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Free Things To Do In Oakland

Pay Tribute To The Tribune Tower

Things To Do In Oaklands Grand Lake Neighborhood

Source: Flickr

Inspired by St Marks Campanile in Venice, Italy, Oaklands Tribune Tower is a 305-foot, 22-story building located in downtown Oakland. The city landmark has a clock-tower face which also adds to its iconic figure. Though the Tribune News stopped newspaper production in 2007 at the Tribune Tower, its floors are still bustling with other businesses as well as a popular restaurant and café on the ground floor. You will of course see this amazing building in the Oakland skyline, but you should take the time to stop by for a closer look.

Popular Restaurants In Oakland County

African American Museum And Library

About a mile from Lake Merritt is the African American Museum and Library of Oakland open Monday thru Saturday. The museum is on the second floor and hosts exhibits highlighting the art, history, and culture of African Americans.

Check the Oakland Library for upcoming events, including tours of the library.

You could also spend hours pouring over the reference library materials, around 12,000 volumes by or about African Americans.

African American Museum and Library of Oakland is worth a visit

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San Francisco and Nearby: Oakland is just across the bay from San Francisco and is connected by the Bay Bridge, which makes it an easy day trip from San Francisco. Oakland is also a good base for visiting many attractions of the Bay Area such as the neighboring college town of Berkeley and laid-back Sausalito.

Smaller Cities: Those who prefer to vacation in smaller cities will enjoy the Monterey Bay area, best known for the city of Santa Cruz, which sits on its northern edge. At the opposite side of the bay, is the waterfront town of Monterey, once the capital of Spanish California. Five miles from Monterey is the romantic town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, where tourists will lose themselves in the enchanting old-world atmosphere.

Things To Do In Oakland With Kids

Best Tours and Things To Do in Oakland, CA

The first five Oakland places for kids come from MOCHA staffers.

  • Childrens Fairyland is a vintage-style amusement park near Lake Merritt. Enjoy live shows, kiddie rides, and family fun. Never been? Heres a first-timers guide to Fairyland.
  • The Oakland Zoo is an expansive space, filled with wildlife habitats for even the largest animals. Watch the monkeys swing around or get close to the glass to say hello to the tortoises. Save time for the gondola ride! Our review of the Oakland Zoo membership.
  • Oakland Ice is a year-round indoor ice rink in downtown Oakland. Skate rental starts at toddler size 6.
  • Fentons Creamery, the old school ice cream parlor, offers a full menu of entrees, too. so visit for a supersized sundae, or a whole meal!
  • Chabot Space and Science Center exposes children to STEM principles and the wonders of space, located in the Oakland Hills.
  • Museum of Childrens Art invites drop-in art-making sessions several times per week. Kids can start as young as 18 months! For 30 years, MOCHAs presence is felt in low-income communities. They serve over 8,000 children in 45 East Bay public schools approximately 70% of the children live at or below the poverty rate. Their mission is to bring quality arts education programs to schools and communities, advocating for interactive spaces where children and their families can create, share and connect through art. Learn more about MOCHA on their website > >
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    Meet The Animals At Oakland Zoo

    Source: Flickr

    The Oakland Zoo in south Oakland is a charming, smaller scale zoo with modern exhibits. Despite its small size the zoo is nationally known for its state of the art animal housing facilities. The elephant exhibit is also raved about, especially as the elephants are able to roam as close to free as is possible in captivity. The zoo is home to over 600 national and exotic animals. With such an array of animals you are sure to have a fun day at the Oakland Zoo with the whole family.

    Whats The Best Time To Visit Oakland

    Fall and winter, on the other hand, are best avoided because the weather gets too cold and humid to enjoy your visit. However, if you are looking for a much more affordable trip, the fall is a much better choice because the prices are more affordable and there are fewer tourists, while the weather is still relatively nice.

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    Learn More About Californias Heritage

    Source: Flickr

    The Oakland Museum of California specializes in the natural science, history and art of the Golden State, as noted on the museums official website. An interesting, fun experience for the whole family, OMCA holds close to 2 million objects that are used to tell the history of California. Some examples of exhibits focus on the relationship and heritage of the Pacific Islands and California, the history of the Black Panthers, and Californias legalization of marijuana. Every first Sunday of the month, families enter the museum for free.

    Fox Theater Oakland California

    Things To Do In Oakland’s KONO District

    Designed with an intriguing and mystical resemblance to an Indian temple, the Fox Oakland Theatre is one of downtown Oaklands most fascinating attractions. Located on Telegraph Avenue, the former movie theater-turned-concert hall presented films through 1970, until it fell into disrepair and was closed for nearly 40 years.

