California is a top tourist destination for people from all over the world. Hollywood and San Francisco are well known and on many bucket lists. But Oakland is an oft-overlooked treasure trove of excitement and culture.
Visitors and residents of Oakland have plenty to keep them busy. As the popularity of this city has increased over the last decade, so has the number of tourist attractions.
If Oakland is on your must-see list this spring, be sure to put these five unforgettable places on your itinerary.
- Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park
The mighty redwood forests of Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park attract visitors from around the globe. Slightly on the outskirts of Oakland, the park sits waiting silently for you to enter its majestic tree-filled gates.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll feel like you stepped into the past. In the 1800s, this forest was a source of lumber for building structures in San Francisco. Although it’s no longer used for that purpose, the sense of history remains in these quiet woods.
You can get up close and personal with these majestic, towering trees in a forest full of splendor. Be prepared to see wild animals, including some rare species, like the golden eagle!
Activities include picnicking, trail hiking, horseback riding, and more outdoor adventures.
- Oakland Zoo
With a population of over 400,000 people in Oakland, it’s important to have a zoo to explore and get educated. At the Oakland Zoo, visitors learn about creatures from all walks of life and ecosystems.
More than 750 exotic species call this zoo their home. When you visit, you can get behind the scenes with some of them and meet the staff who take care of them. Get your questions answered and see your favorite critters up close and personal.
There are also family activities, camps, and teen programs offered throughout the year. The park is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and admission is $24, although many discounts are available.
- Wine Tours
The Napa Valley runs through Oakland, giving wine aficionados the opportunity to taste some of the unique flavors found here.
Some of the world’s best wine is considered to be from the Napa Valley itself. If you’re looking for a tour, you’ll find many of them here! The trick is to narrow down what you want as your side with wine.
Donuts, walking tours, and little wine boutiques are a few of the choices you’ll get to enjoy. Ready to hit the wineries? Check out these top-rated tours:
Green Dream Tours
Not your typical wine tour, Green Dream takes you to the smaller boutiques in Napa, Sonoma, and Alcatraz.
Full and half-day group tours teach you everything you wanted to know about the history of wine in the area.
Painted Ladies Tour Company
Looking for a unique perspective on wine and a fun history lesson about each area? The Painted Ladies Tour is for you.
You’ll get to ride in on a classic VW bus and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere as your guides do the work and you enjoy the wine!
See Eat Love
Wine is great, but wine and food together? A recipe for a day you won’t forget!
See Eat Love offers private tours and events, taking you to the best food and wine in Oakland and the surrounding areas.
Walking tours, handicap-friendly options, and luxury trips are all found in the Napa Valley area. Be sure to schedule a tour for your wine tasting delights when you visit.
- U.S.S. Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum
The U.S.S. Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum is a must-see for culture and history fans. Affiliated with the world-renowned Smithsonian Institute, the Museum’s focal piece is the actual U.S.S. Hornet ship.
Exhibits include two rotating galleries and many permanent displays. These showcase the importance of the United States Navy in our past. More than 15 aircraft are on the grounds to be explored, too.
This isn’t your typical air and space museum, though. Part of the history includes some spooky stories. You can even spend the night on the Grey Ghost, a real World War II ship!
Tours include the typical educational memorabilia and walk-throughs. But you can also book an evening full of paranormal stories and escape rooms.
Is the Hornet really haunted? You decide!
- Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve
Part of the East Bay Regional Park District, the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve is full of unique viewing opportunities. This self-guided nature trail is set in a mix of ecosystems unlike any you’ll find in the rest of the world.
Located high up in the Berkeley Hills of Oakland, the plants found here are considered relics of a geographical era long gone. Rare flowers bloom throughout the year, and you never know what kind of wildlife you’ll run into.
The 241 acres of trail can be hiked. Bring a camera and a lunch for a slow stroll full of gorgeous panoramas.
Due to the sensitive ecosystem, dogs, horses, and bikes are not allowed. Jogging is discouraged as well. But when you slow down and smell the flowers, you’ll get to see so much more of this botanical preserve!
Right on the coast, visitors to Oakland get all the views of typical tourist cities like San Francisco, without the crowds.
Your trip to Oakland is already going to be memorable. Make it absolutely unforgettable by adding these five places and activities to your itinerary!
Angus Flynn is the Business Manager for Broadstone Axis. With over five years of experience in the multifamily industry, he is one of the most dedicated managers in his field. He loves to help others and takes great pride in working in a community that so many love to call home.