When travelers visit the San Francisco Bay Area a drum roll of locales easily roll off the tongue.
>> San Francisco
>> Silicon Valley
>> Napa and Sonoma wine country
>> Muir Woods
>> Pier 39
>> The Golden Gate Bridge
>> Santana Row
The list rolls on and on.
So it must have been more a little surprising when the New York Times came out with an article titled The 45 Places to Go in 2012, and none of the above selections were in evidence. The list did include one Bay Area hotspot, though, that no doubt made many readers’ eyebrows jump.
Sitting at No. 5 on the list, just behind London, is the City of Oakland.
Yes, that Oakland – the city that has made national news because of rowdy Occupy Oakland protests, crime problems, allegations of law enforcement misconduct. That’s what gets reported about Oakland. Now here’s what doesn’t normally get reported but is well known to the people who live within striking distance of Oakland and have some knowledge of the city. It’s a city that is emerging and has been emerging for many years. Amidst the less than savory neighborhood and the grit is a very hip and elegant metropolitan area that people can no longer afford to ignore.
We take a special interest in Oakland because, like so many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s jewels, the city where American author Jack London came of age is an easy drive from The Rose Hotel. So allow us to familiarize you with this rising city with some assistance from the New York Times.
One little known fact outside the Bay Area is that many San Franciscans, weary of the cold bluster and fog, make the move across the bay to Oakland for the sunshine and warmer climes it offers. They also know that Oakland has a bounty of quite, beautiful neighborhoods, lots of vegetation and a variety of elevations.
Residents aren’t the only ones migrating from San Francisco to Oakland. The Times put it aptly: “In the last few years, a number of noteworthy restaurants have opened, some led by chefs who have fled San Francisco’s high rents, and a few of whom put in time at the legendary Chez Panisse in neighboring Berkeley.
Whether a denizen or visitor, Oakland is beckons with pulsing nightlife that includes all manner of restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment venues. One of the city’s centerpieces is Jack London Square, which sits on the waterfront and is home to restaurants, nightclubs, residential and retail mixed use developments, office buildings and a large array of outdoor events and festivals. There’s even a six-story 72,000-square-foot farmers’ market.
The historic Fox Theater was renovated and reopened in 2009. It is now one of the Bay Area’s top music venues, as is Yoshi’s, the combination Japanese restaurant and jazz club.
The Times writes: “The city’s ever more sophisticated restaurants are now being joined by upscale cocktail bars, turning once-gritty Oakland into an increasingly appealing place to be after dark. James Syhabout, the chef who earned Oakland its first (and only) Michelin star two years ago at Commis, followed up in May with the instant-hit Hawker Fare, a casual spot serving Asian street food. Big-name San Francisco chefs are now joining him. Daniel Patterson (of two-Michelin-star Coi) opened the restaurant Plum in late 2010 and an adjacent cocktail bar later, and another restaurant, called Haven.”
That’s just for starters. There’s Oakland Raiders football, Oakland A’s baseball and Golden State Warriors basketball.
Check out the New York Times article 36 Hours in Oakland to plan an exciting weekend in this up and coming city. We also invite you to peruse the Oakland Convention Center website and the Visit Oakland website.
Come stay with us at The Rose Hotel and our front desk will give you directions and guidance to make your sojourn to Oakland a memorable one.
Written by Mike Consol