Oakland Ranks #5 On New York Times’ List Of Places To Visit In 2012

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The New York Times ranked Oakland among the top 45 places to visit in 2012.

Oakland earned the number 5 spot just after London, and before Tokyo.

Although there was some mention of the tensions that erupted during the recent Occupy protests, the east bay city was praised for its revitalized night-life.

Among Oakland’s jewels: the historic Fox Theatre, great music venues, and restaurants like Commis, Hawker Fare and Plum.

Tahoe grabbed the number 30 spot.  San Francisco was not on the list.

Panama ranked number 1.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • fog city

    You gotta be kidding me..What a joke!

    • Mr. Lewis

      No. It’s not a joke.

  • iswhatitis

    I hate to generalize, but Oakland sucks, I worked there for years, you get suckered in believing it will shape up someday because there are some promising aspects but ultimately it will never go anywhere because there are some very violent, ugly people and a “snitches get stitches” mentality that prevents the rest of the population from helping the police and themselves. You can’t embrace “gangsta” culture and fight it at the same time, you have to ultimately pick a side or suffer the consequences.

    • Mr. Lewis

      Working in a city and living there are not one in the same. I am not sure what part of Oakland you worked in, but right, wrong, good or bad, one part is NOT indicative of the entire city.

  • JMH

    You should probably shut up unless you lived there. I grew up in Oakland; went to Howard Elementary, King Estates, then Patten Academy. I’ve lived in the Fruitvale and Diamond as an adult for years. I’ve never been robbed, shot at at, mugged, assaulted or in a gang. Oakland is one of the best cities in the US, bar none. I does have a serious PR problem. There are 54 districts in Oakland; 85% of the crime happens in 3. (That’s a fact, I come from a family of cops, two of which are OPD) So deal with it., haters.

  • Fred

    The NY Times was probably writing about the Oakland of 100 years ago.

  • Fred

    Statistics don’t lie. The Oakland murder rate is the highest in California. Rates for people wounded, assaulted, robbed, etc., are just as high. You can buy drugs anywhere. Oakland in less then half the size of San Francisco, yet far exceeds the crime stats in total numbers!
    The City under its pathetic liberal political leadership (Brown, Dellums, Quan, etc.) licks the boots of the mob. The Occupy anarchists shut down the port of Oakland without any attempt by the city to stop it. Anything can trigger a violent protest by the professional nutcases in Oakland.
    Stop lying! The crime spreads out in far more than three districts! Life locks up after 6pm.

    • Valleyboy

      The crime rate in SF is nothing to be proud of.

      I had to laugh at “Anything can trigger a violent protest by the professional nutcases”, yeah, right, like rioting in SF, burning police cars (DA won’t charge),
      sniper shooting of police officer (DA won’t seek death penalty). In SF, it’s pretty much a protest a week, for and by professional protestors.

      Maybe the “nutcases” moved to Oakland, but I still see quite a lot of professional protesters in SF, way more than I need to.

      Last time I went to a restaurant in SF Mission district, by the time I walked from the drivers door to the curb, somebody was already casing my car, trying to see if there was anything valuable they might steal. They made absolutely no effort to hide their prying either, blatantly coming up to the car and shielding their eyes from the glare so they could literally press their face against the glass window for a better look. And they knew I was right next to them watching them.

      Yeah, SF is a crime free zone. I don’t think so.

    • De BabeeBoyeaux

      Oakland with half the population but three-times the diversity, and 10 times less snobbery, fool!

      • fred

        Three times the diversity?? In what? Being lazy and crazy? Get a job, BabeeBoy.

    • Mr. Lewis

      Understand that many of the things that happen in Oakland are NOT done by actual residents of Oakland; especially the things that make national news. Case in point, neither Oscar Grant nor the officer that fatally shot him reside in Oakland. Many of the people arrested downtown in the aftermath of it all reside in Oakland. The same can be said for the Occupy Oakland folks. Once you grasp that concept, you can begin to remove the fog you have regarding the city itself.

