Oakland proclaimed more exciting than S.F. — not including crime 

click to enlarge It's the city by the lake, not the bay, that is most exciting. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • It's the city by the lake, not the bay, that is most exciting.

It’s not every day that Oakland gets to be something good that San Francisco is not. The gritty city known as Oaktown perpetually gets the brunt of bad press, while San Francisco basks in the spectacularness that has tourists eating out of its hands.

But have you noticed that, lately, all your friends are moving over to Oakland? It’s the new Brooklyn. There’s good reason for that: Once the stepsister of the Bay Area’s best, Oakland now trumps San Francisco when it comes to leading an exciting life.

Who says?

Movoto.com, a real estate blog, used Saturday night science to determine that not only is Oakland more thrilling than San Francisco — which came in No. 3 — but it’s now the most exciting city in the nation. How is this possible in a city plagued with so much crime?

The folks at Movoto first decided on 10 criteria that they believe make a city “exciting.” They then surveyed each city based on these criteria using various websites.

“Depending on the category we looked at a criterion on a per-person or per-square-mile basis,” the blog said. “To be very clear, we looked at each individual city’s size; this excludes suburbs or nearby cities. In other words, it’s not covering an entire metro area.”

These are the 10 criteria Movoto used to determine a city’s excitement level:

  • Bars per square mile
  • Big-box stores per square mile (the fewer the better)
  • Fast-food restaurants per square mile (the fewer the better)
  • Movie theaters per square mile
  • Museums per square mile
  • Music venues per square mile
  • Park acreage per person
  • Percent of population between 20 and 34 years old
  • Population diversity
  • Theater companies per square mile


Movoto then surveyed the 50 most populous cities across the country, ranking them from 1 to 50 based on each individual criterion. Cities that performed the best across all categories scored the highest on excitement level.
While San Francisco fared well on its music and booze scenes, Oakland came out ahead on its population diversity, museums per square mile and hip theater scene.

“When we think of an exciting place to live, we think about places where there is always something to do — whether it’s eating at new restaurants or jogging through a park,” according to the blog. “This sounds a lot like Oakland, so we really weren’t that surprised. But Milwaukee (number 7)? It looks like we’ll need to take a trip to the Badger State.”


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Erin Sherbert

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