Hello, Nomad Girls 🙂 We are happy to introduce you to Shoshana, a California native currently living in Oakland. We decided to make a special Oakland city guide for digital nomad girls and slow travelers, hoping that others learn to appreciate the city’s diversity and quirks as much as she does.
About Shoshana: “I prefer to travel slowly and travel often. My greatest joys in life are camping beneath Redwood trees and hiking along the California coast. I’ve lived in South Africa and Peru, and have traveled extensively throughout Europe, Southeast Asia, and the United States. I’m always happy to answer questions about the Bay Area, Northern California, or anywhere I have been.”
So, here we go, girls! Save the guide, in case you will be traveling through sunny California 😉
OAKLAND GUIDE FOR TRAVELLERS AND DIGITAL NOMADS!
Oakland, California, is filled with quirky shops, hipster cafes, Michelin-star restaurants, museums, and hiking trails. Since most travelers to the Bay Area focus on nearby San Francisco, Oakland tends to be more authentic and low-key – perfect for a digital nomad looking for a fun place to explore and get some work done.
Check out this Oakland guide for best places to eat, see, work and explore!
Where to sleep
Hostels are non-existent in Oakland and your next best bet to finding a cheap and safe place to sleep is through AirBnb. This 1960’s Caravan would definitely give your Insta feed a wonderful pop of color 🙂 There are quite a few listings near the 19th and 12th Street BART stops, which is key if you want to travel to nearby San Francisco via public transit. If you are willing to rent a car, use the AC Transit Bus System, or use Lyft, your options for accommodation will increase.
How to Get Around
Oakland is bustling with plenty of transportation options. The most popular is BART, which connects Oakland to San Francisco, Berkeley, and the two closest airports: San Francisco International and Oakland International. There are five main BART stops in Oakland – Rockridge, Lake Merritt, MacArthur, 12th Street City Center, and 19th Street. If you’re feeling more adventurous, AC Transit has both Transbay and East Bay-only bus lines that will allow you to explore even further. Lyft and Uber are also very popular in Oakland.
Places to eat
Farmer’s markets, cheap ethnic food, and Michelin-star restaurants – Oakland has it all. Below are the top three most uniquely Oakland (say that 10 times fast!) places to grab a bite to eat.
- Known as the best Farmer’s Market in the East Bay, the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market is open every Saturday from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, rain or shine. Over 40 local food vendors and an abundance of artisan vendors gather around Lake Merritt to show off their goods. Grab a crepe or smoothie from one of the food vendors, snag a few cheese samples, and you’re ready to walk around the lake! The best part? You’ll blend right in with the locals 🙂
- In the mood to treat yourself? Make a reservation at Mua – a funky-decorated restaurant in the heart of Downtown Oakland. I went for my birthday and it was the perfect place to celebrate. The brussel sprouts and twice-cooked kale were especially delicious.
- East Bay locals are especially proud of Zachary’s Chicago Pizza – deep-dish so delicious, you can skip the trip to the Windy City and spend more time in California. It does fill up, so be prepared to wait if you’re going at busier hours. Zachary’s is located in the heart of Rockridge, one of Oakland’s most charming neighborhoods, and is walkable to plenty of fun shopping and places to grab a drink after pizza.
Adventures in Nature
Bring your sneakers! Oakland is filled with places to get your sweat on. Here are some options for working out outside:
- Don’t want to go far? Lake Merritt is a 3.4-mile lagoon in the middle of downtown Oakland. The adjacent parks are filled with frisbee-players and sunbathers during the day, and the twinkling lights make for the perfect background for a romantic twilight stroll.
- Northern California is famous for its redwood trees and, unbeknownst to many, Oakland has an abundance. Redwood Regional Park has 1,830 acres of redwood-covered hiking trails and picnic areas. If you’re feeling up for it, you can camp overnight too!
- Rainy day? Oakland has an abundance of yoga studios and gyms. Fitness SF offers a free three-day trial and many yoga studios have very reasonable two-week memberships for new students.
Work and WiFi
There is an abundant amount of places to get work done for digital nomads in Oakland. In addition to cafes with WiFi (check out Perch and Underwood to meet other work-from-homers), the city has a few coworking spaces that are worth checking out:
- Impact Hub is a member-based coworking space for entrepreneurs creating positive impact. Located just blocks from 19th Street BART, Impact Hub has an option for a free day pass.
- OakStop is a coworking space with regularly rotation gallery exhibits. They have monthly memberships available as well as day passes.
- With four locations in Oakland, Portworkspaces is a convenient place for host a larger meeting or get some work done on your own. Their location near Jack London Square is walking distance from Lungomare – the perfect place to wind-down after a productive day.
- If you’re willing to BART over to Berkeley, you can spend the day at WeWork – an open-workspace for both students and freelancers. Be sure to check out the uber hip Blue Bottle next door!
Oakland at Night
Nightlife is thriving in Oakland, thanks to a combination of concert venues, new bars, and an abundance of beer gardens. Here are some of my favorites:
- No visit to Oakland is complete without a stop at Drake’s Dealership, the most popular beer garden in the city. If you get good weather, snag a spot outside with a fire pit. Enjoy beers from Northern California, wood-fire pizza, and good company.
- If you’re in town the first Friday of any month, be sure to check out Oakland’s First Fridays, a monthly celebration of food, art, and community. Food trucks and local artisans line Telegraph Avenue from 5:00 – 9:30 PM.
- The Paramount Theatre and The Fox are two famous Oakland landmarks. Between the two of them, you are bound to find a concert that you want to go to while you’re in town.
Hope you enjoyed this guide to Oakland, California. Have a great visit 🙂
Connect with Shoshana on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shoshanagould/