Suki Gear is a freelance editor and writer, formerly the commissioning editor for Lonely Planet’s western USA titles. She lives in Alameda, an under-the-radar kid paradise on the bay just southwest of Oakland. Until recently, she lived in the sunny port city of Oakland – a quick 12 mile (18km) drive from San Francisco – and sniffed out all the best spots with her eight-year-old son, Coleman, and four-year-old daughter, Tessa.
What do you love most about Oakland as a place to spend time with your children?
People don’t generally associate Oakland with nature, but a large part of Oakland is in the hills and green. When I lived in San Francisco, I would come to the East Bay on weekends frequently to escape the fog and frenetic city life. Some neighborhoods like Rockridge and Montclair have walkable commercial strips with loads of eating options, shops, and playgrounds. Another thing I love about Oakland is its diversity. Like any city, it has its problems, but by and large the residents get along swimmingly and are exceptionally open-minded.
Matt Rees is an award-winning crime novelist living in Jerusalem, whom the French magazine L’Express called “the Dashiell Hammett of Palestine.” As a journalist, he covered the Middle East for over a decade; Yasser Arafat once tried to have him arrested, but Matt eluded him, to write his quartet of novels about a Palestinian detective, and two historical mysteries about Mozart and Caravaggio.
Here Matt shares with us his top spots in the city for hanging out with his 6-year-old, Cai, and 2-year-old, Mari.