Video courtesy of Broken Dove Productions

With epic street murals, a thriving gallery scene, creatively curated shops, and music of all genres at all hours, Oakland is one of the West’s most vibrant cities to visit for travelers seeking easy access to year-round arts and culture. For art lovers of all ages looking for a one-stop orientation to the region’s past and present artistic legacy, start with the Oakland Museum of California, the city’s crown jewel of the arts. The museum’s vast and diverse multidisciplinary collection is housed in a midcentury masterpiece of a building on a bucolic 7-acre campus that makes for a perfect all-day immersive experience.

Come evening, the city’s music venues come alive with performances of all genres, from the historic Paramount and Fox Theaters with comedy and concerts, to Yoshi’s Jazz Club fusing fine Japanese cuisine and live world-class jazz. But not all culture requires a ticket, and for that we have the streets. Take a stroll down Piedmont Avenue where locally owned shops, restaurants, and cafes are run with an Oakland-proud point of view. And Oakland’s vibrant street-level creativity is on full, grand display for all in the thousands of murals that beautify this city, from the Water Dragon of Chinatown to the various works of the Oakland Super Heroes Project that enliven West Oakland. For regional guides to the standout street murals and extensive directories of music and theater venues as well as the dozens of galleries and museums throughout the city, go to

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