While the typical SF residents who are so proud of living in the “city” may be looking down upon Oakland, like they do on just about any other city or area nearby SF (and usually for a good reason), I would like to suggest a number of compelling reasons as to why Oakland might be a better choice for living or just spending time:
1. Less Attitude and Way Fewer Douchebags
A bart ride from The Embarcadero to 14th St Station in Oakland is only about 10 minutes away but the difference in people’s demeanor is vast. Every time I take that ride, I feel relieved of seeing friendly people around me with less attitude, and way fewer cellphones, headphones and sunglasses, not to mention that generally, people are also quite more attractive (which is expected, since Oakland’s population is so much darker). People take their time and have normal conversations that don’t revolve around mobile app start ups, marketing, and stock projections. As soon as I return back to SF and come out of the Bart station, I can’t help but roll my eyes at the never-ending, never-stopping professional douchery.
2. Better Climate
It is usually significantly warmer and less windy in Oakland. This means you will be able to sit outside during lunch more often and take more comfortable evening walks (as long as you, of course, don’t branch out too far away from the liveable areas of Oakland, and don’t end up in a gang crossfire).
3. Better Dining
This must be a surprise for anyone who believes that SF is a dining mecca, but finding good meal in a nice, cozy, comfortable environment is not that easy in SF among all the overpriced, greassy, all-glass restaurants, and their ultra-pretentious clientele. Oakland seem to have way more authentic restuarants with more flavorful food, better ambiance, way less attitude, and for much cheaper.
4. Cheaper Rent and Commercial Real Estate, and Ample Parking
If you are crammed into a tiny studio downtown SF, you can probably afford a decent size one bedroom in a nice area of Oakland. If you have a shitty office downtown SF, you can find the same kind of shitty office of half the price downtown Oakland. Parking is generally not an issue in Oakland, and if you are used to parking your car on the street, you won’t have to constantly worry about running from street cleaning as often.
5. Arguably Better Nightlife
If you were to bar hop around Jack London Sq and Lake Merit areas, you might just be surprised how many normal bars with normal people there are around there. In fact it looks like every bar has normal, clean looking non-douchy people, cool decor and good, non-mainstream music. You won’t find that kind of scene in many ares of San Francisco between the fratbody debauchery of the Marina the hipsters of Mission, and the Soma douchebags. Of course, Oakland doesn’t have nearly as many bars and clubs, but if we were to only count the good places, I am not sure at all which cities would have had the upper hand.
Sure, Oakland is no heaven. Between its infamously disturbing ghettos and one of the highest crime rates in the nation, the obnoxious tatted emos and hippies, confused butch lesbians, the fact that it turns into a ghost town in many of its parts by six pm, and its heavily limping economy, it has a lot of space for improvement. At the same time, it seems to be quite underrated, especially by those who don’t know what it has to offer, and who are missing out on, in many ways, a much better, friendler and cooler scene and nightlife than that of SF.