Chabot Space and Science Center
© Courtesy of Chabot Space and Science Center

Oakland, California, is a fun weekend destination where you can spend your morning at a museum, the afternoon admiring majestic redwoods, followed by a great meal at one of the restaurants, and an evening at the theater. The city is home to beautiful parks and diverse activities and unique attractions such as Chabot Space & Science Center where you can look at the stars through a telescope. Best things to do in Oakland with kids include the Oakland Zoo which houses rare animals, and the USS Potomac where you can learn about the life of the 32nd President of the United States.

More vacation ideas: Pink Sand beaches, Best Places to Visit, Colorado, Things to Do in Seattle, California beaches

» Chabot Space and Science Center

Chabot Space and Science Center
© Courtesy of Chabot Space and Science Center

The Chabot Space & Science Center is one of the best educational centers in the U.S. and one of the top Oakland attractions, where visitors learn about the Universe and our planet. Originally founded in 1883 as an observatory, and named after the benefactor of the original observatory, Anthony Chabot, today the center offers an array of innovative exhibits and displays that explore life on earth and in the universe around us.

Surrounded by a beautiful forest of redwood trees in the hills above Oakland, Chabot offers scholars, students, visitors and amateur astronomers a range of interactive programs, activity-filled classes, hands-on workshops and special events, as well as a Space and Science Camp for enthusiastic learners. The center boasts three magnificent telescopes, namely Nellie, Rachel and Leah that are open to the public and allow visitors to experience the wonder of the distant stars, planets and comets that make up the universe around us.

10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, California 94619, Phone: 510-336-7300

More quick trip ideas: Romantic Weekend Getaways in Ohio, Romantic Weekend Getaways in California, Best East Coast beaches


» Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt
© Courtesy of Crin - Fotolia.com

Home to the first official and oldest designated wildlife refuge in the United States, Lake Merritt is a large tidal lagoon surrounded by lush green parkland and urban city neighborhoods in the center of Oakland. Featuring several artificial islands, which are home to a variety of bird species, the heart-shaped lake in the center of the city has 3.4 miles of grassy-lined shoreline, along which wind paths and walkways ideal for walking, hiking and running.

If you are wondering what to do in Oakland CA with kids, this is a great place to visit. The lake features a modern boating center where rowboats, canoes and sailboats can be rented and sailing classes can be enjoyed, a themed amusement park for fairy-tale fans called Children’s Fairyland and a beautiful seven-acre collection of themed gardens known as The Gardens at Lake Merritt. Established more than a half century ago, the Gardens serve as a display of outstanding horticulture and historic preservation and provide a variety of enriching public programs.

Fun long weekend getaway ideas: Weekend getaways from Seattle, Romantic Weekend Getaways in North Carolina, Romantic weekend getaways in CT


» Morcom Rose Garden

Morcom Rose Garden
© Morcom Rose Garden

The Morcom Rose Garden is a beautifully manicured garden featuring intricate paths and walkways, a reflecting pool, cascading fountain and thousands of roses. Named after Mayor Frank Morcom, who planted the first rose in 1933, the garden has been a sanctuary of peace and tranquility, as well as a beautiful venue for special occasions such as weddings.

The Morcom Rose Garden is one of the best romantic things to do in Oakland. The roses are tended by a group of volunteers called the ‘Dedicated Deadheaders,' who care for the garden and help to keep it in pristine condition.

700 Jean Street, Oakland, California 94610, Phone: 510-238-3187

More weekend getaways: Romantic weekend getaways in Colorado, Weekend Getaways from San Diego, Romantic Weekend Getaways in Virginia, San Diego day trips


» Edible Excursions, Oakland, California

Edible Excursions, Oakland, California
© Edible Excursions

Uncover Oakland one bite at a time with a fun-filled foodie tour with Edible Excursions. Offering unique and intimate culinary strolls through some of San Francisco’s most famous districts, Edible Excursions is an award-winning food tour company that aims to educate visitors about the city’s fabulous foodie scene. Led by founder Lisa Rogovin and a team of expert epicurean guides, tours range from exploring the famous Ferry Building Marketplace, followed by a trip to the infamous Alcatraz, to a wander through the the historic district of Japantown and joining the fray in downtown's craft cocktail bar scene.

