Top Things to Do in Oakland – Adventure & Culture Await!

things to do oakland

When it comes to vibrant cities with a rich culture and diverse community, Oakland, California, is a top contender. This exciting city has something for everyone, from hidden speakeasies to thriving independent businesses. Whether you’re in search of retro bars, artistic alleys, science centers, urban lakes, or historical parks, Oakland has it all. Get ready for an adventure-filled journey as we explore the top attractions and must-see sights in this amazing city.

As the sun sets, we’ll make our way to The Alley, a hidden bar that captures the nostalgia of Oakland’s history. Step into the past as you enjoy classic cocktails in a speakeasy-style setting. The retro decor and live jazz music create an atmosphere like no other.

A vibrant local scene awaits you at Temescal Alley. This charming alley is home to unique shops, including artisan boutiques, vintage stores, and specialty cafes. Immerse yourself in the creative spirit of Oakland’s independent businesses as you browse through handmade crafts and indulge in delicious treats.

For those with a curious mind, the Chabot Space and Science Center is a must-visit. Explore interactive exhibits, catch captivating planetarium shows, and gaze at the stars through powerful telescopes. Ignite your sense of wonder and delve into the mysteries of the universe.

If you’re in need of a peaceful escape, look no further than Lake Merritt. This urban lake offers a serene retreat in the midst of the city. Take a leisurely stroll along the scenic park or rent a paddleboat to explore the calm waters. It’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

When it comes to history, Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza takes center stage. This historic park offers a range of recreational facilities, including a Japanese Tea Garden and a Children’s Playground. From concerts to tree lighting ceremonies, there’s always something happening in this remarkable park.

Venture beyond the mainstream and discover Oakland’s hidden gems. Embrace the city’s cultural diversity and immerse yourself in its vibrant atmosphere. From retro bars to urban lakes, there’s an adventure waiting around every corner.

Key Takeaways:

  • Experience the nostalgia at The Alley, a hidden speakeasy-style bar with classic cocktails and live jazz music.
  • Explore the vibrant local scene at Temescal Alley, home to unique shops and specialty cafes.
  • Ignite your curiosity at the Chabot Space and Science Center, where interactive exhibits and telescopes await.
  • Escape to serenity at Lake Merritt, an urban lake surrounded by a scenic park.
  • Discover the history of Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza and immerse yourself in Oakland’s rich past.

Uncover Nostalgia at The Alley

The Alley, located in the heart of Oakland, is a hidden gem that takes you on a journey back in time. This speakeasy-style bar, tucked away in an unassuming alley, captures the essence of the city’s rich history. As you step through the doors, you’ll be transported to an era of retro charm and classic cocktails.

Immerse yourself in the vintage ambiance of The Alley, adorned with nostalgic decor that tells the stories of Oakland’s past. From antique furnishings to dimly lit corners, every detail adds to the allure of this unique establishment.

The Alley’s menu boasts an impressive selection of classic cocktails, meticulously crafted to perfection. Savor the flavors of an Old Fashioned, stirred with precision and served in a timeless glass. Or indulge in a Manhattan, expertly mixed with just the right balance of spirits and vermouth.

As you sip on your meticulously crafted libation, the smooth melodies of live jazz music fill the air. The Alley is renowned for its exceptional lineup of talented musicians who bring the atmosphere to life. Take a seat, relax, and let the enchanting melodies transport you to a bygone era.

For those seeking a truly immersive experience, The Alley offers occasional themed nights, complete with vintage dress codes and era-specific entertainment. Dress up in your finest retro attire and join fellow enthusiasts in celebrating the glamour and allure of the past.

Whether you’re a cocktail connoisseur, a lover of history, or simply in search of a hidden gem, The Alley is a must-visit destination. It beckons those who appreciate the mystique of hidden bars and the nostalgia of yesteryears.

Why Visit The Alley?

  • Discover a hidden gem tucked away in one of Oakland’s alleys
  • Immerse yourself in the nostalgia of retro decor and ambiance
  • Savor classic cocktails crafted with meticulous attention to detail
  • Enjoy live jazz music that sets the mood for a memorable evening
  • Experience occasional themed nights that transport you to another era

Uncover the nostalgia and charm of The Alley, where hidden bars and classic cocktails await. Step into this time capsule and let the magic of Oakland’s past sweep you off your feet.

Explore Temescal Alley’s Vibrant Local Scene

Temescal Alley is a hidden gem in Oakland that showcases the city’s vibrant local scene. This narrow alley is home to a variety of unique shops, including artisan boutiques, vintage stores, and specialty cafes.

