Places to Visit in Oakland

Visit Oakland

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#WakandaForever: Friends Trip to Oakland

I was invited to a Wakandan themed birthday party in Oakland, Ca by my former classmate from Howard University. I accepted the invitation because I loved the Black Panther Movie which was filmed in certain areas of Oakland and I’ve always wanted to travel to Wakanda. We took a 3-hour sunset cruise around Jack London Square. The gorgeous views of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge could be seen on the horizon.

Jack London Square
Tiffany posing in Jack London Square with Traditional African Attire
Jack London Square
Party Guest wearing beautiful African Attire
Oakland Waterfront
Party guest in Somali Traditional Scarf at the Oakland Waterfront
Oakland Waterfront
Semaje inviting over a 100 friends and family to Oakland to help celebrate his Birthday on a boat cruise
Jack London Square
Howard Alumni Women at Jack London Square in African Clothing
Oakland Waterfront
Party Guest adorned with Henna Tattoos and African clothing
Jack London Square
Maria posing in her fashionable African clothing
Jack London Square
Couple posing in African attire at Jack London Square
Party Guest at Oakland Waterfront
Party Guests wearing traditional Kente Cloth at the Oakland Waterfront
Party Guest at Oakland Waterfront
Party Guests wearing African attire at the Oakland Waterfront
Oakland Waterfront
Black comes in various shades

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Oakland Bay Bridge
Beautiful sunset over the San Francisco -Oakland Bridge

Above Photo Credits: De’andre Harris


Travel to Oakland

When traveling to Northern California, people often think about San Francisco forgetting about its next door neighbor Oakland, CA. If you have never thought about going to Oakland, I hope that I can change your mind after reading about all the things that the city offers.

I flew into Oakland Airport (OAK) from Los Angeles Airport (LAX) on Southwest Airlines. The flight was only 55 min and it was a smooth ride. Southwest usually has great deals for travel during the weekdays. Thanks to rapid reward points and a gift card, I only spent $35 out of pocket.

Oakland to Los Angeles
Southwest Airlines flight to Oakland, CA

To save money, I used the BART station located at the airport to arrive at the Berkely Marina Hotel. The Bart was really easy to use but I recommend asking directions to ensure you are taking the correct train (I accidentally rode the train going towards Sanfranciso instead of Berkely where my hotel was located). Don’t be afraid to ask questions, both passengers and attendants were super helpful.

BART Station Oakland
Map Of BART Station
BART Station Oakland
On the Bart for the first time ever

I used Lyft (Referal Code-20% for first time users: SWEETTIFFY03) and UBER to transport me to various locations in Oakland.


  Where to Eat in Oakland

Don’t forget to check out my previous blog post on Soul Food in Oakland. Below are other restaurants I visited during my mini weekend vacation.

938 Crawfish

The food was great and the servers were attentive considering it was a large party. I had the sampler party which included Garlic Noodles, fried catfish, famous rub wings, and shrimp.

Sea Food Restaurants In Oakland
Yummy Sampler Platter

Everett and Jones BBQ

I decided to stop here for lunch while in Jack London Square. They have been in business for over 40 years and have several locations. I loved that I could see them BBQing on the grill as I walked into the restaurant. I ate ribs, mac and cheese, baked beans, cornbread and potato salad. Everything was great and the prices were very reasonable.

Restaurants in Jack London Square
BBQ on the grill at Everett and Jones Restaurant
Restaurants in Jack London Square
Finger Licking Good BBQ Ribs

Fentons Creamery

Has been around since 1894, they are known for there famous ice cream sundaes but they serve food as well. I ordered the bacon chili burger w/fries. The chili was really good. I let my food digest and promptly ordered dessert. I had the chocolate chip cookie, topped with cookies and cream ice cream, whip cream, caramel and cherry on top.

Hob Nob

My friends and I went here for Brunch on Sundays for the Mimosas. I ordered chicken and waffles and tasted my friends lemon curd pancakes which were pretty good.

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Who knew that Chicken and Waffles would be so great together

Andale

I went to a Mexican restaurant inside the airport. I ordered the chicken tortilla soup inside it had chicken, tortilla strips, avocado, white cheese. The entree included chicken, steak and shrimp fajitas with beans and rice. The food had great flavors and although I didn’t see abulita cooking the meal, I know she prepared it just for my hungry belly.


Fun things to do in Oakland

Oakland is rough around the edges but the charming city is known for its rich culture, history, scrumptious eateries, and beautiful landscape. If you have never been to this city, I highly suggest taking a couple days to sightsee.

Jack London Square

Check out the Oakland Waterfront for great restaurants, hotels, and restaurants. I highly recommend Plank which has a bowling alley, games, and food. Or if you enjoy live music, purchase tickets at Yoshi’s for a night on the town.

