Oakland is the smaller city across the San Francisco Bay and named after the shady oak trees. The city is widely famous for its top-notch traditional food, live music, summer festivals, live street fairs, dance performances, and enchanting sites. Besides this, its food is an important topic of discussion among tourists. If you are planning a trip to Oakland, you can find great cuisines such as Indian, Italian, Mexican, Ethiopian, and Thai food.
The best time to visit Oakland is in the fall season, from September to November, when the temperature is mostly warm and favorable for tourists. The summer season is the peak season from June to August, when the highest and lowest temperatures are 73 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively.
Here is a comprehensive guide that will help you find the top things to do in Oakland.
- Visiting Oakland’s Museum of California – The museum features the rich heritage and cultural site that exhibits the iconic and permanent collection. The art galleries of the museum feature natural sciences, California arts, historical stuff, etc. If you take a keen interest in history and the facts, you have to pay a visit to the museum. On every Friday night from 5 pm to 9 pm, you can have a chance to go on a tour while mingling with the city’s community.
Apart from a museum tour, you can also be a part of live music events, a DJ night or live band, dance classes, family art activities, and exciting games. The food is another major highlight of the city, and one should definitely taste the curbside cuisine or gourmet food while being in Oakland.
- Drive along Skyline Boulevard – If you are thinking about the top things to do in Oakland, head to the hills, look no further and take a drive along Skyline Boulevard. The mountain trip will take you to the hidden gems and drive you through the fascinating views of the dramatic mountains, curvy roads, and heart of the Bay area. It will be a 40-minute drive without any traffic from San Francisco, and you will head to the South on Highway 280 and follow the signs to reach Half Moon Bay. The entire area is an excellent spot for hiking and mountain biking activities also.
- Dining and Shopping in Rockridge and Temescal – Temescal is Oakland’s trendy spot that caters to various food, shopping sites, entertainment zones, and family-friendly places. The main attraction of the city is Telegraph Avenue, packed with ethnic restaurants and pizza spots. On 49th street, there are great boutiques and artisan shops locally owned by the inhabitants. The Rockridge neighborhood is another fantastic spot to buy a fantastic selection of stylish and fashionable clothes and other things.
If you are a shopaholic, you should definitely consider coming here by making Southwest Airlines Reservations. You might be lucky enough to get exclusive discounts and travel vouchers from the airline.
- Take a walk through Mountain view cemetery – The historic park offers a beautiful serene view of the region. It leads you to the graves of famed architect Bernard Maybeck, a civil war veteran and an inventor of Mai Tai. You cannot miss Millionaire’s row and wander around the exquisite and outdoor chapel of the cemetery.
- Do not miss the cultural events and festivals – Oakland’s vibrant cultural events and traditions reflect the city’s diversity. There are more than 30 art galleries in West Oakland and Jack London Square. Besides this, there are cultural events, live musical shows, local street food, artisanal products, etc, that binds the people together.
If you are in Oakland, you should not miss going to its biggest festival, Art+Soul which celebrates the city’s rich culture and heritage. The festival is organized for two days in downtown Oakland in August. It features special live music performances in different music genres such as jazz, hip hop, classical, modern, blues, Afro-fusion, etc.
- Explore the Swan’s Market – Oakland’s Swan’s Market is a great spot to find palatable seafood, traditional Mexican, sausages, and chilled beers. B-Drama is a quite famous Japanese food center selling delicious and popular cuisines. Another most visited food paradise is Cosecha which makes the best handmade tortillas, pastries, fish tacos from almost nothing, and other items that are worth the hype.
- Hang out at Lake Merritt – Spending quality time at Lake Merritt is one of the top things to do in Oakland. It is one of the oldest wildlife refuge sites in the United States and home to almost 100 bird species. You can wander around the park and see the lush green garden with your naked eyes while coming here.
There are so many gardens in terms of numbers such as a Bonsai garden, an edible community garden, a Japanese garden, a Mediterranean garden, a Succulent garden, and so on. Boating is one of the favorite activities to do at the lake, and you can rent boats and also participate in the free concerts taking place on the shores.
- Hiking in Redwood Regional Park – There is a sanctuary of Redwood regional park a few miles away from downtown Oakland. The park features around 150-foot sequoias, grasslands, flora and fauna, lush green forests, and evergreens. There are hiking trails on the park’s 1830 acres of land well populated by rabbits, squirrels, deers, and other animals.
It is a great picnic spot, especially when coming in groups and spending quality and leisure time, or you can also book an overnight campsite for yourself and your travel companions.
- Partying at First Fridays in Oakland – Who is not crazy about parties and club nights on weekends or even on weekdays. There are around five blocks of Telegraph Avenue featuring the artists, street performers, galleries, DJs, drum circles, poets, etc. Besides this, local restaurants are serving a wide range of burgers, fried chicken, drinks, and other items in the Sake Garden on the 26th.
- Watch a show at the Fox and the Paramount Theatre – Built-in 1928, the cinema or a theatre is a great spot to watch the concerts of famous artists. The venue draws tourist’s attraction towards its classic and contemporary acts such as Animal Collective, Beach House, David Byrne, Lily Allen, Joan Baez, and Neko Case.
You can make your American Airlines Reservations and gaze upon the Art Deco glory of Paramount Theatre for watching live performances.