    After receiving a welcome grant, restoration work began on the theater and the newly renovated theater was opened again in 2009. Today, the 2,800-seat concert hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the Oakland School for the Arts. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in Oakland, the Fox Oakland Theatre is a great place to visit. This prominent live concert venue hosts performances by notable artists, including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue, Alice in Chains and B.B. King.

    1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612, Phone: 510-302-2250

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    See The Bay Lights On The Bay Bridge

    The Bay Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in San Francisco and there’s no prettier time to visit it than at night!

    There is a spectacular light show every night from dusk until dawn.

    Leo Villareal, one of the most well respected light artists designed and orchestrated The Bay Lights.

    We have 50 more ideas for free things to do in San Francisco for you to discover, many of which can be enjoyed in the evening.

    Spend A Day At The Lake

    It always comes as a surprise to anyone who has yet to visit Oakland that theres a giant lake in the middle of downtown. Yep, thats right: Lake Merritt is right smack downtown, and its beautiful.

    The 3-mile wide lagoon is home to the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the United States, but today the lake feels more urban than natural. There are several ways to enjoy Lake Merritt. Here are our favorites:

    Psst: After your lake day, dont forget to spend some time exploring Grand Lake, the neighborhood next door.

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    Free And Cheap Things To Do

    * Free admission to Oakland First Fridays. The monthly events feature street artists, galleries, music, food vendors, and DJs from 5 9 p.m. in the KONO district.

    * Oakland Museum of California Friday nights features local art, after-hours gallery access, music, dance lessons and food trucks from 5 10 p.m. For families, free workshops from 5 8 p.m.

    * The Redwood Regional Park is a hidden redwood forest just a few miles over the ridge from downtown. Parking: $5. Dogs: $2 per dog.

    * Take a walk at Lake Temescal or Lake Merritt.

    * Free tours of Mountain View Cemetery. The free tours happen twice a month. Learn about railroad builders, painters and architects who helped shape the Bay Area and surrounding communities. Docent-led tours last about two hours.

    Oakland Harbor Tours Free

    10 TOP Things to Do in Oakland, CA (2021 Attraction ...

    In 2019 the Oakland Harbor Tours took place from May through October. Currently there is no information on the Oakland Harbor website about 2020 tours. But check the Port of Oakland website for updates.

    The tours are free, and the Port of Oakland will post a link for tickets soon.

    Tall Ship Sailing is occasionally an option. As of this writing no tall ship sailings are scheduled for 2020. Watch for updates on the Historical Seaport website.

    Even if you cant do a tour its fun to walk around the harbor and look at all the boats.

    Sometimes the tall ships visit Oakland Harbor

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    Chinatown And Old Oakland

    Close to Downtown and within walking distance, youll find Chinatown and Old Oakland, two interesting parts of Oakland.

    • Chinatown: The Chinatown in Oakland isnt as big as the one in San Francisco, but this neighborhood is still very charming. Go to the local market on Friday morning and early afternoon.
    • Old Oakland: This is one of the citys historic neighborhoods with 19th-century buildings and Victorian-style houses. Here youll get a taste of Oaklands past and you will also find a wide selection of restaurants and clubs where you can enjoy excellent food.

    Get Outside At Lake Temescal

    The Pacific is notoriously cold in this part of the country, meaning summertime dips might land you with blue toes. Fret not for your summer fun, because Lake Temescal has plenty of swimming, fishing, and picnicking along its shores. The lake was originally constructed as a holding pond for the citys drinking water but is now used solely for recreational purposes. There is a parking fee to enter the park, but if you anticipate visiting the parks a lot, $30 will get you an annual parking pass from Destination Oakland.

    Now that you have a sense of all of the free activities in Oakland, maybe its time to put some energy into decorating your new home. Heres our blog post on a DIY crash course in interior design. When its time to move, seek the help of the best movers in Oakland to make moving a breeze.

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    Sample The Oakland Food Scene

    If youve been paying attention, you probably noticed that Ive been throwing out a LOT of suggestions for places to eat and drink. Thats because Oaklands food scene is INCREDIBLE.

    Its diverse, its fresh, its expertly created, and its one of the best ways to get to know the city. You can get to know Oakland through chicken & waffles, shrimp & grits, dumplings, spongy Ethiopian injera bread, sizzling Korean bulgogi, and deep-fried vegan soul food. Is there any better way to get to know a place?

    Oaklands food represents Oaklands history: Chinese, Mexican, Korean, African, and soul food restaurants can be found all over town, and youll have a hard time picking a bad spot. This list of 100 things to eat in Oakland, although a few years old, is a great starting point!

