Oakland on a budget

San Francisco, USA

7 places
Oakland on a budget

Flora Tsapovsky

Oakland to San Francisco is what Brooklyn is to Manhattan - the cooler, slightly crummier, younger sister. For being the up-and-coming new town on the block, Oakland has pockets of affordability and shabby-chic charm. Get in on the hype!

Open only few days a week and boasting a long line around lunch hours, Betty is a popular destination thanks to its famous fried chicken sandwich, as well as the strawberry shortcakes and the occasional, and very very sloppy, sloppy joes. Worth the wait, and get to know some cool locals while you're at it.

Bright and inviting, Esqueleto's space if full of talent - local designer jewelry, unusual household items, gifts and artwork mix under the careful observation of curator and owner Lauren Wolf. Fashionistas come here to look for an Instagram moment, and the staff is always chic and helpful.

A long walk down of Oakland's busiest streets is a great lesson in gentrification, culture and urbanism - the views and atmosphere change every couple of blocks, from upscale Temescal to run-down midtown and downtown. Plus, some excellent coffee and donuts on the way - watch for Golden Gate donuts on Telegraph and 42nd.

For its humble size, this museum - conveniently located on the lake - is excellent. The exhibit dedicated to California's history, on the bottom floor, is riveting - spend some time talking to volunteers and take your time exploring. The modern exhibitions change, but always stay on-point.

Meet the perfect urban lake - walkable, compact and totally adorable. Lake Merrit is Oakland's gem, available for all and sunny almost every day of the year. On the weekends, the farmers market by Grand theater becomes a hot spot, but the lake is open foe exploration - and plenty of people watching - any day of the week.

This historic cinema is still here - up for renovation, but full of old-school charm in the meantime. Being one of Oakland's most recognizable images, the Grand is always popular, so go for the affordable matinee - you'll be able to soak in the atmosphere on your own. And make sure you take a picture of the marquee - it's a must.

The sushi here is truly great and fresh, but come for the happy hour cocktails and you'll be hooked forever. 6$ mojitos and sake flights, or 5$ martinis, get everyone in the mood and the otherwise serene place becomes busy and social. Strike a conversation with a friendly stranger and maybe, as as night snack, order one of the incredible rolls.

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