Feb 10 2016


Tall Ships Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority

Two regular tall ship visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area will spend seven weeks and three days in four ports hosting school children and the public for tours and excursions. Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, both U.S. Coast Guard-inspected passenger vessels, will stop in Oakland, Antioch, Redwood City, and Sausalito. In each port, the ships will open for walk-on tours and offer public sailings, including the popular two-ship Battle Sails. Here’s the dates for each port:

Oakland (Jack London Square): February 20-29.
Antioch (City Marina): March 2-9.
Redwood City (Port of Redwood City): March 12-23.
Sausalito (Bay Model): March 25 to April 11.

The three-hour Battle Sails feature close-quarters maneuvers with real cannon firing real gunpowder, but no cannon balls. Guests are encouraged to help operate the ship and verbally taunt the adversaries. Tickets are $75 adults, $67 seniors, students, and active military, $39 children 12/under. Most Battle Sails are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The ships will also offer two-hour Adventure Sails, which also feature a chance for guests to help raise a sail or take the helm of a real tall ship, conditions permitting. Tickets are $47 adults, $39 children 12/under. Most Adventure Sails are scheduled at 11 a.m. Sundays.

Purchase all tickets online or call 800-200-5239. No reservations are required for the walk-on tours, which are usually scheduled for 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For a detailed schedule of tours and sailings, view thePublic Sail Schedule.

Both ships are booking specially priced one-hour and three-hour educational programs for elementary school students and home-school groups during the week. For information, call 800-200-5239.

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Jan 21 2016

The Smart Culture Show: Artsy Comedy Showcase & Free Pizza

It’s the third Thursday, and that only means one thing: The Smart Culture Show is back at the 3rd St. Warehouse.

What is the Smart Culture Show? It’s an art themed comedy show held in a warehouse space in the Jack London section of Oakland. Each month, they bring you some of the Bay Area’s best comedians, who will not only tell you jokes, but hilariously dissect the theme at hand.

The Smart Culture Show

Admission is free, and so is the pizza!

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Jan 07 2016

Oakland Restaurant Week

Oakland Restaurant Week

Oakland Restaurant Week is YOUR opportunity to experience the trendy culinary scene everyone is talking about. For 10 days (January 14—24, 2016), the following restaurants will offer special prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at $20, $30, $40, and $50 price points. That’s two weekends of awesome deals to feed your inner foodie.

Oakland Restaurant Week is in its sixth year and we are proud to have American Express be our presenting sponsor. American Express’ support has elevated Oakland Restaurant Week to the next level.

Have any other questions? Check out the FAQs.

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Dec 21 2015

Holiday Caroling At Jack London Square


Holiday Caroling At Jack London Square

Weekdays from December 7th-23th from 6:15pm – 7:45pm

Throughout Jack London Square
Enjoy holiday caroling at Jack London Square’s beautiful waterfront – performed by TOSCA, the East Bay branch of the Golden Gate Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. This ensemble of beautiful voices will be singing holiday carols and holiday favorites.

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Dec 15 2015

36 Hours in Oakland, California

Long overshadowed by its dolled-up big sister across the Bay, Oakland is its own town, and its cultural heterogeneity remains its greatest strength.


Long overshadowed by its dolled-up big sister across the Bay, Oakland is its own town. Even as its status as one of the most diverse cities in the country is threatened by tech-boom-era gentrification, its thrill­ing cultural heterogeneity remains its greatest strength. The city’s rather dull skyline belies its architectural splendor — from glamorous movie palaces to the Kevin Roche-designed midcentury-modern Oakland Museum of California to the 135-acre Mills College campus, where Beaux-Arts and Spanish Colonial Revival buildings are set among eucalyptus trees. The western terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad and a thriving port, Oakland remains a proud working-class town even as new developments, like the huge Brooklyn Basin project, remake its waterfront.

Portal’s backyard patio. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times


1. GET HAPPY, 3 P.M.
For a California-centric selection of more than a dozen craft beers on tap and a human scale game of Jenga, head to Portal. Its backyard patio, ringed with sparkling white lights, has a view of Lake Merritt. The line for the fabulous brunch here is almost always long. So skip it and try the restaurant’s “garbage bread,” made from pizza dough, proofed overnight and rolled into a burrito-Stromboli mash-up stuffed with either pepperoni and sausage, herbs and ricotta, or vegetables ($14) at happy hour. Afterward, walk north around the lake, a wildlife refuge established in 1870. Look for rare white pelicans, including one year-round resident named Hank.

