Oakland is consistently underrated. With a population of 400,000, it’s the same size as Minneapolis or Miami, boasting high-profile amenities, cultural institutions, and regional attractions (including three professional sports franchises) that you’d expect from a city of its size.
Alas, Oakland lies just a few miles from San Francisco, a bustling metropolis twice Oakland’s size. The Bay Area is big enough to support both cities, but Oakland will always be the region’s second city. (Third including San Jose, the region’s largest municipality down at the southern end of the Bay Area.)