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10 Things To Do & See In Oakland, California

Paramount Theater of the Arts © BWChicago/Flickr
Paramount Theater of the Arts © BWChicago/Flickr
Oakland is one of the nation’s most diverse cities, which makes it a delight to visit. With so many activities to choose from, Culture Trip’s list of top attractions will keep you busy in the city by the Bay.
Chabot Space and Science Center © 
Daniel Olson/Wikipedia

Chabot Space and Science Center

Ignite your sense of wonder with a trip to Chabot Space and Science Center. Learn about the stars and planets through a variety of hands-on exhibits, or view through them through museum’s three telescopes, named Nellie, Rachel, and Leah. Nellie is a research-quality telescope that offers 180-degree views, and Rachel is the biggest telescope of its kind in the western United States. But if telescopes aren’t your style, you can watch the planets glide across a 70-foot planetarium screen. If you end up falling in love, you can rent out the entire space for private weddings, birthday parties, and more!

Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland, CA USA

Mountain View Cemetery

Although most of us think of cemeteries as places we’d rather avoid, Mountain View Cemetery is one you won’t want to miss. On its 223 acres you’ll spot some famous graves, such as those of architect Julia Morgan and rapper Mac Dre. But what makes Mountain View really worth a trip are the beautifully designed grounds that make it seem much more like a park than a cemetery. On sunny days you’ll see locals lounging in the grass with a book, tossing a Frisbee, or walking up to the top of the hill for some breathtaking views of the Bay.

Mountain View Cemetery, 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland CA USA

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream

If you’re looking for a unique treat, head to Tara’s Organic Ice Cream. At Tara’s, you’ll find a large assortment of ice creams and sorbets, and you’ll want to taste them all. If you’re feeling traditional, you might want to go for a scoop of the cinnamon ice cream or the chocolate peanut butter swirl. But if you’re willing to take a bit of a risk, you’ll have a chance to try flavors like basil, beet balsamic, and chipotle!

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, 4731 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland CA USA

Redwood Regional Park

Park
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Cafe Colucci
Cafe Colucci | © Ernesto Andrade/Flickr
If you’re aching to explore the great outdoors, try Redwood Regional Park! Located just a short drive from Highway 13, the park’s 1,830 acres are home to second-growth 150-foot redwood trees that shade 40 miles of trails. As you hike, you’ll see a variety of animals, including birds, squirrels, deer, and even the occasional fox or rabbit. Best of all, every trail is clearly marked, and most loop back to the staging area, so it’s nearly impossible to get lost!
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5:00 am - 10:00 pm
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5:00 am - 10:00 pm
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5:00 am - 10:00 pm
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5:00 am - 10:00 pm

Cafe Colucci

Cafe, Ethiopian, $$$
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Children’s Fairyland
Children’s Fairyland | © Trisha Fawver/Flickr
For people who don’t mind eating with their hands, Cafe Colucci is a go-to dinner spot. Offering authentic Ethiopian dishes served with spongy injera that is always prepared that day, Colucci is perfect for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike. Order a platter so you can try a variety of menu items, like Begue Wot, spicy lamb stewed in an onion and garlic sauce, and Gomen, collard greens sauteed with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. When you’ve finished, top it off with some tiramisu or baklava!
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm
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8:00 am - 10:00 pm

Children’s Fairyland

Don’t let the name deceive you – both children and their parents will be entertained at Children’s Fairyland. The historic park, which became the nation’s first themed amusement park in 1950, offers whimsical fun at every turn. Children can explore the Old West Junction, which includes a stable, bank, and jail, climb aboard the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship, or navigate a maze with an Alice and Wonderland motif. Parents and kids alike can delight in puppet shows, train rides, and a menagerie of live animals, which includes ponies, goats, and even an alpaca.

Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland, CA USA

Portal

Oakland is home to many open-air beer gardens, but none are quite like Portal. Although people of legal drinking age can indulge in craft beer and bottomless mimosas, people under 21 will not be disappointed, because at Portal, food takes center stage. Standout weekday brunch offerings include a challah bread French toast, each slice stuffed to the bursting point with ricotta cheese, and a spicy garlic meatball sub sandwich. On the weekends, the wait for brunch is at least thirty minutes, but it’s worth it to get the Portal Benedict with grilled polenta, roasted tomatoes, and crispy potatoes.

Portal, 1611 2nd Avenue, Oakland, CA USA

Oakland Museum of California

Get a history lesson with a visit to the Oakland Museum of California. With a variety of temporary exhibits alongside permanent exhibits on California history, art, and natural science, a trip to the museum is sure to change the way you look at the city that Oakland has become. Wander the museum on your own, or join a free tour to get the insider scoop. Later, head to the museum’s gardens to relax among modern sculptures and flowering trees. What’s more, you can visit the museum on a budget – admission is free on the first Sunday of every month!

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA USA

Grand Lake - Oakland Farmers Market

Farmers' Market, American
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Paramount Theater of the Arts
Paramount Theater of the Arts | © BWChicago/Flickr
If you’re looking to pick up some fresh, seasonal local produce, there’s no better place than the Grand Lake – Oakland Farmers Market. As one of the Bay Area’s best farmers markets, here you’ll find over 40 farmers, 30 specialty food producers, and many crafters, all eager to offer you samples as you stroll past their white tents. When you finish shopping, sit in the grass by the gorgeous Lake Merritt to enjoy your purchases, or explore the rest of the bustling Grand Lake District, located just a few blocks away.
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Paramount Theater of the Arts

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The Paramount Theater of the Arts is widely recognized as one of the best movie theaters in Oakland, and both the Oakland Symphony and the Oakland Ballet regularly perform there as well. But even if you can’t catch a showing of The Nutcracker or Rachmaninoff, the Paramount is a show in and of itself. Built in 1931, the theater is one of the United States’ best examples of Art Deco architecture. Join a tour to get a behind the scenes look at this beautiful space!
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