Best Lunch in Oakland
Playing a basketball game at PLANKS

 

Oakland Zoo

First thing I did after entering the zoo, was took a scenic Gondola Ride to the California Trail and Landing Cafe.  I also took a train ride (additional $3 fee to see) some of the Australian animals. I enjoyed the amphibian animals, I saw, turtles, blue frogs, lizards and more. The Tigers were super fun to watch because they were frolicking in the water and enjoying the summer heat. Don’t forget to check out the baboons, they are human-like and I love to see the adults raking of there own. Although this portion of the trip was #sponsored by Visit Oakland, all opinions are my own.

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Oakland Museum of California

Check out the Oakland website to see what current exhibits they have open. They currently have a new hip-hop exhibit, which I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to explore.

During a previous visit, to the museum, I saw the Bridge to Black Males exhibit which explored issues that face the black male community. Another exhibit explored affirmations to keep moving in life. It posed a question: What would you communicate to your past self? I would tell myself not to conform to the pressure of others.

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Don’t forget to check out First Fridays at the Museum. People come to eat from a variety of food trucks, dance and check out the exhibits

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Red Bay Coffee:

As I explored Event Brite for things to do in Oakland, I came across an event being held by Cafe Creatives.

Cafe creatives held a blogger/entrepreneur meetup for women of color.  We need more spaces like this and can’t wait for the meetup that will be held in Los Angeles. They had great giveaways and sponsorships for the guest with complimentary coffee, champagne, and donuts.

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Cafe Creatives Creator Kayla Castaneda
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This Photo represents strength from the Motherland Africa
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Gifts provided for guest

This coffee shop located a block away from the Fruitvale station. As I got off the BART train, I couldn’t help but remember the movie Fruitvale station and Oscar Grant who was fatally murdered on New Years Day. May he RIP.

Fruitvale-bart-station

Lake Merrit:

On April 29, 2018, there were reports that a Caucasian woman called the police on an African American man for grilling at Lake Merrit without a proper permit.  As a result of this incident, African Americans have organized a weekly event called BBQing while Black on Sunday’s.

I felt like I was at a family reunion visiting my long lost cousins. I enjoyed seeing all the various activities: vendors selling crafts, food, music blaring from the speakers and people simply having a wonderful time.  They also had a pop museum which supports the local artist. Even if you don’t go for this particular event, visit Lake Merrit to exercise, chill or people watch.

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Ankara Bazaar

Describes itself as a Shop, Sip, Swag & Cultural experience. The highlight of the day was seeing the Ankara Fashion show and African dancing.  They have experiences in Oakland, LA,  ATL, NYC, DC, Philly, Ohio, and Houston.

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Ankara Fashion Show at The New Parrish

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Fun Facts about Oakland

  • The word “Hella” originated in Oakland
  • In 1929 Rocky Road Ice cream was invented in Oakland
  • More than 125 dialects and languages are spoken in Oakland
  • Black Panther Party originated in Oakland and you can still visit some of the famous landmarks.
  • The only city with 3 professional sports teams: Golden State Warriors (Basket Ball), Oakland Athletics (Baseball ) and Oakland Raiders (Football)

Check out more interesting facts at Visit Oakland

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After reading the above would you take a trip to Oakland, Ca? If so where would you head first?

50 Comments

  1. This is amazing! I’ve never considered visiting, but now I am interested. The party looked like a lot of fun. I enjoyed the different colors and fabrics. Dope post!

    • Thank you so much Aisha. I’m so glad this post piqued your interest. I love African fabric, so anytime there is an opportunity to wear it, I’m down for the cause.

  2. Coincidentally I am reading this post while visiting friends & family in S.F. Will have to see if I can make it to see some of these Oakland highlights. Shout out to the woman in the ‘Black comes in various shades’ photo sporting the Belizean flag!! That’s another place for your list, Tiffany 🙂

    • Hey Barbara,

      How funny you’re reading this while in SF, I really hope you have the opportunity to check out Oakland. Belize is def on my bucket list. I was supposed to visit for my birthday a couple years ago but accepted a job offer a month prior. Have fun with your family in the Bay Area.

    • Thanks, Kim, that is even more reason for you to visit. Hang out with your friend and explore the city.

  3. That sounds like an awesome theme! The outfits of the guests looked great too. That sunset cruise sounds like something I need to do. I love getting on a boat when I travel.

    • Thanks, Holly, I was super excited about the theme. If you have never tried the boat cruise, I suggest try it. It’s a nice relaxing 3-hour cruise that sometimes includes food and dancing as the sun sets.

