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10 Reasons Why Oakland Beats San Francisco

Updated: Aug 11, 2017 08:53
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It’s true, no one likes bragging about how they came in second in a fight. So I totally understand the void like silence emitting from the West Bay. No, no, all joking aside, San Francisco is a lovely place – a great city. However it isn’t the greatest city. All kneel to the mighty Oakland.

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SF vs Oakk banner

‘Battle of the Bay’ illustration by Claudia Makeyev

1. The Weather

Photo by Kit Friday

Photo by Kit Friday

As my friends defected to San Francisco over the years, I began to hear about these puzzling things in San Francisco called “micro-climates”. It can be hot in the Mission, bullshit in the FiDi, and foggy as hell in the Sunset, and it can all change in like three seconds making it necessary to be packing a tank-top, a jacket, and a raincoat just to navigate through your day. Bullshit. I like to travel light and I like to have a pretty consistent idea of what my day is going to entail meteorologically, and Oakland does it for me. The weather is generally warmer, sunnier, more consistent, and while I think fog is pretty cool, I only like to encounter it occasionally.

2. The Rent

Boss Apartment at Un-Boss Prices Photo by Kit Friday

Boss Apartment at Un-Boss Price Photo by Kit Friday

Oh man, the goddamn rent. I have a buddy who lives in the Tenderloin who is basically renting a glorified cubicle with a hotplate and being charged monthly what it costs to fly roundtrip to Egypt, which is a lot. Why the hell would you burn a significant portion of your paycheck to live in some housing situation that is the composite of financial masochism and adult dorm living? Now, this virtue of Oakland’s is quickly fading into oblivion, largely due to a recent influx of idiots who cannot afford San Francisco, but despite the kooks it is still possible to find a decently priced place in Oakland. But that doesn’t mean I am endorsing you moving here, alright?

3. Those Fucking People

Fucking Scooters Photo courtesy of Yelp

Fucking Razors
Photo courtesy of Yelp

As in those tech zombies who have found San Francisco and have chosen to descend on it, neutering what use to be a dynamic community and turn it into an expensive, watered down, static corner of hell.  Moving to a new city is fantastic and a great thing to do with your life, but this current flock of fuckers is really sucking the soul right out of what is a very amazing place. Unfortunately San Francisco is full of these dildos, and thankfully Oakland isn’t totally saturated in them yet.

4. Parties

Garage Rager

Garage Rager

It is an undeniable fact: Oakland knows how to party. We can party anywhere: old warehouses, biker club fight nights, backyard pig roasts, all-out revival-style crowd surfing house show, tailgaters. We have this shit on LOCK. BYOB and 15 of your closest friends and it is on.

5. It Really Is A Town

Photo Courtesy of The City of Oakland Webpage

Photo Courtesy of The City of Oakland

The City, The Town, we’ve all heard it. A disproportionate amount of people have t-shirts touting these maxims.  But Oakland really is a town. If you live here long enough and you actually leave your house occasionally, you will notice that you run into the same people over and over and over again. Due to this, you begin to casually know the people you recognize, you say hi, you notice when they aren’t around, you notice when they get a new haircut or whatever. This is very much an endearing element of living in a town.  On the flip-side, if you start acting like a fucking fool, people are going to remember that. They will take note of it. Accountability for your actions and behavior are very much totems of town life.

6. I Hate Cable Cars


Devil Cable Car, photo wikipedia

The list of things I hate is pretty condensed: Nazis, Jim Morrison, camels (the animals) and cable cars. Those god damn things are always clanging around almost running me over, and cause me psychological chaos. This hatred probably stems from when I was ten years old and I was visiting San Francisco for the first time and my well-meaning uncle pushed me off of a slow moving cable car near Chinatown. I have not been on one since. Oakland? No cable cars, all good.

 7. We WILL Rock You!

The Coup

Boots Riley & The Coup are the shit

En Vogue, MC Hammer, Keak the Sneak, E-40, Too $hort, Tower of Power, The Pointer Sisters, Sheila E., The Coup, Gravy Train!!!, Chaka Khan, Mac Dre, John Lee Hooker, High on Fire, Shannon & The Clams, Erase Errata, Neurosis, Asunder, Drunk Horse, SHITFACE, Oakland Symphony, Fuck, Negativeland, Three Years Down, Digital Underground, Dystopia, Scaven, Black Maggot, Pebbles, Raphael Saadiq, Tony Toni Tone, Souls of Mischief, Tune-Yards, The Lovemakers, Damon & The Heathens, Poisonous Great White Lion Snake, Year of the Fist, Hell Fish, Shootin’ Lucy, Strychnine, Everything Must Go, The Living Dead Boys, Super Ego, Fang, Christ of Parade, Crimpshrine, The Grouch, Operation Ivy, Filth, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Drowsy Holler, Arthur Tea and the OMGs, Thistle, Exodus, Machine Head, Cracker, Testament, Train, The Phenomenauts, Outline Kit Samiam, NoBunny, Salem Lights, Fracas, Phantom Limbs, TV Static, Hooray For Everything, Hammerlock, The Tantrums, OVVL, Isotope, Hazzard’s Cure,  The Peechees, The Divvys, Alaric, Faith No More, Third Eye Blind, Pitch Black, Screw 32, Collateral, E40, El Dopa, Watch Them Die, Trouble Maker, Yukmouth, Powerhouse, Civil Diversity, Kicker, The Fleshies, The Eddie Haskills, Chasers, Nigel Pepper Cock, Sweet Nothings, Steve McQueen For A Day, Wyld Youth, Harry Porcelain, and the list goes on and on and on!

8. Attitude

Hanging Tough Photo by Catherine Edgerton

Hanging Tough
Photo by Catherine Edgerton

Oakland’s city-wide attitude problem is frequently touted when people discuss the city- and not always in a positive way. However, this roughness is something that deeply agrees with me. Let’s put it this way, people here don’t take shit. This probably is directly due to the town like mentality and the fact that most people will have no problem telling you that you are acting like an idiot. Hey, sometimes this needs to happen and if you can’t hang with the big kids then get the fuck out of the playground.

 9. Art

Free Pussy Riot Photo by Annemarie Brentup

Free Pussy Riot
Photo by Annemarie Brentup

The Oakland art community is progressive, provocative and its vibrancy inspires me in the art that I do. The arts are alive and thriving here, we have collectives such as The Crucible, American Steel, and Rock Paper Scissors that give you the resources to pursue what strikes your creative fancy. In addition to world-class museums we have many emerging galleries giving exposure to the next wave of Oakland artists. And while we are on the subject, Oakland’s graffiti artists are no joke either. There is no way you can’t bring up Oakland and art without mentioning the breath-taking graffiti murals that tattoo the walls of our city. San Francisco also has a history of dynamic arts culture, however over the past few years it feels like the art scene is being suffocated by the influx of people driving rent an cost of living prices up to a level which is rendering it too expensive for artists to live and work there anymore, which is a total bummer.

 10. Hills + Bikes = Horseshit

Hill? Nope. Cable Cars and hill? Double nope. Photo by Kit Friday

I like to ride bikes but I am not a fan of hills and bikes. San Francisco is a veritable roller coaster of hills, and that is NOT my jam. Oakland, on the other hand, is relatively flat and easy to bomb around on. Yes, we have hills, and very large ones too, but you kind of have to go out of your way to encounter those fuckers.


Cover Illustration by Claudia Makeyev The Mermaid Scientist

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Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

Kit Friday -Mild in the Streets

I am a writer, DJ, musician, vandal and I travel a lot.