For gourmands and food aficionados, a tour of North Berkeley’s iconic Gourmet Ghetto is a must, as well as a walk through Uptown Oakland's theatre and arts-oriented neighborhood with a visit to Temescal. Tours include meeting the owners and artisans of well-known establishments en route, along with tastings of their delicious fare. Private tours for corporate functions and special events can also be arranged, as well as team-building activities.

More beach, honeymoon and last minute resort ideas: Poconos Vacations, Places to Visit in New York, TN, MI, Orange County, FL beaches


» Fox Theater

Fox Theater
© Fox Theater

Designed with an intriguing and mystical resemblance to an Indian temple, the Fox Oakland Theatre is one of downtown Oakland’s most fascinating attractions. Located on Telegraph Avenue, the former movie theater-turned-concert hall presented films through 1970, until it fell into disrepair and was closed for nearly 40 years.

After receiving a welcome grant, restoration work began on the theater and the newly renovated theater was opened again in 2009. Today, the 2,800-seat concert hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to the Oakland School for the Arts. If you are looking for romantic date night ideas in Oakland, the Fox Oakland Theatre is a great place to visit. This prominent live concert venue hosts performances by notable artists, including Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Kylie Minogue, Alice in Chains and B.B. King.

1807 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612, Phone: 510-302-2250

What are some scenic places near me, free ideas for couples: NJ beaches, North Carolina beaches, Ft Lauderdale, Day trips from NYC, London


» Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California
© Rue Flaherty/Oakland Museum of California


The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) is dedicated to ‘telling the story of California’. Established in the mid-1960s with the aim of inspiring all Californians to create a better future for themselves and their communities, the museum showcases nearly two million objects dedicated to the natural science, art and history of California. Situated in downtown Oakland, close to Lake Merritt, the museum has an array of exhibits, displays and programs featuring historical artifacts, natural specimens, ethnographic objects and photographs that explore the factors that shaped the state of California into what it is today.

Explore magnificent natural landscapes, unique cultures, and the rich history of migration that is an important part of California’s heritage.

1000 Oak St, Oakland, California 94607, Phone: 510-318-8400

Where to go on vacation with kids: Romantic weekend getaways in Oregon, Places to Visit in Florida, Things to Do in Wisconsin, Day trips from NYC, Day trips from San Francisco


» Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar

Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar
© Bellanico

Located in the Glenview district of Oakland and sister to the ever-popular Aperto in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill, Bellanico Restaurant and Wine Bar serves rustic Italian seasonal dishes made from locally sourced, sustainable and organic products.

Bellanico’s brunch, lunch and dinner menus feature Fulton Valley Poultry, natural Australian Lamb, and wild-caught fish and shrimp. Bellanico has a wine bar that offers Old World wines with an emphasis on indigenous Italian varieties. Wines are served by the glass or in various flight sizes so that they can easily be tasted and compared.

4238 Park Blvd., Oakland, California 94602, Phone: 510-336-1180

Fun things to do around my location, day trips: Florida resorts, Best Caribbean Resorts, All-inclusive resorts in Jamaica, Things to Do in Massachusetts


» Oakland Zoo, Oakland, California

Oakland Zoo, Oakland, California
© Oakland Zoo

The Oakland Zoo is a beautiful animal sanctuary in southeastern Oakland that is home to 440 animals. Covering 100 acres, the zoo features modern exhibits and natural habitats in which the animals live, as well as interactive displays and educational programs for visitors to learn about the zoo’s inhabitants.