    For more suggestions, you can browse this directory on Visit Oakland, along with this list of Black-owned restaurants. Jeremy and I also have a list of our favorite places to eat in Oakland.

    If you only have a couple of days, we recommend taking a food tour to help you make a dent. Another benefit of taking a food tour is that youll also get a chance to walk through some of the best neighborhoods in Oakland, so you can cross two of the best things to do in Oakland off your list in one fell swoop! Youre SO efficient.

    Catch An As Game At The Oakland Coliseum

    Things To Do In Oakland, California 2021 | Bars, Restaurants, Public Transportation, Parks, Food

    We love our sports in Oakland, but lately weve been done dirty by some of our formerly beloved local teams . However, there is one Oakland sports team that is NOT leaving us, one that stays proudly loyal to Oakland, and one who we absolutely adore in return: the Oakland Athletics, or Oakland As for short.

    Wander through Oakland and youll realize that our beloved baseball team is everywhere: their elephant mascot, Stomper, can be seen all over town in colorful painted statues, and youd be hard pressed to look around Oakland and NOT see someone sporting an As hat, sweatshirt, or jersey. Local to Oakland since 1968 the As are widely known for their starring role in the movie Moneyball, but the present day As just might surprise you.

    Theres so much to love about going to an Oakland As game: the games are affordable, the crowd is excited, the food is great, the fireworks are amazing, the baseball is excellent, and the vibe is exactly the way Americas favorite pastime should be: FUN! Its easy to fall in love with Oakland when youre at an Oakland As game even if youre not up on the baseball lingo and you dont know exactly who the players are .

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    California Academy Of Sciences

    California Academy of Sciences is a science museum and educational institution that offers late-night entrance every Thursday from 6-10 pm.

    Fascinating talks on science, as well as entertaining live music performances, are featured. You must be 21 years or older to attend.

    • Hours – 6 pm – 10 pm on Thursdays
    • Cost – $15 per person

    Lucky Tuk Tuk Craft Beer Crawls

    If youre looking for a unique tour of the city, these outings are an interesting alternative to other San Francisco bus tours.

    A Tuk Tuk is essentially a modified electric motorcycle that has been extended to provide seating for up to 5 people . Think of it as a modern rickshaw!

    Lucky Tuk Tuks Beer Tasting Crawls include stops at 3 craft breweries.

    Visitors will receive a free drink at each stop and enjoy karaoke on board while traveling between each brewery.

    • Tickets: $119 per rider

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    Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

    If a picnic under massive redwood trees followed by a good hike is your definition of a unique date, then Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is the perfect destination for you. Every inch of the 1,830 forested acres is worth strolling throughsurprises come in the forms of rabbits, deers, eagles. The pristine redwood forest has sites for overnight camping as well, so dont forget to bring your tent along.

    Roam Free At Joaquin Miller Park

    25 Best Things To Do In Oakland (CA)

    Source: Flickr

    This park is named after early Californian writer and poet, Joaquin Miller. Joaquin Miller Park is a 200 acre open space park in the Oakland Hills. The park is heavily wooded with redwoods, oaks, and pines that are said to have been the original plantings done by Miller himself. The area is popular for locals and tourists alike for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking. There is also an off-leash dog area and outdoor amphitheater which is the stage for summer performances. It is always worth checking in advance what performances are happening due to their seasonality.

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    Celebrate Sf’s Amazing Culinary History

    San Francisco is known worldwide for its high quality and a vast variety of cuisines.

    During your visit to the Bay, you have the opportunity to visit some of the best ethnic and international food in the world.

    Some of the most popular cuisines that every foodie should try are Italian, Japanese, Chinese, and Mexican.

    Learn more about the best international dishes in San Francisco in our full post here.

    If you’d like to know more about the history of some of these neighborhoods, join us on our North Beach/Little Italy Tour or Chinatown Tour.

    Oakland Does First Friday Right With Art Murmur

    Think your previous hometown did First Fridays the best? Think again. Oaklands vibrant art scene means that touring the galleries isnt just an excuse to snack on free pretzels, but is truly a spectacle and an event. Galleries are collectively open from 6-9pm, and the street festival in Uptown along Telegraph Ave, between Grand-27th is a great place to get out and socialize for those moving to Oakland. Visit the Art Murmur website for a venue guide to see which galleries are hosting openings each month.

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    Pittsburgh Art In Public Places Downtown Walking Tour

    Take a walking tour of Pittsburgh’s public art and see why Pittsburgh consistently ranks among the best arts destinations in the country. Tour four different Downtown areas to learn more about public art, such as the sculpture in Mellon Square, the eyeball-shaped benches in Katz Plaza and the blue text on the Convention Center. .

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