Oakland, California: 6 Reasons it’s More Awesome Than You Think

What better use for the letter O than my beloved hometown – Oakland, California on the SF Bay! I could spend all day talking about Oakland, but here are just a few cool things the city has to offer.
The first thing you need to do is drive across the Bay Bridge into Oakland.
(Pic: baybridgeinfo.org)

Or take a the SF Bay Ferry from SF to Jack London Square. 
Ferry arriving at Jack London Square (Photo: sanfranciscobayferry.com)


Paramount Theater
This art deco masterpiece is a perfect venue for a live show or classic movie, and a slice of history of the golden age of film where Hollywood studios used to own the theaters. 
(Photo: Meyer Sound News)
Fox Theater

A 2,800 seat movie theater with Middle Eastern influenced architecture inside, it is now a school, restaurant, and prominent live concert venue. 

(Photo: cinematreasures.org)

Grand Lake Theater 

Watch the newest flicks and admire the ornately decorated art deco historical theater near Lake Merritt. 
(Photo: bayflicks.net) 
The New Parkway Theater
Community-centered pub and theater showing  new releases, cult classics, and fabulous special programming and pub located with cozy couches.  
(Photo: www.loakal.com)


Oakland Museum of California

Museum dedicated to the art, history, and natural science of California.

(Photo: sf.funcheap.com)


The Black History Museum
Museum and library dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history, art, and culture of African Americans in Oakland, the Bay Area, and Northern California.
The Peralta Hacienda
Museum and park, the 1870 Italianate Victorian farmhouse, was the first European settlement after the establishment of Mission San Jose and as such is the birthplace of Oakland.
(Photo: Alex Washburn)
Chabot Space and Science Center
Get the best panoramic views of the Bay Area, directly overlooking Oakland with a spectacular view of SF. Every Friday and Saturday nights, there are FREE stargazing and telescope viewings at the observatory. 


Lake Merit

Take a pedal boat or gondola cruise through the lake, take a stroll and visit the Gardens at Lake Merritt, 11 themed botanical gardens. 

Preservation Park

Park and plaza with 16 restored early Oakland Victorian homes.

Morcom Rose Garden 

A public colorful paradise in Oakland, CA from the 30s era surrounded by winding paths, graceful stairways, dramatic water features.
Montclair’s ”Storybook” Homes
Architecture reminiscent of homes and buildings found in storybooks made popular in the 1920s.
Montclair fire startion (Photo: oaklanddailyphoto.blogspot.com)

Redwood Regional Park
A hidden redwood forest lies just a few miles over the ridge from downtown Oakland for great hikes and your dose of nature. 

(Photo: Keith Cuddeback)

The Waterfront to Panoramic Views

Jack London Square 

Named after the acclaimed Oakland native author, Jack London, his cabin lies nearby, and you can take a walk through his shoes and visit the Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon or take advantage of the waterfront and estuary on canoe or kayak. Spend the afternoon or night touring the bars and restaurants in the square.

(Photo: oaklandlocal.com)
Oakland California Temple
Not only beautiful, but a great site on the Oakland hills to take panoramic photos, and see their epic light show during the holidays.
(Photo: www.lds.org)

Mountainview Cemetary 

For hikes, walks, and views in this park like cemetery, and see the grave of the Black Dahlia. 
(Photo: sfgate.com)

First Friday 

First Friday /Art Murmur  

If you’re around during the first Friday of the month, check out the street festival from 5-9 PM on Telegraph in Uptown Oakland, an art gallery walk, live music, food trucks and other vendors. 
There are also Temescal First Fridays in the same spirit. 
If you want a more tranquil time to visit over 30 local art galleries that participate in First Friday, there is also Saturday Stroll from 6-4 PM

Food, Walking and Bike Tours

Free monthly nature walks with Wild Oakland.

Oakland Urban Paths takes you on a walk through the urban and hidden stairways of Oakland. 
Free 90 min. walking tours with 8 different itineraries.

Savor Oakland Food Tours a tasting tour food and wine in and around Jack London

Oakland’s Temescal Tastes is similar to Savor but in the Lake Temescal Area

East Bay Winery Bike Tours takes you from Oakland to Alameda to 3-4 wineries on bike. 

What I would personally recommend is that you get over to Oakland’s Fruitvale District and have a Mexican feast at their local taco trucks, make a crawl out of it and hit up a couple places. You will not regret it! 

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  • Wow, some seriously cool photos! Came to you via #azchat this evening 🙂 I’ve never been to the US let alone Oakland but I love the mix of things to do, the redwoods look fab!

    Curling Stones for Lego People

  • Hola! It’s been years since I visited San Fran… I love the Chinatown there and walking along the pier.

    ~Tui Snider~ I’m dropping by from today’s #AZchat on Twitter!
    @TuiSnider on Twitter
    My blog: Tui Snider’s Offbeat & Overlooked Travel
    I am also part of the #StoryDam team, a friendly writing community!

  • Are these your photos, they are really good? I’m always surprised by how big everything is in the USA
    Reflex Reactions

  • Hola! I was born in SFO and went to high school in El Cerrito, just north of Berkeley. I didn’t get the opportunity to venture into Oakland much (aside from passing through on BART), but I had no idea it had such beautiful places! Next time I’m in the Bay Area I will take a second look. Happy A to Zing! – marci (fuzzyundertones.com)

  • I never spent any time in Oakland, but I have been in San Francisco quite a few times. Next time I visit SF I will have to go to Oakland and see some of those wonderful things you pointed out. You make me want to travel!

    Thanks for visiting my blog earlier.

    Liz at Bead Contagion

  • I go to SF almost every year and I’ve never really been to Oakland, but I will go next time thanks to this post.

  • Thanks for all the comments. Oakland is definitely overlooked in the Bay and oftentimes gets a bad rap in the US, but it’s a great city to explore with some beautiful and interesting sites.
    I was once in SF asking a police officer for directions, and assuming I’m was tourist, he advised me not to go into Oakland!! It was upsetting to see how people view Oakland, especially being from there knowing all of the gems the city has to offer.
    So, next time you’re in the Bay, go to Oakland! Glad to share this with you all!

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