Skip to content

OMCA’s Top 50 Things to Do in Oakland

Adapted from Visit Oakland’s 101 Things to do In Oakland. Get the full list at

1. Get a taste of the city’s foodie neighborhoods with a Savor Oakland food tour.

2. See a renowned musical act at the beautiful and historic Fox Theater.

3. Stop and smell the flowers and take in the incredible views at the Mountain View Cemetery.

4. Indulge in hand-pulled noodles at Shan Dong in Chinatown.

5. Dine at Oakland’s very own Michelin-starred restaurant, Commis.

6. Sample Off the Grid food truck treats and check out the latest exhibits at Oakland Museum of California’s Friday Nights @ OMCA every week.

7. Spend the night under the stars at Chabot Space and Science Center.

8. Witness the Mighty Wurlitzer’s song before a Saturday evening film at the Grand Lake Theater.

9. Chat with the locals as you sip a tasty, fresh-squeezed greyhound cocktail from Cafe Van Kleef.

10. Wake up your inner coffee aficionado and take a tour at the Peerless Coffee Museum.

11. Stroll along the winding walkways at the Morcom Amphitheater of Roses.

12. Play with fire at The Crucible, Oakland’s industrial arts school.

13. Walk the labyrinth at Sibley Volcanic Preserve in the Oakland hills.

14. Sample great wines and get some exercise on a cycling trip with East Bay Winery Bike Tours.

15. Enjoy Oakland’s architectural greats and wonders on a walking tour, including the Cathedral of Christ the Light along Lake Merritt.

16. Travel presidential style with a cruise on the USS Potomac.

17. Captain a vessel from California Canoe and Kayak on the Oakland Estuary.

18. Bask in the sun or take a swim at Lake Temescal.

19. Get lost in the one-of-a-kind magazine collection at Issues along Piedmont Avenue, and try a banana split at iconic ice cream parlor Fenton’s Creamery.

20. Follow Jack London’s footsteps by stopping in at Heinold’s First & Last Chance Saloon for a beverage.

21. Bring the kids to Children’s Fairyland, or leave them at home for featured “grown-ups” events.

22. Mingle with the monkeys at the expansive Oakland Zoo.

23. Do the Bernie Lean at an Oakland A’s game, or venture into the Black Hole at an Oakland Raiders game at the Coliseum.

24. Treat yourself to a show at the iconic Paramount Theatre of the Arts.

25. Listen to live music almost every night of the week at historic jazz club Yoshi’s Oakland.

26. Show your Oakland pride by sporting your favorite 3D-printed Oakland crane and Oakland jewelry from the OMCA Store.

27. Catch the iconic cranes in action at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in West Oakland.

28. Visit a farmers’ market—like Old Oakland on Fridays, Grand Lake on Saturdays, or Jack London Square on Sundays— for fresh produce and prime people watching.

29. Cruise on an authentic Italian gondola at Lake Merritt, or rent your own watercraft.

30. View the Uptown art galleries during Art Murmur’s Saturday Stroll each week.

31. Cruise the Bay as you travel to and from Oakland and San Francisco via the ferry.

32. Cozy up on a couch with a beverage as you watch a film at The New Parkway theater.

33. Explore Oakland’s cultural community at one of the Eastside Arts Alliance’s weekly open mic nights, film screenings, and monthly freestyle dance parties.

34. Visit Creative Growth, the oldest and largest art center for adults with disabilities.

35. Catch a flick or view a performance by BANDALOOP outdoors on the Great Wall of Oakland.

36. Stroll down Temescal Alley for a sampling of Oakland’s hip and happening creative shops.

37. Track down your ancestors in the incredible registry at the Mormon Temple.

38. Keep rooting for the Golden State Warriors to win another championship!

39. Visit the Gardens at Lake Merritt to check out everything from succulents and citrus to roses and bonsai trees.

40. Walk along College Avenue in Rockridge after collecting wine, cheese, and other gourmet goodies from Market Hall.

41. Stuff your face with tacos from the walk-up food truck Taco Sinaloa in Fruitvale.

42. Take an evening drive along Skyline Boulevard for an amazing view of the sun setting over the Bay.

43. Take a dance class at Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (formerly Alice Arts).

44. Enjoy cocktails alfresco along the dock at Lake Chalet on Lake Merritt.

45. Enjoy mouth-watering soul food at Brown Sugar KitchenEverett & Jones, or Pican.

46. Enjoy a moment of peace at the Kaiser Rooftop Garden downtown.

47. Learn the art of fruit and vegetable carving or a variety of cultural dance at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center.

48. Find a unique treasure at the Oakland Museum Women’s Board’s White Elephant Sale.

49. Enjoy a night out at a hot club with a classic vibe, The New Parish.

50. Develop some character—not to mention muscle—by becoming a member at the YMCA of the East Bay’s state-of-the-art downtown Oakland fitness center..

A version of this story originally appeared in the Winter 2015 issue of Inside Out, the Oakland Museum of California’s Member magazine.