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Best Museum 

Oakland Museum of California

It's a cliché, but the Oakland Museum of California really is one of the East Bay's best-kept secrets. From the Day of the Dead exhibit featuring a jet black low-rider convertible decorated with Posada skeletons, to a recent mind-bending LA Paint show featuring Robert Williams' Rat Fink-inspired lowbrow surrealism, the museum has more than a little bit of weirdness for everyone. Mix the arties with natural-history buffs who flocked to see Bob Walker's gorgeous photographs of East Bay Regional Park system, and the result is a mashup of the sun-starved and sunburned hikers who should be afraid of skin cancer. The museum is in the midst of a massive upgrade, but don't let construction work stop you: Two very different exhibits vie for attention until late August: Squeak Carnworth's emblematic images of rabbits, lists, and numbers should tickle the subconscious, and The African Presence in Mexico details how Africans, a tiny portion of the colonial population, "enriched Mexican culture through art, music, language, cuisine, and dance." Don't forget the First Friday events, either; they feature music, parties, and other fun the first Friday of every month.


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