Los Angeles—Hollywood, specifically—may be the center of the film world, but don't discount the significance of work emanating from just up the California coast. Oakland's thriving music and arts scene, especially in recent years, has been responsible for telling important (and entertaining) stories on the silver screen and in pop culture. A trip to the San Francisco Bay Area offers the opportunity to experience the city that shaped and inspired some of the talent and stories behind the art.
The city has produced countless actors, directors, and musicians. You can see Oakland's influence expressed in some of the award-winning work as artists attempt to reconcile and define the city that shaped them, producing socially-aware art that shines a light on the city's charms and troubles.
It's safe to say if you make your way to any of the dozens of clubs to listen to live music, explore local art galleries, or attend an event like the Oakland International Film Festival, you won't be disappointed. You may even see someone who's about to get their big break. Even a simple walk around Oakland allows visitors to explore incredible murals and street art that dots the city.
So hit Jack London Square, a center for entertainment and shopping. Get your outdoors fix at Lake Merritt. Each are easily accessible from the airport, which sits south just off the waters of San Francisco Bay. After that, considering taking a trip around the city to see the places and neighborhoods that shaped the artists of Oakland, places like Fruitvale, East Oakland, not to be confused with East Bay, which is also worthy of a visit, Seminary, and beyond.
Experience it for yourself.