Oakland is home to an appealing variety of historic buildings, museums, and interesting sightseeing opportunities. Stroll through Oakland's sights on your own, or take a more organized approach to your Oakland sightseeing by checking on local tours. Take advantage of Oakland attractions and those in the surrounding area, both indoors and out. From a simple picnic or afternoon retreat to the park to a technical hike, a round of golf, or a more adventurous sport, there are plenty of Oakland activities to keep you busy.
Lake Chabot Regional Park: 999 Redwood Road, Oakland, Ca. 94610
Especially if you're the outdoorsy type, Lake Chabot Regional Park is one the Oakland attractions you'll want to hit while you're exploring the Bay Area. This exciting Oakland park is known for its adventurous trails and camping stations. Plan a bike ride or hiking trip on one of the many trails that weave through the park. If hiking or bike riding is not your thing, there are also boat rentals and plenty of great fishing spots.
Lake Merritt Park and Wildlife Refuge: 552 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, Ca. 94610
510-238-3739 Fax: 510-238-7962
In the urban jungle of downtown Oakland, visitors and residents have found comfort and beauty in serene Lake Merritt for over a century. Lake Merritt Park and Wildlife Refuge makes the most of this natural beauty, providing a sanctuary for birds and waterfowl that inhabit the lake and educating visitors about them. The park is also a center for sporting activities, including sailing, canoeing, and jogging along the lakeshore. Fairyland, a kid's amusement park, is also located here.
Oakland Museum of California: 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, Ca. 94607
The Oakland Museum of California formed in 1969, provides a forum for the state's history, art, and environment. The facility's broad focus includes everything from modern paintings to Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The lower area details ecosystems and the environment, with dioramas illustrating significant aspects. The second floor addresses history, culture, and technology, while the third offers an excellent collection of paintings by California artists. Well-organized, informative, and a pleasure to wander, this Oakland history museum has everything you are looking for.
Oakland Zoo: Hwy 580, Off 98th and Golf Links Road, Oakland, Ca. 94605
In the vast hills outside town, this award-winning Oakland Zoo, features more than 300 types of animals living in carefully-recreated natural habitats, easily making it one of the premier Oakland attractions. The African savannah exhibit is particularly popular, with African plants and a waterfall providing a home for meerkats, monkeys, and hyenas. Children are entertained in their own zoo and with a section of rides, including an old-fashioned carousel. When visiting the zoo in Oakland, enjoy the Sky Ride, which offers scenic panoramas of the bay and the surrounding hills.
Pardee Home Museum: 672 Eleventh St., Oakland, Ca. 94607
This Oakland museum is actually a turn-of-the-century Victorian home that houses the beautiful collections and artifacts of the famous Pardee family. The Pardee Home Museum in Oakland's historic district has been an official (and beloved) city landmark since 1975. The house is surrounded by beautiful gardens, and the inside is decorated with great works of art and original family furnishings. If you've got an affinity for art and history, make sure you take a tour of the Pardee Home.
Preservation Park: 13th St., 13th St. and Martin Luther King Jr., Oakland, Ca. 94601
One of the most historical Oakland attractions, Preservation Park is not really a park at all but a district comprised of several Victorian houses that, over the years, have been restored to their original states. One of these historic Oakland homes, the Pardee Home, was home to one of the city's first mayors and is now a popular museum. Walking through the Preservation Park neighborhood is certain to transport you back to the 19th century, offering you a unique glimpse at Oakland's rich history along the way.
Redwood Regional Park: 7867 Redwood Rd, Oakland, Ca. 94619
Redwood Regional Park is one of the best Oakland attractions, and this is especially true if adore rolling up your sleeves and exploring the great outdoors. Beautiful redwood trees, adventurous hiking trails, and breathtaking views await you here. This amazing Oakland park is a must see for nature lovers.
Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve: 6800 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, Ca. 94611
Volcanic debris has formed vast mountains in this Oakland park, which covers 660 acres in the Oakland Hills. One of the most famous peaks is Round Top, which is made up of lava and other materials from a volcano said to be 10 million years old. Millions of years of erosion and shifting deep within the earth have exposed layers of geology that are amazing to look at and fascinating to learn about. In the spring, wildflowers bloom and add to the beauty of this Oakland preserve and give the hiking trails added bursts of color.