  • babalouey

    Oakland? The killing-capital of California? The New York Times voted it into number 5? Well of course they did!! These two sister cities are like two evil siblings that are cold, hard and indifferent. Or if it’s the new nightlife offered in Oakland it’s probably because of the huge marijuana trade going on in that city. It’s always a party up in here with them!

    • tn

      And that is why the smart restauranteurs are opening in the Oakland area.

  • Tim

    LOL, I live in the bay area and don’t want to go there. I think the writer got confused between the top 100 city not to go to and the top 100 to go to. Top 100 city to get shot at , Oakland would be in the top 20.

  • macbean

    Oakland over San Francisco? You’ve gotta be kidding me!

  • shri

    Oakland????are u f’ing serious? Thats the worst place to visit. Once you visit Oakland, there is no gaurantee that you will go back alive and one piece.Stay away from oakland

    • Mr. Lewis

      With all due respect, there is no guarantee that you will go back alive from ANY city you visit. All it takes is place and time. As someone who grew up in Oakland and works in San Francisco, I’d walk butt naked with one hundred dollar bills tied around my waist before I walk through a hood in The City fully clothed WITH police officers next to me.

  • Jou Baur

    The author is on drugs.
    Very strong drugs, at that.
    I live minutes away from Oakland, and so do many of the other people commenting, I see, and we all agree.
    No effing way!

  • StevenTorrey

    Oakland do have a certain charm… But #5… Have they ever been to Oakland?

  • Max

    This just to show you, never believe what you read especially from NY Times. I live in the Bay Area and we try to avoid going through Oakland. I refuse to even step foot in that city.

    I would agree that Oakland would be your top destination if you want to die walking on the street.

    This is a joke!!!

    • Mr. Lewis

      “I would agree that Oakland would be your top destination if you want to die walking on the street.”

      Hey Max,

      Oakland is NOT Dallas, and you are not a Kennedy. You have nothing to fear. For all the talk about the crime rate, I say to you the same thing I say to everyone else: Ninety-eight percent of the people who get shot in Oakland know why they got shot. It isn’t as if people come into the city and just get bucked one by one. You have sooooooo many people from Oakland, who still come to Oakland, I encourage you to look into the history of the city and see who is from Oakland, and to this day, is till proud to be from here. Bill Russell, Frank Robinson, Tom Hanks, En Vogue, Brian Shaw, Jason Kidd, etc. You might find that you learn some things about Oakland that you didn’t know. But if not, that’s fine as well.

    • tn

      NY Times is much like the Motor Trend magazine- often “Car of The Year” awarded automobiles end up being Consumer Reports magazine’s “Cars To Avoid” in about 3-5 years.

  • Ella

    You know what I have to say to all you haters? Fine, stay in the West Bay. Shorter waits at the best restaurants in the Bay Area for me.

    I think these comments just go to show how much ignorance is out there. Oakland has rough parts, and nice parts. That’s pretty much how it is in any, uh, real city. Certainly true in London or NY. Maybe not in a precious 7 square mile city that is a playground for the super rich.

    I hella prefer my Land of Oaks to SF. We are newsmakers (for good and bad). We have some of the best restaurants anywhere, some great venues for music, and also some of the most beautiful parks and neighborhoods in the Bay Area. But, as said, I’m not interested in convincing SF snobs if you are jealous and too narrow to come really see what this city is about. Oh, I know, you have to cross a bridge.

  • dboy

    I’m with Ella. I don’t get all the hate. It’s called the Bay AREA. If Richmond or god-forbid Tiburon was listed as #5 I wouldn’t be hating on it so much. This is just sour grapes and makes all ya’ll have to confront and face-up to your fears. Oakland is the only Bay Area city making history these days – for better or worse.

    • Valleyboy

      Oh yeah, Oakland is making history. The historical First Asian Mayor of Oakland.

      Norm Mineta was mayor of San Jose in 1972.

      Welcome Oakland to the 20th century !!!