Nationally known for its excellent elephant exhibit, where the stately giants roam freely, the zoo also features the Valley Children's Zoo, which boasts interactive play structures for children and is home to a range of unusual animals, including ring-tailed lemurs, century-old Aldabra tortoises, pot-bellied pigs, and bats. The Children’s Zoo has a modern Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Room and Bug Room, which is a favorite with younger visitors.

9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, California 94605, Phone: 510-632-9525

Cool places near me, must do activities at night, vacation spots, reservations: Things to Do in North Dakota, Berkeley, Tybee Island, New Hampshire resorts, Minnesota resorts, Maine resorts, Day trips from Boston


» Duende Restaurant & Bodega, Oakland, California

Duende Restaurant & Bodega, Oakland, California
© Duende Restaurant

A slice of Spanish heaven in the heart of Oakland, Duende is a cozy restaurant that serves authentic regional Spanish cuisine in a warm and friendly setting. Combining traditional and local influences with contemporary flair, a dynamic menu includes a variety of Spanish favorites such as Tapas and Pintxos, selections of Raciones and pans of Paella and Fideua.

Striving to capture the spirit of Duende in a glass, the bar offers an impressive cocktail program made with fresh juices, a carefully selected list of Spanish-based wines and beers, and over 20 sherry offerings served by the glass. In addition to sublime Spanish cuisine and fine wine, Duende has a specialty café and retail shop called Bodega, which can be booked for private lunches, parties, and special events, and where Duende’s collection of Spanish wines, coffee brewing gear, and delicious olive oils can be purchased.

468 19th Street, Oakland, California 94612, Phone: 510-893-0174

What to do near my location, day trips, fall, winter, spring, summer: Vegas wedding venues, Alabama wedding venues, New Hampshire wedding venues, Wedding venues Oregon


» USS Potomac

USS Potomac
© USS Potomac

Known as the “Floating White House”, the USS Potomac served as the official presidential yacht for Franklin Delano Roosevelt until 1945. The USS Potomac, now a National Historic Landmark, was opened to the public in 1995 and is only one of three presidential yachts that still exist today.

Standing as a memorial to one of America’s most influential presidents, the USS Potomac offers guided cruises to different islands in the bay, including The Bridges of the Bay, Angel Island, the Islands of the Bay, and The Bay Model. Learn about the history of San Francisco Bay and the vital role Franklin Roosevelt played in its development, as well as that of the nation as a whole.

540 Water Street, Oakland, California 94607, Phone: 510-627-1215

Cool last minute travel around my location, hot springs, parks: Things to Do in the Florida Keys, Hawaii wedding venues, Things to Do in Washington State, Detroit, IN


» TrueBurger, Oakland, California

TrueBurger, Oakland, California
© TrueBurger

Owned by two local Bay Area cooks, Greg Eng and Jason Low, TrueBurger is a stylish, contemporary burger bar that serves classic American burgers, fresh milkshakes and crispy fries. Made with daily ground and hand-formed pasture-raised beef without hormones or antibiotics, seasoned and seared ‘diner-style’ on a fresh bun, it’s no wonder that TrueBurger is one of the best in area.

Accompanied by piles of crispy, golden, thinly-cut fries, and freshly whipped milkshakes made with premium ice cream and unique ‘mix-ins’ such as toasted marshmallows, peanut butter, Twinkies, and Oreos, this is real American dining at its best.

146 Grand Ave., Oakland, California94612, Phone: 510-208-5678

What is there to do near me, luxury resorts, beautiful romantic cabins: Places to visit in Vermont, Wedding venues in Kansas, Wedding venues in Indiana


» Art and Soul Oakland

Art and Soul Oakland
© Art and Soul Oakland

Art and Soul Oakland is an annual summer festival that celebrates local art, music, and food. Held at the Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland, the festival runs for two days and features a variety of local music artists and bands, as well as exhibitions of various visual art elements and dance.

