Historically overshadowed by its infamous neighbor across the bay, Oakland is finally receiving some well-deserved recognition. Incorporated in 1852, the heart of the East Bay holds about 420,00 people and sits between 19 miles of coastline and wooded, rolling hills. One of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S., Oakland contains several distinct neighborhoods, including the Latino-centered Fruitvale district, family and artist-friendly Rockridge, the peaceful Oakland hills, bustling Uptown, and industrial West Oakland, to name a few. With so many options, there is something for everyone. Oakland has nearly 6000 acres of parks, most notably Joaquin Miller Park, which offers and extensive trail system that links to an additional 1830 acres in Redwood Regional Park. The city’s crown jewel, Lake Merritt, offers boating, a wildlife refuge, walking/running paths and park space. On Saturday mornings, don’t miss the nearby Grand Lake Farmers Market, where you can pick organic produce from numerous California growers. The downtown brims with first-rate cuisine, with new venues arriving seemingly every week. In additional to the excellent Oakland Museum, the city contains numerous art galleries that love to show their wares. Galleries stay open late for the Art Murmur/First Fridays walk. Oakland has two historic theaters. The Fox Theater, renovated and reopened in 2009 as a live music venue and just two blocks down is the Paramount Theatre; an Art Deco stunner that is home to the Oakland Symphony and Oakland Ballet, as well as concerts, live theater and the Friday night Movie Classics series.
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