35 Things To Do in Oakland

By Janet Benoir – May 17, 2024

Known as the Bright Side of the Bay, Oakland is a vibrant melting pot of culture, cuisine, and adventure that never fails to charm its visitors. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a foodie, this city offers a plethora of experiences to satiate your travel cravings.

Here are the top 35 things to do in Oakland that you simply can’t miss:

Jack London Square

Jack London Square is the vibrant heart of Oakland where the city meets the bay, offering a lively mix of dining, shopping, and waterfront activities. Stroll along its scenic boardwalk, soak up the bustling atmosphere, and perhaps enjoy a local artisan coffee or a book by Jack London himself. This iconic spot serves as the perfect introduction to what the city has to offer.

Jack London Square

As night falls, the square buzzes with energy, transforming into a hub of nightlife. Local taverns offer craft beers and creative cocktails, perfect for relaxing with a view of the Oakland Estuary. The area’s restaurants feature menus packed with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, giving visitors a taste of Northern California’s culinary excellence right by the water.

Paramount Theatre 

The Paramount Theatre is more than just a venue; it’s a portal to the past. Its lavish 1930s Art Deco design transports visitors to a time of extravagant movie palaces. As a key part of Oakland’s cultural scene, the theatre showcases everything from ballets and symphonies to contemporary concerts and film festivals.

Paramount Theatre

Step into the Paramount to experience the allure of live performances enhanced by the theatre’s beautifully restored details. The intricate decor, from the radiant ceiling to the luxurious seating, enriches the ambiance, making each event uniquely mesmerizing. This historical landmark not only captivates with its visual grandeur but also deeply connects audiences to the performing arts.

USS Hornet Museum

Step aboard the USS Hornet Museum and delve into rich historical narratives that span from World War II to the space race. This historic aircraft carrier offers a glimpse into the lives of the sailors and aviators who served on her decks, showcasing a collection of well-preserved artifacts and exhibits. It highlights the ship’s critical role in naval warfare and its subsequent service as a NASA recovery vessel.

USS Hornet Museum

Visiting the USS Hornet not only provides a deep dive into military history but also offers insights into the technological advancements and personal stories connected with its service. As you wander through the corridors once walked by heroes, sit in the cockpit of a vintage fighter jet, and grasp the immense scale of this floating museum docked in Alameda, you gain a profound appreciation of its historical and cultural significance.

Oakland Zoo

The Oakland Zoo is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, nestled in the Bay Area’s rolling hills and home to over 850 native and exotic animals displayed in naturalistic settings. Highlights include the African Savanna and the California Trail, which provide educational and engaging experiences for visitors of all ages, emphasizing conservation and education.

Oakland Zoo

Plan your visit to coincide with interactive activities like giraffe feedings or elephant observations to enhance your experience. The zoo’s dedication to excellent animal care and environmental education is evident, making it an essential destination for families and wildlife aficionados alike.

Chabot Space and Science Center 

Perched atop the Oakland hills, the Chabot Space and Science Center is more than just a museum; it’s a portal to the cosmos. Equipped with advanced telescopes and interactive exhibits, the center invites you to unravel the mysteries of the universe through engaging planetarium shows and hands-on activities that make learning about space and science both fun and enlightening.

Chabot Space and Science Center

As night falls, the center transforms into a magical observatory. Here, you can gaze through powerful telescopes at distant galaxies, observe planets, and watch stars twinkle against the backdrop of the night sky. The observatory deck not only offers stunning views of the Bay Area but also provides a spectacular vantage point for celestial observations, creating a mesmerizing experience for visitors of all ages.

Oakland Rose Garden

Nestled in a serene neighborhood, the Oakland Rose Garden is a breathtaking retreat filled with over 800 varieties of roses. Its carefully curated beds and charming arbors offer a perfect setting for quiet strolls or peaceful reflection among the colorful flowers and lush greenery. The garden transforms with the seasons, continuously presenting a vibrant array of colors and fragrances, making each visit a unique and picturesque experience.

Oakland Rose Garden

The garden’s atmosphere is enriched by the sweet fragrance of roses, engaging the senses and painting a vivid landscape that changes throughout the year. This living canvas captivates visitors with its ever-changing beauty, providing a fresh and inspiring experience with every trip. Whether you’re seeking a moment of solitude or a splash of natural color, the Oakland Rose Garden promises a delightful escape.

Oakland Museum of California

The Oakland Museum of California serves as a vibrant cultural hub, presenting an immersive journey through California’s rich history, diverse art, and unique natural environments. Its interactive exhibits and thought-provoking displays cover a broad range of topics, from ecological studies to significant artistic movements, providing visitors with a comprehensive understanding of the state’s development and cultural identity.

Oakland Museum of California

Each visit to the museum offers a unique experience, with galleries that explore different facets of California’s varied landscape and heritage. Visitors can travel from the days of the Gold Rush to the forefront of contemporary art, engaging with interactive workshops and special events that enhance their appreciation and understanding of California’s enduring influence and pioneering spirit.

