OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS, Matador has published articles, photography, and video that show exactly what makes Oakland great. We’ve looked at the remarkable ethnic and cultural diversity of the East Bay; we’ve charted a week in the nightlife of the city; we’ve showcased the one-of-a-kind art and architecture on display; we’ve even mapped 30 incredible places located less than a four-hour drive from Oakland.

In the process, we’ve come across countless images that do a wonderful job of depicting the spirit of the city, and which have stayed in our minds for their beauty and inspiration. Here are 21 of our favorite.


Sunset jogger

A different view down to the bay, captured during a sunset jog. There's so much potential to get outside and active in and around Oakland.
Photo: Brook Anderson, courtesy of Visit Oakland



Tulips are among the many varieties of flowers that grow well in Oakland's temperate climate.
Photo: Tom Holub, courtesy of Visit Oakland


This is Oakland too

While Oakland is part of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, it also sits on the doorstep of some incredible natural areas. Head to the Oakland Hills and look east, and this is what you'll see.
Photo: Gary Pope, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Lake Merritt

Technically a tidal lagoon, Lake Merritt defines the downtown landscape of Oakland, covering 150 acres in the city center and ringed with parkland, paths, and residential neighborhoods.
Photo: Yoo Seung Ho, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Art and Soul Festival

Performers with the troupe Bandaloop dangle and dance from the face of Oakland City Hall during the 2014 Art+Soul Festival.
Photo: Greg Linhares, Omni Source Images


Street fair

The night's entertainment at one of Oakland's many street fairs.
Photo: Marlo Lao, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Lake Merritt gondolier

You'll see all manner of watercraft on Lake Merritt—sailboats, kayaks, pontoons, paddleboats, dragon boats, and even gondolas.
Photo: Ross Cameron, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Hiking in Oakland's backyard

A sea of gold and green provides a perfect escape from the city in the Oakland Hills.
Photo: Jerry Ting, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Nighttime reflections

At night, the still water of Lake Merritt casts reflections of the Lakeside Dr / Harrison St skyline, including the Cathedral of Christ the Light (visible at right).
Photo: Natausha Greenblott, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Fox Theater

Oakland's Fox Theater opened in the late '20s and is still going strong, now hosting big-name music acts from around the world.
Photo: Tom Tomkinson, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Oakland Marathon

The Oakland Running Festival, which features a marathon in addition to other running events, takes place in the spring and is considered one of the country's top races.
Photo: Ken Katz, courtesy of Visit Oakland


On the half shell

Oakland's West Coast location and active port give it access to incredible food from all over the world—not the least of which is fresh seafood. Grab a plate of gourmet oysters at Luka's Taproom on Broadway.
Photo: Visit Oakland


The new Bay Bridge

Construction of the attractive self-anchored suspension bridge (lit above) was completed last year, and it now serves as the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, connecting Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. Among the span's many attributes (including being considered the widest bridge in the world) is that, for the first time, it provides access to pedestrians and cyclists to traverse the bay.
Photo: Darrell Sano, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Street food

Be it at a market, food truck, or street fair, grab-and-go (and delicious) street food is all over town.
Photo: Phillip Yip, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Oakland produce

Fresh produce isn't hard to come by anywhere in California, and Oakland is no exception. Hit up the farmers markets in Jack London Square, Grand Lake, Old Oakland, Temescal, Montclair, and elsewhere.
Photo: Lisa Ellis, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Fox Theater in action

TV on the Radio plays the Fox Theater in Uptown Oakland.
Photo: Josh Sanseri, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Sunset over the cranes

The Port of Oakland is an active container ship facility, visible for miles around thanks to its iconic cranes standing like sentinels on the shore.
Photo: Visit Oakland



You can find so many cuisines in Oakland it would be a challenge to try them all. Uptown's Ozumo is a recommended spot for Japanese.
Photo: Ozumo, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Industry and recreation

View from the walking trail at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park.
Photo: Ken Katz, courtesy of Visit Oakland


Golden State in the paint

Golden State Warrior small forward Harrison Barnes gets way up for a dunk against the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Warriors are one of Oakland's three major-league sports teams, and proof of why this town is one of America's premier sports cities.
Photo: Visit Oakland


On the waterfront

Views don't come much better than this.
Photo: Darryl McElroy, courtesy of Visit Oakland