14 Fun Things To Do In Oakland California


If you’re looking for a change of scenery from San Francisco, Oakland is the perfect destination. Whether you want to see the sights, shop, or eat, there are plenty of fun things to do in Oakland. Here are some of my favorite activities:

Piedmont Avenue

Piedmont Avenue is a great place to visit, especially at night. You can go for a walk, eat, shop and drive there. The street has many restaurants and shops that you need to visit while you’re there.

Temescal District

Oakland is a city in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. It was named after the oak trees that grew along the San Antonio Road, which led to a lumber mill founded by E. H. Harriman in 1852. Oakland has a population of 420,000 and is home to the University of California, Berkeley, and one-time home to Oracle Corp., Clif Bar Inc., Pandora Media Inc., Autodesk Inc., Tumblr Inc., Pandora Internet Radio and Sungevity Solar Systems LLC (formerly called SunRun Home Solar).


Uptown Oakland is a neighborhood located in the city of Oakland, California. The neighborhood is roughly bounded by Broadway on the west, San Pablo Avenue on the north, 27th Street on the east, and Martin Luther King Jr. Way on the south.

It has been home to many famous people such as Tony Bennett and Rick James but there are plenty of things to do here if you’re not a celebrity!

Jack London Square

Jack London Square is a popular destination that’s located in the heart of downtown Oakland. The area is known for its many restaurants, bars, and shops. It also has a lot of places to people-watch; so you can sit at one of the cafes with coffee or beer and watch people walk by your table.

There are plenty of things to do in Jack London Square:

  • Go shopping at one of their many stores including an Apple Store and Nordstrom Rack where you can find deals on clothing and accessories!
  • See a movie at The Grand Lake Theater which has been around since 1913!
  • Visit an art gallery like Galería de la Raza which showcases art from Latino artists all over California through exhibits featuring paintings, prints, photographs, murals, and installations.
  • Go see live music at Yoshi’s Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant which features jazz music every night from 6-10 pm during happy hour as well as live touring bands every Thursday through Saturday night from 9 pm-2 am. 
  • Take photos with statues such as the one called “The Blonde” by Robert Graham which was commissioned by Jack London himself back when he was alive (1876 – 1916).


The Lake Merritt BART station is located on Lakeshore Avenue, near the southeast corner of Lake Merritt. This is a great place for people-watching and enjoying views of both the lake and downtown Oakland. You can also visit the Lake Merritt Boating Center and check out rentals of rowboats, sailboats, and pedal boats as well as kayaks. The center also has fishing equipment available to use while renting one of their boats.

Lake Merritt Amphitheater hosts events all year round including concerts and festivals such as Jazz in the Garden & Summer Festival (June-August). Some recent exciting performances include Fleetwood Mac (2017) Paul Simon’s Graceland tour with South African singer Vusi Mahlasela (2018), and Santana with special guest David Byrne (2019).

The Lakeshore Avenue Trestle Walk connects Latham Square at City Center to Temescal Creek where it joins up with another trail called Temescal Gateway Park that runs along Interstate 580 until reaching Wildcat Canyon Road near 295th Avenue East in Castro Valley!

Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt is one of Oakland’s favorite landmarks. The lake is surrounded by beautiful scenery, including the Oakland Museum of California and a plethora of shops and restaurants along Lakeside Avenue. You can walk around Lake Merritt and see people fishing or taking advantage of the park’s many recreational facilities—which include boat rentals, a kayak launch zone, and designated cycling lanes along Grand Avenue—or even rent swan-shaped paddle boats for an hour to enjoy the water with your family!

If you’re looking for something more active than relaxing on a bench under some trees while watching ducks swim back and forth across your view, consider biking or jogging through Lake Merritt as well. There are plenty of places to stop off so you can take in views along the way; just be sure not to bring any food because there aren’t any restaurants in this section yet (although there are plenty further south).

Old Oakland

If you’re looking for a place that is steeped in history, Old Oakland is the place to be. It’s a great spot to shop and dine, as well as explore all of the historical sites that surround this area.

Old Oakland has been home to many businesses since its founding in 1857, including hotels, saloons, and banks. Today it’s one of the most popular shopping areas in Oakland where you’ll find both independent boutiques and national chains. The area also has lots of restaurants, bars, and cafes—a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening after seeing some of its historic sites!

Oakland Chinatown

Oakland Chinatown is located in the inner East Bay, roughly 1.5 miles northeast of Lake Merritt. The neighborhood is named after its Chinese population, which has been growing exponentially over the last decade or so, and was incorporated into Oakland in 1910. It’s one of the largest Chinatowns outside of San Francisco’s Chinatown and New York City’s Manhattan neighborhood—and it boasts a vibrant atmosphere that’s distinctly Californian.

Located just two blocks from Lake Merritt, this area is popular among locals and tourists alike for its restaurants and shops selling everything from kung fu movies to fresh produce to Chinese tea leaves. You’ll find everything you need for authentic Chinese cuisine here—but don’t forget about some other local favorites: Dosa Factory (for Indian dosas), Royal Taj (for Punjabi cuisine), or Hmongtown Marketplace (with foods from Laos). If you’re feeling adventurous on your visit to Oakland Chinatown, try Shen Hua Vegetarian Restaurant—it’s not exactly vegetarian-friendly elsewhere!

Downtown Oakland, California

Downtown Oakland is a vibrant area of the city that has been undergoing a renaissance. This is the place to go for history, architecture, and amazing restaurants and bars. There’s also plenty of nightlife to keep you busy after dark.

Oakland is a great place to visit, here are some of the best things to do

  • Visit the Oakland Museum of California
  • Stroll through the Oakland Public Library
  • Take a walk on Lake Merritt
  • Check out some street art near the Fruitvale BART station, just before you cross over into Chinatown
  • See if anything is going on at The Crucible or Rock Paper Scissors Collective Gallery & Studio (two great art venues downtown)


In Oakland, you can experience a little bit of everything. There’s culture, food, and fun to be had in this great city. Whether you’re looking for something fast-paced or slow pace there is something here for everyone!

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