Things to Do in Oakland, CA

Oakland, California, is a vibrant and diverse city located on the eastern shore of the San Francisco Bay. Known for its rich cultural tapestry, Oakland is a melting pot of communities, each contributing to the city’s dynamic atmosphere. The city is renowned for its commitment to arts, social activism, and culinary diversity. Jack London Square, a bustling waterfront area, offers a mix of dining, entertainment, and outdoor activities. Oakland is also home to a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries and performance spaces. The historic Fox Theater and the Oakland Museum of California are among the city’s cultural landmarks. With its scenic parks, including Lake Merritt, and a mix of historic and modern neighborhoods, Oakland showcases a unique blend of urban energy and natural beauty.

Oakland Zoo

9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605

Nestled in the scenic hills of Oakland, California, the Oakland Zoo is a beloved destination that seamlessly blends wildlife conservation, education, and family-friendly entertainment. Spanning 100 acres, the zoo is home to over 750 native and exotic animals, including elephants, giraffes, and tigers, providing a captivating experience for visitors of all ages. The zoo places a strong emphasis on conservation efforts and offers educational programs that highlight the importance of wildlife preservation. Notable attractions include the California Trail, an immersive exhibit showcasing the state’s diverse ecosystems and species. The Oakland Zoo’s commitment to animal welfare, interactive exhibits, and its role as a community hub make it a popular spot for both locals and tourists, offering a delightful and educational experience in the heart of the East Bay.

Jack London Square

472 Water St, Oakland, CA 94607

Jack London Square, situated along the picturesque waterfront of Oakland, California, is a vibrant and bustling destination that pays homage to the renowned author and adventurer, Jack London. This lively district offers a blend of dining, entertainment, and recreational activities. Visitors can stroll along the waterfront promenade, enjoy scenic views of the San Francisco Bay, and explore a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops. The square is a hub of cultural events, with live music, farmers’ markets, and festivals drawing locals and tourists alike. The historic Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, frequented by Jack London himself, adds a touch of nostalgia to the area. With its maritime charm, lively atmosphere, and a nod to literary history, Jack London Square stands as a vibrant emblem of Oakland’s waterfront culture and serves as a popular gathering place for residents and visitors.

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

7867 Redwood Rd, Oakland, CA 94619

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, nestled in the hills of Oakland, California, stands as a serene and lush escape from the urban bustle. This park, named after Dr. Aurelia Reinhardt, the first female president of Mills College, is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Renowned for its majestic redwood trees, some reaching heights of over 150 feet, the park offers a tranquil setting with shaded trails, meandering streams, and diverse plant life. Popular among hikers, joggers, and families alike, Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park provides a peaceful retreat where visitors can connect with nature just minutes away from the city. With its well-maintained trails, picnic areas, and stunning groves of ancient redwoods, the park invites locals and tourists to explore the beauty of Northern California’s natural landscapes right in the heart of Oakland.

Paramount Theatre Oakland

2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

The Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California, stands as a majestic and iconic landmark, embodying the city’s rich cultural heritage. Opened in 1931, this historic Art Deco masterpiece has been meticulously preserved, showcasing ornate architecture, intricate detailing, and a grand atmosphere. As one of the Bay Area’s premier venues, the Paramount Theatre hosts a diverse array of performances, including concerts, Broadway productions, and special events. The opulent interior, adorned with chandeliers, murals, and a striking Wurlitzer organ, creates a captivating ambiance for patrons. The Paramount Theatre not only serves as a cultural hub but also as a testament to Oakland’s commitment to preserving its architectural legacy. Its significance goes beyond entertainment, symbolizing the city’s resilience and enduring appreciation for the arts.

Children’s Fairyland

699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610

Children’s Fairyland, nestled in the heart of Oakland, California, is a whimsical and enchanting theme park designed specifically for young children. Since its opening in 1950, Fairyland has been captivating the imaginations of generations of kids with its magical charm. The park features a storybook-inspired landscape, complete with colorful characters, gentle rides, and interactive play areas. From the beloved Storybook Puppet Theater to the Alice in Wonderland-themed attractions, Children’s Fairyland provides a safe and delightful space for children to explore their creativity and wonder. This cherished destination not only offers a range of enchanting experiences but also serves as a testament to the importance of fostering imagination and joy in the early years of childhood. With its timeless appeal, Children’s Fairyland remains a beloved treasure in Oakland, inviting families to create lasting memories in a magical setting.

Oakland California Temple

4770 Lincoln Ave, Oakland, CA 94602

The Oakland California Temple, situated amidst the scenic hills of Oakland, stands as a symbol of spiritual reverence for the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dedicated in 1964, this striking white granite temple is known for its distinctive modern architecture, featuring six spires and beautiful gardens. The temple’s design incorporates intricate details, including celestial room murals and ornate craftsmanship, reflecting the faith’s commitment to creating sacred and peaceful spaces. The temple and its surrounding grounds provide a haven for contemplation and reflection, offering stunning views of the Bay Area. The Oakland California Temple is not only a religious center for worship but also a notable architectural landmark contributing to the cultural and spiritual landscape of the community.

Fox Theater

1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612

The Fox Theater in Oakland, California, stands as a majestic and iconic cultural landmark in the heart of the city. Originally opened in 1928 as a grand movie palace, the theater underwent extensive renovations and reopened in 2009 as a state-of-the-art live entertainment venue. Its stunning Art Deco architecture, intricate detailing, and ornate design evoke a sense of vintage glamour. The Fox Theater has since become a premier destination for live performances, hosting a diverse array of concerts, Broadway shows, and other events. With a seating capacity of over 2,800, the theater offers an intimate yet grand setting, creating a memorable experience for audiences. Beyond its architectural splendor, the Fox Theater plays a crucial role in Oakland’s vibrant arts and entertainment scene, contributing to the city’s cultural renaissance and serving as a cherished venue for both locals and visitors alike.