Browse through handmade crafts, discover one-of-a-kind fashion pieces, and indulge in delicious treats. Temescal Alley is the perfect place to immerse yourself in Oakland’s thriving independent businesses and creative spirit.

  • Discover unique shops and artisan boutiques
  • Find vintage treasures in specialty stores
  • Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Temescal Alley
  • Savor delicious treats at specialty cafes

Whether you’re looking for handcrafted gifts, trendy clothing, or a cozy spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, Temescal Alley has something for everyone. Get ready to explore this hidden gem and experience the best of Oakland’s independent businesses and local culture.

Ignite Your Curiosity at Chabot Space and Science Center

The Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland is a hidden gem for astronomy enthusiasts and curious minds. Located in the hills above the city, this interactive science center offers a range of exhibits, planetarium shows, and telescope viewings.

Step into the fascinating world of space exploration and unlock the secrets of the universe. The Chabot Space and Science Center provides a unique opportunity to learn about the wonders of the cosmos in a fun and engaging way.

Immerse yourself in the interactive exhibits that showcase the latest discoveries in science and technology. From hands-on experiments to educational displays, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Don’t miss the planetarium shows, where you can embark on a virtual journey through the stars and galaxies. Sit back, relax, and let the state-of-the-art planetarium transport you to distant corners of the universe.

For a truly awe-inspiring experience, participate in telescope viewings and gaze at the celestial wonders above. Marvel at the beauty of the moon, planets, and distant galaxies as you peer through powerful telescopes guided by knowledgeable astronomers.

The Chabot Space and Science Center is a must-visit for both children and adults alike. Whether you’re a space enthusiast or simply curious about the mysteries of the universe, this interactive science center will ignite your sense of wonder and leave you with a newfound appreciation for the cosmos.

chabot space and science center oakland

Explore the Universe Through Interactive Exhibits

  • Discover the inner workings of stars and planets in the Astronomy Hall
  • Learn about cutting-edge space missions and technologies in the Space Science Gallery
  • Get hands-on with interactive displays that explain complex scientific concepts

Embark on a Journey Through the Stars with Planetarium Shows

  • Experience immersive dome shows that transport you to distant corners of the universe
  • Learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy and space exploration
  • Witness the wonders of the night sky from the comfort of the planetarium

Gaze at the Celestial Wonders with Telescope Viewings

  • Observe celestial objects, including the moon, planets, and deep-sky objects
  • Engage with knowledgeable astronomers who will guide you through the night sky
  • Experience the thrill of exploring the cosmos firsthand

Escape to Serenity at Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt, located in the heart of Oakland, offers a peaceful escape from the busy city life. Surrounded by a scenic park, this urban lake is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic with friends and family. Rent a paddleboat or kayak to explore the calm waters, or simply relax and enjoy the beautiful views.

lake merritt oakland

Lake Merritt is a hidden oasis that provides a serene retreat in the midst of the city. Whether you’re looking for a moment of tranquility or a place to engage in outdoor activities, this urban lake offers it all. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Lake Merritt.

  • Enjoy a leisurely walk around the lake and take in the breathtaking views.
  • Have a picnic in the park while enjoying the peaceful ambiance.
  • Rent a paddleboat or kayak to explore the calm waters.
  • Observe the diverse bird population that calls Lake Merritt home.
  • Join a yoga or meditation class by the lake for a truly zen experience.

Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful escape, Lake Merritt is the perfect destination. Experience the tranquility and serene beauty of this urban lake in the heart of Oakland. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in this hidden oasis within the city.

Discover History at Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza

Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza, located in the center of Piedmont, is an amazing and surprising park with a rich history. Spanning 15 acres, this park offers a variety of recreational facilities, including a Japanese Tea Garden, a Children’s Playground, and a hiking path. From July concerts to Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies, this park is a great escape for both residents and visitors.

piedmont park oakland

Discover the beauty of Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza and immerse yourself in Oakland’s history. The park’s scenic views and well-preserved historic elements provide a captivating experience for all. Whether you’re looking to spend a peaceful day surrounded by nature or explore the park’s recreational facilities, Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza has something for everyone.

  • Enjoy a peaceful walk through the Japanese Tea Garden, where you can experience the tranquility of traditional Japanese landscaping.
  • Let your children unleash their energy at the Children’s Playground, complete with swings, slides, and climbing structures.
  • Embark on a hike along the park’s scenic trails, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Immerse yourself in the park’s history at Exedra Plaza, a historic gathering place that serves as a reminder of Oakland’s past.

Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply looking for a place to relax and unwind, Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza is a must-visit destination in Oakland. Take in the picturesque surroundings, embrace the allure of the historic park, and create lasting memories in this hidden gem.

Embrace the Essence of Oakland’s Hidden Gems

These hidden gems in Oakland offer unique experiences that go beyond the mainstream attractions. From nostalgic speakeasies to thriving independent businesses, science centers to urban lakes, and historical parks, Oakland has it all. Explore these hidden gems and embrace the true essence of this vibrant city. Discover the cultural diversity, rich history, and adventurous spirit that make Oakland a destination like no other.

When it comes to hidden gems, Oakland has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant flavors of the local cuisine at one of the city’s many diverse eateries. From food trucks serving up mouthwatering fusion dishes to Michelin-starred restaurants pushing culinary boundaries, Oakland’s food scene is a melting pot of flavors.

For art enthusiasts, explore the bustling street art scene and visit the numerous galleries scattered throughout the city. Oakland’s artistic spirit is alive and thriving, with unique murals and installations that add color and character to the urban landscape.

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, discover Oakland’s eclectic mix of independent boutiques and specialty stores. From vintage clothing and antique treasures to handmade crafts and locally sourced products, you’ll find hidden gems in every corner of the city.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by venturing into one of Oakland’s tranquil green spaces. From serene parks to hidden gardens, these natural oases offer a peaceful retreat where you can reconnect with nature and find solace amidst the urban chaos.

And let’s not forget about the vibrant music scene that Oakland is known for. From jazz clubs to underground venues, you’ll have the opportunity to experience live performances that showcase the incredible talent and diversity of Oakland’s music community.

In Oakland, there’s always something new and exciting to discover. So, step off the beaten path and uncover the hidden gems that make this city truly special. Embrace the essence of Oakland’s unique experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Oakland, a city brimming with adventure and a vibrant culture, offers an array of exciting experiences for both locals and visitors alike. From hidden bars tucked away in vibrant alleys to state-of-the-art science centers and serene urban lakes, Oakland has something to captivate every explorer. Immerse yourself in the unique attractions and uncover the true essence of this remarkable city.

With its diverse range of experiences, Oakland leaves an indelible mark on all who venture its streets. The city’s must-see sights and top attractions ensure that there is never a dull moment. Discover the thrill of exploring hidden gems and immerse yourself in the captivating blend of adventure and culture that Oakland has to offer.

Don’t miss out on the best things to do in Oakland. Plan your adventure today and be prepared to be amazed by the rich history, cultural diversity, and incredible opportunities for adventure that await you in this remarkable city. Oakland is calling, and it’s time to answer the call and embark on an unforgettable journey of exploration.


What are some of the top attractions in Oakland?

Some of the top attractions in Oakland include The Alley, Temescal Alley, Chabot Space and Science Center, Lake Merritt, and Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza.

What can I expect to find at The Alley in Oakland?

The Alley is a hidden speakeasy-style bar with retro decor and classic cocktails. It offers a nostalgic experience with live jazz music.

What makes Temescal Alley in Oakland unique?

Temescal Alley is a narrow alley lined with unique shops, including artisan boutiques, vintage stores, and specialty cafes. It showcases Oakland’s vibrant local scene and thriving independent businesses.

What can I do at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland?

At the Chabot Space and Science Center, you can explore interactive exhibits, watch planetarium shows, and view telescopes. It is a great place for astronomy enthusiasts and those curious about space.

What is Lake Merritt known for in Oakland?

Lake Merritt is an urban lake located in the heart of Oakland. It offers a peaceful escape with scenic views and recreational activities such as paddleboat rentals.

What can I discover at Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza in Oakland?

Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza is a historic park with a Japanese Tea Garden, Children’s Playground, and hiking path. It hosts various events throughout the year and is a great place to explore Oakland’s history.

What are some hidden gems in Oakland?

Some hidden gems in Oakland include The Alley, Temescal Alley, Chabot Space and Science Center, Lake Merritt, and Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza. These offer unique experiences beyond the mainstream attractions.

What should I not miss when visiting Oakland?

When visiting Oakland, make sure to explore the top attractions such as The Alley, Temescal Alley, Chabot Space and Science Center, Lake Merritt, and Piedmont Park & Exedra Plaza. These must-see sights capture the essence of the city’s adventure and culture.