Redwood Regional Park

Redwood Regional Park is a tranquil haven where towering ancient redwoods create a majestic natural cathedral. The park’s extensive trail network welcomes hikers of all abilities to delve into its lush wilderness. Sunlight streaming through the dense canopy illuminates paths that promise continual discovery and enchantment.

Redwood Regional Park

Beyond hiking, this park is a sanctuary for all who cherish the outdoors. The sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves blend with sightings of deer to enrich the sensory experience of each visitor. In this serene environment, the frantic pace of daily life melts away, connecting you to the calming rhythm of nature.

Fox Theater

The Fox Theater, a restored jewel from the 1920s, is one of Oakland’s top venues for live entertainment, hosting a broad spectrum of performances from rock concerts to ballet. Its ornate interior, featuring intricate plasterwork and exotic motifs, brings to life an era of glamour, making it a cultural focal point.

Fox Theater

Going to an event at the Fox Theater is an immersive experience, where the ambiance is just as captivating as the performance itself. With its lavish decor and cutting-edge sound and lighting technology, the theater provides an unforgettable setting. Whether it’s a classic film, a modern dance, or a live concert, each night at the Fox is both a visual and artistic spectacle.

African American Museum and Library

The African American Museum and Library in Oakland serves as a pivotal institution for cultural preservation and education, celebrating the significant contributions of the African American community. Its extensive archives are filled with artifacts, documents, and photographs that explore the rich history and vibrant culture of African Americans in the Bay Area and beyond.

African American Museum and Library

Every exhibit at the museum provides a deep dive into the lives of African Americans, highlighting both their challenges and achievements. The museum also hosts educational programs and guest speakers, fostering discussions on a range of historical and contemporary issues. This makes it a crucial hub for community engagement and learning, enriching visitors’ understanding of African American heritage.

Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt, often referred to as the Jewel of Oakland, transforms into a breathtaking spectacle as the evening sky blushes with shades of orange and pink. Opt for a serene gondola ride or a casual paddle boat tour to immerse yourself in the romantic ambiance, with the gentle waters and picturesque surroundings crafting an ideal setting for relaxation and romance.

Lake Merritt

The lake’s allure extends beyond its stunning visuals to a lively, welcoming atmosphere. As you navigate its placid waters, the backdrop of active joggers and leisurely walkers along the shore, coupled with the emerging city lights, enriches the experience. This vibrant scene elevates a sunset cruise to a quintessential Oakland activity, providing a distinct and memorable vantage point of the city from the tranquil lake.

Grand Lake Farmers Market

Step into the vibrant Grand Lake Farmers Market, a sensory haven where fresh produce, bright flowers, and artisanal goods create a colorful tapestry of sights and smells. Here, each vendor’s stall showcases the local bounty with offerings like crisp organic vegetables and handcrafted cheeses, highlighting the community’s rich agricultural and creative talents.

Grand Lake Farmers Market

On Saturdays, the market comes alive with the buzz of energy amplified by live music that provides a lively backdrop to your shopping experience. As you meander through the stalls, indulge in a variety of local flavors from juicy strawberries and homemade jams to freshly baked breads. It’s a bustling gathering place for food enthusiasts to connect, share stories, and immerse themselves in Oakland’s diverse culinary scene.

Swan’s Market

Nestled in the heart of downtown Oakland, Swan’s Market offers more than just food; it provides a culinary adventure in a historic, restored market space. As you sip on artisan coffee or sample gourmet tacos and sushi, you’ll experience a blend of local and international flavors that showcase modern gastronomy.

Swan’s Market

The lively atmosphere of Swan’s Market, with its communal seating and open kitchens, encourages interaction between chefs and diners, enriching the dining experience. It’s the ideal place to explore diverse flavors and connect with the vibrant community, ensuring each visit is a unique and delightful taste adventure.

First Fridays

Every first Friday of the month, Oakland’s arts district comes alive with the First Fridays street festival, a vibrant celebration of the city’s creative spirit. The streets buzz with energy as crowds gather to enjoy live music, explore diverse art displays, and indulge in local culinary delights from bustling food trucks. The atmosphere is electric, encapsulating the dynamic and artistic vibrancy of Oakland.

First Fridays

First Fridays celebrate the diverse fabric of Oakland’s community and its cultural innovations. Each stall and performance area provides a window into the city’s soul, making it a crucial experience for visitors and locals alike who wish to engage with Oakland’s rich cultural scene. From art lovers to those looking for an entertaining evening, First Fridays delivers an unforgettable mix of artistry, rhythm, and communal connection.

Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

Nestled in a residential area, the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses provides a serene retreat from city life. This beautifully maintained garden flourishes with thousands of roses, each contributing to a vibrant display of colors and scents. Its classic layout and meandering pathways are perfect for gentle walks or quiet contemplation beside the charming fountains.

Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

The rose garden becomes a sensory haven when in full bloom, presenting a dazzling array of colors and fragrances. It’s a favorite among both locals and visitors for photography, picnics, or simply spending a restful afternoon surrounded by nature. The amphitheater occasionally serves as an idyllic setting for events, enhancing concerts and ceremonies with its scenic beauty.

