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The Fox Oakland
Peek behind the scenes at the Fox Theater.

You?ve got 99 holiday problems, but keeping your out-of-town guests blissfully occupied ain?t one.

If you sign them (and yourself) up for a Localite tour, that is.

We know, walking tours don?t exactly have the best reputation. You?re probably having visions of stodgy guides waving flags and waxing poetic about local ghost lore.

Luckily, the women who run Localite couldn?t be further from that cliché. Serena Bartlett and Gretchen Ludwig, major Bay Area culture buffs, have reimagined the maligned tour as a mini-vacation. Each one explores a different East Bay neighborhood, revealing little-known facts about local architecture, watering holes, restaurants and stores. During the Retro Cocktails Tour, for instance, you?ll learn that Gertrude Stein?s famous quote ?There is no there there? was actually in reference to Oakland.

But it?s not all historical tidbits. Every tour involves chowing down on some grade-A grub--you?ll taste your way through Old Oakland?s carnitas and ham hocks on the Pork Tour--and many include stops at stores and gardens as well. (Your Aunt Rita will love seeing America?s oldest bonsai on the Picnic Tour in Lake Merritt.)

The excursions range from $45 to $75 and can be booked through the Localite site.

Some extra incentive: You?ll walk off some of that yuletide food and booze.

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