The USS Potomac: FDR Pier at the foot of Clay St., Oakland, Ca. 94604
510-839-8256 510-627-1215 Fax: 510-839-4729
If you are looking to hit all the top Oakland attractions, touring the USS Potomac is a must. Once the presidential yacht of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the USS Potomac now serves as a reminder of the FDR era in American history. Tours of the well-preserved ship showcase amazing artifacts and exhibits that document such events as WWII. Renovations have been made over the years to preserve the Potomac's original look.
Western Aerospace Museum: 8260 Boeing St., North Terminal Oakland International Airport, Oakland, Ca. 94614
510-638-7100 Fax: 510-638-6500
Not just for aviation buffs, this Oakland museum is different from most in that it is located in an old hangar instead of a stuffy, air-conditioned, building. The people who work here do it because they love it, and their passion for flying is obvious as they guide you to different kinds of blimps, helicopters, and planes, including a low-flying aircraft used in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Visitors of the Oakland Aerospace Museum are encouraged to climb in and explore. Video displays and kids' activities are available.
Dunsmuir House and Gardens: 2960 Peralta Oaks Ct., Oakland, Ca. 94605
Designated a National Historic Site, this house and its verdant grounds have become a landmark in the area. The huge Oakland mansion has 37 rooms, 10 with fireplaces, and was built in the colonial revivalist style. Though the interior is exquisite and the architecture stunning, the biggest draw is the intricate gardens, where the home hosts concerts and celebrations throughout the year. Old-fashioned throwbacks to the home's past include the croquet court and the conservatory.
Oakland Ice Center: 519 Eighteenth St., Oakland, Ca. 94601
510-268-9000 Fax: 510-268-9159
Just a few blocks from scenic Lake Merritt, this Oakland ice rink caters to crowds of hip younger kids with its state-of-the-art sound system and modern music. Public ice skating is offered daily, and you will usually find a pick-up game of hockey going on. Food and snacks are available, and a party atmosphere makes this a fun outing. If you're new to skates, lessons are available for all ages and skill levels.
Children's Fairyland: 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, Ca. 94613
This is the oldest theme park for children in the United States and is said to have inspired Walt Disney to begin his theme park empire. The ten-acre facility has been around since 1950 and targets younger children, with bright colors, non-scary rides, and the depiction of popular nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Hands-on exploration of displays is encouraged. A recent revitalization ensures that this Oakland theme park will appeal to modern tastes while retaining its sense of old-fashioned nostalgia.
Piedmont Springs: 3939 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, Ca. 94612
100 additional things to do in Oakland and surrounding neighborhoods:
