Sure, it's got its rough parts, but the sprawling mass that is Oakland is also getting cooler by the hour thanks to hot 'hoods like Temescal and a revitalized Uptown area.
And, lo and behold, The New York Times is taking notice, naming the East Bay city one of the top 45 places to visit in 2012. Even more impressive: Oakland grabbed the #5 spot on the list, just below Panama, Helsinki, Myanmar, and London (Tahoe sits at #30).
With the explanation that "new restaurants and bars beckon amid the grit," writer Ingrid Williams lists her must-hit spots as the Fox Theater and eateries Hawker Fare, Plum, and Haven.
Photographed by Gina Esposito