Past festivals have seen the likes of Lisa Loeb, Toni Toni Tone, the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, The Lost Prophets and Vintage Trouble, to name but a few. Food vendors offer homemade snacks, light meals, and beverages. An array of activities make the festival suitable for the whole family. The 17th Anniversary Art + Soul Oakland will take place Aug 19 – 20, 2017.

1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, California 94612, Phone: 510-444-2489

What are some inexpensive romantic getaways, all inclusive resorts: Things to Do in Anaheim, Things to Do in Vermont, Canada wedding venues


» Nido Kitchen and Bar, Oakland, CA

Nido Kitchen and Bar, Oakland, CA
© Nido Kitchen and Bar

Nido Kitchen and Bar is a cozy Mexican restaurant located on the edge of Jack London Square, serving modern, farm-to-table Mexican cuisine and drinks. Translated as ‘nest’ in Spanish, Nido draws influence and inspiration from Mexico’s central and Pacific coast, serving seasonally prepared dishes that echo the bold flavors and tastes of this vibrant country.

The unassuming interior boasts scarred concrete and plaster walls, rugged benches and rippled metal doors from industrial storage containers, however, it’s the sublime food that grabs the attention here. Poultry, pork, and beef are sourced from local producers in support of the community and prepared in-house to ensure absolute freshness, such as their famous hand-made corn tortillas and creamy guacamole. Nido’s bar serves an extensive cocktail menu, as well as a variety of tequila, wine, and beers.

444 Oak St., Oakland, California 94607, Phone: 510-444-6436

Vacation ideas, wedding venues, accommodations on a budget: San Diego to LA, Avalon, Sausalito Kayak, Things to Do in Glendale, Hollister, Things to Do in Silicon Valley, Hemet


» Swans Market

Swans Market
© Swans Market

For more than 60 years, Swans Market was the heart of Old Oakland and its major shopping destination. After closing in 1983, the city block that housed the market stood abandoned and dilapidated until the developer EBALDC came up with an award-winning and inspired redevelopment design of the entire block. Today’s Swans Market has once more become the place where the neighborhood gathers, eats, celebrates, and shops. Swans contains 18 affordable rental apartments, market-rate condominiums, and a range of businesses. Some of Swan’s renowned residents are the innovative Mexican Cosecha Cafe, Japanese Izakaya, Rosmunde and Taylor’s Sausages, and so much more. It now has the best Bay Area food court and is not only the heart of a revived neighborhood but also a destination for foodies from all over town.

538 9th St, Oakland, CA 94607, Phone: 510-287-5353

Honeymoon places, beaches near me: Indoor amusement parks, Things to Do in Mendocino


» Chop Bar, Oakland, California

Chop Bar, Oakland, California
© Chop Bar


Located near Oakland's Jack London Square, Chop Bar is a neighborhood favorite serving breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. The menu features dishes made with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients from local vendors, farmers, and producers, supporting and giving back to the community where they can.

A comfortable bar serves unique custom-made cocktails using seasonal ingredients, fresh juices and a selection of craft beers and drafts, while a new wine-on-tap system offers a choice of fine wines.

247 4th Street #111, Oakland, California 94607, Phone: 510-834-2467

More trip ideas: Top 10 Things to Do in San Francisco & Oakland with Kids.

Activities near me, top 10 places to visit with friends: Spiritual Retreats, Romantic weekend getaways in Kentucky


» Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage & Walking Food Tour

Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage & Walking Food Tour
© Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage & Walking Food Tour


The Rockridge Neighborhood Heritage & Walking Food Tour is a three-hour guided tour that covers one and a half miles and stops at six Rockridge eateries. Visitors learn about the food culture, the architecture, and the history of the European-inspired area as they walk through the area and taste the samples.

