Oakland: a Raider Fans Guide to His Hometown: Jack London Square

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Heinold’s First and Last Saloon in Jack London Square, Oakland, California. Jack London penned some of his literary classics within these walls.

Sightseeing

This is the sixth in a series of travel guides to my hometown, Oakland, California, for fans of the  Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics.

If Oakland is best known in sporting circles for its sports franchises – the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics – it is best known in literary circles for its authors and poets.

Contemporary writers of international repute that were either born in Oakland or lived there include Amy Tam, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jessica Mitford, William Saroyan, and Ishmael Reed. Classic literary giants include Gertrude Stein and such lesser talents as Bret Hart and Joaquim Miller.

But if Oakland has a favouite son, it is surely Jack London, whose Call of the Wild is considered one of America’s best novels of all time.

I once met an English teacher from New Zealand, who was a big fan of Jack London. She said that on her first trip to the United States, she specifically scheduled a stop in Oakland to see where he was born.

Jack London Square

The waterfront along the Oakland Estuary that Jack London once called home has been transformed into mecca for dining, entertainment, shopping, and boating.

Highlights include a weekly farmer’s market, a re-creation of Jack London’s cabin in the Yukon, Yoshi’s Oakland, a jazz club and Japanese restaurant, and Heinhold’s First and Last Saloon, where Jack London penned many of his literary creations.

Jack London Square is located at Broadway and Embarcadero in Downtown Oakland, California (Telephone: (510) 645-9282).

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