Across the Bay: Why Oakland Is Worth Exploring ASAP


East across the water from San Francisco is a city known for its strong, creative and loyal spirit, diversity in culture and thought, and a food scene that rivals anywhere in the nation. Oakland has historically been ever-changing, and now the same city that is home base to VSCO, Blue Bottle Coffee and the Golden State Warriors has a vibrancy that has never been seen before.

Step inside some of our amazing places, enjoy, and welcome to the sunny side of the Bay.


Though it has a Berkeley address, the main building of the Claremont Hotel is located entirely in Oakland. Last year, the icon in the hills underwent a major renovation, turning its lobby, bars and restaurants into a true resort destination. Enjoy sweeping views of the Bay, the sparkling pool, and yoga at the health club.


Joaquin Miller Park’s 500-acres of trails and open space is within minutes of Oakland’s major shopping and dining attractions, yet you feel miles away. The Oakland Museum of California was designed by Pritzker-award winning architect, Kevin Roche, and with its open gardens, the building itself is as much of an attraction as the artifacts it holds. Take a walk to nearby Lake Merritt, the country’s first wildlife refuge, and walk around its various lakeside neighborhoods.


Not only does Old Oakland’s Crown Nine jewelry have a unique collection of jewelry made by owner, Kate Ellen, it has a curated selection from other talented designers. College Avenue’s Atomic Garden has an unparalleled array of home goods, gifts, and body products in a store so beautiful you’ll never want to leave.

Farther down the same street, clothing boutique, Hawthorn, features designers from near, like the Podells, and far, like Mother Denim, in a minimalist and airy space. For casual yet refined looks, head to Dandelion Post a few blocks away.

via 24 East

Photo via 24 East

via 24 East

Photo via 24 East


Famous for poached eggs on toasted levain bread and also home-made yogurt and granola, breakfast at Caffe 817 is complete with a latte made with Oakland-based Mr. Espresso coffee. Other can’t miss breakfast spots are Café Underwood (for their frittatas) and Sequoia Diner (for their biscuits).

Cafe 817

Photo via Cafe 817


Be merry with friends at downtown’s Plum Bar, the Daniel Patterson Group hotspot where, if the inventive décor won’t capture you, then the inventive oak barrel-aged cocktails will!

A similarly gorgeous bar with a dining room that serves homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, plus gluten-free pasta, is Desco. The menu is abundant with modern takes on dishes that simultaneously honor authentic Italian cuisine, such as the Spaghetti Carbonara, and are consistently delicious.

Lesser known and incredible, Mockingbird, celebrates California-rustic cooking in a light-filled space on San Pablo Avenue. Don’t miss the fried Brussel sprouts with lemon garlic confit aioli or the classic cheesecake for dessert. On desserts, no visit to Oakland is complete without savoring the dulce de leche ice cream sandwich at Southie, a classic ice cream sundae at old-school favorite Fentons, and the warm apricot and blueberry walnut crisp at Penrose.

What are your can’t-miss spots in Oakland?

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Celine is a writer and founder of 24 East, the East Bay’s first lifestyle blog. She is an Oakland native, fourth-generation East Bay resident and her family has been in the area since 1895. She loves stories of people collaborating to support each other, getting behind the scenes of daily life, and anything to do with the indomitable California spirit of creating your own path.