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Visiting Oakland for first time

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Visiting Oakland for first time

I live in the U.K and I will be visiting Oakland very soon for a couple of weeks, the primary reason being that I'm a huge Golden State Warriors fan and I want to see them play live.

I know a few people who have visited San Francisco but none of them traveled to Oakland because they were "warned off" due to high levels of crime. So I was wondering if it's just a negative reputation due to a couple of areas within Oakland or if it really is as bad as I've heard.

Where I live isn't exactly perfect, it's mostly safe but has enough rough areas that I feel comfortably street smart, so I'm not overly concerned about things like pick pockets or even muggings, I've been in enough places to know it's best to keep eyes on the back of your head as a tourist.

I'm more concerned about gang culture and the loose gun control, I don't want to get murdered for crossing into the wrong street while wearing the wrong color of clothing lol.

Essentially I'm trying to decide whether I would be better staying in San Francisco and using the BART rail system to get into Oakland for game nights, or if I should stay in Oakland and use the BART rail system to go into San Francisco during the days where games aren't on (to do touristy stuff etc). I would prefer to do the latter

Any and all advice is appreciated.

Oakland, California
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11. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

Oakland is safe (as far as any city can be safe) unless you choose to go to the ghetto at night. But then again, would you avoid LA because of Skid Row?

Oakland doesn't have bums sleeping EVERYWHERE on the streets (like downtown SF) and doesn't smell of urine (like downtown SF). There is a mild smell of weed in the air, but that's true for SF as well.

The number of thugs outside ghetto would be the same as in SF. Plus SF attracts '30-k millionaires' (local chavs sort of, but who can potentially have a gun on them) from all of Bay Area and from outside of it as well. Oakland gangbangers by far and large are staying in a couple of neighborhoods, and very few are coming from elsewhere.

No one will confuse you with a gang member and there are no wrong colors for you to wear, this is simply ludicrous. You'd have a better chance of getting your @rse kicked in Liverpool by wearing Everton Jersey at night around Anfiled or vice versa. Or walking into a Chelsea pub in an Arsenal jersey. Not that you should be wearing Chelsea or Arsenal jersey anyway... Unless you have neck tattoos and wear t-shirts 3 sizes too large and the waistband of your pants and around you knees, no one will confuse your for a gang member.

Can you accidentally get shot? Yes. German tourist was shot by some teen gangbangers last year. IN SAN FRANCISCO. I've seen two teenage ganbangers being arrested by a bunch of armed cops (one dropped a gun during arrest right in front of me) on a tram I was on. Tram surrounded by cruisers, cops, the lot... AGAIN, THAT WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO. I've seen a drug dealer being shot at point blank range by another one. IN SAN FRANCISCO - right in front of Golden Gate Park entrance at Fell and Stanyan.

Does that mean it's a wild west in SF with people dodging bullets on the way to a saloon? Come on, seriously.

Yes, US is more dangerous than UK, and yes mostly due to guns, but Oakland (or SF for that matter) would not be more dangerous than any other place (unless you choose to spend time within certain circles in certain part of town).

That being said, a couple days would be enough.

Oakland just doesn't have nearly as much of interesting touristy things within a short distance as SF. Lake is nice, a plenty of good restaurants, bars, etc, a few old buildings (old by California standards of course). Lake is nice and all...

You can check out Lake Merritt, hang out in Uptown, Downtown and Rockridge , go to Jack London Square and maybe Chabot Space Center, check out Berkeley... It's a good place to live (East Bay in general is, except for a few bad neighborhoods), but really not a very interesting place to visit.

Basically, imagine you're an American Bolton fan (for whatever strange reason, but you're Warriors fan from UK, so...). Would you spend 2 weeks in Bolton (safe or unsafe - not even the point) or in Manchester?

Or would you spend 2 weeks in Long Island if you were a New York Islanders fan (instead of staying in Manhattan and commuting to the games)? I mean NYC is many times bigger, but you get the point.

And in that scenario lets say that Long Island is much safer than NYC, but is it worth spending 2 weeks there on you foreign vacation? I really doubt it.

Plus frankly even for SF 2 weeks is definitely an overkill (in my opinion - others will differ of course).

The games are not every day, so if I were you I'd maybe stay in Marriott in Oakland for a night or two and in SF for a few days. Better in North Beach than Union Square. North Beach is not that close to any of BART stations, but it's still a walking distance, plus cabs are cheap. I don't know about hotel prices, but it's much quieter and cleaner than anywhere near Union Square or Market St in general. There are crowds during the day at Fisherman's Wharf, but hotels are further from the water, plus it's not busy at all late at night.

Either way getting to Oracle is not a problem. A bit more expensive from SF, but then again you'd be going to SF otherwise from Oakland during the day, so it's all the same money-wise.

If I were you, I'd spend the rest of the time exploring northern and central California a little (you'd need a rental, but IMO it's worth it.) You can spend a couple of days in Santa Cruz, go to a national park or two. I'd honestly fly to LA or San Diego for at least of couple of days. It's not expensive and well worth it.

