Anyone visiting the San Francisco Bay Area will find a number of iconic sites to see, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, and the cable cars. However, just across the Bay Bridge is Oakland, a growing center for arts, culture, and food for those looking to go beyond the boundaries of San Francisco.
Take an Uber to some of these destinations that will have you obsessed with this gem of the East Bay:
The heart-shaped tidal lagoon in the middle of town is historically recognized as the first wildlife refuge in the United States. Frequented by locals and tourists alike, Lake Merritt is outlined by a walking path with views of the bird sanctuary and downtown Oakland. A boating center offers canoes and boats for those who want to hit the water. While Children’s Fairyland, a ten-acre family amusement park perfect for young children, sits on the shore of the lake.
Jack London Square
Named after the famous author and former Oakland resident, Jack London Square offers breathtaking views of the East Bay, as well as shopping and a number of popular restaurants like Yoshi’s, the upscale sushi and jazz club. On Friday evenings, the square is transformed into Jack’s Night Market, where local artists and food vendors set up booths alongside live music performances. Docked at the square’s waterfront is the USS Potomac, which served as President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s yacht during his presidency. Open for tours, the ship also regularly offers cruises on the San Francisco Bay. (Embarcadero West)
Brown Sugar Kitchen
A modern soul food diner run by local renowned chef Tanya Holland, this Zagat-rated brunch spot has locals lining up early each weekend for its nouveau spin on fried chicken and waffles.Brown Sugar Kitchen is so popular that the wait can run in excess of an hour but as any Oaklander will tell you, the affordable grub is well worth the wait. (2534 Mandela Parkway)
Come for the drinks, stay for the people-watching. Located in the burgeoning Uptown district, this spacious, industrial setting fills up fast with locals who flock here for the craft cocktails, indoor bocce courts and outdoor patio that offers a great view of the Fox Theater. Make Westing was also voted “Best Place to Meet Someone of the Opposite Sex” by Oakland Magazine. (1741 Telegraph)
Starline Social Club
This former saloon space has it all for the Oakland night owl. On the ground floor, you can imbibe with the crowd in the lively lounge among the chic, vintage decor. On the second floor, a ballroom sits where patrons can take in a performance by up-and-coming bands that play here weekly. Need a bite to eat? Starline Social Club offers a number of items from bar nosh to main courses. (2236 MLK Jr. Way)
Located in downtown Oakland, this Art Deco marvel originally opened in 1928 and featured live performances and and the first talkie films. Fox Theater closed in 1973 and stayed shuttered until it reopened in 2009 after a $75 million restoration. Now it’s become Oakland’s premier music venue, hosting major touring acts each month. It’s also a sight to see at night with its massive neon sign acting as a cornerstone visual to downtown’s unique architecture.(1807 Telegraph)
One of the last piano bars in the Bay Area, this dimly-lit local watering hole features piano-man Rod Dibble who has been performing at The Alley since 1960 and has over 4,000 songs memorized. In addition to strong drinks and cheap food, the bar is known for its unique wood interior that’s decorated with over 50,000 business cards stapled along the walls by patrons over the years. (3325 Grand Avenue)