What To Do In Oakland, California
Located in Alameda County, Oakland is a major West Coast port city and the largest city in the East Bay region of San Francisco. It is also the eighth largest city in California, With roughly 400,000 residents, Oakland spans 54 miles and is the only city in the world with a natural saltwater lake within its boundaries.
The most ethnically diverse major city in the United States, more than 125 different languages and dialects are spoken in Oakland. Oakland is also known for political activism, sustainability and for being the only city in California with three professional sports teams. Oakland has a deep history with more than 50 locations on the National Register of Historic Places.
What is now known as Oakland was once woodland and coastal prairie. The fertile soils positioned Oakland as a central agricultural hub. Oakland became the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad in the late 1860s. The city’s population grew following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake when many San Francisco residents moved to Oakland. The result was increased housing stock and improved infrastructure. Growth continued throughout the 20th century due to a thriving automobile industry, busy ports, and shipyards.
Shortly after the war, Oakland saw a decline in the automobile and shipbuilding industries. Much of WestOakland was destroyed in the mid-1950s when highway 17 (Nimitz Freeway) was built. Families were displaced by the construction and urban renewal efforts of West Oakland.
The mid-1990s saw an improved economy with a new downtown land development. A multi-million dollar expansion was planned by the Oakland International Airport and the Officials of the Port of Oakland to keep pace with airports on the West Coast and rival shipping ports.
The Oakland of today is a less expensive option to the nearby city of San Francisco. Oakland also offers a sunnier climate than its foggy neighbor. With no shortage of cultural activities and a burgeoning foodie scene, there is something for everyone in Oakland, California.
Our Favorite Things to Do OAKLAND, California
Our mini guide below lists some of our favorite things to do in this “Brooklyn by the Bay”.
Known as an authentic, diverse and creative city, Oakland is in the midst of a renaissance. While you are in Oakland you can choose from annual festivals, live performances, an edgy industrial art scene and nationally acclaimed gallery events. The options are endless in Oakland. We’ve taken the guesswork out by listing some of our favorites below.
Chabot Space and Science Museum
An observatory and planetarium, the Chabot Space and Science Center is a fantastic place to learn about space and science. Chabot Space & Science has three powerful telescopes, a large screen theater and a digital planetarium where you can take in awe-inspiring views of Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco.
Stargaze at: 10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619
Call for more information: 510-336-7300
Oakland Museum of California
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is a leading cultural institution in the Bay Area, housing over 1.8 million objects and bringing together collections of natural sciences, history and art under one roof. A resource for understanding the state’s environmental and cultural heritage, OMCA also hosts a family friendly festive night market every Friday evening with food trucks, live music and workshops.
Grow your brain at: 1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607-4820
Call for more information at: 510-318-8400
California is full of outdoor adventures and Oakland is no exception. With Oakland’s amazing weather, there is never a need to stay inside. While you are here, be sure to spend a day in the California sunshine with one of these outdoor activities.
Lake Merritt is the largest fresh saltwater lake within an urban area. The crowned jewel of Oakland, this 155-acre body of water is both a recreational paradise and a beautiful slice of nature on this urban landscape. The nation’s first declared wildlife refuge, the Lake Merritt area was recently revitalized so it is a breathtaking spot to spend an afternoon in Oakland.
Lake Merritt is located at: 568 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610
Call for Oakland Parks and Rec for more information : (510) 238-PARK or (510) 238-7275
East Bay Winery Bike Tours
Hop on a bike and enjoy the urban wine boom of Oakland “wine city”, the urban alternative to Napa “wine country”. This is a beautifully designed bike tour with stops at 3 wineries. In total the trek is roughly 5 hours and 15 miles along the Oakland-Berkeley trail. You’ll not only learn by the glass but you’ll get a helmet, a bike, a bottle of water, a snack and a picnic lunch.
Join the tour at: The Ferry Terminal at Jack London Square or Aquatic Park in Berkeley
Call for more information at: 1 510-285-7884
Given the ethnic diversity of Oakland, It’s no surprise that you can find cuisine from every corner of the globe here. With a growing foodie scene, Oakland offers countless opportunities for unique dining experiences that won’t break the bank.
Boot and Shoe Service
Boot and Shoe Service is named for the shoe repair shop that once occupied the space. Offering a laid-back vibe and fantastic food, Boot and Shoe Service is a local favorite for brunch, lunch, dinner, and cocktails. This is a light and bright space with communal tables that are equally welcoming for solo diners or large groups.
Boot and Shoe Service is located at: 3308 Grand Avenue Oakland, CA 94610
Give them a call at: 510 763 2668
One of the most unique options for vegetarian and vegan cuisine is Soley Vegan serves 100% vegan Southern style cuisine. You can even enjoy a continuous loop of old Soul Train episodes as you savor the crispy tofu catfish. Soley Vegan has been a fixture in Jack London Square since 2013.
Soley Vegan is located at: 301 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607
Give them a call at: (510) 922-1615
A Jack London Squarefavorite, Beer Revolution has 50 beers on tap at all times. You can choose from Ales and pilsners, stouts and heffeweizens, They also have hundreds of other craft beers available in bottles. With two seating areas, the only problem you’ll find here is deciding which beer to try next.
Join the revolution at: 464 3rd St, Oakland, CA 94607
Call for more information: (510) 452-2337