Top 6 Tips For Visiting Oakland, California
Between sprawling San Francisco and charming Berkley, Oakland is one of California’s underrated suburban hot spots. Featuring eclectic art, music, nature, and events; it is the perfect place for a weekend away. For all the hottest events, coolest accommodation, and money-saving tips check out our visitor’s guide to make the most of your stay in this beautiful bay-side city.
Where to Stay:
Oakland has plenty of unique accommodation options to meet every criterion. If you want to indulge in a decadent weekend away, live the high life in the Mansion on Sutter. Or, If you would rather spend a cozy quiet weekend in, head to the Adeline Street Co-op; your home-away-from-home complete private art gallery and home-cooked meals. To get away from it all, take in the peaceful Berkley scenery in a Secluded hillside retreat or get the best of the bay in a romantic yacht.
Finding your way around Oakland has never been easier, in addition to local taxi and rideshare apps the city hosts countless sustainable options. Oakland has been recognized as one of the best biking cities in North America, catching up with their cycle-loving neighbor San Francisco. Try it out for yourself by grabbing a BayWheels bicycle from one of the city-wide bike stands. Or, for a taste of nostalgia and youthful energy try out a lime electric scooter. If you would rather keep both feet on the ground, you can easily plan your route through the city using the local transit Trip Planner.
What to See:
The thriving Oakland art scene is bound to impress, with more than 1,000 incredible street murals around town. See for yourself on a self-guided tour of the city’s urban art scene following the Mural Map to find the best selfie spots. If you are more of a music-lover, be sure to check the events page at the historic Fox Theater to see some of your favorite bands live. In fact, Oakland hosts a multitude of cultural, musical, and theatrical events all year long, such as the upcoming Autumn Lights Festival which you won’t want to miss.
What To Do:
Get active and enjoy the impressive California countryside by hiking the Sequoia-lined trails at Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. Pack a picnic to enjoy under the shade of the towering redwood trees and look out for local wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits. First-time visitors might be surprised to find that in addition to the usual California scenery, Oakland has a volcano in its backyard. The Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve offers a peek into the past as you climb the Volcanic Route to learn about the history of the park, enjoy the view of the valley, and explore the decorative labyrinths. If you’re looking for more laidback weekend activities head to Chinatown to enjoy a tour of the Fortune Cookie Factory (with samples!) and watch homemade noodles and dumplings being made before your eyes at Shan Dong Mandarin restaurant.
Where to Eat:
If your tour through Chinatown has worked up your appetite, you’re in luck because Oakland is proudly home to some of the best women-owned, black-owned, and LGBTQ-owned eateries in the area. Get some traditional comfort food at Lena’s Soul Food or the plant-based delight Souley Vegan. If you’re looking for something exotic try the Arabian flavors at Reem’s, traditional Mexican at La Guerrera’s Kitchen, or Caribbean spices at CocoBreeze. In the evening you can stroll and sip your way along the Oakland Urban Wine Trail or stop in for handcrafted cocktails at eccentric Sobre Mesa.
How To Save:
With so much to do and see, take these tips to save money and stick to your budget. The Oakland Clipper Card is a great solution to make public transportation cheaper, quicker, and easier so you don’t have to worry about expensive cab rides. To save on accommodation try staying in a shared room at the colorful and quirky Faces Oasis hostel or the charming Lincoln Hostel. Be sure to check out the many free events such as Oakland First Fridays for a taste of Oakland cuisine, culture, art, music, and more!