Seven Reasons Oakland Is Cooler Than We Thought

oaklandtheatre.jpg
Nelson Estrada

Like many San Franciscans, we spent years convinced the world ended at the Golden Gate Bridge. We knew the 280 freeway led to Google, and heard rumors about people with yards in the East Bay, but as far as art, culture, and politics were concerned, S.F. was the place to be. But in the last few years, more and more of the cool kids have been moving across the pond to Oakland, and for good reason.

Oakland muscled in on S.F.'s cultural turf last year with the monthly street festival First Fridays. Then -- beating us at our own game -- Oakland ranked higher than San Francisco on the Advocate's list of gay-friendly cities. Here are seven reasons we should all get down in the Oaktown.

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Videos of the Day: The 10 Best Views in S.F. and Oakland

7. Parking Spaces

Sick of driving around 16th and Valencia for an hour? Got a ticket for not curbing your wheels properly on a street with no incline? We feel your pain. In Oakland there is plenty of parking. Even on major streets like Telegraph. Plus, parking meters are still free on Sundays, unlike in S.F. Plus, unless you're in the Oakland hills, most of the city is flat. The only thing you'll need to curb is your enthusiasm.

No Sunday meters.

6. Hip Hop that Don't Stop

Oakland has been a player on the national hip hop scene for years. Oakland rappers like Too $hort pioneered the use of independent labels and street corner hustle, and the hottest dance on Bay Area streets, turfing, comes from Oakland. The Dope City Saints run one of the best stages at First Fridays, and local heroes The Coup show that you can still bring the funk without misogyny and gangsterism. So pop your collar, lace up your sneakers, and ghost ride on over from the 'Sco to the O!

5. Old School Burgers All Night

We have plenty of late night burgers in San Francisco, but if you want fries, you're looking at $20 dollars plus tip. And that's after wading through a mosh pit full of drunk Ruby Skyers. At Giant Burger, quarter pounders are only $4 and they're open 24 hours. In fact you can get a burger, fries, shake, and apple pie for under $12. At 4 a.m.! Also noteworthy is True Burger -- get the bacon cheesy burger ($6.95) and one of their delicious shakes, which change regularly.

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4. Real Yards

If you think that 12 foot slab of concrete behind your apartment building -- the one you share with three other households and 30 cats -- counts as a yard, you've been in San Francisco too long. In Oakland, a yard is what it's supposed to be: green grass, lush gardens, and even the occasional hammock. All for less than a studio in the Tenderloin.

oaklandyard1.jpg
All of this could be yours in Oakland. The yard, that is.


3. Cheap Thrills

Oakland is awash in activities for the frugal. If the great outdoors is your thing, the hiking, bicycle trails, and lush greenery of Joaquin Miller Park easily rival Golden Gate Park. The crafty can take free or cheap classes in subjects ranging from Valentine's Day card making to girl-friendly skateboarding at the volunteer-run Rock, Paper, Scissors craft collective. And for the local history buff, Oakland's Museum of California specializes in the art, history, and natural science of the Golden State. General admission is only $12, with discounts for students and seniors.

2. Unpretentious Art Galleries

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We love us some art galleries. But whenever we're in Union Square, they cast a sideways glare at our cheap tennis shoes and tattered jeans. Not so at the Concrete X Tarr on Telegraph. The doors were open, the beats were fresh, and the artists were friendly. The proprietor, Samuel Renaissance, said the gallery focuses on new, urban artists. "We like people to be able to see the present era that we're in. Culturally, politically, and economically." Word.

1. The Best Weather in the U.S.

According to the Oakland Chamber of Commerce, Oakland has the best climate in the U.S., based on climatological data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Oakland also has the same number of sunny days as Orange County -- without all the Republicans. The fact that the weather is better in Oakland won't come as news to Richmond or Sunset dwellers, but now, even Mission hipsters have a reason to be jealous of the East Bay.

