East Bay Guide: What to do in Oakland
Oakland has an enticing cache of lakes, museums and summer-cooling margaritas. Not to mention its esteemed scenes of indie music, art and food. This all means there’s no shortage of satiating things to do in the East Bay.
For those sitting on the white-crane-adorned side of the Bay, Oakland serves up plenty to keep you bustling on BART — with its signature warm weather on tap — and ensures your sensory-indulging summer is full. Take note of some of these favorite local spots dotting the Oakland map.
Oakland Museum of California engages visitors with its keenly curated mosaic of art, science and history. Walk just two blocks from Lake Merritt Station to find yourself immersed in OMCA’s exhibits, both entertaining and educational. One pick worth a peek? The “Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact” is an interactive and hands-on exhibition that’s family-friendly and particularly relevant to the times.
The indie music spot to see a band up close and personal, 1-2-3-4 Go! Records lures audiophiles to its doors, just four blocks from MacArthur Station, where bands — touring and local — bring on killer live shows.
All this BARTing around got you thirsty? Land at Oakland City Center/12th St. Station and walk three blocks to have a margarita. But not just any margarita. We suggest the tart and tasty tamarind puree margarita at Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana, alongside some Mexican plates. Afterwards, grab a nightcap at The Trappist next door, where your choice of fine American and Belgian-style brews seems infinite at this hip watering hole that sports two bars.
Smoky bacon mac. Sriracha mac. Vegan mac. Gilroy garlic mac. Homeroom is heaven for the child in all of us. Dig that utensil deep into your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese off the imaginative menu at this Temescal comfort food spot. It’s a warm feast for the belly that’s just over a 5-minute walk from MacArthur Station. Don’t forget the side of Brussels sprouts, of course.
Steps from the aptly named Lake Merritt Station, Lake Merritt boasts the 3-mile scenic waterfront walk in the heart of Oakland. Gondola ride, jogging path or wildlife exploration, Lake Merritt provides some nature and peace of mind amidst the urban landscape. Take the kids to Children’s Fairyland, right on its shore, for a family-friendly day trip.
When summer reading is the call, Diesel, A Bookstore is a fine nook for quiet relaxation located a quick walk from Rockridge Station. Peruse the rows of beautifully bound pages at this independent book hub or lounge in the intimate fireside sitting area in the back.
A must for those hungry for local history, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, two blocks from Oakland City Center/12th St. Station, houses rotating exhibits, community events and a massive archive of books, videos, and audio collections documenting African American history, keeping it accessible for avid researchers and casual observers alike.
The Fox Theater is one of the pillars of the Oakland music scene. Half a block from 19th St./Oakland Station, the art deco and wrap-around concert venue hosts big acts in a grand setting. Before the show? Try a drink with the habanero- and cilantro-infused popcorn at Make Westing down the street.