Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No there there

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)
Fruitvale District

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'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?


Lord Bargain said...

I like the sound of Zack's Pizza. I'll go there, please.

Hippy Chick said...

Don't forget your old neighborhood of Piedmont and the women's bookstore formerly called Mama Bears whose name escapes me. :)

Matt said...

Makes me want to visit.

Ethel said...

I need to wander like a tourist. There are so many cool things I haven't done, just because they are "here." You make me want to visit Oakland. :)
P.S. I have moved. The blog that was formerly The A Files is now The Ethel Experience.

P'tit-Loup said...

Haaaaa! Cafe Colluci, add five stars from me plus another five from the Kid! We never go up your way without visiting them! I don't know Oakland all that well, truly, but I must mention Yoshi, although the drinks and food is pricey, the tickets for concerts are usually a bargain and they bring very interesting Jazz shows. (although the one we saw together was not my favorite unfortunately).

Aravis said...

I've always wanted to visit San Francisco. Now Oakland has been added to the list. Thanks for the info! :0)

Ka said...

17 days!! Yaaaayy! I'm so excited for you! Are you going to blog while you're there?

(P.S. I've changed the URL on my blog to, for reasons detailed therein. Just so you don't think I've abandoned you or that something awful has happened!)

MrMystic said...

We are all tourists in the journey of life......