It's rare for a metropolis to compete with its suburbs for visitors, but the view from any of San Francisco's hilltops shows that the Bay Area's temptations extend far beyond the city limits. To the north is Marin County, the beauty queen, with small but chic villages like Tiburon and Mill Valley, plus dramatic coastal scenery. East of town are two energetic urban centers, Berkeley and Oakland. Formerly radical Berkeley is getting more glam, while Oakland is shaking off its image as San Francisco's ugly stepsister and developing its own brand of hipness. - Copyright © 2014 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, LLC. All rights reserved.
Things You Can't Miss
Grab great views in Jack London Square on the waterfront. On weekends, diners fill the many outdoor patios, and shoppers peruse the Sunday farmers market.
Redwood Regional Park is one of the few spots in the Bay Area that escaped 19th-century logging. Enjoy forested picnic spots and hiking trails here.
Galen Rowell/Mountain Light/Alamy
Built in 1928, the stunningly renovated Fox Theater now hosts music concerts and houses the Oakland School for the Arts as well as the Den, a gorgeous lounge and eatery.
The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum hosts a spectrum of sporting events and other entertainment, including concerts, circuses, rodeos and ice shows.
Joggers charge along the three-mile path that encircles Lake Merritt. On the north shore, you’ll find a children’s park and a waterfowl refuge.
Shared Trips to this Destination
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Must-Reads Before You Go
Try these 10 easy tips from the pros on your next vacation.
New York Times columnist Seth Kugel shares insider tips that will help you save money the next time you travel.