Being a Northern California native, my love for Oakland developed in college when I found myself living in close proximity to the Bay Area. Later... upon returning from travels in West Africa, Oakland became a refuge in which I found not only "my people", but also traces of the motherland. It is one of the first excursions I recommend to those who are visiting San Francisco.
Welcome to Oakland/ Wokeland/ Oakanda: a territory of fierce counterculture, progressive political movements, and colorful streets. An unmissable part of the San Francisco bay area, this city is worth a visit if you-like me- often find yourself in an Angela Davis-inspired, afrocentric liberation kind of mood. I must warn you that visiting this important site of African American history may have you feeling some type of way. Known for being the city in which the black panthers were founded, Tupac's old stomping ground, and events as unfortunate as the Barbeque Becky scandal...Oakland is a crossroads of gentrification and eccentric black and African influenced culture. Like many areas of the Bay, its demographics and history have been fundamentally shaped by immigration from a diverse array of countries. Importantly, Oakland remains a hub for black pride and new-age rebellion. Equal parts intimidating and enchanting, this place is a landmark in Northern California.
GENERAL TIPS. - Don't plan your visit for a Monday, because many of the coolest restaurants are closed. Especially on MLK day, when (in true civil rights fashion) most business owners roll up the streets and lock their doors. On the other hand, weekends are great times to catch events and festivals going on around town. - Shoutout to the Courtyard Marriott- If you decide to stay in Oakland I highly recommend the Courtyard Marriott on Broadway. The staff are super friendly and cool, and will go above and beyond help you out and give you recommendations. - No matter the season, the Bay Area fog will roll in at night and it will be cold. Enjoy bouts of sun, but be prepared for a mediterranean climate-essentially all of the time.
OTHER THINGS TO DO. - Smash the patriarchy by getting a tattoo at an entirely womxn/queer run tattoo shop: Diving Swallow tattoo - See a show at the Fox Theater—a large concert hall that has big-name acts coming through quite regularly - Hang out at Hive Oakland - Stroll through Second Saturday— a market with vendors of every variety (food, clothes, art). Held on the second Saturday of every month on the waterfront at Jack London Square.