RingCentral Coliseum 

Step into the electrifying atmosphere of Major League Baseball at RingCentral Coliseum, the historic home of the Oakland Athletics. As you’re greeted by the roar of enthusiastic fans and the aroma of classic ballpark snacks, get ready for a game day filled with excitement. The stadium buzzes with the energy of the crowd, making it the perfect setting for die-hard sports fans.

RingCentral Coliseum

Witness the thrill of the A’s battling their rivals, where every inning is packed with action and the iconic sound of the bat hitting the ball resonates through the stands. Treat yourself to traditional American snacks or explore the local flavors that reflect Oakland’s diverse culinary scene. Attending a game here is an immersive experience that celebrates sport, community, and the rich local culture.

Mountain View Cemetery

Mountain View Cemetery is not just a resting place for the departed; it is a passage through Oakland’s rich history. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same architect behind New York’s Central Park, this expansive cemetery merges stunning architecture with verdant landscapes. As you stroll among the graves, you encounter the stories of many influential Californians whose legacies linger in the air.

Mountain View Cemetery

Beyond being a final resting place, the cemetery serves as an enlightening space for the living. The ornate mausoleums and intricately carved headstones stand as artworks, displaying exceptional craftsmanship. Through historical tours guided by experts, visitors gain insight into the lives of notable figures who have shaped both Oakland and California, offering a meaningful educational and reflective experience.

Cathedral of Christ the Light

The Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland merges spiritual significance with striking modern architecture. Its contemporary design, featuring vast glass walls and a wooden latticework ceiling, creates a dynamic play of light that symbolizes the celestial connection between space and spirit. This architectural gem serves as both a visual masterpiece and a place for reflection, drawing admiration from all who visit.

Cathedral of Christ the Light

The cathedral provides not only a place for spiritual reflection but also breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The interior’s minimalist design emphasizes natural elements and the interplay of light, creating a serene and calming atmosphere. Whether you’re attending a service or simply soaking in the tranquil ambiance, the Cathedral of Christ the Light offers a profound experience of art, architecture, and spirituality that uplifts and inspires.

Remember Them Bronze Statues

In the heart of Oakland, the Remember Them: Champions for Humanity monument stands as a grand tribute to global icons of civil rights and humanitarian efforts. This striking ensemble of bronze statues, depicting luminaries such as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Harvey Milk, symbolizes the universal fight for peace, freedom, and human rights. Each figure represents the collective victories achieved through resilience and unity in the face of adversity.

Remember Them Bronze Statues

Located in downtown Oakland’s Champions for Humanity Plaza, the monument doubles as a cultural and educational hub. It invites visitors to reflect on the significant contributions of these world leaders and the impact of their work on global history. Engaging with the monument, individuals are inspired to embrace the values of responsibility and hope, striving to live up to the high ideals championed by these remarkable figures.

Urban Wine Trail

Oakland’s Urban Wine Trail offers a unique journey through the heart of the city’s vibrant winemaking scene. As you visit various boutique wineries, you’ll encounter a diverse array of tasting rooms and wine styles, each reflecting California’s rich winemaking heritage. This trail not only allows you to sample a wide range of wines but also gives you the chance to meet the passionate winemakers who bring each bottle to life.

Urban Wine Trail

Every stop along the trail provides a fresh experience, from learning about the wine production process to enjoying the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned wine connoisseur or new to the world of wine, the Urban Wine Trail offers a perfect mix of education and relaxation. Spend your day sipping fine wines and exploring the urban core of Oakland’s craft beverage industry.

Oakland Aviation Museum

Dive into the rich history of flight at the Oakland Aviation Museum, situated at Oakland International Airport’s historic North Field. This museum showcases a wide range of aircraft, from early aviation pioneers to modern jets, each piece telling a unique story of innovation and courage. The collection not only highlights milestones in aviation but also emphasizes the Bay Area’s significant contributions to the aerospace industry.

Oakland Aviation Museum

The museum’s interactive exhibits, including the opportunity to sit in actual cockpits and pilot a flight simulator, offer an engaging experience for visitors of all ages. History enthusiasts and families will find the museum both educational and thrilling, as knowledgeable volunteers share fascinating anecdotes and insights. This hands-on approach makes the museum a standout destination for those eager to explore the skies’ past and present.

Oakland Coffee Scene

Oakland’s coffee culture thrives on a blend of passion, innovation, and a commitment to quality. Iconic cafes like Blue Bottle are renowned for their meticulous approach to coffee, from bean sourcing to brewing, creating a refined experience that’s beloved by locals and visitors alike. These cafes are not just places to get your caffeine fix but serve as vibrant community spaces where every cup is brewed with care.

Oakland Coffee Scene

On the other hand, Red Bay Coffee enriches Oakland’s coffee scene with its strong social justice ethos, focusing on community empowerment and inclusivity. Known for its bold flavors and welcoming atmosphere, Red Bay Coffee invites both coffee connoisseurs and casual drinkers to enjoy a meaningful experience. In Oakland, coffee is a way to connect with the community and enjoy moments of peace in a busy world.

