Oakland has always been seen as San Francisco’s less glamorous neighbour. It has not achieved world fame and if you were pressed to name some important and distinctive facts about Oakland, many people would struggle.
However if you fancy a fun day out without travelling too far, you will find that Oakland has plenty to do and plenty to see, so let’s go and check out this underrated area.
Magnificent redwood forests
A few miles out of Jack London, Oakland’s coastal border gets you to the Oakland Redwood Regional Park and Joaquin Miller Park. These are two separate redwood forests which are connected via a network of hiking trails. You can hike through these amazing natural spaces inhabited by the giant redwood trees and it gives you a way to get back to nature as well as providing magnificent views over the Bay.
Lake Merriet is a natural lake measuring 3 miles across that sits in the middle of downtown Oakland. Fantastic for bird watching and enjoying nature combined with city views, Lake Merriet is a great destination for a day out. Enjoy a gondola ride or drink a cocktail as the sun goes down from one of the many cool bars at the lakeside.
Visit downtown Oakland
Downtown Oakland is bigger than San Francisco and although many local residents refer to Oakland as the town as San Francisco the city, this is not exactly true.
Visit the city centre and check out the shops and the stunning architecture and historic sites such as the Fox Theater.
Check out the Art Scene
Oakland has a busy and thriving art scene. You can see street art everywhere, with huge murals adorning the sides of the buildings. The murals are listed so it can be a fun day out to tour the city, checking these off as you go. In addition there are many art galleries and installations across the city.
Go to Downtown 15th Street and Webster and visit the countless independent art galleries. If you visit the First Friday of each month, you can enjoy art exhibitions and events out on the street.
Find out about Oakland’s history
Oakland has long been home to people of color and there is plenty of history around the city that highlights this past. The Black Panther movement was founded in Oakland and the group are still based in the area. You can watch them drilling at Ashby BART Station during the weekend flea market.
Yes San Francisco has a world famous Chinatown but the Oakland version is just as impressive. It sprawls a 16 block area and is a great place to enjoy a wide variety of Asian food from many different countries.
Visiting Oakland is an interesting experience
Many people believe that Oakland is dangerous but this opinion is largely founded on racism because of the high percentage of black people living here. If you are white, you may find that being in the minority for a change is an unusual experience. But apart from the low level crime that you can expect from any city area, Oakland is as safe as anywhere else.