1) Take a Romantic Glide Across Lake Merritt in a Gondola
Since I can’t be in Italy any time soon; this is as closest as it gets. The Venetian Gondola ride was one of my favorite things we got to do – it’s definitely a hidden gem and a must to do while visiting Oakland. You can book 30 to 50 minute cruises for two on Lake Merritt while you peacefully enjoy the beauty of Oakland. Feel free to bring some wine and food; they provided glasses.
2) Go Wine Tasting
A trip to Oakland isn’t complete without wine tasting – with a variety of different wineries, you can’t ever go wrong. Visit Oakland’s Urban Wine Trail – the trail is walkable, and easily accessible by ferry, BART, Amtrak and Oakland’s free Broadway shuttle.
We didn’t get a chance to do this during our short trip; but will be down for next time!
3) Visit the Oakland Zoo
If you love animals as much as I do; this is a great activity to do as a family or with friends. The Oakland Zoo is home to more than 650 animal residents including areas where you can enjoy an outdoor picnic if weather permits. The admission prices for adults is $17.75 and is opened Monday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.
4) Explore and Eat Authentic Chinese Food in Chinatown
Oakland is known to have some of the best grub; Chinese food is definitely one of them! Located near Lake Merritt – so after the Gondola right, you can easily walk there. Chinatown offers a range of sights to see, affordable shopping and amazing cuisine.
One of the places we had a chance to eat at is called Gum Kuo Restaurant; we shared a variety of food such as BBQ Pork, Roasted Duck, BBQ Fried Rice, Mongolian Beef, Shrimp Noodle, and Gai Lan – all for a price under $70! I love Chinatown! 🙂
5) Visit Oakland During Cocktail Week
And last but not least; definitely visit Oakland during their Cocktail Week. This year was their first time hosting this festival – from dates September 15-23, you can enjoy a community of cocktail events daily. My friend Rachel and I arrived Monday, September 17 – 19. While we were there we had a chance to check out a few of their events. On Monday, they hosted a tribute to Oakland’s bar culture and on Tuesday, we attended a lovely cocktail dinner featuring lo-fi aperitifs and Oakland Spirits Co. at Hopscotch.