Creative Growth Art Center

The Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland stands as a beacon of artistic freedom, catering to artists with developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. This nonprofit organization provides not only studio space and materials but also gallery representation, championing the creative talents of its artists. The artwork emerging from this center is deeply impactful, offering a fresh perspective on the capabilities and expressions of individuals with disabilities.

Creative Growth Art Center

Visitors to the Creative Growth Art Center are greeted with an array of artworks ranging from detailed drawings and paintings to dynamic textiles and ceramics. Each artwork narrates a story of resilience, imagination, and the unyielding spirit of its creator. The center does more than foster artistic expression; it also offers a profound cultural exchange, enriching the lives of both the artists and those who come to admire their work.

Yoshi’s

Yoshi’s in Oakland is a renowned jazz club that seamlessly combines first-rate live music with exceptional Japanese cuisine. Since 1972, this landmark venue has been at the heart of the Bay Area music scene, captivating audiences with performances by world-class musicians in its cozy, acoustically sound setting. It’s the go-to spot for those looking to immerse themselves in the vibrant rhythms of live jazz.

Yoshi's

Enhancing the musical experience, Yoshi’s offers a sophisticated menu that marries traditional Japanese flavors with creative Californian influences. Guests can indulge in finely crafted sushi, fresh sashimi, and signature cocktails, all while being serenaded by jazz tunes. A visit to Yoshi’s offers more than just dining or entertainment; it’s a comprehensive cultural experience that nourishes both the palate and the spirit.

Oakland Running Festival

The Oakland Running Festival is a vibrant community event that welcomes runners of all levels, from seasoned marathoners to casual participants. The event includes a variety of races such as a full marathon, half marathon, relay, 5K, and a fun run for kids, attracting participants from across the nation. It’s a celebration of both the competitive spirit and community camaraderie.

Oakland Running Festival

As runners navigate through different neighborhoods, they experience Oakland’s rich cultural diversity and scenic beauty. Enthusiastic spectators fill the streets, offering encouragement and creating an uplifting environment that highlights the city’s unity. The Oakland Running Festival not only challenges athletes physically but also offers a unique opportunity to engage with the city and its residents.

Children’s Fairyland

Children’s Fairyland is more than just a park; it’s a whimsical wonderland where fairy tales spring to life. Since its opening in 1950, this theme park has delighted children with its storybook sets, friendly animals, and charming rides. Stepping into Fairyland feels like entering a living storybook, where every corner offers a burst of enchantment.

Children’s Fairyland

Designed to captivate the imaginations of its young visitors, Fairyland features a host of interactive exhibits and performances that promote playful learning and creativity. Kids can enjoy puppet shows, storytelling sessions, and rides that whisk them away to adventurous worlds, creating lasting memories fueled by the joy of stories and the magic of imagination.

Oakland California Temple

The Oakland California Temple offers a serene escape within the vibrant city of Oakland, sitting atop the hills with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay. Its impressive architecture and tranquil gardens create a perfect setting for reflection, meditation, or simply a peaceful break from the urban hustle. The temple and its visitor center are open to everyone, providing a peaceful ambiance and insights into its cultural significance.

Oakland California Temple

Visitors to the temple are met with a striking modernist design that beautifully integrates with the natural surroundings. The well-kept grounds feature water fountains and lush gardens that bloom all year round, offering a visually stunning experience each time. Ideal for those seeking tranquility or a fresh perspective, the temple serves as a spiritual haven that enriches both heart and spirit.

Preservation Park

Preservation Park in Oakland offers a delightful journey back in time, where Victorian homes and manicured gardens paint a vivid picture of the late 19th century. Serving as a community hub, the park hosts a variety of cultural events and business functions, immersing visitors in Oakland’s rich architectural heritage and ongoing efforts to preserve its historical narrative.

Preservation Park

Every corner of Preservation Park is meticulously detailed, from ornate woodwork to quaint lamp posts lining the cobblestone paths. Flowering gardens provide a scenic backdrop for strolls or quiet reflection. For those eager to delve deeper, regularly scheduled history tours offer a glimpse into the lives of Oakland’s early settlers, blending educational enrichment with the charm of a bygone era.

Children’s Zoo

The Children’s Zoo is a magical place tailored for its young explorers. Here, kids can get up close with friendly barn animals, engage in hands-on activities, and discover interactive nature play areas that foster a love for wildlife. It’s a vibrant educational playground where children can embark on grand adventures, from soaring with eagles to crawling alongside critters, in a setting that encourages learning through play.

Children’s Zoo

Each visit to the Children’s Zoo is both educational and entertaining, perfect for a family day out. Children can giggle at the antics of river otters, observe the detailed movements of tarantulas, and immerse themselves in the colors of the butterfly garden. With additional attractions like a mini train ride through natural habitats, the zoo offers an array of engaging experiences that promise to captivate and educate young minds.

Street Art in Downtown Oakland 

Downtown Oakland becomes a vivid display of creativity with its extensive street art transforming the urban landscape into an open-air gallery. Building facades are adorned with murals that showcase the city’s rich history and cultural diversity, with everything from vibrant abstracts to meaningful portraits. You can explore these artistic expressions through guided tours or by simply wandering the streets.

