Oakland, I Love You!

So I moved, quit my job, got a new job, quit new job, got married, and am now moving again (this time across the country), and starting a new job.

I haven’t been adventuring around Big Sur since moving to Oakland. I dearly miss Big Sur, but I’ve fallen in love with Lake Merritt, and Mt. Tamalpias (post coming soon). I live within walking distance of the lake (at least for the next two weeks), and it’s wonderful. There’s Fairy Land, the Lake Chalet, the Botanical Gardens and bonsai collection, and the park itself is just beautiful. My favorite thing about Lake Merritt is that it’s actually not a lake, but an estuary. So every time I go walk around the lake my husband is terrified I’m going to fall in because I walk right on the edge and stare into the water. The algae, fishes, invertebrates, and birds that you’ll see in and around Lake Merrit are just about the very last things I ever would have expected smack in the middle of Oakland.

Along side the exceptionally large Canada goose population that seems to be resident and non-migratory, you’ll see more black-crowned night herons than anywhere else in the bay area. They just happened to be one of my favorite birds, with their compact little bodies and long white feathers decorating their heads.

I’ve only been living in Oakland for about 4 months, but I’m sad to be leaving this city. Oakland still has a bad reputation, and it’s not completely unjustified. Luckily, that bad reputation keeps the rent lower than San Francisco, which in and of itself may have contributed to Oakland’s gentrification. As San Francisco gets more and more expensive, the East Bay gets more and more attractive to young professionals and artists alike. Oakland is probably the most hipster city in the bay area – which has it’s ups and downs. The downs being it’s full of hipsters, the upside being it’s full of hipsters and their incredibly cool restaurants and businesses. There are some really fantastic restaurants here, and I am most sad that 4 months is just not enough time to eat my way through my neighborhood, let alone the entire city. And talk about vegan/vegetarian food! Oh, so much meat-free goodness. There always seems to be vegetarian food wherever I travel, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. Oakland’s vegetarian food is done right. I have seriously not had anything that wasn’t worth eating. If you’re vegan/vegetarian you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Well, there’s too many good things to say about Oakland to put them all in one post. It boils down to this: If you live in the Bay Area – you should come spend some time in Oakland. If you’re planning a trip to the Bay Area – you should spend at least a day in Oakland. And you won’t experience Oakland fully unless you eat some delicious food at a spectacular hipster establishment, check out Lake Merritt, and imbibe in some locally made wine, beer, or spirits.


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