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flickr/daniel_gies
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62 comments
SFIsNowSanJose
SFIsNowSanJose

The best part about oakland is when you get robbed by a 12 year old outside your house!!! For a $3 windbreaker from goodwill!


red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

Mitt, your comment was delivered to my spam box and deleted unread. Everyone here is anonymous and there are different races as much as different sexes and classes. What a mindless PC imbecile art thou !

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

Mitchell, your inane comment was delivered to my spam box, next time it will go unread. My remarks on Oakland are absolutely true. You're an imbecile.

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

Oakland's much less expensive but has many more blacks.

andrade1099
andrade1099

1.  One can live in S.F. very easily without a car.   Who needs parking.  2.  I wouldn't chose to live in a city based on Hip-Hop.  3.  Burgers?  Really?  4.  S.F. has lots of neighborhoods that have homes with yards.  My Mission District yard is quite roomy.  5.  S.F. is the king of cheap thrills.  6.  Lots of cool art galleries in S.F.'s neighborhoods.  S.F. is not just Union Square.  7.  I love me some fog spreading its silky fingers over my beautiful city.   Sorry, S.F. rules.

man_corn
man_corn

Best part of Oakland is heading to the hills for mountain biking. Arguable the best mt biking in the east bay is in Joaquin Miller Park, which connects to Dimond Park and Redwood and Chabot Regional Parks. You can be less then 5 miles from downtown and be in the redwoods.  The entire east bay hills from Wildcat Canyon and Tilden (in Berkeley), to Sibley, Huckleberry, Redwood and JMP (in Oakland) down to Chabot and Lake Chabot (in Castro Valley) are great. I can jump on a trail within 1/4 mile of my home and feel like I'm in the woods.

And all the silly talk about Oakland vs S.F. Please the two cities are 7 miles apart. Hardly is it like comparing N.Y. and Boston. Same place, just different neighborhoods. Both have their fun cool places, and both have places you don't want to be.

reenie3
reenie3

I think Oakland was discovered as the place to be in 1906 after the earthquake...... SHHHHHHHH.

We're trying o keep it a secret.  : )

Killers
Killers

Great place for a 18-23 Y/O

gsch86
gsch86

please stay in SF, we dont want homogenized peninsula hipsters ruining our good time

katengh
katengh

Man, articles like this sure to breed a lot of ignorant comments don't they?

First of all, this article is inaccurate, because Giant Burger hasn't been Giant Burger for MONTHS -- it's Giant BURRITO now. That said, there are some delicious late-night burger options elsewhere, like at Rudy's (omg Chupacabra with the goat cheese and bacon, drool), Disco Volante, or Chop Bar. Beyond that though, I would reserve the right to brag about the brunch options in Oakland, where you really don't have to wait 2 hours to get a table (well, except maybe for Brown Sugar in West Oakland, but even then, you can order coffee and biscuits from the register to enjoy while you wait). Portal, Pican, Brown Sugar, House of Chicken & Waffles, Rudy's, Buttercup, and on and on...

And then, there's the Lakeshore/Grand Saturday farmer's market, where you can enjoy live music while you eat dim sum or a good breakfast scramble, buy locally made food and goods, and of course, fulfill your produce needs. 

The shopping in Oakland is fantastic, too. Oaklandish, Solespace, Sway, Surf Club, Shoe Groupie. There is something for everyone, and I often find that the price is lower in Oakland for the same item in SF, because, well, the rent for businesses here is much cheaper. 

Actually, you know what, SF commenters? Please feel free to think what you will about Oakland. We like our lower rent, huge block parties, and sunshine :).

rian.flo.h
rian.flo.h

"Relativity is a bitch."

This comparison might only end once the point of reference for both Oakland and San Francisco will be a third place. However, Oakland is to be taken serious enough as a Brooklyn so Daly City can never be the place to look down on.