Street Art in Downtown Oakland

This public art sparks conversation and drives societal change. Organizations like Dragon School 99 not only beautify Oakland but also build a sense of pride and unity among its people. From large murals that span entire alleyways to small, hidden masterpieces, each work invites onlookers to reflect, turning every walk through downtown Oakland into a journey of discovery and appreciation.

Kaiser Rooftop Garden 

Tucked away atop a parking garage, the Kaiser Rooftop Garden stands as a serene sanctuary amidst Oakland’s urban bustle. This hidden gem features beautifully manicured gardens, winding pathways, and calming water features, offering a peaceful escape where visitors can relax under the shade of verdant trees or stroll along paths with views of the city skyline.

Kaiser Rooftop Garden

More than just a quiet retreat, the rooftop garden doubles as a popular venue for various events and a favored lunch spot for downtown workers. The unique combination of architectural design and natural elements creates an ideal setting for those seeking a tranquil moment to read, reflect, or simply enjoy a break from the city’s fast pace without ever leaving the heart of Oakland.

Drake’s Dealership

Drake’s Dealership in Oakland is a paradise for craft beer enthusiasts and foodies. Located in a converted auto dealership, this hip brewpub serves a fantastic selection of beers from Drake’s Brewing Company. The space features a large, open-air beer garden with fire pits and communal seating, making it perfect for enjoying a beer under the sun or a cool evening out.

Drake's Dealership

The brewpub offers everything from hoppy IPAs to smooth stouts, each pairing wonderfully with their wood-fired pizzas and a variety of savory dishes. The bustling atmosphere is regularly amplified by live music, creating a dynamic environment where both locals and visitors can enjoy the vibrant Oakland craft beer culture.

The New Parkway Theater

The New Parkway Theater in Oakland provides a unique cinema experience, blending the charm of classic movie nights with modern and independent films in a cozy, eclectic setting. Visitors can sink into mismatched couches and enjoy a diverse selection of films, making it more than just a cinema—it’s a vibrant cultural hub where art and film meet comfort and creativity.

The New Parkway Theater

Adding to its allure, The New Parkway offers themed nights and special events such as trivia, comedy shows, and dinner-and-a-movie evenings, enriching the traditional movie-going experience. The theater serves a variety of delicious meals and local beers directly to your seat, crafting an ideal atmosphere for a laid-back evening where community and cinema converge to forge memorable experiences.

Lawrence Hall of Science

Perched high in the Berkeley hills, the Lawrence Hall of Science offers more than just an educational journey; it provides breathtaking panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay. Within its walls, visitors of all ages are treated to a variety of science exhibits that simplify complex concepts, making learning both accessible and engaging and igniting a sense of wonder and curiosity.

Lawrence Hall of Science

Further enhancing the experience, the Lawrence Hall of Science features a state-of-the-art planetarium that takes visitors on an awe-inspiring journey through the cosmos. The planetarium shows are crafted to both educate and captivate, delving deep into the mysteries of the universe. This makes it a perfect destination for families and anyone eager to broaden their understanding of science in an immersive setting.

The Uptown Nightclub

Step into the sultry ambiance of The Uptown Nightclub in Oakland, where the dim lighting and swaying curtains set the stage for an enchanting evening of burlesque. Renowned for its perfect blend of vintage and modern performances, The Uptown captivates and thrills its visitors, making it a standout destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant artistic culture.

The Uptown Nightclub

As the performers dazzle on stage, the atmosphere becomes charged with a mix of nostalgia and excitement. The performances, a vibrant tapestry of humor, dance, and theatrical flair, celebrate artistic expression and body positivity. Attending a burlesque show at The Uptown not only entertains but also offers a deep dive into the creative spirit that defines Oakland’s lively nightlife, leaving audiences both inspired and in awe.

Oakland is not just a side trip from San Francisco but a dynamic destination full of exciting experiences waiting to be discovered. From its lush parks and innovative museums to its thriving food scene and lively cultural festivals, Oakland promises an unforgettable visit full of new adventures.


The 10 Best Restaurants in Oakland

Oakland, California, is quickly becoming a notable culinary hotspot in the Bay Area, offering a diverse and vibrant food scene that rivals its famous neighbor, San Francisco. From high-end, Michelin-starred restaurants to authentic street food, Oakland provides a range of dining experiences that showcase its rich cultural mix.

Here are 10 must-visit restaurants in Oakland that promise a memorable culinary adventure.

Commis

Oakland’s only Michelin-starred venue, Commis offers an exquisite dining experience that promises a culinary journey unlike any other in the city. With a sophisticated, minimalist decor, the ambiance sets the stage for an intimate evening where each course is a work of art. Chef James Syhabout’s innovative approach to Californian cuisine features an eight-course tasting menu that showcases the finest local ingredients with a surprising twist.

