A Raider Fan’s Highly Personal Travel Guide to Oakland, California

Raiders city hall

Raider Nation showing their colours in front of the Oakland City Hall in support of Oakland Loves Its Sports Teams week, which runs from 10 to 14 September 2012. Photo Credit: Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.


My hometown is best known for its sports franchises: the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League and the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball.

Other than that it's best known for its high crime rate.

What many people don't know is that Oakland is actually quite a beautiful city. And that includes many Oakland Raiders and Oakland A's fans, who only know their ways to and from the Black Hole, a.k.a. the Oakland Coliseum.

In celebration of Oakland Loves Its Spots Teams week, which runs from 10 to 14 September 2012, I'm reversing the process, with a Sports Fans Love Oakland series.

Quick Reference Guide: Oakland's Top 12 Tourist Attractions

Oakland is the international capital of the Raider Nation, which knows no national boundaries. But there is more to Oakland than sports.

Oakland has rolling hills, lovely parks, charming neighborhoods, a thriving arts scene, vintage architecture, fabulous restaurants, two beautifully restored movie theatres, a lake at the heart of its Downtown district – the list goes on.

Here's a short list of my favourite spots in Oakland – other than the Black Hole, of course! I will follow up in the weeks to come with a more in depth description of each one of these places – and pictures.

  1. Lake Merritt is the jewel in Oakland's crown. Located in the heart of Downtown Oakland, it offers boating, jogging, bicycling, and walking. Architectural critics have hailed the drive around Lake Merritt as one of the most beautiful urban drives in the world.
  2. The Fox Oakland at 1807 Broadway, Oakland, California. Tel: (510) 302-2250. Built in 1928, this extravagant theatre offers a full schedule of live concerts. It is also home to the Oakland School for the Arts.
  3. The Paramount Theatre of the Arts at 2025 Broadway, Oakland, California. Tel: (510) 465-6400. This beautiful Art Deco theatre is home to the Oakland East Bay Symphony and the Oakland Ballet. There are frequent concerts, and movie classics are often shown.
  4. Oakland Museum of California at 1000 Oak Street, Oakland California. Tel: (510) 318-3322. California art, history, and nature are on display in this fascinating museum, which is housed in what has been called “one of the most significant architectural examples of mid century modernism in the United States”.
  5. Jack London Square at Broadway and Embarcadero, Oakland, California. Tel: (510) 645-9282. Located on the waterfront in Downtown Oakland, Jack London Square is home to shops, boutiques, restaurants, jazz clubs, and marinas.
  6. Woodminster Ampitheatre at 3300 Joaquim Miller Road, Oakland, California. Tel: (510) 531-9597. Watch musicals under the stars – until the fog rolls in. Located high in the Oakland Hills in lovely Joaquin Mill Park with sweeping views of San Francisco Bay.
  7. The Claremont Hotel Club and Spa at 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley. Tel: (510) 843-3000. It might have a Berkeley address, because this hotel is served by the Berkeley Post Office, but the Claremont is situated within the Oakland City Limits. Sometimes referred to as the Wedding Cake Hotel, it has spectacular views of the Golden Gate – best viewed over cocktails at sunset.
  8. Mountain View Cemetery at 5000 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, California. Tel: (510) 658-2588. Designed by world renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed Central Park in New York City and the Capitol Grounds in Washington, DC, this leafy cemetery is the final resting place of many Northern Californians and offers sweeping views of San Francisco Bay.
  9. Old Oakland between Broadway and Washington, 8th and 10th streets. Tel: (510) 238-1630. Ten beautifully restored Victorian buildings dating back to the 1860s house boutiques, galleries, offices, and food and beverage outlets.
  10. Oakland Zoo at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland,California. Tel: (510) 632-9525. Nestled within the rolling hills of East Oakland's Knowland Park, the zoo has more than 660 animals.

Where to Eat

Where to Stay

How to Get There

If You're Flying

There are three international airports in the San Francisco Bay Area. The largest by far is San Francisco International Airport. 

Oakland International Airport – served by seven airlines, Oakland Airport is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Oakland Coliseum and Arena. It is the airport of choice for most visiting sports fans.

Oakland Airport is a major hub for Southwest Airways. Other airlines serving the airport include Alaska Airlines, Allegiant, American Airlines, Azores Airlines (seasonal), Boutique Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, jetBlue Airways, Norwegian Air Shuttle, Spirit Airlines, Volaris.

The BART to Oakland International Airport AGT system links the two terminals at Oakland Airport with the Oakland Coliseum. It replaces the former AirBART shuttle bus service.

San Francisco International Airport – the busiest airport in Northern California, the second busiest airport in California, and the seventh busiest airport in the United States, San Francisco Airport offers non-stop or direct flights to most domestic and many international travel destinations.

San Francisco Airport is a major hub for Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, and Virgin America.

San Francisco Airport is served by most domestic airlines and a large number of international carriers, including the following Accidental Travel Writer affiliates: Air France, British Airways, Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Swiss International Air Lines.

San Francisco International Airport has a station on the Bay Area Rapid Transit's Pittsburgh/Bay Point – SFO/Millbrae line. Travel to and from the Oakland Coliseum requires at least one change of trains.

San Jose International Airport – serving Silicon Valley, San Jose Airport is a bit far from the Oakland Coliseum and Arena and should be used only if flights to Oakland or San Francisco airports are not available.

San Jose Airport is served by AeroMexico, Air Canada, Air China, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, All-Nippon Airways, British Airways, Delta Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, jetBlue Airways, Lufthansa German Airlines, Southwest Airways, United Airlines, and Volaris.

BART does not serve San Jose Airport.

Other Attractions in Northern California



One Reply to “A Raider Fan’s Highly Personal Travel Guide to Oakland, California”

  1. What many people don’t know is that Oakland is actually quite a beautiful city. And that includes many Oakland Raiders and Oakland A’s fans, who only know their ways to and from the Black Hole, a.k.a. the Oakland Coliseum. Agreed!!

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