Black Meetings and Tourism

May/June 2014

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B M & T ••• May/June 2014 ••• 34 IF If you haven't officially been introduced to Oakland, it's about time the two of you meet. Give the bayside, port city one weekend and you'll be hooked. No matter how many adjectives are used to describe the city, one can only capture the true spirit of Oakland face to place. A trek through Oaktown, one of a few cities in the country that can boast near per- fect weather year round, and you'll bear wit- ness to all the city has to offer. Whether it's the fantastic restaurants, cul- tural nuggets, luxury hotels, great weather, fascinating museums, the water, diverse pop- ulation, sports, entertainment or just the overall community atmosphere, the city is sure to win you over. There are 19 miles of coastline, 300 sunny days per year, a population of 420,000 and more than 125 languages spoken. Centrally located, Oakland is 15 minutes east of San Francisco. It's accessible by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, ferry service, buses, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and Amtrak. It's already been recognized for its sparkling personality by a number of publica- tions including the real estate blog Movoto who chose Oakland as the top pick for The 10 Most Exciting Cities in America. In 2012, Oakland was named the #5 place to visit in the world by The New York Times. Last year, the Hu ffington Post named Oakland as the "Most Exciting City in the U.S." The Daily Green named the city one of the Top 10 Most Walkable Cities in 2013. CIO named Oakland #11 in the Top 15 Cities for Tech Start Ups. Oakland is the 7th Best City in the nation for biking. ArtPlace America named Oakland as one of the top art destinations in the country for 2013. Forbes Magazine listed Oakland as the #16 coolest city in the coun- try. recognized Oakland as one of America's Best Cities on the Rise. Bloomberg Businessweek listed the city as one of America's 50 Best Cities and Meetings Focus West included Oakland as one of five emerging destinations. It's clear that Oakland is drawing attention. Now, more than ever, is the city's time to shine. It's going through a rebirth of sorts, put- ting on a new coat of paint and shining like new money. Oakland, whose very own body of water, Lake Merritt, recently completed a $122 million makeover, is putting its best foot forward. The people who live and work in Oakland have a committed connection to the city. When they talk about the city – you can hear the passion in their voices. A lison Best, CEO of the Oakland Convention & Visitors Bureau said the organization is in the midst of "repositioning Oakland as a destination, not a city." Carol H. Williams of Carol H. Williams Advertising Agency is a 26-year advertising executive who recently took on the organiza- tion Visit Oakland, as a client. "Oakland is an indelible hidden treasure," said Williams. "Unfortunately, Oakland has allowed the media and newspapers to define it. Oakland is a gem. There is a lot of business in Oakland. There is an Oakland beyond your hotel room. It's saying – 'Get to know me. Get to know Oakland.'" "We're a city that hasn't had a plan to get the good news out," said Best. "We've got to shout it louder. We've got to control the mes- sage." BY DARLENE DONLOE OAKLAND BECKONS WITH ITS CHARM AND DIVERSITY SITE REVIEW #2 Oakland's African American Museum Photo Credit: Almonroth

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