Dining at Commis is a theatrical display of culinary excellence, from the precision in the kitchen to the meticulous service. Each dish is paired with exceptional wines, enhancing the flavors and transforming your meal into a memorable gourmet narrative. It’s a splurge at $175 per person, but the experience justifies every penny, proving itself as a culinary beacon in Oakland.

Parche

Step into Parche and find yourself immersed in the lively spirit of Colombia right in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood. This vibrant contemporary Colombian restaurant buzzes with an energetic crowd, eclectic decor, and a flavorful menu. Chef Paul Iglesias uses traditional Colombian cooking techniques to craft a menu that’s both authentic and innovative, featuring standout items like ceviches and arepas.

The family-style dining at Parche encourages sharing, making it perfect for groups looking to explore an array of dishes. Their cocktail menu, highlighted by a Spanish-style gin & tonic, complements the fiery flavors of the food. With its bold, colorful interiors and a welcoming atmosphere, Parche isn’t just a meal; it’s a festivity of Colombian culture.

Wood Tavern

Wood Tavern stands out as a key player in Oakland’s American cuisine scene, offering a cozy and welcoming environment that complements its robust and well-crafted menu. Nestled on bustling College Avenue, this local favorite skillfully blends rustic charm with refined culinary techniques, and its ever-changing menu features local, sustainable ingredients that truly capture the essence of Californian cooking.

Known for its friendly and approachable service, Wood Tavern is beloved by both locals and visitors. Whether you’re there for a quick lunch or a more indulgent dinner, you can expect dishes like their signature pork chop or the beloved pan-seared fish, each promising a satisfying taste of authentic American flavors.

The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill

Located on the shores of Lake Merritt, The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill provides not only a feast for the taste buds but also for the eyes with its stunning views of the water and city skyline. The menu is a seafood lover’s delight, featuring everything from fresh oysters to their famed fish tacos, all sourced to emphasize local and sustainable practices.

The Lake Chalet is more than just a restaurant; it’s a destination. With its historical setting in a beautifully restored boathouse, guests can enjoy live music, happy hour specials, and seasonal events that make every visit unique. It’s the perfect spot to unwind, sip a craft cocktail, and watch the sunset over the lake.

Daughter Thai Kitchen

Nestled in the Montclair Village, Daughter Thai Kitchen offers a vibrant blend of traditional Thai flavors and modern culinary techniques. The decor is as lively and colorful as the dishes themselves, featuring intricate Thai craftsmanship that complements the spicy, rich flavors of the cuisine. From the street-style appetizers to the robust curries, each dish is crafted to offer a genuine taste of Thailand.

Daughter Thai’s charm lies in its ability to blend authenticity with innovation. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for family gatherings or a romantic night out. Their weekend brunches, featuring Thai-inspired twists on classic dishes, are not to be missed, providing a fresh take on weekend dining.

ACRE

ACRE breathes new life into the corner of College Ave with its Mediterranean-inspired menu and relaxed, stylish atmosphere. ACRE has made its mark on the culinary landscape by paying homage to its storied past while infusing the menu with a contemporary twist. The cuisine, featuring straightforward yet sophisticated dishes like stone oven-baked pizzas and innovative takes on steak tartare and whole-grilled branzino, showcases the rich flavors of the Mediterranean.

The restaurant is designed with a two-level layout that includes a European-style café on the ground floor and a more upscale dining space upstairs. This setup offers flexibility, making ACRE suitable for both casual drinks and luxurious meals. With a focus on simplicity and excellence, ACRE ensures that each visit is memorable, encouraging diners to return.

Shakewell

Shakewell brings the vibrant flavors of the Mediterranean to Oakland’s bustling Lakeshore district. The restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere, with a menu featuring Spanish cuisine and beyond. Led by Chef Jen Biesty, the kitchen prepares a variety of tapas and larger dishes like their signature bomba rice, perfect for sharing with friends.

Complementing its Mediterranean fare, Shakewell has a lively bar scene with handcrafted cocktails and a wine list that includes Spanish and local Californian selections. Whether you’re looking for a fun night out or a delightful brunch, Shakewell is a great addition to Oakland’s culinary landscape.

Mua

Mua offers a unique blend of arts and dining, creating an experience that is both visually and gastronomically engaging. Located in a converted warehouse in Oakland’s Uptown district, the restaurant delights the senses with its eclectic decor and a menu full of creative dishes. From small, innovative starters to hearty entrees, each item on the menu is thoughtfully prepared to surprise and satisfy guests.

The ambiance at Mua is lively and dynamic, filled with the sounds of lively conversations and clinking glasses. It’s a place where surprises are standard, from unexpected ingredients in your drink to DJs playing music late into the night. Dining at Mua goes beyond just eating; it’s about being part of Oakland’s vibrant creative scene.

Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar

Bellanico, located in the Glenview district of Oakland, blends traditional Italian cooking with Californian flair. This cozy restaurant is known for its rotating menu that highlights the best local ingredients in classic Italian dishes. Favorites like homemade pasta and risotto show dedication and passion in their kitchen.