Regarding shootings: I've come back to the Mission from a First Fridays last summer and ran straight into a shooting on 16th & Valencia. There have been cases of rape in the Mission as well. Weren't there stray bullets hitting pedestrians on 18th & Valencia recently too?

Regarding startup culture: Basically all of Oakland is a better Enterprise Tax Zone than what Twitter got at Civic Center. Plus $1/sqft giant offices directly on BART on 15 min into SF. 

Few smart people have got over the  stigma and start living in the present.


teknotexan
teknotexan

The 280 does not lead to Google. The 101 does. Aye, very typical of a San Franciscan to have no clue what is south of SFO. ;-)

Dianne Yee
Dianne Yee

"Oakland also has the same number of sunny days as Orange County — without all the Republicans." haha

Blaze Farrar
Blaze Farrar

Please, stay where you are. Oakland is cool without all of that SanFranHipsterCrap. SfWeakly. Feh.

yodamahoda
yodamahoda

My responses:

7. Parking Spaces
If you must drive to Valencia Street (who does that?!) park at the Hoff St. Garage.  $8 will get you a secure spot for 4 hours on a Saturday night.  Otherwise, ride your bike.  It's free and bike parking is abundant.

6. Hip Hop that Don't Stop
OK sure.  Ya got us on this one (I guess).

5. Old School Burgers All Night
Why would I spend $7 RT on BART go to Oakland to get a burger when I can get go to several different restaurants right in my neighborhood and in a much safer area and do NOT cost over $10 including fries?

4. Real Yards
I have a real yard.

3. Cheap Thrills
Do I need to send the residents of Oakland all of the cheap or free things to do in SF?  

2. Unpretentious Art Galleries
Who would EVER go to an art gallery in Union Square unless you were a millionaire?!  There are plenty of alternative art galleries in SF.

1. The Best Weather in the U.S.1. The Best Weather in the U.S.
The author needs to check the facts http://www.redwoodcity.org/about/local_history/exhibits/climate_best/climate_best.html

Sounds like the author is grasping at straws.

tessa.faulkner
tessa.faulkner

Wrong! Everyone is getting murdered here and there's poop EVERYWHERE! Please stop moving here and raising my rent.... Sfers should stay in sf, and google employees should live in san jose...

briansays
briansays

if SF could keep the criminal element at home i suspect SF could cut its crime rate by 30 percent--Marin I'd say easily 70 percent if we could photo the license plates coming off the richmond bridge

chefbum
chefbum

Too bad there's also some very bad things in Oakland that also aren't in SF-- like the high murder rate and some much more dangerous neighborhoods.

Mario Mars Melara
Mario Mars Melara

Interesting...I talked to a guy who worked in a cafe on MLK street and he was telling me that the rent prices had increased so much that the people already living there had to move out because they couldn't afford it anymore. The prices here are getting ridiculous

adamdstiles
adamdstiles

Watch fixed-gear bikers move to Oakland in droves, then find out that this is not true: "most of the city is flat" -- #lastlaugh

塞繆塞繆
塞繆塞繆

There is more BAD shit going down then. Good shit!! You guys need to fire whoever wrote this article!!

John Davison
John Davison

said haphazardly from Nob Hill, "isn't Oakland near SF?"

Jose Lopez
Jose Lopez

Oakland was cool as soon as the Black Brown and Asian folks where no longer the Majority. and white privilege Hipster kids started moving in now all of a sudden it's cool to be from Oakland. man Fuck Gentrification.

Stephen Johnson
Stephen Johnson

Don't post articles like this...the rich white kids will start moving out there and hike up cheap rent!

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@red.marcy.rand Oh, no! A lunatic, anonymous, racist person is threatening not to read my comments! How can I go on?

