Located south of the Berkeley city limits and west of the Oakland hills sits one of the most well-known and appreciated neighborhoods of Oakland – Rockridge. With large houses and small bungalows from the 1920s and ‘50s lining the main commercial street, College Avenue, Rockridge has a sweet yet urban appeal. Home to one of Oakland’s central BART stations, this area is friendly and easy for visitors coming from a variety of locations. Simply drive or BART to College Avenue and spend the day eating and moseying through the neighborhood.
Start your day off with a stop at Rockridge Market Hall. This indoor market, sitting kitty corner from Rockridge BART, is the perfect place to get a little sample of everything. Stroll from shop to shop while gazing at the plethora of meats, cheeses, and wines before picking out your morning fix. The Market Hall Bakery or Highwire Coffee Roasters will help you get your day going with their delicious treats. Pick your favorite pastry or bagel and grab one of the outdoor tables that line the market. This is the perfect spot to start your day and enjoy the essence of Oakland’s College Avenue.
Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 250 6000
Enjoy the rest of your morning by exploring notable sites such as the College Avenue Presbyterian Church, built by renowned architect Julia Morgan, an Oakland native. Stroll through the nearby neighborhoods to get a feel for the residential area before heading back to the main drag. College Avenue in Oakland has a variety of shops or stores to keep you busy during your morning visit, but be sure to check out Pegasus Books, a neighborhood fixture since 1969. Seller of new and used books, along with cards and notebooks, Pegasus will hold your attention. Additionally, the store is architecturally unique, displaying an artistic pop-out sign that cannot be missed.
Pegasus Books, 5560 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 652 6259
If books aren’t quite your thing, not to worry; this commercial hub is lined with clothing stores for any fancy. One of the best vintage shops is Pretty Penny. With its constantly changing collection of clothing, accessories, and shoes, Pretty Penny is a great store to get lost in. Carrying a mix of contemporary and vintage pieces, it is perfect for any shopper. Comb through the racks and try on something unexpected while enjoying the trendy atmosphere. Continue your shopping spree at Tootsies, a women’s shoe store, or across the street at Maison d’Etre for home décor and knickknacks. Artistic and eclectic, Maison d’Etre will surprise you with its random but lovely items for sale. You are sure to find something you hadn’t realized you needed.
Pretty Penny, 5488 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 594 9219
Tootsies, 5525 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 595 7272
Maison d’Etre, 5640 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA 1 510 658 2801
After enjoying your shopping experience, finish off your day visit to Rockridge with a late lunch at Cactus Taqueria. Providing a relaxed and family-friendly vibe, Cactus is, hands down, one of the best Mexican restaurants in the area. With its extensive menu, deciding what to eat is often difficult, but luckily you simply cannot go wrong. Savor the crispy tacos, which are served with four meat options and stuffed with guacamole, cheese, salsa, and lettuce. If tacos aren’t your jam, you can never go wrong with a classic burrito served up quick thanks to Cactus’s assembly line kitchen. In terms of drinks, enjoy a pitcher of beer with friends and make an afternoon of it, or order the delicious horchata to perfectly round out your meal.
Cactus Taqueria, 5642 College Avenue, Oakland, CA, USA +1 510 658 6180
By Aubrey Douglass