What If, Oakland

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August 29, 2022

Spend a Weekend in Oakland

When you're ready to travel again, make plans to visit Oakland. Oakland is located less than 10 miles from downtown San Francisco across the Bay Bridge, and is home to a community that speaks over 125 languages, many vibrant neighborhoods, Michelin-star restaurants, the Black Panther party, a redwood forest, 19 miles of coastline, and so much more. If you’re ready to discover different sights, explore a new city, sample new foods, pack your bags and we’ll see you in Oakland.

How to Travel Safely

Whether you're coming from near or far, it's best to follow the new rules of travel safety. Protect yourself by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and practicing good hygiene. And for good measure here's a COVID-Safe packing list: mask, hand sanitizer, wipes, water bottle, camera, phone charger, and adventurous spirit. Read the Oakland Travel Pledge for more information.

Don't forget that you can easily reach Oakland from San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport by riding BART. This rapid transit system is safe, reliable, and ready to get you on your way to your Oakland adventure.

Book Your Hotel

Oakland hotels abide by new guidelines and procedures to ensure your safety, health, and peace of mind during your stay. From waterfront views, airport convenience, and iconic landmark properties, find a hotel that works for you.


Day 1 / Friday

Refuel with Some American Classics, Oakland-Style

Head to Temescal for a warm good-feel meal at Homeroom. Step your Kraft game up with their endless ways to eat mac n cheese, and then take a short trip over to Fenton’s Creamery in Piedmont for a large scoop of old-fashioned homemade Rocky Road ice cream. Did you know Rocky Road was invented in Oakland?! 

Take Yourself Out to the Ball Game

The Oakland Athletics baseball team have announced a full season and fans are allowed back in the stadium. Check out when they play to find a game that fits your vacation schedule. Concession stands are open too, so come hungry to get your fill of hot dogs, peanuts and beer!

Catch the Sunset

Where can you find the best view of San Francisco in the entire Bay Area? Oakland, of course. Whether you’re tucked in the hills or close up near the water, the views are truly stunning. Explore the best places to catch the sunset in Oakland.


Hit the Jackpot with Free Parking

Rest assured that if you’re driving to Oakland (or renting a car when you arrive), there are plenty of hotels that offer free parking, so you don’t have to worry about an additional expense adding up.

Day 2 / Saturday 

A Big Breakfast and a Lake View

When you're on vacation, mornings are for delicious meals. Check out one of Oakland’s Lake Merritt neighborhood hot spots like Shakewell, Grand Lake Kitchen or Lake Shore Café. After breakfast, head over to Lake Merritt and spend the day exploring. Walk, jog, paddle, or gondola and detour to places Children’s Fairyland, a storybook theme park that inspired THE theme park giant—Disneyland, the Kaiser Rooftop Garden, or the Cathedral of Christ the Light, an Oakland architectural great.

Looking for a lakeside guide? The audio historic tour, “Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After,” can be downloaded online, and starts at the Rotary Nature Center. Thirsty after all that touring? Grab lunch and happy hour brews on the patio at Portal, or sip on a margarita and enjoy your meal lakeside at Lake Chalet.

Colorful, Tasty Chinatown 

Continue your tour in Oakland’s Chinatown, and find the fiercest dragon murals by Three Thirty Three Arts. Explore more Oakland street murals, and maybe even grab some dim sum from 名味閣 Ming's Tasty Restaurant or fortune cookies from 金門餅廠 Fortune Cookie Factory to snack on the go! 

Day 3 / Sunday 

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

Jump-start your morning at Oakland’s Black-owned coffee roaster Red Bay Coffee in Fruitvale, OR Bicycle Coffee in wide-open spaces, parks, trails.

Looking to get off the beaten path and enjoy the great outdoors? Redwood Regional Park boasts paths lined with trees that are 150 years old. Leona Canyon offers two trails among the pine trees where you’ll find gorgeous wooded views. Joaquin Miller Park is home to 75,000 trees and the only urban second-growth redwood groves in existence, as well as miles of trails to choose from. Head east to the Dimond District and connect with nature along the the Sausal Creek Trail in Dimond Park. You’ll spot redwoods, oaks, buckeye and other native California plants. Ferns and wild blackberries grow here, too!

Take a Powerful, Historic Tour

Take a walking tour through the Black Panther Party's historic legacy. From the Black Panther Headquarters to DeFremery Park to the Oakland Community School, you can visit the locations that shaped Oakland, the county, and the world. At the end, stop by It's All Good Bakery (which also has historic significance!) for something yummy.

Find 100 reasons to come back, and we’ll see you again soon. Safe travels! 


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