When was the last time you took a trip over to Oakland?  Well, if it has been awhile, then you need to get yourself over there and enjoy this lovely city that is going through a major transformation!  With housing prices so high in San Francisco, many people are now moving over to this sunny and vibrant city across the Bay Bridge.  I used to spend alot of time driving all over Oakland when I was in sales, but since relocating to the other side of the bay many years ago, I just don’t find myself going over there as much anymore.  I’ve been hearing and reading about all of the changes happening in this lovely city so I decided to take a trip to the other side of the bay to check out the scene!  There were signs of progress all over town.  New condos and apartments are everywhere, new plants and trees are going in, and new companies are moving in at a very brisk pace.

Here is a great article talking about tech companies moving over to Oakland. 

My first stop was Jack London Square, conveniently located off of Highway 880.  When I was working in Oakland, this area was my go to for taking people out for lunch or breakfast.  The views are beautiful and there is a great selection of restaurants to choose from.  If you get a chance, make sure to stop by Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon. It is a little building that dates back to 1883 and looks a little out of place now with all of the new construction in the area, but kind of fun to check out.  Jack London himself was a frequent visitor to this bar in his teens.  And to make this area even more energetic and interesting, Sunset Magazine is now located in Jack London Square and sits prominently behind the old saloon.


If you are looking for a fun day in Oakland start out your day by renting a kayak and taking it out into the Oakland Estuary for a couple of hours followed by lunch at one of the many restaurants in the area.




Looking for a fun place to hang out after work or on a sunny weekend day after kayaking?  Head over to Plank where you can hang out in their beer garden, play bocce ball, or bowl!  Sounds like a fun place for adults or a great place to take your kids!


Large bar area and restaurant at Plank.


 Haven, another great choice if you are in Jack London Square around dinner time. This restaurant has been getting pretty good reviews and the interior looks beautiful- and it’s so earthy and bright.


Interior space of Haven


Another fun choice, Forge Pizza, for a casual outdoor lunch or dinner.


After Jack London Square, I headed over to lovely Lake Merritt.  Going back to this spot brought back many memories of my time spent here in my early 20’s. DSC_1436

An approximately 3.4 mile path around the lake.  This is a great place for a walk or run and I especially like it when the lights come on at dusk casting a beautiful glow on the lake and trail.



Over to Grand Avenue to check out a few great restaurants.  A short walk over to this area from Lake Merritt or a quick drive.  I had been hearing a lot about Boot and Shoe Service so I really wanted to have lunch at this popular spot.  It did not disappoint!!  The pizza was amazing and I can’t wait to go back for more of their wonderful food, and the service was so warm and friendly!



Great interior space and several communal tables, which is nice if you are feeling chatty!


Back patio space at Boot and Shoe.  Love the fun retro blue chairs!  Where are all of these fun chairs coming from?  I’m seeing them everywhere!

So many places in Oakland have a retro feel.  I’m just loving the energy in this city and I’ve always found Oakland to be a lovely spot and so happy to see that it is finally getting its day in the sun!

Having an amazing team like the Golden State Warriors in town doesn’t hurt things at all!


My husband and I have attempted to meet East Bay friends at, Camino, for a while now and I can’t wait to check it out!!  It has been getting great reviews and has made SF food critic, Michael Bauer’s, list for the last few years!



No trip to Oakland would be complete without a trip to Fenton’s Creamery.  I felt no guilt at all about indulging here.  None.  If you are in Oakland with the kiddos visiting the Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland, or the Chabot Space and Science Center, make sure this is your last stop before heading home.  It is located on cute Piedmont Avenue where there are several places to have lunch and shop.




I had to check out the hip and happening area called Uptown. This restaurant, Hopscotch,  has been getting alot of press so I had to stop by.  Completely adorable and so retro with a delicious menu and great reviews. This whole area is being revitalized and I didn’t even recognize it when I hit San Pablo Avenue.  There are alot of new bars and restaurants to check out in this area, and Hopscotch is just one of many places to dine at.  A nice night out in Oakland should include attending a concert at the Fox Oakland or the Paramount Theater, both beautiful venues!  Start your night with dinner or drinks in Uptown.


This place looks like a diner, but it is so much more than that with a very creative menu and great cocktails.


One of my long time favorite areas in Oakland is Rockridge, on and around College Avenue.  I love walking around this cute area and looking in all of the fun shops, and I always try to plan a lunch at long time favorite, Oliveto.  If you have more time, continue strolling farther down College Avenue and head into Berkeley.  Maybe catch a football game at Memorial Stadium or a basketball game!  Go Bears!