  • MrOaland

    Please don’t listen to these ignorant and jealous Haters from San Francisco and other areas. Oakland is a great place with the best weather in the country, a beautiful Lake Merritt in the middle do downtown, a great waterfront in Jack London Square, wonderful theaters in the Fox, Paramount, Grand Lake and Woodminister Amphitheater. You throw in the wonderful Oakland Museum of California and the awesome Oakland Zoo along with the great regional parks like Redwood, Chabot, Sibley and you have so much to see and do. Oakland has a 1700 ft peak called Grizzly Peak with 5 bridge Bay Views. SF’s highest point is 900ft. Oakland also has wonderful charming commercial districts with great restaurants,bars, art galleries etc. Don’t listen to the ignorant haters from SF who are jealous and feel threatened anytime anything positive is written about Oakland. It’s a great city. Come enjoy Lake Merritt, Jack London Square, SF, Uptown, City Center, Frank Ogawa Plaza, Rockridge, Piedmont Ave.,Temescal, Lakeshore, Grand Ave., Montclair, Fruitvale, Mormon Temple, Gondola rides on beautiful Lake Merritt, horse back riding and hiking in our beautiful parks, and many more activities in the city with the best climate in the country. Let the disgruntled SF snobs wallow in the urine and stench of the Tenderloin, Mid Market and 6th street. Don’t believe their lies about Oakland

    • Bud

      Seconded! I have lived in Oakland for 14 years since I moved here from Virginia and I love it. It’s much cleaner and prettier than SF. I love SF too, some of these haters have an axe to grind though. Too bad…they are missing out.

  • MrOakland

    The “SF” is a typo in the above comment. I neglected to mention that these haters don’t even know what Oakland is. They think that “Oakland” is just the high crime areas of the city. It’ be like me saying “don’t go to San Francisco” because neighborhoods like the Tenderloin, Mid Market, 6th street, Soma, Civic Center, Western Addition, Mission, Visatation Valley, Bayview are dangerous and crime ridden.

    The fact is that 92% of Oakland’s violent crime occurs in only 5 of the 35 police beats in the city. These people are ignorant and have no idea what they’re talking about.

    As a matter of fact, anyone going to crimemapping.com will see that downtown SF has much more crime than downtown Oakland. According to crimemapping.com, SF averages around 2400 crimes every six days while Oakland averages about 400 crimes every six days. These are facts. If you go to crimemapping.com it will break SF into three different sections because the program can only handle 800 crimes on the map at one time and SF has 2400.

    These jokers are clueless and ignorant about anything in Oakland. Don’t listen to them. As I said previously, Oakland is a wonderful city with a great climate, fabulous views, a great zoo, a wonderful museum, a magnificent space and science center, great hiking, wonderful theaters, the best restaurants in the Bay Area, a great bar and pub scene along Telegraph in the Uptown District, great historic architecture in Old Oakland, Preservation Park, and Frank Ogawa Plaza.

    Don’t listen to these ignorant and hateful individuals. The fact of the matter is that if you stay away from certain neighborhoods in deep East Oakland and parts of West Oakland you’re much safer in Oakland then you are in downtown SF and many other SF neighborhoods. Come to Oakland and you’ll have a great time while enjoying wonderful views, hiking, food, and architecture in the best climate in the United States.

  • LC Loggins

    Oakland should be # 1 on the list!..We have great weather, a sensible, well-balanced citizenry characterized by being non-judgmental, liberal to the ideas of personal expression and having an innate tolerance of diversity. I give kudos of the NY Times for taking the broad view of places to live, knowing full well that Oakland is beset with the problems affecting all urban areas, and more so, that there are more ways than one to characterize a city depending on your point-of-view; as to whether you are a stark racist-hater (like most who judiciously reply whenever Oakland is mentioned, even worse than the blogger-sphere’s putrid responses whenever Obama is mentioned), a bedroom community snob, bland suburbanite, or just another uninformed rabble-banterer who refuses to accept that Oakland is the engine that drives Alameda County and the Eastbay area and as such, stands regally proud in accepting this honor. An honor seen so clearly from afar, while being so callously obscured by those people who are thoroughly intractable in their need to ostracize our fair city, as their posts here show.

