When visiting California, many people head to the big destinations – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Yosemite, and Lake Tahoe. While California has a number of great places to visit, this Oakland travel guide will make sure you don’t miss out on the other city by the bay.
With a limited time and budget, cities like Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, and cities on the central coast get skipped by tourists.
However, there is a lot of culture and history in California. One of the interesting places to visit is Oakland. While the city may get overlooked by its beautiful sister city across the bay, this Oakland travel guide shows that this city has a lot to offer first time visitors.
Recently, I worked with Visit Oakland to try and find out what this city had to offer. As part of my July 4th giveaway, I offered 4 free tickets to the Oakland A’s game on July 3 in exchange for reader travel tips on the city. For those interested in visiting the city, here is some information on the history and culture of Oakland, California.
The history of Oakland
While the city was officially founded in 1852, the history of the city goes back many years. In the 1770s, many from Spain came and settled into the area a few years later. However, these weren’t the first residents to the area as Native American Indians have lived in this area for many years – long before North America was even discovered.
The arrival of the Spanish in the 1770s set a precedent that has remained until today – a history of ethnicity and culture in Oakland. The Gold Rush brought many more people to the city as Asians, Europeans, and Africans moved into the area. The diversity of this area means there are a number of languages spoken and the history of this area is woven together with the culture to give the city a unique community.
As the 1960s and 1970s brought many hippies to the Bay area, many chose to settle in Oakland. Since that time, the arts and performing arts have become an important staple in the community.
With its location along the Bay near the Pacific Ocean, Oakland has a major economic presence in the area as well with its ports and international trade. The various communities and influx of people throughout the generations have led to a variety of architectural styles and structures in the city. And the culture and vibe of this city extends beyond the city into its suburbs as well.
Oakland is a mix of culture, history, arts, and diversity that makes the city so unique and interesting. And with its prime location, the city offers some of the best views of any in the Bay area.
One of the best resources for visiting Oakland is Visit Oakland. They have a dedicated staff who share information about the city, tips, events, and can help you plan your visit or answer your questions. On their Facebook page, a number of people also share photos and information as well.
If you need a place to stay in Oakland, there are a number of hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping, homestays, extended stays, and more. Want to learn more about the neighborhoods to make sure you find the interesting sights, attractions, and places to eat? The Visit Oakland sight provides information on neighborhoods as well as various attractions in the city.
For anyone visiting Oakland, they provide a list of 100 things to see and do in the city – attraction, events, museums, and dining. They can even provide you with a 54 page visitor guide to the city, help you with all of your planning, and send out a monthly newsletter with happenings and guides to everything to do in Oakland.
From my experience with the staff at Visit Oakland, they are extremely helpful with any questions or concerns that you have. For anything you need or want to know about Oakland, Visit Oakland should be a part of any research for a trip to the city.
Local Oakland travel tips
While Visit Oakland is a great resource for information, some of the best Oakland travel tips come from locals and other visitors.
As part of the Oakland A’s giveaway, readers had the chance to share their travel tips for visiting Oakland including some of their favorite things to do and places to eat. While some of these are a bit unusual, some of the best experiences you can have may be places you might be hard to find in a guide.
“Oakland is a place that has Old Cars fairs in a parking lot. I went to one while staying there for two nights. It was great. Many people checked into the hotel because of the heat wave that year 2006″
“The best place to eat in all of Oakland is Home of Chicken and Waffles on Embarcadero W near Broadway and Franklin St. I thought it was an odd combination at 1st, but was hooked after smelling the fried chicken and the freshly made waffles. Its the bomb and you have to try it!!”
“There’s no place better than Jack London Square to see all the beauty Oakland has to offer. There’s never a dull moment there and there’s a lot to do.”
“Oakland has a charm that is often overlooked by the big city, their zoo is second to none and much easier to maneuver.”
“Take a jog around Lake Merritt the first official wildlife refuge in the US.”
“I have to give Jack London Square its props. Great place to wander especially if its warm and sunny. If you like beer, visit Beer Revolution, just a few steps from Jack London Square. They have some beers on tap and then many many more from world wide in bottles. Great place to hang out.
Something new that I am going to try out this Friday is the Movie Classics at the Paramount theater. This Friday is the Music Man! Plus “Doors open 60 minutes before the show – giving you ample time to purchase a cocktail, beverage, or movie snack, admire the Art Deco décor, and enjoy the music from the Mighty Wurlitzer organ.When the curtain rises at 8:00 p.m., you’ll be treated to a newsreel, cartoon, previews, and the Paramount’s prize give-away game “Dec-O-Win”. The feature film begins at 8:30 p.m.”
“Although not actually in Oakland, but very close by is the USS Hornet in Alameda. It’s a WWII aircraft carrier that was also a recovery ship for an Apollo mission. There are tours of the ship and exhibits.”
Explore Oakland and all that it has to offer
While Oakland is often overlooked among the cities in California and its neighbor across the Bay, there is plenty to see and do there. While Oakland has a reputation for being dangerous, the city deserves a look. Check out the history, culture, and attractions with these Oakland travel tips and don’t miss out on all that this city has to offer.
Do you have any travel tips for Oakland? What do you like to see and do when visiting the city?
Special thanks to Visit Oakland for providing the photos for this post. If you are looking for holiday and vacation options to Oakland check out Holidaycheck – hotel reviews and vacation tips. Find great deals on air and hotel as well!