Top 6 Tips for Visiting Oakland, California

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Between sprawling San Francisco and charming Berkley, Oakland is one of California’s underrated suburban hot spots. Featuring eclectic art, music, nature and events; it is the perfect place for a weekend. For all the hottest events, the coolest accommodations, and money-saving tips, check out our visitor’s guide to getting the most out of your time in this beautiful bay town.

Where to stay:

Oakland offers many unique accommodation options to meet all criteria. If you want to indulge in a decadent weekend getaway, experience the high life at Mansion on Sutter. Or, if you prefer a quiet and comfortable weekend, head to the Adeline Street Co-op; your private art gallery complete your home away from home and home cooked meals. To get away from it all, take in the peaceful Berkley scenery in a secluded hillside retreat or soak up the best of the bay in a romantic yacht.

Move :

Finding your way around Oakland has never been easier, in addition to local taxi and rideshare apps, the city has countless sustainable options. Oakland has been recognized as one of the best cycling cities in North America, catching up with its cycling-loving neighbor, San Francisco. Try it out for yourself by picking up a BayWheels bike from one of the city’s bike racks. Or, for a taste of the nostalgia and energy of youth, try a lime electric scooter. If you prefer to keep both feet on the ground, you can easily plan your route through the city using the local transit trip planner.

What to see:

Oakland’s thriving art scene is sure to impress, with over 1,000 incredible murals throughout the city. See for yourself on a self-guided tour of the city’s urban art scene by following the wall map to find the best spots for selfies. If you’re more of a music lover, be sure to check out the historic Fox Theater events page to see some of your favorite bands live. In fact, Oakland hosts a plethora of cultural, musical, and theatrical events throughout the year, like the upcoming Autumn Lights Festival that you won’t want to miss.

What to do:

Get active and enjoy the awe-inspiring California countryside as you hike the redwood-lined trails of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. Pack a picnic in the shade of towering redwoods and spot local wildlife like raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits. First-time visitors might be surprised to find that in addition to the usual California landscape, Oakland has a volcano in its backyard. The Sibley Volcanic Regional Reserve offers a glimpse into the past as you ascend the volcanic road to learn about the history of the park, enjoy valley views, and explore decorative mazes. If you’re looking for more laid-back weekend activities, head to Chinatown to enjoy a tour of the Fortune Cookie Factory (with samples!)

Where to eat:

If your visit through Chinatown has whetted your appetite, you’re in luck as Oakland is proudly home to some of the area’s best female, black, and LGBTQ-owned restaurants. Pick up traditional comfort food at Lena’s Soul Food or Souley Vegan Vegetable Delight. If you’re looking for something exotic, try Arabic flavors at Reem’s, traditional Mexican flavors at La Guerrera’s Kitchen or Caribbean spices at CocoBreeze. In the evening, you can stroll and sip your way along the Oakland Urban Wine Trail or stop for craft cocktails at the quirky Sobre Mesa.

How to save:

With so much to do and see, follow these tips to save money and stay on budget. The Oakland Clipper Card is a great solution for making public transportation cheaper, faster, and easier so you don’t have to worry about expensive cab rides. To save on accommodation, try staying in a shared room at the colorful and quirky Faces Oasis Inn or the charming Lincoln Inn. Be sure to check out the many free events such as Oakland’s First Fridays for a taste of Oakland food, culture, art, music and more!

Read more:

Top 9 weekend getaways in the United States this fall

7 gems of New England to discover this fall

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