  • MrOakland

    You’re absolutely right LC. Also, don’t forget the provincial SF attitudes which are ingrained in the SF centric media and are spewed out with slanted two tiered crime reporting such as reporting SF crime by neighborhoods while reporting crime in Oakland with a broad brushed “Oakland,” bundling Oakland crime when crime occurs in spates while not doing the same for SF, getting uninformed and usually uneducated neighborhood residents to denigrate “Oakland” with unflattering comments based on the entire city when they should be speaking to their neighborhood experiences, and so on.

    This is what feeds the ignorance of the haters above. This is what marginalizes a wonderful city with great weather and so much to offer.

  • Sandy Weeks

    I would like to follow the money trail from the Oakland Travel and Visitors Bureau on this one. Less lines at restaurants is not the criteria I use to visit a city…..news flash..”there is no there there”

    • Valleyboy

      You might consider also following the money trail for the numerous SF restaurants and tourist attractions that are “famous”. It takes a lot of publicity to generate tourist traffic, and if SF restaurants had to live from the revenue of SF residents they would starve.

      Don’t get too wrapped up by the commercials for SF attractions. Just because you don’t know any better than follow the ads doesn’t make SF great. It makes it what you know about.

  • Ella

    News flash: when Gertrude Stein said “there’s no there there” about Oakland, she meant that she found no traces of her childhood and therefore did not feel nostalgia for the city.

    • De BabeeBoyeaux

      Kudos, Ella!

  • Valleyboy

    Oakland has a lot to offer. The crime in SF is generally higher in SF spots that I would go, compared to Oakland spots that I would go.

    Better restaurants than SF. Oakland makes restaurants for the well heeled residents of Oakland Hills, Orinda, Piedmont etc. SF makes restaurants for tourists.

    SF Zoo sucks. Oakland has the best zoo in the Bay Area. It’s not even close.

    Berkley Rep offers something close to twice as many shows in two theaters compared to ACT. Not as many as the valley, but still a lot better than SF.

    Of course, this is a list of places to visit, not the best places to live.

    I think I’ll skip both of those places and hang out in San Jose.
    I’ll take the better weather, better jobs, less crime, and great although not famous, restaurants, theaters etc. Just like Oakland, the valley restaurants are for locals, not tourists, so there isn’t any need to do the wild publicity that SF restaurants have to do to get tourists to go there. If you’re in SF and haven’t heard of them or been to them, it’s no skin off our nose. We don’t need tourists from SF to come to the Valley. But not the other way round.

  • Valleyboy

    I love all the provincial SF snobs making rude comments about Oakland !!

    Why ? Because 60% of SF residents have been there less than 5 years. In 5 years, they’ll start wanting a wife and a house and nice things instead of coming out of a restaurant that had a placed article in a restaurant magazine: that’s why it’s “trendy”, because it placed an article in a magazine, They’ll get tired of having their car vandalized, stepping over the homeless guy passed out in a pool of puke in front of their house, or the other homeless guy spitting on him because they didn’t give them enough money. They’ll realize the mentally ill guy in butt floss hitting on men in Delores Park may not be the best place for their kid to play. They”ll realize they’ll never be able to afford a decent house in SF, and they will always be second class citizens because of this.

    And where will they go when they can’t cut it in SF ?


    • Nice Person

      And they’ll get tired of the liberal racism in SF. You may not notice it at first…but soon those white liberals will “show” you that they don’t want you(person of color) in their City (except the tenderloin, HP, fillmore…ect)

  • Progressive Girl

    Uuugh did the writer NOT research the arrest rate in Oakland. You go there on vacation, and will sure enough leave on probation. Oakland has it’s beauty and attractions…..but no. 5???? no way!

    • De BabeeBoyeaux

      The problem with the narrow view is that it overlooks certain crimes and criminals in support of your biased contentions,,,,, look at those arrested in Oakland, and see how many look like you!…then do a search of sexual predators that live in your immediate neighborhood, and see how many of those look like you, your father, brother, and neighbor….you greatest chance of being a victim of crime comes from your priest, coach, director, teacher or family member, open your mind because, ignorance – No Way!

  • ArtBunker

    All I can say is (and yes, I did live there), any city that can garnish this much hot debate on its merits has got something going on.

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