November 16, 2010

Tuesday’s Travel Tips – Oakland

This week’s Tuesday’s Travel Tips takes us to Oakland, California!

Image courtesy of virtualsugar on Flickr

Oakland is an underrated city, one people often associate with the city to fly into on their way to San Francisco or other Bay Area destinations. The Oakland International Airport’s tagline even reads in part, “The Gateway to San Francisco.” Oakland itself, though, has lots to see and is worthy of our exploring. Check out some of our Crewmember-supplied travel tips below and be sure to share your own.

Interesting factoid about Oakland is that it got its name from the Ohlone people, the native inhabitants of the land before Spain displaced them in the 18th century. Oakland was also the last stop on the West Coast for the Transcontinental Railroad. Most significantly perhaps, is that Oakland is home to the invention of rocky road ice cream, created in 1929 when William Dryer of Nestle’s Dryer’s ice cream, cut up marshmallows and walnuts using his wife’s sewing scissors and mixed them up in his chocolate ice cream.

Station Operations Coordinator Paul points out that there are some tasty treats to be had before you even leave the airport. Gate 28 in Terminal 2 boasts a food court that includes Max’s Eatz, California Pizza Kitchen, Andalé Mexican food and cocktails, and Fenton’s Ice Cream. In nearby Gate 29, you’ll find Gordon Biersch, serving up premium beers on tap, grab-n-go food, and its famous garlic fries. Check out the full airport restaurant map here.

For getting around town, take the AirBART bus available curbside at the airport to the nearby Coliseum stop on the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, where you can connect north and south to many Bay Area destinations, including Berkeley and San Francisco. While you’re in Oakland, though, Paul suggests you visit Jack London Square, the bustling waterfront development that offers walking paths, piers, dining, and shopping.

The city is famous for the Oakland Raiders, so be sure to check out a game if you’re in town during football season. Known as the “jewel of Oakland”, Lake Merritt downtown is another worthy stop on your Oakland trip. The lake is the country’s largest salt and fresh-water lake in an urban area.

For museum-goers, Oakland offers the Chabot Space & Science Center, which offers an exciting list of after dark events, as well as the Oakland Museum of California, which showcases works of art at the intersection of science and nature.

Paul’s favorite Oakland restaurants that he recommends you check out include Zachary’s Chicago Pizza, LeCheval, and Bay Wolf.

For an elevated shopping experience be sure to hit up the Rockridge District, where you’ll find 14 blocks

of shopping galore, not to mention gourmet bakeries and coffee shops, art galleries, and some of the top-ranked dining options out there.

Those who like live music can check out the calendar for The Fox Theater, the premier special events venue in the Oakland area. Yoshi’s Jazz Club and Japanese Restaurant is another recommended spot where you can break out your jazz hands and your chopsticks for some stellar live music and four-course dinners.

Quality Assurance Auditor Rick suggests that car and motorcycle enthusiasts take BART to the Dublin Pleasanton Station. Exit the station to the left and walk about ½ mile. There you’ll find Arlen Ness Chopper Shop and Kassabian Motors. Arlen Ness was one of the original Chopper builders from the 60’s. At the shop there’s a sales floor with all his current models of custom bikes and a museum that houses some of his more radical designs. Across the street is Kassabian motors. This shop is a classic muscle car consignment showroom. There are always dozens of cars on display and for sale!

Fans of the Oakland Airport will be happy to know that JetBlue’s nonstop flights to Boston will be returning next May for the summer season!

In addition to sharing your Oakland travel tips below, you can also tweet them using the hashtag #TTOAK. And don’t forget to give and get some great travel tips from other travelers at our TrueBlue Community!

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