DanMitchell
DanMitchell

@red.marcy.rand I thought this must be a joke, and actually found it funny, until I checked out your comment history and discovered that you're serious. You're really quite awful!

savemesomespam
savemesomespam

@andrade1099 if this article is all you got to go by then please take BART past Embarcadero and expand your horizons.

savemesomespam
savemesomespam

@reenie3 Pre and post 1906 thousands of SF business owners lived in Oakland... and many of the people who built California are buried in Oakland's Mt View Cemetery.

savemesomespam
savemesomespam

@Killers a lot of people really don't know Oakland. Rockridge, Temescal, Grand-Lake, and Old Oakland are pretty awesome parts of town where 18-23 yo are few and far between.

MirG
MirG

@katengh Giant Burger is still Giant Burger, I drove past it yesterday. 

candacekmorales
candacekmorales

@katengh And yes, your last sentence is exactly what I think when people judge Oakland based on the dealings in East Oakland or the urbanized look of the city. SF can complain about their GMO's while I get to plant my heirloom garden in my backyard that has grass, a fig tree, an orange tree, a lumquat tree, and beautiful bamboo surrounding it. SF is great for tourists, but once you get past that, it is dirty and, sad to say, more dangerous in my opinion as I have never been accosted in Oakland, while I have been grabbed and attacked in SF on more than one occasion because of their huge population of homeless and drug addicts that wander EVERYWHERE. At least Oakland's major crime problems generate from one central area that most people know to avoid. 

candacekmorales
candacekmorales

@katengh Actually, I am pretty sure that Giant Burger is still Giant Burger, I have one located right across the street from my block on High and MacArthur. Just in case you were looking for one. :)

candacekmorales
candacekmorales

@chefbum Are you kidding me? Oakland's high murder rate has mostly to do with the dealings in East Oakland. I have NEVER had to worry for my life or worry about being attacked the way I do in SF. I have been attacked several times in SEVERAL different parts of the city by homeless, drug addicts, random drunken men, etc. etc. Also, SF is DIRTY. I can't even walk in the financial district without feeling like I am going to have to burn my shoes after. And don't let me get started on the Tenderloin.

fuckfeast
fuckfeast

@Jose Lopez oakland is just a new colony for white culture. now that they've got a stronghold on sf, they're coming for oakland. 

red.marcy.rand
red.marcy.rand topcommenter

@mitchell39 @red.marcy.rand Your stupid comments were delivered to my Spam box. Next time they will go unread. Your an imbecile AND my comments on Oakland are entirely accurate.

katengh
katengh

@MirG @katengh If you walk up, it's burritos, mate, unless something changed from last weekend when we walked by it. Either way, it's awesome that a place exists where you can get food 24 hours a day. 

katengh
katengh

@candacekmorales @katengh Right? At my place in West Oakland (we literally just moved from it this weekend, to a new spot in North Oakland), we had a gorgeous back yard with a full garden, and apple and plum trees. 

I've only had one weird incident in Oakland, and it wasn't all that dangerous. Having lived in the nice parts of San Francisco (like the Castro) and now what is considered a not-so-nice part of Oakland myself, I have to say... I've lived here for 4 years, and you really couldn't get me to leave Oakland for SF. It has the diversity that San Francisco continues to push out, and that diversity is, in my opinion, what really makes it such a vibrant city with something for everyone -- with the exception of the people who dislike diversity, in which case, there's always the 'burbs ;).

katengh
katengh

@candacekmorales @katengh Ohh right, I forgot about that one :). The one on Grand and Telegraph (the one in the picture above) is definitely now a Giant Burrito.

man_corn
man_corn

@katengh @MirG 

There are at least three Giant Burgers in Oakland, one off MacArtur and Fruitvalle (Dimond District) and another on Redwood Rd just off Hwy 13, and the one downtown on Broadway.

katengh
katengh

@candacekmorales Haha, I actually haven't tried it yet! I am far too smitten with Xolo's burritos right now, and they're open late-ish, not to mention that burrito truck over near International. So, so good. 

candacekmorales
candacekmorales

Well that is poop. Are the burritos any good? Because if so, it is nice to know that there is a possible 24 hour burrito joint!

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