The restaurant also boasts an extensive wine list, with a mix of Italian and local wines chosen to enhance the flavors of the dishes. The warm, welcoming environment makes Bellanico perfect for a romantic dinner or a memorable meal with family, where the conversation is as enjoyable as the wine.

Cholita Linda

Cholita Linda shines as a hub of Latin American tastes within Oakland’s dynamic dining scene. Originally a popular food truck, it has evolved into a vibrant restaurant attracting people with its delicious tacos and street food. The standout Baja fish taco is especially famous for its crispy batter and flavorful balance.

The restaurant’s lively and colorful decor complements the zest of its meals, creating a cheerful and inviting atmosphere. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy shared meals with friends, accompanied by homemade aguas frescas or cold beer. A visit to Cholita Linda is like taking a mini trip to Latin America without leaving Oakland.

Each of these restaurants not only serves food; they curate experiences that reflect the soul of Oakland. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or a curious traveler, Oakland’s dining scene promises encounters that are as enriching as they are delicious.


The 10 Best Tours in Oakland

Oakland, California, is a dynamic city rich in culture and history, offering a diverse range of activities that attract visitors worldwide. Located at the heart of the Bay Area, Oakland combines urban sophistication with beautiful natural scenery. Whether you’re interested in food, history, or outdoor adventures, Oakland provides a wealth of opportunities to explore and enjoy.

Here are the top 10 tours in Oakland that highlight the best places to visit and fun activities, making it easy for tourists to discover the essence of this vibrant city.

Redwood Forest, Santa Cruz Harbor 1-Day Trip from San Francisco

Embark on a captivating journey to the majestic Redwood Forest and the charming Santa Cruz Harbor with this one-day tour from San Francisco. Wander through towering ancient redwoods, where the air is fresh and filled with the scent of the forest, offering a serene escape from urban life. This adventure showcases the stunning natural beauty of Northern California and lets you immerse yourself in the tranquility of these historic landscapes.

Redwood Forest, Santa Cruz Harbor 1-Day Trip from San Francisco

Continue to Santa Cruz Harbor, where the seaside atmosphere comes alive. Stroll along the vibrant docks, watch boats on the gentle waves, and savor fresh local seafood. The picturesque coastline offers breathtaking views, ideal for both photography buffs and nature enthusiasts. Experience the lively local culture and the soothing seaside ambiance, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

  • Tour Fee: $166.50
  • Schedule: 8 to 10 hours
  • Inclusions: Free cancellation, transportation

17-Mile Drive, Carmel & Monterey Day Trip from San Francisco

Experience a scenic journey along the famous 17-Mile Drive, where you’ll experience breathtaking views of the Pacific coastline and explore the charming coastal towns of Carmel and Monterey. Each turn on this iconic drive offers stunning vistas and charming scenes, making it a paradise for photographers and nature lovers alike.

17-Mile Drive, Carmel & Monterey Day Trip from San Francisco

As you wander through Carmel and Monterey, you’ll discover a blend of art and nature. Carmel is known for its vibrant art scene, with numerous galleries and shops that reflect its creative spirit. In Monterey, delve into the town’s rich maritime history and explore the lively streets and historic waterfront. This tour offers a glimpse into the heart of Northern California’s revered coastal culture.

  • Tour Fee: $166.50
  • Schedule: 8 to 10 hours
  • Inclusions: Free cancellation, guided tour

Napa Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

Experience the beauty of Napa Valley on an all-inclusive wine tour that takes you through its picturesque vineyards and esteemed wineries. Ideal for both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers, this tour offers to taste a variety of vintages and learn about the rich flavors and unique characteristics of each wine. As you move from one winery to the next, you’ll be immersed in the region’s stunning landscapes and luxurious atmosphere.

Napa Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

This tour handles all the details, including transportation and meals, allowing you to fully enjoy the experience without any worries. Sample the best wines Napa Valley has to offer while soaking in the serene views of rolling hills and lush vineyards. It’s a perfect day of indulgence, combining the pleasure of wine tasting with the elegance and comfort of the finest Napa wineries.

  • Tour Fee: $599.00
  • Schedule: 7 hours
  • Inclusions: Free cancellation, wine tastings, pickup, and drop-off

Bay Area Brewery Tour

Discover the thriving craft beer scene of the San Francisco Bay Area with the Bay Area Brewery Tour. Delve into the brewing process at several top local breweries, learning about the craftsmanship behind their unique flavors. This tour offers beer lovers a firsthand look at Oakland’s rich brewery culture, enhanced by tastings of distinct local brews.

Bay Area Brewery Tour

Journey through Oakland and its neighboring areas, where you’ll meet dedicated brewers and taste a variety of exceptional beers. From robust stouts to refreshing IPAs, each brewery visit tells a unique story of flavor and passion. Ideal for those keen to explore the local craft beer scene, this tour provides an engaging and memorable experience, blending education with enjoyment.

  • Tour Fee: $307.35
  • Schedule: 7 hours
  • Inclusions: Price varies by group size

Sonoma Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

Discover the enchanting Sonoma Valley with an all-inclusive wine tour that takes you to some of the top wineries in the area. As you explore the vine-covered hills, you’ll taste a variety of wines, each telling the unique story of its vineyard. The beautiful settings offer a perfect day of relaxation and wine appreciation, guided by experts who share their deep knowledge and passion for winemaking.

