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Das Oakland Theatre, Bild: E Fehrenbacher / shutterstock

Oakland – the charming and exciting working-class town on the San Francisco Bay

Located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, Oakland has an interesting history. Founded in 1852, the city is heavily influenced by its industrial tradition and uniquely reflects working-class American culture. Among other things, Otis Redding immortalized the fascinating port city in the well-known song “Sitting on the dock of the bay”.

Still shaped by its industrial tradition, Oakland presents itself as cosmopolitan and is one of the vibrant cities of the San Francisco metropolitan area. Historic sights, a varied nightlife, cultural highlights and fascinating excursion destinations paired with the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of the typical American working class make a stay in Oakland an unforgettable experience.

The unique cityscape of Old Town Oakland

Anyone who thinks that industrial cities have an unspectacular and cold cityscape has never had the pleasure of strolling through the old town of Oakland. Old Town Oakland is characterized by Victorian architecture, and visitors can expect ornate facades and ornate turrets along the bustling Old Town streets. Many of the houses have been extensively renovated and shine again in their full glory today, so it is not surprising that the old town is the pride of the locals and an attraction for tourists. Today, there are numerous shops and restaurants in the historic buildings, so there is a lot to discover. The spectrum ranges from handmade furniture to used books to Swan ́s Market, which is now a huge market hall where specialties from all over the world can be purchased. A trip to the old town is an unforgettable experience both during the day and in the evening, when old-fashioned street lamps bathe the old town in a soft, warm light in keeping with the historic surroundings.

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The heart of Oakland – the waterfront

View over the Merritt Oakland
View over the Merritt, Image: cdrin / shutterstock

On the edge of San Francisco Bay is the waterfront area of Oakland. While the port itself is characterized by impressive cranes and cargo ships, there is a world of leisure activities around the port. The multifunctional waterfront area Jack London Square offers indoor and outdoor attractions and is the centre for leisure activities par excellence. Jack London Square offers shopping opportunities, restaurants beckoning and squares framed by palm trees invite you to linger and relax. There is also the opportunity to pursue numerous water sports facilities. Kayaking is also an easy way to reach the Oakland Estuary Estuary, where numerous bird species can be observed. In addition, the floating lighthouse Lightship Relief and the historic USS Potomac, the yacht of President Roosevelt, can be visited in the harbor area. While on Sundays the farmers’ market in the harbour area beckons, a cinema invites you to watch blockbusters and visitors to the district can play bowling and bocce, numerous events also take place in the harbour area and so you can also meet top jazz artists and musicians of other genres here.

Oakland’s Unique Attractions and Cultural Institutions

RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland
Home game of the Oakland Athletics at the RingCentral Coliseum, Image: Conor P. Fitzgerald / shutterstock

Oakland is a fascinating city and offers equally fascinating sights. The spectrum ranges from great museums to historic buildings to unique attractions. A stay in the industrial port city can be designed in a correspondingly diverse way.

The Chabot Centre is embedded in a park of around five hectares. There is a lot to marvel at in the approximately 80,000 square meter space and science center. Among other things, a Mars robot can be found here and a spectacularly large telescope invites you to observe thousands of stars.

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No less interesting is the city’s cultural scene. So a visit to the Paramount Theater is simply part of the experience for many visitors to the city. Whether ballet, symphony concerts, screenings of film classics or stand-up comedy, Paramount offers the big stage for every art form. Parts of the old complex from the heyday of the Paramount Theater have been preserved to this day, so a visit is always a little trip down memory lane.

The Dunsmuir estate combines attraction and cultural institution paired with a sad history. The magnificent estate was once built by Alexander Dunsmuir in 1899 as a wedding gift for his wife Josephine. But the generous husband died on his honeymoon. The young widow sold the property and it fell into the hands of strangers. In 1960, however, the city of Oakland acquired the three-story mansion and park-like gardens. Today, the magnificent estate hosts readings, concerts and many other cultural events, and the park designed by John McLaren invites you to take a stroll.