Oakland, CA

Travel Guide
Chabot Space and Science Center featuring interior views and an observatory
Farmers markets, a multicultural culinary scene, stunning art deco architecture and an exciting zoo make Oakland a must-visit location for Bay area visitors.

Visit Oakland to discover one of America’s most beautiful theaters or explore the country’s first wildlife refuge. Enjoy waterfront dining and shopping inJack London Square or relax in one of the city’s many live music bars.

Oakland is the third-largest city in the San Francisco Bay area. Once infamous as home to the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang, the city has reinvented itself and now combines historical treasures such as City Hall with modern wonders like theChabot Space & Science Center.

Learn about the city’s past in the Oakland Museum, which features historical exhibits, a display on California’s ecology and a rooftop sculpture garden. Discover the stories of Oakland’s black population in the African American Museum & Library.

Take a walk or a jog aroundLake Merritt, a saltwater lagoon in the middle of the city. This was also the first nature reserve in the United States. The city has about 260 sunny days a year, making it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts.

Families will enjoy theOakland Zoo, while couples and friends can attend a live performance in the splendidParamount Theatre. Go to Jack London Square and stop in at the saloon where the novelist used to drink. This waterside square has a Sunday farmers market in addition to its fine dining and shopping.

Oakland’s creative side is highlighted at the annual August Art + Soul, a festival featuring musical performances, arts and crafts, food and more. Take advantage of the monthly event known as the First Friday Arts Festival, when galleries stay open late, performers line the streets and pop-up food stalls offer a variety of delicious treats.

Get around on the Bay Area Rapid Transportation (BART) rail system or use the good network of buses. Some BART stations, most notably the one on 16th Street, are attractions in themselves, showcasing interesting architecture and ornate facades.

Oakland’s warm weather, arts and multiculturalism give you the best ingredients of the modern California city.

Where to stay in Oakland

Lake Merritt featuring a pond

Downtown Oakland

3.5/5(342 area reviews)

Central business district with a mix of residential, retail, and office spaces, Downtown Oakland offers an Entertainment District, historic theaters, Oakland Museum, and outdoor retail mall. Easily accessible via BART and AC Transit.

Downtown Oakland
Piedmont showing street scenes and outdoor art


Travelers enjoy Piedmont for its lake views and architecture. Consider checking out Piedmont Sports Field while you're in the area.

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The seaside views and shopping are a few reasons travelers visit Albany. Want to see more of the surrounding area? Golden Gate Fields and Berkeley Marina are a few top sights nearby.

Berkeley showing a river or creek, a sunset and general coastal views

Downtown Berkeley

4/5(147 area reviews)