Just across the bay from San Francisco and sharing a border with the liberal university city of Berkeley, the city of Oakland (population 414,000) - long a major shipping and manufacturing base - has undergone a major renaissance in recent years. As the cost of living has risen in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area, many have moved to Oakland, and neighborhoods throughout the city - from Rockridge to the north to downtown to Lake Merritt, to historic Jack London Square and the waterfront to Alameda - have seen an influx of new transplants, including many LGBT residents.
Increasingly compared with the alternative arts and indie culinary scenes of Portland, Austin, and Brooklyn, Oakland is very much a city to watch, and a fun place to explore. If you happen to be in the area in autumn, you can also attend a relatively new (now in its seventh year) LGBT event, Oakland Gay Pride, which takes place in mid-September. The date this year is Sunday, September 11, 2016
Oakland Pride takes place on a Sunday and includes two key events. The Oakland Gay Pride Parade, which kicks off at 10:30 am at Broadway and 14th streets, at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, and proceeds east along Broadway to 20th Street - here's a map of the Oakland Pride Parade route.
After the parade, the Oakland Pride festival takes place throughout the afternoon, from 11 am until 7 pm, at Broadway and 20th and features live entertainment on multiple stages (Womyn's, White Horse, Main Stage, Latin), community vendors, and more.
This year's headlining act is pop star Deborah Cox, but several other musicians will be on hand as well. Admission to the festival costs $10.
Oakland Gay Resource - Bay Area Gay Resources
The city's official tourism organization, Visit Oakland, has an excellent website with tons of terrific travel tips as well as a number of articles of interest to gay visitors.
Just north, Visit Berkeley is another handy go-to for more on exploring what there is to see and do in the East Bay.
Oakland has a handful of gay bars, and these spots will definitely be booming during Pride Weekend - they include the venerable and long-running White Horse Inn near the Berkeley border, downtown Oakland's very popular Bench and Bar (aka BNB), and the Latin-inflected gay bar Club 21, which is also downtown. Also take a look at Bay Area gay papers, such as Bay Area Reporter and San Francisco Bay Times,
Of course, it's easy to reach Oakland from San Francisco, and you'll find tips on where to stay there in the Castro Gay Hotels Guide, Downtown San Francisco Gay Hotels Guide, and San Francisco SoMa Gay Hotels Guide. The San Francisco gay bars has all the details on interesting places to stay in that city, and the San Francisco CVB's outstanding site on GLBT travel is also very helpful.