Oakland is buzzing. It has shrugged off the stigma occasioned by the comment, in Gertrude Stein's autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, that "there's no there there." Whatever might have been the case in the past, there is plenty of "there" here now. Downtown Oakland has emerged a vibrant and stylish place filled with hot spots to discover and enjoy. It is loosely separated into what is referred to by Oakland locals as Uptown Oakland and Old Oakland.
Uptown Oakland has a thriving art community that showcases its enthusiasm the first Friday of the month during Oakland Art Murmur, an open art walk where you can meet artists, listen to live music, and celebrate creativity while catching up with friends. The Oakland Museum of California also offers exhibits featuring local culture (free admission every second Sunday of the month).
Right in the middle of Lakeside, Downtown, and Jack London is Oakland's vibrant and colorful Chinatown. This is not some tatty collection of cheap souvenir shops. It's a living, breathing, vital community filled with bakeries, restaurants, and sidewalks jammed with shoppers and visitors. Public festivals in the area include the annual Lunar New Year Bazaar established in 2001, and the StreetFest.
While there are still a few single family homes, mostly relics of the Victorian era, most of the available housing within Downtown, Uptown, Old Oakland and Chinatown's real estate is made up of condos built since coming of the 21st century. Easily accessible to two BART stations, Interstates 80 and 980, as well as bus lines, this area of Oakland is a great choice for those who want to live in a modern condominium in the midst of a commercial area reflecting diverse cultural traditions.
In all, Downtown Oakland is a soulful, energetic place, and its energetic diversity is sprouting chic bistros, street festivals, lively entertainment, bustling farmers markets, and alternative charter schools.
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