15 Best Things To Do in Oakland, California

If you’re planning to visit the States would you ever think of staying for a day or two in Oakland, California? Malibu, Washington or NYC are some of the prominent cities but try searching a bit more about the others. Oakland is a less celebrated city, undervalued too; this historically rich city has a number of unique travel options and exciting places to discover. Moreover, one can really never get tired of this city. Right from Lake Merritt, Mountain View Cemetery, Children’s Fairy Land there are many Oakland points of interest. There is a strange blend of rush and peace in Oakland’s air, as time passes you will grow to love this lesser-known destination of the States. If you do happen to go there, don’t forget to visit the following places. If you are planning to visit Oakland here is the list of 15 places to visit in Oakland.

Let's explore tourist attractions  and 15 best things to do in Oakland:

1. Enjoy a ride on a boat at Lake Merritt

Located in the heart of Oakland, Lake Merritt is important from the point of view of history and our environment. It is a lagoon which acts as the habitat for a number of species. The beauty of this place is magnified by the presence of artificial islands. You can even go for boating by renting a boat of your choice!

2. Visit the Mountain View Cemetery 

The mere idea of visiting a cemetery might give chills to some. Oakland’s Mountain View Cemetery is quite special though, as it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, who was also the mastermind behind the design of Stanford University and NYC’s Central Park. Due to his renowned stature, many of California’s famous historical personalities are buried here. ‘Millionaire’s Row’ is a section dedicated to the artistic crypts of the wealthy. Owing to such grand architecture, this cemetery is often frequented by tourists. 

3. Take your children to Children’s Fairy Land

Oakland has something for everyone’s tastes! Working well since 1950, this Fairy Land is the best place to visit if you are travelling along with children. Near Lake Merritt, this colourful, cute little amusement park would even draw the best of the adults to merriment and games! 

4. Visit the Preservation Park

The refined and polished Victorian beliefs are still being preserved in the form of buildings. Situated in the Downtown area, this Park features 16 buildings of the Victorian era. Even though Americans may humour Britons, yet they very well know the importance of preserving history. A visitor can venture into these structures and interact with locals to get more specific information regarding these houses.

5. Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon 

Oakland attractions - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

Built from the remnants of a whaling vessel, this shack situated near London Jack Square has been in service since 1883! Unstable floorboards signed dollars all over the ceiling, rustic furniture and the use of ancient gas stoves- all these features give Heinold’s distinction. No matter what happens on this planet, Heinold’s will forever remain the same!

6. Enjoy Your Time At White Horse Inn

White Horse Inn is a gay bar in Oakland which has been operational ever since it opened in 1933! It has witnessed all movements for gay rights and equality hence this place deserves a visit! Drag shows, karaoke nights and an all-inclusive loving environment is what you should expect from this inn! Now, who wouldn’t want to spend time in such a positive environment? 

7. Spend Time At The Crucible 

Have you ever considered developing a few practical skills? Everyone keeps whining that how what one learnt in school never really comes in handy, well why not enlist yourself at the Crucible then? All industrial arts, of this age and the times gone by can be acquired here. Jewelry making, woodwork, fire dancer training and much more can be learnt at this unique school. 

8. Visit The Champions for Humanity Monument 

Dubbed as The Mount Rushmore of California, this monument includes the figures of 25 racially and socially diverse leaders who fought for world peace, justice and liberation over the past 150 years. Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln are some of 25 figures who have been captured for life through this revolutionary sculpture! 

9. Stroll around the Redwood Regional Park

The Redwood Regional Park consists of a vast stretch of redwood which is home to several species. It is an absolutely wonderful park, surrounded by trees from all sides, one feels at ease and tranquil here. Archery, hiking, horseback riding and much more can be enjoyed at this park. 

10.  Spend a leisurely evening at Lake Temescal

A small man-made beach near Lake Temescal is the locals’ choice to spend time in leisure. It is ideal for short weekend getaways and to involve today’s tech-savvy kids in outdoor recreational activities. One can hope to relish the joys of fishing here due to the abundance of fishes present in this lake. Due to its pleasant appeal, it has been recognized all over and won several awards as well!

11. Visit The Cathedral of Christ the Light 

The Cathedral of christ the light, Oakland  - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

The Cathedral of Christ the Light will just take your breath away! The architect of this splendid edifice, Craig Hartman, made the building’s surface entirely of glass. Completed in 2008, the estimated expenditure came close to $175 million! It is indeed a spectacular display of modern architectural style. Go there and see for yourself, we’re sure you’ll be amazed as well.

12. Visit The Oakland Museum of California 

To know all about the culture, history and heritage of California just visit this museum. Information on arts, natural sciences, the Oakland community, movements related to social justice- everything is on display here. It is not boring at all, believe us! 

13. Enjoy Your Time At Jack London Square

To see the commercial side of Oakland, you can probably stop by the Jack London Square. It is quite popular and a thriving area for business. You can spot a number of eateries and grand hotels in this area. Another fascinating feature of this square is that every Sunday morning there’s a farmers’ market where numerous people come in the hope to save a few dollars. 