Sonoma Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

Enjoy a seamless journey through the scenic landscapes of Northern California’s famed wine country. This tour not only provides a luxurious experience with multiple tastings but also gives you a chance to learn from the vintners themselves. Ideal for both wine connoisseurs and newcomers, the Sonoma Valley Wine Tour delights with its sophistication and serene beauty, making it a must-try for anyone visiting Oakland.

  • Tour Fee: $599.00
  • Schedule: 7 hours
  • Inclusions: Free cancellation, wine tastings

Livermore Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

Explore the picturesque Livermore Valley on this all-inclusive wine tour, where you’ll visit three of the region’s top wineries. As you taste a variety of distinguished wines, you’ll learn about the valley’s rich winemaking history and traditions, directly from the passionate vintners who cultivate these flavors.

Livermore Valley All-Inclusive Wine Tour

This tour offers more than just wine tasting—it’s a deep dive into the art of viticulture. Journey through stunning vineyards and learn about the detailed process of grape cultivation and wine production. Perfect for both wine connoisseurs and newcomers, this experience allows you to unwind and enjoy the renowned tastes of one of California’s treasured wine regions.

  • Tour Fee: $515.00
  • Schedule: 7 hours
  • Inclusions: Free cancellation, wine tastings

Airplane San Francisco Private Night Tour

Soar above San Francisco as the day fades with the Airplane San Francisco Private Night Tour. From this exclusive vantage point, witness the city’s iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid illuminate at dusk. This flight offers a unique opportunity to see the city’s lights twinkling from above, providing a breathtaking view that combines urban brilliance with the vast calm of the bay.

Airplane San Francisco Private Night Tour

This memorable tour is an ideal choice for marking special occasions or simply experiencing the Bay Area’s stunning scenery in a new way. Glide over landmarks such as Alcatraz Island and the Embarcadero waterfront as they light up for the night. Perfect for both visitors and locals, this aerial adventure offers an enchanting perspective of San Francisco’s charm.

  • Tour Fee: $289.00
  • Schedule: 30–40 minutes
  • Inclusions: Pilot guide, private tour

Black Food Tour – Downtown Oakland

Join the Black Food Tour in downtown Oakland to experience the city’s vibrant culinary scene. This walking tour takes you through local Black-owned restaurants and eateries, showcasing a rich variety of soul food classics and innovative fusion dishes. Each stop offers a glimpse into the culinary creativity and cultural heritage that shape this community.

Black Food Tour - Downtown Oakland

As you explore, you’ll enjoy delicious bites and learn the stories behind these thriving businesses. This tour not only treats your taste buds but also deepens your appreciation of Oakland’s diverse cultural landscape. It’s a journey that connects you with the community through every flavorful dish.

  • Tour Fee: $140.00
  • Schedule: 3–4 hours
  • Inclusions: Food tastings, guide, free cancellation

Oakland Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Partake on the Oakland Scavenger Hunt Adventure, a unique tour that turns the city into an interactive game. As you traverse Oakland’s streets, this engaging experience combines sightseeing with puzzle-solving. Using your smartphone, you’ll unlock clues that lead you to both well-known landmarks and hidden spots, enriching your understanding of the city’s history and culture while keeping the adventure exciting.

Oakland Scavenger Hunt Adventure

This scavenger hunt not only offers a fun challenge but also connects you deeply with Oakland’s diverse heritage. Ideal for groups of friends, families, or corporate teams, it’s a dynamic way to explore the city’s sights and stories. Enjoy a blend of learning and entertainment as you discover new facets of Oakland, creating lasting memories along the way.

  • Tour Fee: $12.00
  • Schedule: 2 hours
  • Inclusions: App-led tour experience, flexible start time

Ferry Building Bike Rentals

Try an exciting bike ride starting from the historic Ferry Building, exploring Oakland and San Francisco’s picturesque waterfronts and lively markets. With each pedal, discover the unique ambiance of the cities, from artisanal marketplaces to tranquil bay views. This bike rental offers the perfect opportunity for all cyclists, whether you’re a seasoned pro or just looking for a leisurely ride.

Ferry Building Bike Rentals

This self-guided tour is tailored to fit any pace and interest, ideal for families, couples, or solo adventurers. Feel the refreshing breeze as you navigate through bustling streets and serene paths, crafting your journey through the Bay Area’s most iconic sights. Enjoy the freedom to explore at your leisure, ensuring a memorable and personalized adventure in one of California’s most dynamic regions.

  • Tour Fee: Starts at $65.00
  • Schedule: Flexible rental times
  • Inclusions: Bike rental, suggested routes

Each of these tours offers a unique perspective on Oakland and its surroundings, promising unforgettable experiences that highlight the city’s rich tapestry of landscapes, flavors, and cultures. Whether you’re soaring above the skyline or sipping local wines, these top tours in Oakland invite you to discover the city like never before.