Oakland's jewel is Lake Merritt. Without it, this would be just another 'burb of San Francisco.
There's bird-watching, people-watching and general strolling in a great environment.
There are more people to hang out with on Piedmont Avenue, Rockridge (College Ave) and Jack London Square.
There's more natural beauty in East Bay Regional Park and, surprisingly intriguing: Mountain View Cemetery where SF's elite from the last century have been laid to rest.
I like to watch all the late-night activity by the port / loading docks down the long waterfront from Jack London Square all the way to Berkeley.
The waterfront can be very pretty & peaceful, yet still busy at night.
Fondest memory: Walking the Jack London boardwalk and sitting up late one night in the Waterfront Plaza watching them load a huge cargo freighter.
Sounds boring, (maybe it IS) but it was intriguing watching how the huge rail cartons are trucked;
then the whole truck lifted up into the belly of the ship by gigantic cranes like the ones in the pic;
where the truck drives to the location inside the ship to unload the carton;
finally the empty truck is lifted & unloaded by the crane back down to the dock so it can drive off for another carton.
This was repeated over and over all night until a mind-boggling (tons & tons) number of cartons had been placed onboard for a voyage to somewhere in Asia / Pacific.
It was interesting to watch, and the impression it gave me of the scope and size of international trade really put things into perspective & made me feel rather small.
I used to get really restless at night and would need to get out. The Freeways in the bay area all loop around. So, you can go out on one and come back on another.
One cool phenomenon I liked to see was how the bay would glow like a big halogen lamp right before the sun broke the horizon. It was kind of eerie and looked very cool at the same time.
I usually drove around and crossed over on either the Oakland/SF Bay Bridge or the San Mateo bridge and come back on the other. If I couldn't sleep, I used to go out in my little car with the windows open bumping Too $hort for 2 or 3 hours then come back when I was tired enough to go to sleep.
What's it look like right now? (broadband connections only.... have patience )
LIVECam Oakland Observatory and Berkeley
What's the weather gonna' be like when I get there tomorrow?
Go to Chinatown and eat!!Ride a bicycle around Lake Merrit!!Go and see a movie while drinking a beer and eating pizza at the Parkway Theatre!!
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Oakland was watching the sunset over San Francisco Bay - it really is beautiful! Oh, I also have very fond memories of playing foos ball on a really old table (so I was told) in a Mexican taqueria - I never knew a game could be so much fun! The table had much more character than the one pictured here.
Explore some of the neighborhoods. See the historic architecture downtown, stroll down College Ave, get a cup of coffee on Piedmont Ave, see a movie at the Grand Lake Theater, get a burrito in Fruitvale, then head up to Montclair and watch the sun set over San Francisco Bay.
Oakland's neighborhoods are the cities heart and soul; and because of the area's decentralised nature, they are also where most of the action is.
(photo: a residential street off of Piedmont Avenue)
Take care the schedule of the transportation,usually it will takes long time to wait a bus and they will work off very early in a day(except bart)
Fondest memory: When i first time came here,The Oakland Tribune Building which shows on picture impressed me,it's the symbol of city.
SustainLane.com has called Oakland a frontrunner for having good green and sustainable waste and energy policies.
Here's what they say:
"Residents of the ethnically diverse port city of Oakland enjoy sunny days, clean air (thanks to Pacific breezes), locally-produced food, and public transportation ridership of over 20 percent. Since Mayor Ron Dellums took office in January of 2007, the city has also adopted a "Zero Waste by 2020" plan, launched an "Oil Independence Oakland by 2020" task force, and banned plastic bags and styrofoam takeout containers. Oakland has one of the highest solid waste diversion rates in the country and an energy matrix that’s more than ten percent renewable. The city has partnered with the University of California Berkeley to study how to source 30 percent of its food locally, and it's part of an alliance with San Francisco, Berkeley, and other Bay Area communities to jointly get half of their energy from renewable sources by 2017. Two areas that still need work? Congestion and housing affordability. Finally, much like Detroit, Memphis or Baltimore, once Oakland gets its crime rate under control, it could be as desirable a place to live as its cross-bay neighbor, San Francisco." -- http://www.sustainlane.com/us-city-rankings/cities/oakland
In addition there are lots of green local businesses as well as diverse groups of people that consider the environment as they go about their daily tasks. I was surprised to see Oakland being considered at the top, but then after considering how people that live and work there think, I'm not really surprised. There's still a lot of neighborhoods that need to clean up. But, it looks like Oaktown is off to a great start. San Francisco (#2 on the list) and the rest of the Bay Area do a great job of keeping the environment in mind, so it's good to see the 2 main cities in the top 10 out of the most populous cities in the United States.
To really enjoy this city you should be able to appreciate its character for the city is neither pretty nor particularily special. However there you can find great bookstores that are not as popular as the ones in neighboring Berkeley and jazz clubs better than in San Francisco.
Fondest memory: Browsing in the 24-hour bookstore where I foound the greates, antique books. Talking with the barista over the busy esspresso counter in the convention district.
Driving through parts of Oakland with my boyfriend and his sister. He was born there and they showed me the house where they lived, where their parents worked, the area where they grew up and I got to hear some childhood memories.
East 14th street, now called International Boulevard ... people seem to wonder how they came up with that name.
East Ocean Fish Company in Alameda
See the beautiful Victorian houses in Alameda
Walk on the beach along the San Francisco Bay
Fondest memory: I live in Alameda, and it was wonderful here in the days before the bay was filled in.
Favorite thing: San Francisco's Crosstown Rivals sits across the bay and is connected to the City via the mightly Oakland Bay Bridge and the BART and serves as a major transportation hub (via the Oakland International Airport) and trade center for the entire region and is also the principal city of the Bay Area Region known as the East Bay. Oakland also host a number of attractions, dining and nightlife spots at downtown and areas along piedmont avenue but is known in the bay area unforunately for it's high crime rate.
Favorite thing: Caught this bird by the water as it was startled from its perch. Likely, it was after the pigeons or rats at the water's edge. These hunters are more normally found in the east bay hills
Favorite thing: Yes, a baby frog... as tiny as a fingernail. Cute, huh? I was walking thru a field and thought there were a lot of bugs hopping around me when I bent down to find this little surprise.
Be careful,Oakland has it own crime rate,but don't worry,just keep yourself at a safe place after 8:00pm at night.
Fondest memory: You can see the physical feature of Oakland like hill steeply,but lovely.