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Gay Oakland/Berkeley & East Bay: Multicultural flavors
Just across the San Francisco Bay from "The City" is California's 7th largest city: Oakland. This city and the East Bay offer a diverse population that's somewhat less upscale but no less vibrant than SF--from UC Berkeley students to middle-class families raising kids to some of the state's most integrated 'hoods.
When it comes to the gay scene, Gertrude Stein's famous quip about Oakland, "There's no there there," would be categorically false. There are a number of great bars and clubs. Several boast an urban flavor and attract heavily black and Latino crowds for salsa and hip-hop style, and others display a colorful mix as unique as Oakland itself.
Further south, down the east side of the San Francisco bay, you'll find Hayward, Fremont and other suburbs where locals flock for drinking, dancing and finding supportive community. For those who choose to avoid the Bay Bridge
fare to hit San Francisco, there is plenty of fun to find in the East Bay. And if you are staying in "The City" it's worth the bridge (or, preferably, BART) fare to check out the very cool there over there.
Also see our other San Francisco Bay Area guides: San Francisco and San Jose / Silicon Valley