14. Visit The The Chabot Space and Science Centre 

This place should be checked out by all the science lovers out there. If you are intrigued by the Universe, the origin of our planet or by the prevalence of unknown heavenly bodies, then this Centre would be thoroughly enjoyed by you. Ask questions, pause and think because this is one of the best places to educate that inquisitive mind of yours!

15. Visit The The New Parkway Theatre 

A comfortable, cozy and friendly space to watch movies while hanging out with friends; you can be sure of loving each moment spent in this theatre. Sit back or lie down instead, here you can relax just like at your home. A wide variety of snacks, full meals, beverages and chocolates are available too, and trust us that its quite affordable! Do watch a movie here at least once in your life.

Oakland never fails to maintain the honour of its older places, at the same time it welcomes a change in its city life. We hope that you experience and explore this beautiful city someday. If we have missed to include any cool destination, do let us know!  


After five years of her teaching career, Shraddhanvita decided to make 'travel' her passion. For her 'a rolling stone does gather moss'. She is a wanderlust driven soul, a poet, a pluviophile, and a humanist. Fascinated by nature's bounty, she finds ...

Are you looking for a Oakland travel itinerary? Create an itinerary within minutes, on your own!

Top Oakland Activities And Tours

Explore the best things to do in Oakland. These are the most preferred tourist activities.

  • Save 1% San Francisco Air Tour
    San Francisco Air Tour9 Reviews

    Duration: 1 Hrs

    Your tour will begin at the historic and renowned Oakland International Airport. Immediately after take-off, youll see the mo...

    Book Now
  • Save 2% Private San Francisco Flight for 2
    Private San Francisco Flight for 2New on TripHobo

    Duration: 35 Mins

    Your tour will begin at the historic and renowned Oakland International Airport. Immediately after take-off, youll see the mo...

    Book Now
  • Save 7% Best of Berkeley Gourmet Food Tour
    Best of Berkeley Gourmet Food Tour6 Reviews

    Duration: 3 Hrs 15 Mins

    Just a few miles east of San Francisco lies what many call the birthplace of California cuisine: Berkeley. On this 3-hour gou...

    Book Now
  • Private Transfer: Hotel to Oakland International Airport
    Private Transfer: Hotel to Oakland International Airport1 Reviews

    Duration: Flexible

    Forget about fighting traffic and looking for a parking spot at the Oakland International Airport. Skip all the headaches ass...

    Book Now

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Oakland, California

Must see places in Oakland ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Oakland and point of interests to visit.

  1. Oakland Museum Of California

    # 1 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 84 times in trip plans
    Oakland Museum Of California

    Tags: Museum

    Address: 1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 09:00 pm Details

    The Oakland Museum of California is a museum that incorporates everything of this city that is the best. Primarily divided into three sections of art, history and natural science, the museum also hous...Read more

  2. Redwood Regional Park

    # 2 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 97 times in trip plans
    Redwood Regional Park

    Tags: Park

    Address: 7867 Redwood Road, Oakland, CA 94619, USA

    Timings: 05:00 am - 10:00 pm Details

    The Redwood Regional Park is spread across 1830 acres of lush green flora. A total of eleven trails take people through the park, surprising them with a peaceful environment and a blissful experience....Read more

  3. Lake Merritt

    # 3 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 52 times in trip plans
    Lake Merritt

    Tags: Waterfront, Lake

    Address: Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The panoramic view of Lake Merritt is like a cool breeze on a hot day. Any time that you decide to go, you will see people walking or jogging along the lakeside, relaxing on the beach or even listenin...Read more

  4. Oakland Zoo

    # 4 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 42 times in trip plans
    Oakland Zoo

    Tags: Outdoors, Zoo

    Address: 9777 Golf Links Rd, Oakland, CA 94605, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Get ready to go on the most exciting wildlife adventure, here, at Oakland Zoo. Observe the life of your favorite wild animals, and get a chance to interact with some of them up close. Appreciated for ...Read more

  5. Jack London Square

    # 5 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 46 times in trip plans
    Jack London Square

    Tags: Entertainment, Market, Square, Nightlife

    Address: Broadway, Oakland, CA 94607, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Jack London Square, Oakland is famous for the events that transpire here. You never know what you will see and experience here. If you want to enjoy a farm fresh market, you will find it here. Lusciou...Read more

  6. Mountain View Cemetery

    # 6 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 90 times in trip plans
    Mountain View Cemetery

    Tags: Cemetery

    Address: 5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611, USA

    Timings: 08:30 am - 04:30 pm Details

    The Mountain View Cemetery of Oakland, is one of the many splendid works of Frederick Law Olmstead. Renowned for designing the famous New York City’s Central Park and Washington D.C.’s Cap...Read more

  7. Children's Fairyland

    # 7 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 72 times in trip plans
    Children's Fairyland

    Tags: Amusement Park, Entertainment

    Address: 699 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Have you ever dreamt of stepping into your favorite book? Being friends with your beloved characters, and going on an adventure with them? Welcome! You have reached Children’s Fairyland in Oakla...Read more

