The New York Times released its 2012 list of Top Places to See, and one unlikely American city made the top five.

FOX's Claudia Cowan tells us which California city it is:

It's rife with crime, known for its defiant protesters and gritty neighborhoods, so some were more than surprised to see the New York Times give Oakland the fifth spot on its 2012 list of Places to See.  Among 45 cities, Oakland beat out Florence (Italy), Moscow and every other city in the U.S.

The Times also touts Oakland's award-winning restaurants, art galleries and boutiques that capture the city's new-found pride and creative spirit.  Oakland still has its problems: the mayor could be recalled, its pro sports teams all want to move and the crime rate is disturbingly high.

Still, the intrepid visitor might come away with a new perspective of a city they only thought they knew.

In Oakland, Claudia Cowan, FOX News Radio.

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