  4. Everyone looks so good. I love the Wakanda Forever reference because YES! I’m also adding Oakland to my travel list.

    • Hey Kita, yay glad to hear that you are adding this city on your list of places to visit 🙂

  5. I absolutely love the Wakanda-inspired outfits! I LOVE those African prints.
    And omg the food alone makes me want to go to Oakland!! That BBQ and mac n cheese…..and the chicken and waffles….and the ice cream!! YUM.
    I totally did not know hella originated in Oakland, nor Rocky Road Ice Cream! haha, pretty cool. Very informative post, thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you for reading, Louise. I love #WakandaForever themes as well. The food was pretty yummy, excited to try new places to eat when I return in the Fall. I didn’t know about Hella or Rocky Road Ice cream, so I learned these interesting facts as I was writing the blog post 🙂

  6. I looove Everett and Jones BBQ. I’m in Oakland pretty regularly for work and I always make sure to eat there. In my opinion it’s a much more interesting city than San Francisco — so much art and culture and events like the ones organized by Cafe Creatives. The music scene is pretty awesome too (and way cheaper than across the bay!)

    • I loved Everett and Jones, it was recommended by a waitress in Jack London Square, so glad I found this gem and it was super reasonably priced. I didnt’t really get a chance to check out the music scene, something I will have to do the next time. I like your blog name by the way.

  7. What a cool trip!! Packed with good food, good coffee, and immersed in history. I need to get over to Oakland to try the chicken and waffles. They looked amazing! Also super cool that “hella” originated there. 🙂

    • LOL, I have always heard people the Bay Area use “hella” but also didn’t know that it originated from there. I love Chicken & Waffles, highly recommend this food combo. I love a trip where I can find a combo of lots of great things 🙂

  8. Love love love all those gorgeous prints! Am I correct in thinking the first couple are Ghanaian fabrics? The food looks SO GOOD! I definitely would have tried to crash your party, ha ha!

    • Hey Emily, thank you so much. My outfit in the yellow and purple is from Ghana. How did you know, I assume you have been to there. Ghana is one of my favorite countries. Sure, I like party crashers, they are usually the fun people. LOL 🙂

  9. Good to know all about the fun facts about Oakland. It seems much to explore here and loving those local food options, looks too yummy.

    • I like fun facts, so I thought it would be cool to include in the blog post. The food was yummy 🙂

  10. What a great event! I cannot get enough of the colors and styles. So many gorgeous designs! I have lived in Los Angeles for about 15 years and have never been to Oakland. I have heard so many good things about the city. I know I nee to go!

    • Hi Ruth, it was such a great event. I live in LA now and I feel like there are so many places that I have not explored, so I have some planning to do. Yes please put Oakland on your list of cities to explore 🙂

  11. Oakland sounds like a very lively place. Look at the all the food.
    Absolutely loved all the colorful and beautiful traditional attire. You all must have had such an awesome time.

    • Yes, very lively and full of culture. Thank you so much, I loved seeing everyone in the traditional attire as well 🙂

  12. I’ll admit that I’ve never thought to venture to Oakland and always stick to SF. I live in SoCal and have been many times to the area but next time I will make the trek to Oakland! I love the outfits of the party guests, so colorful and vibrant. Sounds like a great trip!

    • Hi Milana, its true I never ventured into Oakland until I had a work conference. After being invited to the party, I jumped at the opportunity to explore leisurely. I’m from Socal as well, hopefully you can go check out Oakland soon 🙂

  13. Looks like you had an amazing time in Oakland. Honestly I am guilty of never considering Oakland a place for traveling, but you changed my mindset 🙂 Apart that, chicken waffles?? I didn’t know such a combination can exist..ha ha..would love to try it there 🙂

    • It was an amazing weekend. No worries a lot of people guilty of not checking out Oakland. I think San Francisco is promoted more in mainstream media. Glad I could change your mindset, hopefully, you will have the opportunity to visit soon. Yes, in southern California, we are known for a fast food restaurant called Roscoes Chicken & Waffles. So yummy 🙂

  14. These outfits are freaking amazing!!!!! I have a friend that’s going to Oakland on two weeks. I’m going to send her the link to this big so she has an inside scoop on everything Oakland.

    • Thank you, for sharing! I hope your friend will be able to find this post helpful in preparing for her trip to Oakland.

  15. I love how you all came together and represented for Wakanda in Oakland. I love my people man and we have a Hob Nob in Atlanta, too bad I dont eat chicken anymore I used to love chicken and waffle combo!

    • That was my first time eating at Hob Nob, I love Chicken and Waffles. Not sure who thought to pair them together but great invention. #WakandaForever

  16. I love this! My grandma has lived in Alameda my whole life, but I’ve never been able to tour around Oakland like this! Totally bookmarking this post because I need to! 🙂

    • Thanks Rachelle, Let me know if you go, I would love to hear your thoughts about Oakland, once you visit 🙂

  17. Oakland seems like an exceptional place which definitely has so much to offer, Tiffany. These are some great places which I’l have to add to my itinerary when planning a trip to Oakland. How many days would be enough to explore all these places?

    • Hi Lydia, Thanks for stopping to read the blog post. Oakland has lots to offer and I think 3-day weekend would be perfect to explore the city. Let me know if you have any more questions, I plan to go back next month and hope to find new things to discover.

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