Established in 2014 by Lauren Herpich, the company offers both public tours as well as private tours. Some of the food you can sample during the walking tour includes French pastries, Italian delicacies, dishes prepared by a local butcher, local and international cheeses, Chicago-style pizza, and ice cream. Read more

3527 Mt. Diablo Boulevard #430, Lafayette, California 94549, Phone: 510-604-6546

Tourist attractions near my location, kid-friendly places to go: Underwater Hotels, Things to Do in Encinitas


» Esqueleto

Esqueleto
© Esqueleto


Esqueleto is a hip boutique opened in 2011 by popular New York City jewelry designer Lauren Wolf, offering two locations in downtown Oakland and in Los Angeles' Echo Park. The store strives to showcase the unique works of trendy independent jewelers and artists throughout the United States, many of whom are personal friends of the store's owners and employees. All of the store's staff are artists, carefully selecting merchandise according to their own artistic eye based on what they would wear and display in their own homes. In-house custom design services are offered by the store, along with personalizations of designs sold by artists.

482A 49th St Suite A, Oakland, CA 94609, Phone: 510-629-6216

Weekend breaks, outside & indoor activities, what's near me: caves in Iowa, Things to Do in Mesa


» Cosecha Cafe

Cosecha Cafe
© Cosecha Cafe


Cosecha is a delicious Mexican restaurant within Oakland's century-old Swan's Market, owned and operated by executive chef Dominica Rice-Cisneros. The restaurant offers daily lunch and dinner service, with brunch served on Saturday mornings. All menu items are prepared from scratch daily, including handmade tortillas used in all of the restaurant's delicious quesadillas, which range from traditional chicken and pork offerings with pasilla peppers to unique yam-based quesadillas prepared with Oaxacan cheese. Traditional Mexican favorites such as carne adovada, queso fundido, and grilled chicken achiote are also served up, alongside a selection of classic south-of-the-border soups. Mezcal and tequila cocktails are served, along with local draft beers, wines, and coffees from Oakland's RoastCo.

907 Washington St. Oakland, CA 94607, Phone: 510-452-5900

Family vacation ideas, weather, free points of interest: Things to Do in Bethlehem, Bradenton


» Hopscotch

Hopscotch
© Hopscotch


Hopscotch is a charming Japanese-American-fusion diner in Uptown Oakland, originally opened in 2012 by owners Jenny Schwarz and Kyle Itani. The diner, which has been acclaimed as one of the Bay Area's top 100 dining spots by The San Francisco Chronicle, serves a seasonally-changing menu of classic American fare infused with traditional Japanese flavors and cooking techniques, highlighting favorites such as griddled beef tongue burgers with sesame aioli and buttermilk fried chicken prepared with chicory, fennel, and pomegranate. Brunch platters are served up daily during the morning and early afternoon hours, including soba biscuits and sausage gravy, pork belly Benedict with jidori eggs and yuzu-infused hollandaise, and tonkatsu sandwiches with cabbage slaw. Craft cocktails favor Japanese influences as well, with a full menu of coffee, tea, and sodas available as non-alcoholic options.

1915 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, CA 94612, Phone: 510-788-6217

Top-Rated Weekend Getaways Near Me: Salinas, Richmond, Torrance, Saratoga, San Gabriel, Poway


» East Bay Regional Park District

East Bay Regional Park District
© Courtesy of Yuval Helfman - Fotolia.com


East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is a vast system of pristine public parks and trails covering the Alameda and Contra Costa counties on the eastern side of San Francisco Bay. Spanning more than 120,000 acres, the district boasts 65 parks, some of which are wilderness areas, while others offer a variety of outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, camping and fishing.

The parks offer more than 1,200 miles (1,900 km) of trails, which link the parks together and are ideal for hiking, biking and horse riding. Within the East Bay Regional Park District is the Redwood Park, which is a tranquil, hidden redwood forest, which offers a peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, California 94605, Phone: 888-327-2757

Expert tips, tours, restaurants near me in January, February: Hiking in Los Angeles, Dog beach Los Angeles, Romantic Getaways in Southern California



20 Best Things to Do in Oakland, California