The minute I stepped foot in Oakland, I loved it. It is a city filled with possibility, excitement and originality. Just 15 minutes from San Fransisco, with lower rent and in the midst of true renaissance, Oakland is defining a new personality. There is definitely a reason why The New York Times named Oakland the #5 place to visit in the world. The city is blossoming with edgy yet authentic creativity in the culinary, art, wine and travel scene. I cannot wait to go back. Read more…
As a wine lover, my favourite part about Oakland is that it is full of urban wineries to visit. It is often called “Wine City” and certainly lives up to its name. What is an urban winery you may ask? Taking over large warehouse spaces downtown, many wineries have set up shop with their entire winery production and tasting rooms on-site. Being located right in the city, this enables easier access to the consumer rather than being hours away in wine country. People can visit and shop on a regular basis without having to travel for the wine they love.
If you’re heading to California, I highly suggest that you spend time in Oakland. Even if you only have a couple of days, here are my top to-do’s.
- Book a night, or your entire stay, at the Waterfront Hotel in Oakland. It is ideally situated right on the water, with gorgeous rooms, a killer pool, and beautiful lounge with a stunning fireplace. Your Instagram shots of sunsets and nautical inspired design are sure to garner many likes.
- Begin the day with a small walk over to Bicycle Coffee Co. With a an industrial-cool style, not only do they roast quality coffee from sustainable farms they also play great music, can repair your bicycle on-site and even deliver coffee via bike as well. Connect with other locals for a coffee experience you won’t forget.
- Have lunch by the water at Bocanova. Although the entire menu is quite spectacular, I enjoyed the ceviche, devilled eggs, and chocolate croissant bread pudding with Mexican chocolate ice cream. The interior of this restaurant is stunning too.
- If you’re still hungry after lunch, I recommend stopping in for a culinary adventure at Home of Chicken and Waffles in Jack London Square. The perfect snack to carry you through
- Looking for more adventure? Visit “Wine City” by bicycle with East Bay Winery Bike Tours. A family owned business, this is the perfect way to see wineries all day long, get some exercise, and truly experience the city.
- Explore the Oakland Urban Wine Trail and make sure to visit these three wineries: Dashe Cellars, Urban Legend Cellars, and Rosenblum Cellars. I had incredible experiences at all of them and the entire wine trail experience REALLY impressed me.
- Walk the waterfront and find cranes that were the inspiration for the AT-AT Walkers from Star Wars.
- Enjoy an unforgettable dinner at Haven in Jack London Square. This restaurant has wonderful wines by the glass and bottle, but if you happen to have a bottle from your wine city adventures you can also pay a corkage fee.
- Watch the sunset from Rosenblum Cellars with a glass of wine in hand on the gorgeous patio.
- Get inspired to write while learning about Jack London. Not only does he have a park named after him in Sonoma, this city is also dedicated to him. He grew up in the Oakland slums, and this city holds him (and his creativity) in high regard. For a writer like me, this was super inspiring!