Found this fun little book about all things Oakland!  I learned a few new things about this great east bay city!


The New York Times put Oakland-East Bay on their hot list for 2016.  Hopefully that is enough incentive for you to check out this very hip and happening city!

When was the last time you made a visit to Oakland?  What are your favorites?

There are so many beautiful neighborhoods to discover in this unique town and the views of San Francisco are incredibly beautiful from the hills if you happen to find yourself in the Oakland Hills at night.

I’ll be back soon with a fashion post about another spring fashion favorite and a post about one of my favorite cities to visit in southern California!

About Ms B in the Bay Area

A San Francisco Bay Area lifestyle blogger Food-Travel-Fashion

16 comments on “Oakland

  1. I would hop a plane to Oakland if I could. We are expecting snow today. Ugh. Oakland looks like a fabulous town. Still can’t get that sundae out of my mind. Have a great weekend, April.

    • Thank you, Katie! Yes, Oakland is a great town that is coming back, which is wonderful to see! I hope you get just a little snow and that it melts quickly! I have to catch up on your posts! Looks like our sunny weather is gone for awhile and now we are expecting rain for the next several days! Have a fabulous weekend!! xo

  2. That was awesome! I knew Oakland was going through a change but ALL these hip eateries and fun places to check out is high on my list now. Thank you April for your blog! It’s really fun to read ??

    • Hey Lainee, Thank you for your nice comment and I really appreciate your kind words! xo There is alot going on over there for sure and a fun place to spend a day or night on the town. I hope you get a chance to check it out soon! Have a great weekend!

  3. I know nothing about Oakland, haven’t even been to the zoo! I am now motivated to try all the great spots you featured here. Sounds like you had fun exploring some of your favorite old spots and discovering new ones. I still need to get up to the place you mentioned in San Carlos! Thanks for the inspiration ✨

    • Thanks, Bita! You need to get yourself over there! Lots of fun stuff to do with or without the kiddos! We used to go to the zoo all the time when the kids were young. Have a fabulous weekend! xo

  4. April, Wonderful post! I am really hoping to get up there and spend a day. You always find the coolest restaurants too. I wish I knew more about Oakland. I have been up there for the zoo and dinner at a cool place called The Gingerbread House (not sure if it exists anymore), but that’s about it! Guess it’s time to get back up there! Have a good weekend! Kim

    • Hi Kim, I had completely forgotten about The Gingerbread House!! That place was such a popular date spot back in the late 80’s and early 90’s…so funny you brought that up! I will have to look it up and see if it is still around. Definitely some fun places to check out now so I hope you get a chance to head over there sometime soon. See you at the Trina event! April xo

  5. Hi April, The Oakland Museum of California is my favorite spot in Oakland! There is a great collection of works by California artists (both inside & outside the museum), displays about the history of CA, and interesting traveling exhibits too–well worth a visit.

    • Hi Elena, Thanks for stopping by! Complete oversight on my part I should have included the Oakland Museum! Such a great place! Thank you for reminding me of this wonderful east bay treasure! April xo

  6. Super fun post, April! I was last in Oakland in December. We took the girls to San Francisco and I suggested we drive to Oakland on our way home. Two of my step-daughters lived there for several years and LOVED it! It was a crowded Sunday but we found a great place for lunch. I’ll have to research the name. It definitely had that cool retro vibe.
    Love your blog–having fun catching up here this weekend.
    xx, Heather

    • Hi Heather, Thank you for your kind words! So glad you made it over to Oakland in December! It is looking great, isn’t it?! Would love to know the name of the restaurant where you had lunch….if you remember, let me know. Have a great week! April xo

  7. Hi April,

    I enjoyed reading about all of the great places in Oakland! I just had the opportunity to see a show at the Paramount theatre. It is beautiful inside. It’s quite something how much Oakland is changing. You can also see that on a stop at the Whole Foods on Bay. I love the Oakland Zoo and Fairyland! Next time I’m there I want to give the restaurants you mentioned a try. The Boot and Shoe looks charming! Thanks!

    • Hi Julie, Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate your kind words. I haven’t been to the Whole Foods on Bay….I’ll have to check it out the next time I’m over there. That whole area is changing so much. Lots of positive things happening. Definitely check out those fun restaurants the next time you are over there!

  8. We discovered Oliveta and Market Hall two weeks ago – so fabulous and who knew?! I love all your Oakland suggestions and plan to venture they the tunnel more often to explore this wonderful city on my side of the bay!

    • Hi Julie, Thanks for stopping by!! Glad you picked up some ideas for your next visit to Oakland! I love the east bay and lived over there for many years! April 🙂

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