downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

The First Friday of 2012

January 6, 2012

It’s the First Friday of January, & the first First Friday of 2012. Shaking off the bad spirits of the past and embracing a hopeful vision of the future is an annual tradition, and the Art Murmur offers ways to enjoy the best of Oakland – our humble city which was just named a top five international travel destination by the New York Times. As long as few of the resulting hordes of tourists stay at America’s second-dirtiest hotel, new visitors will help invigorate the local economy and help Oakland turn the page on a year of disappointments.

January’s First Friday is usually the most mellow of the year, and with a few months to go before the crowds swell to kind of ridiculous levels, it’s a good time to check out some art! The official Art Murmur site has a comprehensive rundown of gallery exhibitions from their members (galleries in Greater Uptown) – check it out at OaklandArtMurmur.com. Watercolors seem to be the medium of the moment.

Outside of the official Art Murmur, the bars, restaurants and pop-up shops giving the DTO so much buzz will be slinging specialty cocktails, serving creative fare, or selling exciting works by local artisans. Check out the Oaklandish store and Oakcollective at 14th and Broadway, each open late tonight, and Oakcollectiv hosts the launch of a style blog. Though the holiday shopping season is over, the Pop Up Hood continues, so don’t forget to stop by 9th and Washington to enjoy what is perhaps the most elegant shopping district in the East Bay – certainly so if there were more shopping!

New restaurants for the new year

Speaking of Old Oakland, the former Levende East has a new tenant set to open a restaurant this Spring, and the arrival of a winery tasting room in Swan’s Market is eagerly awaited. In the last week Faz opened in the former Verbena space, and while I will mis the old Verbena crew, I’m glad that the DTO’s powerlunchers again have a place to occupy. If you stop by to enjoy the Persian-inflected Meditteranean cuisine that downtown denizens and Diablo Magazine are praising highly, don’t forget to check out the new outdoor patio.

Enjoy this lovely January day with art and hope for the future! See you in Uptown!

2 comments

1 Daniel Schulman { 01.06.12 at 1:00 pm }

The NYT travel piece is an interesting read for all of their picks. Nice to see Oakland on any list between London and Tokyo.

2 dto510 { 01.06.12 at 1:15 pm }

Except perhaps a list of average bus speed, or a pollution metric! Joking aside, it is a very nice honor for the city and for the brave business owners who opened innovative restaurants and cool cultural destinations downtown and elsewhere!