Every so often you may want to break free from the hectic nature of The City. Well, right across the bay, about 5 miles over the Bay Bridge is San Francisco’s frisky young sibling, The Town.
Oakland can be a perfect place to experience a change of pace from the bustling, crowded streets of SF. After a short 15-minute Bart, bus, or drive, you will arrive to see the vibrant and expanding downtown to your right and in front of you, the Oakland Hills with residential houses speckled throughout bundles of trees.
Brown Sugar Kitchen is perhaps the most impressive breakfast place in all of the Bay Area. The magnificence is all due to the creator and Executive Chef, Tanya Holland. She uses her French-trained culinary expertise and her passion for hosting people to create a homey vibe. With her new style of California-influenced soul food, Tanya attracts customers from all over the East Bay to enjoy BBQ Shrimp and Grits or the always-classic Fried Chicken and Waffles. Right on Broadway, the restaurant is centrally located in Oakland’s downtown area.
In a quieter section of town, the Montclair Egg Shop is famously praised among locals. Each Sunday, the quaint restaurant is chock-full of hungry customers, in awe of the model trains and other neat trinkets that are on display throughout the eatery. Keep an eye out for Warriors stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson as they make frequent trips to the brunch spot.
With cheap tickets and new amenities in the stadium, an Oakland A’s game is a great way to spend a day. The Treehouse is one of their latest additions, which is equipped with two full-service bars, standing-room and lounge seating, a TV-wall, and pre and postgame entertainment.
The A’s have also added the Championship Plaza, which is home to six rotating food trucks, beer stands, music, and lawn games. Arrive early during batting practice for a great chance to catch a homerun ball and get it signed by your favorite player.
One of the Oakland’s main attractions is Lake Merritt, but few people actually take full advantage of the prestine body of water. For less than $10 per person you can rent a canoe, row/pedal boat, or kayak. Or if you are looking for a more romantic activity, there are gondola rides available for couples.
Floating in the middle of the lake is a great way to take in the city, as the surrounding bikers, picnickers, and residents enjoying the scene. Views of the hills and the skyline make this adventure a perfect late afternoon excursion.
For those looking to explore the luscious greenery of Oakland, the Redwood Regional Park offers miles of hiking and biking trails as well as great picnic/BBQ spots. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to check out some of the world’s largest trees!
There is an endless list of fun things to do at night in Oakland, but First Fridays are indisputably at the top of the rankings.
Every first Friday of the month, the city shuts down Telegraph Ave from West Grand to 27th Street at night from 5 – 9 PM. Thousands of residents from all over the Bay Area come to experience the community’s artistic collectives and galleries, local culinary artisans, musicians, dancers, DJ’s and more.
It is free and open to the public and is a great way to spend the evening grabbing a bite to eat and taking in the exciting Oakland culture. (Reminder that for July, First Friday will be pushed back a week to July 12 to accommodate 4th of July festivities).
Just one street parallel to where First Fridays take place is perhaps Oakland’s most bustling street, Broadway. Here you can explore one of Oakland residents‘ favorite place to spend dinner and a night-out with friends, the beer gardens.
At places like Lost and Found and Drake’s Dealership, beer drinkers young (over 21 at least) and old gather under outdoor lights and comfortable garden décor to enjoy tasty food, relaxing lawn games, and of course, a variety of delicious brews.
After a couple drinks or before you head out for a night on the town, you may want to catch a flick at the nearest theater. Well, for a full Oakland experience you have to take a visit to the New Parkway Theater. With couches for comfortable sitting, a café and bar with local beer and wine that delivers to your seat, and special non-film events like World Cup watch parties, this theater is one of the most unique cinemas in the Bay Area.
It also prides itself on its sustainability; almost everything they use is reusable and the staff and management strive to create as little waste as possible.
So while you may think to yourself: “I live in awesome shared housing facility with a community of great friends in one of the liveliest cities in the world, why would I ever want to leave?”, you can now see the great adventures that lie just 9 miles East in…. The Town.