually gives the latter a run for its money. Forget Gertrude Stein's misquoted chestnut, "There's no there there!" Oakland has heaps of presence, thanks to a lively Chinatown, fabulous historic districts, an excellent zoo, globe-spanning fine dining, California's finest regional museum, downtown Lake Merritt (the largest urban saltwater lake in the United States), Jack London Square waterfront, and baseball and football teams at the top of their games. And its Mediterranean climate is as salubrious as any in the United States. Adjoining Oakland, the university town of Berkeley is famed for its scenic campus and off-beat way of life. The twin cities are nestled between the bay waters - good for sailing and kayaking - and the East Bay hills, where redwood regional parks are perfect for hiking and mountain biking. Beyond the hills, Mt. Diablo also beckons hikers and offers fabulous views over the vineyards of the Livermore valley. As a hub of local transportation, Oakland's heart-of-the-bay locale makes exploring further afield a cinch.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time is good, but weather April to October is usually remarkably temperate and sunny