For as long as I have lived in the Bay Area, I haven't spent much time in Oakland. Aside from Jack London Square, Yoshi's, and the Fox Theater, I haven't really explored the city. Culturally I know that the city is going through a shift: many locals are being pushed out due to rising rents. This comes as a direct result of the migration of San Francisco locals moving in from across the bay to due to the exorbitant SF rental rates. It's not just Oakland and San Francisco; the entire Bay Area is suffering. Sonoma County recently made the news because the median price of a home is now over 550K. The average one bedroom apartment here is now $2k a month. New money is rolling in, and the locals are paying the price.
Growing up I would spend my summers with my grandparents and aunts (who are only 3-5 years older than me) who lived first in the Oakland Hills, and now currently in San Leandro. At the beginning of the summer my sister and I would make the 5 hour flight from Hawaii to California and spend several weeks horseback riding, painting, dancing, and chasing the family dog down the street whenever she got out. One of the best summers was when Vijoa (we're the closest in age) got her drivers license. No curb within a 50 mile radius was safe. One evening she and her friends invented a game of hide and seek - with cars. To this day I'm still not entirely sure how it worked, but the hours of hysterical laughter that the game produced was more than worth it.
Lately I have wanted to make more of an effort to spend time in the East Bay; Berkeley included. Oakland to me has always represented an epicenter of arts and culture. The art scene is very different than San Francisco - which I find refreshing. In many ways Oakland is a world away from the city across the Bay. I have heard Oakland called the Portland of the Bay Area, and I agree. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong and vibrant in Oakland much like it is in all of Northern California, but it's got an aesthetic all of its own. In San Francisco you'll find Thursday night tech meetups with a cash bar stocked with beer and tequila; Across the Bay you'll find a Sunday afternoon poetry slam event in a co-op art gallery/neighborhood performance theater with homemade cookies.
My summers are much different than they were as a pre-teen; most notably, no summer breaks. Can you imagine how divine it would be if every company gave you a 60 day hiatus from work, but still paid you? Ooh the places I would go..! For now a 60 minute break M-F, with weekend trips around the Bay Area will be my escape.
Photos: Stephanie Malilong Photography
|Wearing: Kit and Ace dress // Dolce & Gabbana shades // vintage Miu Miu heels // Big Star denim jacket // Leonard & Church Bowery timepiece|