Try this section of The Town for bay views, stellar eats, and much more.
Just the facts
Main strip: Embarcadero
Who dwells here: Lawyers, politicians dog-lovers and tourists enamored with Bay views
Main architecture: A combination of warehouses and storefronts from the 1880s to 1980s
Well-known icon: The signature cranes in the distance at the Port of Oakland
Where to mingle with locals: Plank, Chop Bar and the Jack London Square’s Farmers’ Market
Location. Location. Location. That’s Jack London’s selling point. It’s got Bay views, the call of seabirds, and the ferry as public transit. Enjoy the peace of the waterfront, or head a few paces onshore and down European styled walkways to a booming bar and restaurant scene, including The Fat Lady, The Night Light and BBQ joint Everett & Jones. Music can be heard almost every night of the week at Yoshi’s, the famed spot in the Bay Area for jazz and dinner. Tucked within these modern-day diversions and loft-style living are serious old-school stops. California’s second oldest bar, Heinold’s First and Last Saloon, opened in 1883 and is still lit by gas (author Jack London wrote here). Or just look for the writer’s Yukon cabin—a replica built from the original boards.
The inside inside scoop
Guided moonlight and sunset tours by kayak launch from Jack London Square’s California Canoe & Kayak. Right after, enjoy a nice dinner at Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, offering the finest, freshly prepared seafood and beautiful views of the esturary.
If you only have three hoursSe
Wine country is so 2010. Two words: Urban wineries. Make sure to stop at Rosenblum Cellars and Brooklyn West Winery, both located in this arts and entertainment district. After some great wine tasting, discover a jazz great at Yoshi’s Oakland, which opened in 1972 as a jazz-dinner venue; it has hosted Max Roach and Dizzy Gillespie.
This outdoors emporium is home to a sailing school, the floating White House (the U.S.S. Potomac), along with bike rentals and kayak lessons. And you can have the best of both worlds — the district is also a foodie mecca with Plank, Noka Ramen, Forge and Farmhouse Kitchen, just to name a few.
For the vegan travelers, make sure to stop by Timeless Coffee, this plant-based coffee roastery and bakery was founded in 2012, and features an extensive array of baked goods and cakes made in-house daily. Still hungry? Head to Souley Vegan, a Louisiana Creole-style vegan food restaurant by Tamearra Dyson, who beat Bobby Flay on the Food Network, the first vegan to do so in 28 seasons!
How to get here
Freeway exit: From San Francisco, take 1-80 E, exiting at Broadway/Alameda from 1-880 S; from Berkeley, take 1-580 E/1-80 W, exiting at Broadway/Alameda from 1-880 S
BART stop: 12th Street/City Center (you will need to walk at least 12 blocks from Downtown Oakland or take a bus)
Bus lines: Take the free Broadway Shuttle along Broadway from Uptown to Jack London Square
Train: Travel by train to get to the heart of Jack London Square with Amtrak
Ferry: Take the ferry from San Francisco or Alameda to Jack London Square via the San Francisco Bay Ferry
Where to stay: The 145-room Waterfront Hotel channels the nautical vibe of Jack London in its décor. Additional waterfront hotels along the estuary include the Best Western Plus Bayside Hotel, Executive Inn & Suites and Homewood Suites by Hilton.