1. Board a yacht at the Pacific Sail Expo in Jack London Square.
2. Enjoy the sounds of music at Woodminster Amphitheatre.
3. Toast to Jack London with a beer at Heinhold's Last Chance Saloon.
4. Toss a caber at the Scottish Highland Games in July at Dunsmuir Historic Estate.
5. Stretch your neck with the giraffes at the Oakland Zoo.
6. Reach for the stars at the Chabot Space & Science Center.
7. Groove with the jazz at Yoshi's.
8. Hug a tree at Roberts Park.
9. Bite into a ripe peach at one of Oakland's Farmers Markets.
10. Rediscover a classic movie at the Paramount Theatre.
11. Cheer for the home team at an Oakland A's game.
12. Join the Jack O'Lantern Jamboree at Children's Fairyland in October.
13. Retrace Amelia Earhart's flight pattern at the Western Aerospace Museum.
14. Relax with a massage at the Claremont Resort & Spa.
15. Down a double-decker cone at Fenton's Creamery.
16. Captain a kayak on the Oakland Estuary.
17. Dance with the sugarplum fairies at the Nutcracker.
18. Track down your ancestors at the Mormon Temple.
19. Ogle the Dale Chihuly light sconces at the Rotunda Building.
20. Shop 'til you drop along Piedmont Avenue.
21. Whoop it up with the Black Cowboys in their annual parade.
22. Bask in the sun at Lake Temescal.
23. Mingle at the mansion in Dunsmuir Historic Estate.
24. Predict your future at the fortune cookie factory in Chinatown.
25. Savor some souvlaki at the annual Festival of Greece.
26. Honor black history at the African American Museum and Library of Oakland.
27. Walk across California at the Oakland Museum of California.
28. Pull strings (or just buy a ticket) to see the puppet show at Children's Fairyland.
29. Lace your skates at the Oakland Ice Center.
30. Celebrate Dias de Los Muertos in Fruitvale.
31. Fly through the sky at the Trapeze Arts circus school.
32. Buy a Kwanzaa present at the annual arts and crafts show.
33. Stop and smell the roses at the Morcom Amphitheatre of Roses.
34. Rock your socks off during a concert at the Arena.
35. Root for the Golden State Warriors.
36. Travel in Presidential style with a cruise on the USS Potomac.
37. Promenade at a traditional Las Posadas Celebration.
38. Remember the Victorian age at the Camron-Stanford House on Lake Merritt.
39. Ace some shots at the Davie Tennis Stadium.
40. Soothe your soul with a concert by the Oakland East Bay Symphony.
41. Hook a fish dish at a waterfront restaurant at Jack London Square.
42. Treat your mother to tea at the Cohen-Bray House.
43. See San Francisco by boat on the Oakland Alameda ferry.
44. Bask in the blues with your barbeque at Everett & Jones.
45. Let Lois the Pie Queen give you a slice of your choice.
46. Serenade your sweetheart in an authentic Italian gondola at Lake Merritt.
47. Trot along the top of the Bay Area Ridge Trail on horseback.
48. Swim laps at Roberts Pool.
49. Wonder at the Wurlitzer at the Grand Lake Theatre.
50. Take a hike at Redwood Park.
51. Let the kids loose at the Museum of Children's Art.
52. Tee off at the Lake Chabot Golf Course.
53. Identify birds at Lake Merritt's Rotary Nature Center, the country's oldest wildlife refuge.
54. Stroll through the streets of Old Oakland, enjoying the shops and the architecture.
55. See what "There" is at City Center. (It's a sculpture!)
56. Listen to a Mariachi band at a Fruitvale district restaurant.
57. Tantalize your taste buds with a tamale and a Tecate.
58. Let your soul soar to the sounds of the Art and Soul Festival.
59. Ride with Pancho Viva at the Mexican American Library.
60. Join the Raider Nation at the Oakland Coliseum.
61. Enjoy drop in pottery studios at the Junior Center of Art & Science at Lake Merritt.
62. Get technical at the Museum of African American Technology Science Center.
63. Sing along at a Summer Sounds Concert in City Center.
64. Find your form at one of Oakland's many art galleries.
65. Locate the past at the Oakland Heritage Alliance.
66. Get spiritual at a Gospel Concert at Henry J. Kaiser Center.
67. Fly with monkeys at a Wizard of Oz screening at the Paramount Theatre.
68. Visit the past and see the future on a Free Oakland Walking Tour.
69. Marvel at the architectural beauty of Oakland's buildings.
70. Propose to your sweetheart along the estuary boardwalk.
71. Slay a dragon boat.
72. Become a kid again at Children's Fairyland.
73. Cross the Orient at Oakland's Chinatown Streetfest (August).
74. Board a floating lighthouse (Lightship Relief) at the estuary.
75. Voice your opinion at a City Council meeting.
76. Join the movement and take the Black Panther Legacy Tour.
77. See the historic port and take a harbor tour.
78. Smell a rose on the Kaiser Center's Roof garden.
79. Soar like a bird at the Rotary Nature Center.
80. Trace your family history at the California Genealogical Society.
81. Mold a clay pot at the Junior Center for Arts and Science.
82. Create a masterpiece at the Museum of Children's Art (Mocha).
83. Submit your own Picasso into the Public Arts Program.
84. Sing along with your favorite artist at the Network Associates Coliseum.
85. Ring in the New Year at the Chinese New Year's Bazaar.
86. Tickle your taste buds at A Taste of Oakland.
87. Take a Walk in the Wild at the Oakland Zoo.
88. Howl at the moon at the Lunafest.
89. Tour a haunted house at the Pardee Home's Halloween at the Mansion.
90. Sing a sea chanty at Quinn's lighthouse.
91. Stroll along the historic waterfront at Jack London Square.
92. Take an enrichment class at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.
93. Ring in the Holidays at the Oakland Holiday Parade.
94. Enjoy dim sum at one of Oakland's most authentic Asian restaurants.
95. Visit Oakland's architectural past at Preservation Park.
96. Dine in a one of a kind Gingerbread House.
97. Enjoy rowing on our sparkling Bay waters.
98. Spend a romantic evening overlooking the San Francisco Bay.
99. Visit the five ladies of Oakland (historic homes).
100. Meet with your colleagues at the Oakland Convention Center.