I make no secret of the fact that I love Oakland. Despite its gritty reputation, Oakland a wonderful place to live.
This past weekend, I took part in an Oakland-based treasure hunt. Participants ran all over downtown Oakland, and used their knowledge of local architecture and history to solve a series of puzzles. These urban scavenger hunts force participants to really look at a city. And there's loads to see in Oakland.
There all manner of lovely old buildings, which look splendid in the sunshine. (Oakland is mostly immune to the Bay Area's famous foggy weather.)
There are a staggering number of spectacular terra cotta facades in downtown Oakland. I went on a walking tour of this part of Oakland with the Tile Heritage Society, a few years ago. I must have been really busy at the time, because I never edited those photos to share on the blog.
Swirls and squirrels in a theater foyer. I believe the medallions are made of terra cotta.
How can you not love this well satisfied Art Deco squirrel?
Oakland is a city of contrast and contradictions. There are huge problems to be solved, undoubtedly. But there's also a remarkable vitality of spirit.
This mural, like the city it represents is simultaneously -- and unapologetically -- polished and rough.
Like this pediment, the city has a lot of history and beauty. And it could definitely use some love.