Oakland California Events
The Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley offers two days of literary fun featuring some of the world's most famous authors. Oakland's First Friday event brings together more than 1,000 writers, poets, artists, musicians and artists from around the world to gather in Oakland for the first of its kind in the heart of downtown Oakland.
If you're in town for this incredible event, make sure you step out of your closet and experience as much of Oakland's history, culture and art as you can. Old Oakland is, by its name, one of the best places to see Oakland as it was long ago, and you feel like you have left Oakland and emerged from the redwoods of Narnia. Whether art, music, food, dance or just a walk, the park will be quiet and peaceful throughout the day. While San Francisco is a bike of its own, visiting Oakland can be impressive - inspiring, but if you fancy something different, something intimate, you'll see it all in one place.
If you're in Oakland for more than a few hours, check out our list of events in Oakland California for the next few days and find out about other fun things to do.
Jack London Square sits directly on the water and looks out over the Bay of San Francisco and beyond. Here's a self-guided street art tour of Oakland's Chinatown, complete with live music, food trucks and more. Oakland has its own Chinatown and is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Jack London Square is located in Oakland, California, right on the water, while looking out over San Francisco from the other side of the bay.
Just up the crest of Redwood Regional Park, the 500-acre Joaquin Miller Park offers breathtaking views of the Marin County highlands and the San Francisco Bay Area. The two parks, Joaquim Miller and San Jose Marin Regional Parks, are technically separate but interconnected, offering an extensive network of trails crisscrossing a redwood-covered valley with stunning views of the redwoods and hills with stunning views over the Bay Area.
The advantage of a food tour is that you get the chance to walk through some of the best neighborhoods in Oakland, so you can take two of your best things to do with Oakland off your list in one fell swoop. Oakland offers a variety of food tours, each covering a different section of Oakland, focusing on Oakland's past and present.
The BART trains take you almost anywhere you want to go in Oakland, and you get AC Transit buses everywhere else, so you won't have much trouble figuring out which train you need. The entertainment district, which houses Oakland's two main sports venues, is also among the neighborhoods with convenient BART services. During your trip through the East Bay, you will encounter several different BART stations, each with its own timetable and fare system.
Oakland neighborhoods behave like neighbors across the bay, with many of the same amenities as their neighbors in San Francisco and San Jose.
If you plan to spend a significant portion of your time in Oakland, visit the Oakland Public Library and do what locals do: take part in Discover Go, which offers free or discounted admission to Oakland attractions and venues, including many listed here. The Greek community is one of the most diverse and vibrant communities in the Bay Area, with a diversity of cultures, religions and ethnicities.
The largest music festival will be held Saturday, June 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oakland Civic Center. M. Catch the Show at historic Oakland City Hall, with performances by Grateful Dead, Elton John and Graham Nash, among others.
The University of California, Berkeley Botanical Garden is not in Oakland, but if you love science and want to learn more, there are plenty of fun and delicious SF Bay Area events to choose from. The Calistoga Food and Wine Festival will be held at the Oakland Civic Center on Saturday, June 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, July 1, and is open to the public.
Oakland has some unique attractions and activities to offer, but it is not the most popular tourist destination in the Bay Area (the honor goes to San Francisco). With an abundance of affordable hotels and hostels, Oakland is a great destination for a long vacation that includes a trip to and around the Bay Area. If you're planning a quick swing through Oakland, you should stick to the main attractions in central areas.
If you're in town on the first Friday of the month, you'll miss some of the most popular events in Oakland, such as the Oakland Art Museum and Golden Gate Park. If you want to avoid the crowds, stay away from downtown at weekends if you can, or stay at one of the lower-priced hotels in Oakland.