Oakland Museum of California
This collection of galleries, terraces, and gardens (collaboratively created in 1969 by architect Kevin Roche and landscape artist Dan Kiley) explores California art, social history, and natural history. The displays are charming, informative, and sometimes dated (some of the black-and-white photo murals look straight out of Jonathan Livingston Seagull). The art side of things is heating up, though, with the addition of senior curator René de Guzman—formerly of YBCA, where he was responsible for edgy shows like 2004’s skate-world-centric “Beautiful Losers.”
Tip: The first weekend in March, the Oakland Museum Women’s Board holds its annual white elephant sale—the biggest rummage sale in northern California. If you’re around in late January, don’t miss the preview (tickets at the door, $15).
Admission: $8 adults; $5 seniors and students; free for children under 6; free for all on the second Sunday of each month. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.