Video courtesy of Broken Dove Productions

From the historic theaters in vibrant Uptown to the gondola rides and whimsical paradise of Children’s Fairyland on serene Lake Merritt, Oakland’s unparalleled mix of cultural, outdoor, and family-friendly activities is guaranteed to delight any type of traveler. And with more sunny days than most American cities, it’s a beautiful and bustling setting for families, solo travelers, and groups seeking a diversity of exceptional experiences.

Standouts include the thriving art scene, anchored by the world-class collection and contemporary exhibitions at the Oakland Museum of California; the sprawling, sparkling Oakland Zoo, which provides sanctuary to rescued and rehabilitated wildlife and works closely with PETA and the Humane Society to ensure exceptional animal welfare; and the Chabot Science Center, with its state-of-the-art planetarium and the only research-grade telescopes accessible to the public in the U.S., all in the largest stand of coastal redwoods in the East Bay. These are just a few of dozens of options you’ll find in this robust guide to what to do in Oakland, a city that over-delivers for travelers looking for culture, nature, and more. 

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