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50 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Oakland


1. Oakland is big. It’s the seventh largest city in the State of California and covers 54 square miles.

2. It’s the only city in the world with a natural saltwater lake, Lake Merritt, wholly contained within its city boundaries.

4. Lake Merritt was the nation’s first declared wildlife refuge, in 1870 by the then mayor, Dr. Samuel Merritt himself.

6. Oakland has more than 80 parks

8. More than 600 churches and temples representing all faiths

10. Oakland has more artists per capita than any city in the country

11. It’s the most ethnically diverse city in the U.S. More than 125 different languages and dialects are spoken in Oakland.

12. It’s also home to the third-largest concentration of lesbian residents in the U.S.

13. Even Walt Disney was inspired by Oakland, basing many parts of his now slightly-more-famous Disneyland off of a visit to Oakland’s Children’s Fairyland.

14. More sourdough bread is produced in Oakland than any other city in the world.

15. And of course there’s ice cream. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc. was founded in 1928 by William Dreyer and Joseph Edy in Oakland. And speaking of famous folks…

16. Bruce Lee, the famous martial arts expert, got his start fighting and teaching in Oakland.

17. Tom Hanks went to high school in Oakland—and once sold concessions at the Oakland Coliseum.

18. Clint Eastwood lived in Oakland, where he graduated high school in 1949.

30. Oakland is the only city in California with three professional sports teams: the Raiders, the A’s, and the Golden State Warriors.

34. Oakland has hundreds of secret staircases.

35. It was the headquarters of the Black Panther Party.

37. Oakland is the birthplace of the word “hella.”

40. The Wave was invented at the Oakland Coliseum. Once famous and self-proclaimed “World’s Sexiest Cheerleader,” Krazy George Henderson, started the first full-stadium Wave in 1981 during a sold-out Oakland A’s game against the Yankees.

43. And speaking of the Port of Oakland, it is one of the five largest container ports in North America and one of the top 20 worldwide.

44. The Port controls over 19 miles of shoreline and owns the Oakland International Airport.

47. But it’s expensive. The median home price here is $528,600, where in California it’s $448,669 and in the U.S. it’s $200,419.

50. Both Pandora and Blue Bottle Coffee are headquartered in Oakland. Because it’s awesome



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