One day in Oakland? Our nightlife, galleries and restaurants alone can fill up an entire day. Add the rich history, diverse neighborhoods, outdoor recreation and sports into the mix, and you’ve just filled up at least a week. It’s a bit ambitious, but if you must do it all in a day, take a cue from your personal tour guides. Just make sure you come back—we’ve just barely scratched the surface.
Start your day along the waterfront in Jack London Square. Get yourself prepped for the long day ahead with a Cup of Joe from Oakland’s own Blue Bottle Coffee as you tour the restaurants and attractions, including the USS Potomac (FDR’s Floating White House).
Next stop—Oakland’s original downtown, the historic Old Oakland district. Grab a bite atRatto’s International Market and Deli, one of the oldest (and the tastiest) businesses in Oakland, or try a newbie at Swan’s Marketplace, a growing hub for some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area. Old Oakland is also the home base of Popuphood, a cluster of innovative artisan shops scattered near the area’s famous “Victorian Row.”
Hop on the free “B” Broadway Shuttle toward Uptown Oakland and walk two blocks east on Grand Avenue to Lake Merritt, otherwise known as the “Jewel of Oakland”. When you’re lakeside, you can’t miss the newly constructed Cathedral of Christ the Light, the only cathedral built this century around the world. Take a short walk over to Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill for lunch al fresco, or tour the lake Italian-style on an authentic gondola. Yes, gondolas—just one of the many surprises in Oakland.
Head west toward 25th Street in Uptown, where you’ll find a collection of unique local artists and galleries. Ease into the afternoon with wine tasting at urban winery Two Mile Wines, or visit Kitchener Oakland’s take out windows (coming soon!) to get a taste of Oakland’s culinary entrepreneurs. Need to kick back for a few hours? Duck into The New Parkway Theater, Oakland’s beloved indie movie house.
You don’t have to call yourself a “foodie” to justify dining at Oakland’s nationally acclaimed restaurants. In Uptown, there’s too many to choose from—Pican’s soulful southern food,Flora’s Art Deco atmosphere, and Duende’s savory Spanish eats, just to name a few. Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to squeeze in time for nightlife. Oakland’s historic Fox andParamount theaters are favorite stops for international artists. Or get a feel for the local music scene at one of the smaller clubs, such as The New Parish, The Uptown or Café Van Kleef (also home to the best Greyhound ever made). If you’re still standing, end your evening with a round of indoor bocce ball at Make Westing, or a Shakin’ Jesse at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café (co-owned by Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt).