I feel like some days I just want to walk out my door and wander through my city like a tourist. But we rarely are a tourist in our hometowns, are we? Of course, there are very few tourist books on California that list anything in Oakland. San Francisco gets all the glory...and Berkeley has the most interesting stories (see that, I rhymed).
I've often wondered what I would write up about my city in its own tourist listing. Under history, I'd probably talk about how the schools of Oakland have never been segregated. I'd talk about the vibrant Chinese population and the existing Chinatown. I'd want people to hear about how Oakland rallied to the aid of the San Franciscans in 1906 when the earthquake and fire devastated that city. I'd talk about the migration of African American workers during WWII to this area for work in the shipyards. I'd talk about Oakland during the 60s and 70s - the beginnings of the Black Panthers and their work in the city. I'd share the history of Jack London, and discuss what Gertrude Stein meant when she said of her hometown, "There is no there there."
Here would be some highlights for people to visit:
Jack London Square and the Oakland Marina- especially on Sunday for the Farmer's Market.
Lake Merritt and the Grand/Lake Neighborhood
Rockridge (my new neighborhood)
The Museum of California
The Black History Library (okay, not really a museum...)
The Dunsmuir House
Ancient Ways - for anything pagan
Seams to Fit - great plus size consignment
Rockridge Rags - consignment
Market Hall - a little upscale, but sometimes you want to watch the strange behaviors of the upper middle class while shopping for produce.
Farmer Joe's - for a more reasonable (and organic friendly) grocery option.
The Golden Lotus - great veggie Vietnamese food
The Colucci Cafe - Ethiopian.
The Claremont Diner - Good, solid diner food. And cheap.
Zack's Pizza - but don't go on a weekend night...it's packed.
Bay Wolf - If you can afford it, this is a super bet for gourmet food in Oakland.
Favorite Chinese Bakery: Princesse Deliciouse Bakery - cheap and great selection.
Okay - those are my working ideas. HippyChick, BeeDragon & P'tit Loup want to add anything? (Or anyone else who knows Oakland.)
Did I mention I have 17 days left?