Before you chuckle at the humorous nickname of Oakland, California (USA), known that it hearkens back to John Krich and his 1979 book “Bump City: Winners and Losers in Oakland”. The aforementioned nickname may not be recognised by many people nowadays but it used to be as common as the flu back in the 70s and the 80s. With a population of over 400,000, it is one of the smaller cities of California (along with sister-cities such as Sacramento). Stretching upon an area of 144 square kilometres, Oakland is – in spite of the previous statement – the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area. In fact, it is the 8th largest city in California (after Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento and Long Beach) and the 45th largest city in the country. Incorporated in 1852, Oakland is renowned for its eco-friendliness and its sustainability. Also, it is the most ethnically diverse major city in the entire United States of America.
Oakland is an excellent place to visit due to its agreeable weather. Located within the bounds of the Mediterranean climate zone, it succumbs only to mild temperature fluctuations. What this means is that summers are usually hot and dry whilst winters are mild and wet. With over 260 sunny days each year, Oakland has managed to become the most desirable major city in terms of climate. This means that you can visit it all year long and not worry about clothes too thick or days too cloudy. Maritime fogs do tend to occur, however, so do keep an eye on the forecast. Oh, and pack some protection against mosquitoes because they do tend to be frequent during summertime.
Oakland is served by the eponymous Oakland International Airport located 16 kilometres south of the Downtown area. Owned by the Port of Oakland, it funnels more than 11 million passengers annually. A focus city for the Southwest Airlines and the Allegiant Air and a hub for FedEx Express, it works with juggernauts like the Alaska Airlines, the Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines also. Boasting with a total of four asphalt runways, the airport handles as much as 120 departures during weekdays. Its top destinations include Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego but other routes are well-trodden as well. Cheap flights are also available, so make sure you always plan your trip according to your budget. Oh, and don’t forget about the Coliseum–Oakland International Airport automated guideway transit system line if you are wondering what you should use to get to the city if taxis are not an option.
Oakland adheres to its eco-friendly reputation with more than 17% of its local families being car-free. Additionally, more than 24% of the people living there use public transportation, walk or cycle. Thousands of bicycle parking facilities have been installed and lanes dedicated to them are also abundant, so if you wish to take up with the standards of Oakland, you can most easily do so. Rent a bike or walk if you have the time for the local beauty is well worth your time.
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:
First and foremost, you should visit one of the most prominent establishments of the city: the Oakland Museum of California. Located at 1000 Oak Street, it is dedicated to the history, the art, and the natural-science-related topics of the surroundings of the city (including the rest of California). With a massive collection of more than 1.8 million items, it should attract everyone who is interested in delving deeper into the meaning of the local culture. Established in 1969, it perfectly reflects the biodiversity of Oakland with its 100,000 research specimens.
Next up, you should consider hopping over to the Oakland Zoo located in the south-eastern region of the city. Established in 1922, the zoo is populated by more than 440 animals and stretches upon an area of 40 hectares. Renowned for its care for its elephants (they let them roam free), the establishment strives to provide habitats as natural as possible for the other animals as well. A section that you might be interested in if you are travelling with your children is “The Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo” section occupying 12,000 square metres of exhibition space. Here, you can find all sorts of interactive educational items that are specifically designed to acquaint the young with the wild world.
Have you ever read “White Fang”? Well, if you haven’t then we urge you to do so for Jack London’s legacy is immortalised in the very city that you are visiting. What we are talking about is the renowned Jack London Square entertainment centre located upon the waterfront of Oakland. Owned by the Port of Oakland, it harbours the San Francisco Bay Ferry dock (if you are interested in braving the sea, this would be the place to start at), the celebrated Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon (also known as Jack London’s Rendezvous – the cabin he used to live in), restaurants, bars and other establishments that can do nothing else but impress you. The place is easily reachable since it contains an Amtrak station.
Not only culturally significant but also eco-friendly, Oakland is a wonderful place to visit overall. The local food is great (not to mention the splendid sea-food) and prices are not sky-high. Enjoy your stay and do not forget about “White Fang” (wink)! Safe travels!s