Friday, March 22, 2013

Spend A Day In Oakland - Jack London Square/Old Oakland

I love spending a day discovering my city. Below is a recommendation for a day spent exploring the historic Jack London Square/Old Oakland neighborhoods. Most of the places and services listed below are open on weekdays as well as weekends so you can have a great experience any day of the week.

Bike, drive or arrive via Amtrak to the Jack London Square in the morning

Grab a light, tastes-like-homemade Italian breakfast from Caffe 817 (817 Washington Street)

Head over to the secret meeting place for the Jack London Square Food Tour hosted by Savor Oakland Food Tours. On the 3.5 hour walking tour, you'll get to know some of the best culinary destinations in the area. Just to highlight a few experiences on the tour:
  • Pull up to the Coffee Bar at Blue Bottle Coffee (300 Webster Street) for fresh roasted espresso crafted on vintage machines.
  • Sample the Southern soul food classic pairing of chicken & waffles at Home of Chicken & Waffles (444 Embarcadero W.) an Oaklander favorite for late night eats.
  • Nibble on pan-american small plates at Jack London Square heavy hitter Bocanova (55 Webster Street)

If you're not tired of walking yet, browse some of the art galleries in the area:
Swarm Gallery (560 2nd Street) 
Loakal Art Gallery & Boutique (550 2nd Street) you can pick up your Oaklander gear here!
The Hive Studio (301 Jefferson Street) Oakland's Own tip: Only open during Oakland Art Murmur (first Friday's of each month) and for special events.

Spend the rest of the afternoon kayaking around the Oakland Estuary and what I like to call boat "window shopping" in kayaks rented from California Canoe & Kayak. No reservations required!

Once you've worked up an appetite, head back to the Old Oakland neighborhood for dinner. You'll have your choice of exquisite ethnic cuisine:
Tamarindo Antojeria (468 8th Street) for elevated traditional Mexican cuisine with an attached tequila bar next door! 
Le Cheval (1007 Clay Street) for family style Vietnamese and Asian Fusion 
Miss Ollie's (901 Washington Street) for delicious Caribbean soul food

Enjoy some of Oakland's eclectic nightlife at these cool spots:
Sample a MASSIVE selection of beers at Beer Revolution and enjoy the night on their front patio
Karaoke or vibe to some spoken word at Air Lounge
Cheer on the A's/Raiders/Warriors at GO Sports Bar
Sip wine in a chic wine bar franchise, District Oakland
Salsa dance the night away at Club Anton
Lounge with friends over a retro cocktail at The Night Light

For late night eats hit up Nation's Giant Hamburgers (open until 1a daily and conveniently located next to The Night Light) or Home of Chicken & Waffles (open until 4a Fri. & Sat.)

Whether you are a local or a visitor, these neighborhoods are constantly evolving. You will always find something new to explore!

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