  8. Chabot Space And Science Center

    # 8 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 38 times in trip plans
    Chabot Space And Science Center

    Tags: Observatory, Planetarium

    Address: 10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Have you ever wondered how the moon would look up close? Or how do people eat in space? Or how the stars actually look? Then you, my friend, must visit the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland. ...Read more

  9. Chinatown

    # 9 of 1550 Things To Do in Oakland | Added 26 times in trip plans

    Tags: Shopping Center, Neighborhoods , Souvenir Shop

    Address: Chinatown, Oakland, CA 94607, USA

    The Oakland Chinatown is like a sudden burst of pan-Asian community in the city. You will see traditional Chinese and other pan-Asian decorations along the shops and restaurants. An excellent example ...Read more

Find Your Oakland Attractions on Map

Find more places to see in Oakland

  • San Francisco Air Tours

    8433 Earhart Rd

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate

    2960 Peralta Oaks Ct

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • 16th Street Station

    16TH St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • California Historical Society

    678 Mission St

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • Fort Point National Historic Site

    Marine Dr

    Historic and Protected Sites
  • John Muir National Historic Site

    4202 Alhambra Ave

    Historic and Protected Sites
View On Map
  • Lake Chabot

  • WOB Hill

  • Lake Anza

    1316 University Ave

  • Spreckels Lake

    36TH Ave

  • San Andreas Lake

  • Lake Merced

    28 Bucareli Dr

View On Map
  • Chabot Space and Science Center

    10000 Skyline Blvd

  • Maritime Museum

    900 Beach St

  • The American Bookbinders Museum

    355 Clementina St

  • San Francisco Railway Museum

    77 Steuart St

  • Bay Model Visitor Center

    2100 Bridgeway

  • Lawrence Hall of Science

    1 Centennial Dr

View On Map
  • Children's Fairyland

    699 Bellevue Ave

    Amusement Parks American
  • Foothill Square Bingo

    10700 MacArthur Blvd

    Amusement Parks Restaurants
  • Butler Amusements

    Oakport St

    Amusement Parks
  • Children's Fairyland

    Grand Ave

    Amusement Parks
  • Gokart Racer

    1541 Adrian Rd

    Amusement Parks Arcades
  • Waterworld California

    1950 Waterworld Pkwy

    Amusement Parks
View On Map
  • Baggy's By The Lake

    288 E 18th St

    Bars Barbecue
  • Brotzeit Lokal

    1000 Embarcadero

    Fast Food International Bars
  • Swank

    488 Presidio Ave

    Bars Restaurants Cafes, Coffee and Tea Houses
  • The Hop Yard Alehuse & Grill

    470 Market Pl

    American Bars
  • Saap Ver Authentic Thai Cuisine

    88 Division St

    Bars Thai
  • Canyon View Dining Hall

    680 Bollinger Canyon Way

    Restaurants Bars
View On Map
  • Durant Square Bingo

    10800 International Blvd

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Class Casino Rentals & Bingo Sales

    3314 Partridge Ave

    Casinos and Gaming
  • Cv Photo Casino

    3314 Partridge Ave

    Casinos and Gaming
  • San Pablo Lytton Casino

    13255 San Pablo Ave

    Casinos and Gaming Hotels and Motels
  • Artichoke Joe's Casino

    659 Huntington Ave

    Casinos and Gaming Hotels and Motels
  • Lucky Chances Casino

    1700 Hillside Blvd

    Casinos and Gaming Asian
View On Map
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

    499 Jefferson St

    Natural Parks
  • Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park

    1414 Harbour Way S

    Natural Parks
  • San Bruno Mountain State Park

    555 Guadalupe Cyn

    Natural Parks
  • Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

    201 Fort Mason

    Natural Parks Playgrounds
  • Hyde Street Pier

    2905 Hyde St

    Natural Parks
  • Twin Peaks

    501 Twin Peaks Blvd

    Natural Parks
View On Map
  • Joaquin Miller Dog Park

    3590 Sanborn Dr

    Dog Parks
  • Buena Vista Park

    Haight Street

    Dog Parks
  • Sausalito Dog Park

    100 Ebbtide Ave

    Dog Parks
  • Joinville Park

    2111 Kehoe Ave

    Playgrounds Dog Parks
  • Heather Farm Park

    301 N San Carlos Dr

    Dog Parks
  • Upper Douglass Dog Park

    800 27th St

    Dog Parks
View On Map
  • Baker Beach

    1504 Pershing Dr

  • Rodeo Beach

    Marin Headlands

  • Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach

    Eighth St

  • Muir Beach Overlook

    15 Muir Beach Overlook

  • China Beach

    490 Sea Cliff Ave

  • Alameda Beach

    Shoreline Dr

View On Map
  • Bay Bridge Trail

    2245-2257 Maritime St

  • Berkeley Fire Trails

    Centennial Dr

  • Montclair Railroad Trail

    6000 Shepherd Canyon Road

  • San Andreas Trail

    Skyline Blvd

  • Lyon Street Steps

    Lyon Street

  • Strawberry Hill

    Golden Gate Park

View On Map
Show More

What To Do in Oakland: Day-Wise Ideas

Find what not to miss in Oakland! Recommended Oakland itineraries and vacation ideas created by travelers across the world.