Even if you're here during 7 home games in March it's still only 11 days, and the games are not every days and you have most of the day to explore SF and a bit of Oakland.

I mean, I get that your plan is to spend 2 weeks in SF/Oakland, and basketball is the main reason and all... but really there are a plenty of things to be seen and done in Bay Area and around (even within 2 hour drive from either SF or Oakland). I understand that you might not want to take a rental and drive on the other side, and with a steering wheel on the left, but I'd be bored after 7-8 days, basketball or not.

Regarding BART - it's efficient (although there are technical issues sometimes), but very, VERY dirty. Except for a few new trains with vinyl seats it's downright filthy. There's old stained carpeting and old stained cloth seats. baycitizen.org/transportation/…

It also runs trains only about every 10 minutes during the day and 20 minutes during evenings. It's 's not remotely like London tube. Plus outside downtown SF and Oakland it's mostly like DLR - above ground. SF stations have an array of bums sleeping, pissing and defecating there at night for your viewing pleasure (and panhandling of course). People eat and drink on BART and through all the wrappers (and unfinished food) on the floor and on the seats. Plus feet on the seats... People generally act like extras in Mike Judge's movie Idiocracy (only in real life).

That being said, I take BART most of the time instead of driving, as it still beats seating in traffic; plus I can read. And it is really convenient for Oracle Arena. The station is always the same for all lines, but some stations can have two levels or different platforms (downtown SF stations got just one level and one platform, but the entrance also leads to Muni (tram) station which might be a bit confusing).

Santa Cruz...
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12. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

Berkeley, as dav said.

Pasadena, California
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13. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

I don't know of any hotels in the area, but I really like the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland, which has a BART station. College Avenue is loaded with shops and good restaurants. Maybe there are b and bs, or flat rentals, in the neighborhood. Also Berkeley.

San Francisco
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14. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

<<Oakland doesn't have bums sleeping EVERYWHERE on the streets (like downtown SF) and doesn't smell of urine (like downtown SF).>>

Horse puckey. I suggest A78 actually spend some time in San Francisco. Interesting to see those who step up to sing Oakland's praises when it's fast becoming a failed state. And not just in the (large section) of ghetto areas. Lack of policing has increased property crimes in the Oakland hills as well.

Rockridge is nice. There are no hotels in the area so you'd have to find vacation rental. Which I agree, with two weeks would be a good idea. If you wish to stay in the East Bay either Rockridge or Berekley would be OK.

Oakland, California
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15. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

Stay in SF, it's much better for tourist activities. And let's not kid anyone, Oakland is dangerous. Way more dangerous than SF. I live here. There's a ton of crime. Most of it is in east and west Oakland, but it travels to other neighborhoods too.

San Francisco Bay
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16. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

And, P.S., BART is not filthy.

P.P.S. Oakland and SF do not smell of "whiff of pot." There are not bums sleeping everywhere in SF.

Pinocchio has nothing on poster A78. Frankly, if I were him, I'd move to Kansas.

Edited: 1:27 am, February 07, 2013
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17. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

Besides the games, is there a reason you want to be in Oakland?

I owned a business in Oakland and lived there for years. Where it’s lovely, it’s quite pleasant. Central to Oakland is Lake Merritt; I lived in an adjacent area called Croker Highlands. I can’t place a hotel near the nicer side of the lake between these neighborhoods. Were you visiting there or renting an apartment it could certainly be an entirely charming area to settle for a couple weeks. It’s not dangerous, quite upscale, nice places to hang out.

It isn’t San Francisco. It isn’t a tourist attraction. The visitor attractions are rather modest such as the particularly nice Oakland Museum, which is largely about California and by no means a major museum.

Most people wanting to spend two weeks in the Bay Area to see the Warriors might likely spend their non-game time in the City [San Francisco] riding BART over to Oakland for the games. As you’ve heard BART provides excellent access to the Coliseum.

But, if you are specifically not that person; if you don’t want to be in an exciting, sophisticated and amazingly beautiful city – as absurd as I make that sound – I don’t know; say if you’re a sports writer and you’re looking for a pleasant area to chill between games, actually the suggested area called Grand Lake is quite nice – probably more pleasant than most of San Francisco, and certainly less expensive.

London, Canada
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18. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

I would stay in SF, the BART is so easy to get to the stadium and cheap. It's less than 20 minutes, I think it costs like $3.00 or something, and drops you right across the street, where you take a walkway that goes right to o Co Coliseum and Oracle Arena.

I have stayed in both cities when going to Raiders games, I prefer Oakland for the gameday experience because I stay at the hotel with other Raider fans and we make it a 3 day party, lol. However that is NFL Football, you won't get that for a Warriors game, basically just goto the game and afterwards head back to your hotel, which if in Oakland, from what I experienced was not much to do on the outside.... you will have alot more options and sights to see staying in San Francisco. We stayed right downtown Union Square, was a few minute walk to the BART station that would take you right to the Arena in less than 20 minutes.

19. Re: Visiting Oakland for first time

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