Oakland, California is one of the busiest ports in the U.S. and serves a major trade center for the San Francisco Bay area. It is the 45th largest city in the U.S. and is home to the Oakland Raiders football team that has a fierce and loyal following. The area has a major city but also covers prairie, woodlands, and coastal areas for a broad range of landscaping and things to see. Many San Francisco residents relocate to nearby Oakland as San Francisco is massive and overpopulated. The city is one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in America as well. Stop by this city for a fantastic trip and experience the best things to do in Oakland.
Best things to do in Oakland: Redwood Regional Park
Redwood Regional Park is a large park located in the heart of Oakland and is close to San Francisco as well. There are plenty of trees for shade in the summer, which creates a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere. Lots of trails are available, and it is a dog-friendly park if you wish to walk or hike with your canine friend.
Choose one of the many provided picnic areas for a nice lunch or romantic dinner. Restrooms are available as well. The hikes along the large redwood trees are visitor favorites, and there are miles of these trails to explore. The trails are clearly marked and parking is free! Redwood Regional Park is also a great place for photos or to practice your photography shots as the light filtered through all the trees creates a beautiful scene. Many people state that you would never know you are in the middle of a major city while in this beautiful park.
Oakland Museum of California
The Oakland Museum is all about making it fun, and they have succeeded at that! Visitors report that some days food truck vendors are parked outside, along with cocktails and live music on occasional Friday nights. The fun continues inside where there are lots of different rooms to explore like the history room, the art room, and the science room. The museum usually has a special exhibit of some sort as well. Enjoy a nice lunch at the Blue Oak Café on-site or see if one of those delicious food truck vendors is still outside. The museum is large, and there are many displays and exhibits and visitors state that they have spent a full day here and still did not see anything. Many make a point to see the museum every time they are in Oakland as it is one of the top attractions.
Lake Merritt is another fun and exciting stop on your visit to Oakland. The Lake has restaurants located in front of it, as well as food truck vendors that park nearby. You can also take workouts along the lake as there are miles of walking paths for running to hike. There are also garage sales, a pier, gardens and much more to see and experience.
In the summer, the lake is the center of outdoor life in the city. There are rowers and gondolas to enjoy taking a water ride in or try out the Japanese dragon boat! The lake has become a well-maintained and popular place to visit. The old-time street lights that encircle the lake have been fully restored, and every Saturday there is a farmers market that takes place. The paths around the lake have been widened to accommodate more people who are all out enjoying this top attraction in Oakland.
The Oakland Zoo is fun for both old and young, as well as couples, singles, and families. The zoo is famous for its natural habitats and seemingly happy animals, making for a pleasant environment and experience. The zoo is considered a smaller to a mid-size zoo and they have done continuous upgrades as well as larger exhibits for a well-run establishment that many enjoy visiting. There are large grass areas for families and kids to rest or play on. There is a mini-amusement park for kids too! There are also plenty of parking spaces, and everything is well maintained. Oakland Zoo is a great place to spend the day or an afternoon in Oakland.
Explore the bay and the water of Oakland on the USS Potomac. The vessel has been used since the mid-1940’s and was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s yacht, and is now used for dinner cruises or a tour around the bay. Dinner Cruises are a unique and different experience to do in a busy port city that relies so much on the water and its ships. The 165-foot long yacht also offers afternoon cruises with a crew that can give facts and tours of the boat. The cruises are both educational, and fun and kids, as well as adults, will have a very good time. Watch for whales in the water during certain seasons, and enjoy the preserved interior of a historic vessel.
The Oracle Arena is a busy place with unusual events. This is the main arena used during basketball season so catch a game if you’re there during that time. Other events include concerts, a circus, big-name stars that perform here and even ice events. Check the schedule to see what may be happening at the arena during your stay at Oakland. Grab a meal at one of the many food vendors available. Try renting one of the spacious suites available that have a full concierge service, private restroom, and TVs. The BART train can transport you from San Francisco easily and take you back, so you don’t have to worry about parking or driving! Enjoy the electric atmosphere at an exciting event in the city!
The Cathedral of Christ the Light
This cathedral is an architectural wonder, and you will know the building when you see it. The unique design, shape, and glasswork of the cathedral make it look like no other church ever seen before. The interior is just as amazing with soaring heights of the ceilings that will leave you standing in awe. The interior is composed mainly of glass and wood and the light filters through beautifully. The altar can only be described as otherworldly, and it is stunning! The sanctuary area is modern and considered contemporary style, and it has several smaller rooms for prayer and reflection available. The building can be seen from the lake and draws thousands of people to its doors to see the amazing building and its features at one of the best things to do in Oakland.