Span Francisco; Want That San Fran Vibe without Paying Top Dollar? Check out Oakland, California's Other City by the Bay

Sunday Mirror (London, England), October 9, 2016 | Go to article overview

Span Francisco; Want That San Fran Vibe without Paying Top Dollar? Check out Oakland, California's Other City by the Bay


Byline: SAM ADAMS

The unique mix of sights and experiences on offer in San Francisco is world famous. From the awesome scale of the Golden Gate Bridge to the fascinating history of island prison Alcatraz, from the buzzing food scene to hip neighbourhoods such as the Mission District and Russian Hill - the City by the Bay has the lot.

But, as in other US tourist hotspots, downtown San Francisco can be a bit pricey, with the cost of many of the central hotels and restaurants stretching the budget of the average traveller.

Those with less cash to splash are increasingly looking to less fashionable neighbourhoods for somewhere to stay and play, and the adjacent city of Oakland is the more edgy, up-and-coming (but most importantly more affordable) destination the Bay Area needs.

Just across the Bay Bridge, a mere 15 minutes from downtown San Francisco by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transport) train, Oakland's once rundown Victorian townhouses and industrial buildings are being renovated and colonised by artists, foodies and musicians who have left its more illustrious neighbour to find lower rents and more space.

WHERE TO STAY

Whether you want chic or just plain functional, there are decent hotels in Oakland to choose from. The Oakland Marriott City Center (directly opposite a BART station) offers rooms from $169 per night. For those wanting something a little more individual, try the Waterfront Hotel, which boasts views directly over Oakland harbour from $179 a night. marriott.com, jdvhotels.com

GETTING AROUND

The BART fare from downtown Oakland to central San Francisco is an affordable $3.45. bart.gov/tickets Or you can dodge the commuters by hiring a bike from $15 an hour or $32

TUCKING IN

Sam devours a night at the museum a day from Bay Area Bike Rentals in downtown Oakland and take the scenic route to San Francisco, or just take a ride around the beautiful Bay Area. bayareabikerentals.net

DRINK IN SOME CULTURE

Oakland's Museum of California (entry $15.95) is not just a place to go and look at old things, you can also enjoy a colourful night out there. When I visited the museum, a remarkable concrete, semi-subterranean place, there was a cannabis exhibition on in one of the galleries. Visitors could enjoy viewing while swigging one of the city's many local beers and wines. How civilised! On Friday nights locals gather at the museum's open air auditorium to eat, drink and even dance the salsa. …

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