2. FIRED UP, 6 P.M.
For dinner, splurge at Camino, where the food is cooked by wood-fire, the seating is communal and tips are not accepted — an effort its husband-wife owners, Russell Moore and Allison Hopelain, have helped spearhead nationally. The restaurant (its prices, mainly) has its detractors, but as a direct descendant of Chez Panisse, where Mr. Moore, the chef, worked for two decades, it’s hard to find more emblematic Northern California cooking in its purest, casual-yet-refined form. With one fireplace and one wood oven continually burning, each night’s menu features three entrees: typically one meat (rib-eye steak and slow-cooked short ribs with grits, green beans and fried sunchokes, $42, for example), one fish (like local ling cod with green beans, tomato confit, cilantro and saffron broth, $37) and a vegetarian offering. Camino’s new cookbook, “This Is Camino,” makes a fine souvenir.

3. GET ARTSY, 8 P.M.
Once a month, the decade-old Oakland Art Murmur takes over the Uptown neighborhood. A First Friday art walk (6 to 9 p.m.) includes dozens of galleries and venues and a street party that embodies the spirit of this changing city. (Quieter afternoon “Saturday Strolls” are held every week.) In Uptown’s Fox Square, seek out the “Remember Them: Champions for Humanity” sculpture, a four-piece, 25-foot-tall bronze work that honors 25 humanitarians. The landing-place for generations of black migrants from the American South, Oakland has a storied jazz tradition. The Sound Roomhosts local blues and soul singers, Big Band and West Coast Latin Jazz groups and international acts. Tickets start at $10.

The Grand Lake theater. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times


By Cesar Chavez Park in a tiny orange stucco building in Fruitvale, Taqueria Campos feels like a modest Mexican home, where the tortillas are fresh and stockpots are simmering with the Jalisco specialties of pozole, menudo and goat birria — three meaty soups that provide a warming winter breakfast. Another East Side option is Saigon Deli Sandwich & Taco Valparaiso. With co-owners from Vietnam and Mexico, respectively, this banh mi shop and taco stand in one serves everything from pork combination sandwiches with pâté and head cheese to fish or lengua (tongue) tacos and Mission-style burritos. A meal at either cash-only restaurant runs less than $10.

The Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Mountain View Cemetery prides itself on “transcending the division between man and nature” with a parklike landscape of California live oak, Italian cypress, Lebanese cedar, Italian stone pine and palm trees in the Piedmont Hills. The cemetery, which dates to the 1860s, has tombstones of some of the state’s most influential residents, including Julia Morgan, who designed the nearby Chapel of the Chimes as well as Hearst Castle. On the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, there are free docent-led tours at 10 a.m.

Tucked away in the Temescal neighborhood, two pedestrian alleys are home to shops that feel as if they jumped off Etsy’s home page. Along with boutiques selling twee teapots and handmade coat racks, there’s Book/Shop, a tiny store and print design studio that treats its texts like art objects. At Marisa Mason Studio, the designer Marisa Haskell riffs on the hippie-era appropriation of indigenous jewelry, creating pieces that embrace bohemian California’s unselfconscious borrowing from Southwestern and Mexican folk art. Stop at the Kickstarter-funded Curbside Creamery, where five of the dozen or so varieties — from traditional mint chip to the wonderful Thai tea flavor — are vegan, made with cashew milk (scoops start at $3).

Trapeze Arts is one of a handful of circus schools in the United States. Founded in 1994, students have gone on to Cirque du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The 13,000-square-foot warehouse space is open to the public to try their hand at trampolines and trapezes, hoops and ropes, tight wire and unicycle. Single classes start at $35, reservations required. Nearby, the Crucible teaches three-hour “taster” classes ($135), offering introductions to industrial arts like welding and sand casting.

From left, fried chicken with plantains and collard greens at Miss Ollie’s; Korean fried chicken at FuseBox; the garbage bread at Portal. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times

On a West Oakland sidestreet with graffiti and industrial lots, the sophisticated Korean restaurant FuseBoxopens at 2 p.m. on Saturdays for what the owners call an “extended happy hour” (through 5:30 p.m.). Try the spicy, rice-flour-battered “KFC” — Korean fried chicken — and a beer for $8, or the pig ear fries and beer or wine for $7. The beans used in the house tofu come from the nearby Hodo Soy Beanery. In the winter, FuseBox offers blankets and hot sake for those who sit outside beside fire pits.

At Umami Mart, a sublime Japanese kitchen and barware shop, food, drink and design intersect. Its Bottle Shop, which focuses exclusively on Japanese beer, sets it apart. Umami Mart’s sake club, Sake Gumi, delivers two bottles of sake, along with tasting notes and pairing suggestions ($29, or $75 monthly). Afterward, head to Swan’s Market, a historic “housewives’ market,” with an exceptional food court, from the Japanese set lunches at B-Dama to The Cook and Her Farmer’s mind-blowing oyster po’ boy. Miss Ollie’s is an Afro-Caribbean restaurant where the jerk shrimp are big and scorchingly spicy ($12.50) and the skillet-fried chicken (a generous portion for $17.75) is among the best in the Bay Area.

In a city with an abundance 0f Art Deco-era movie palaces, the Paramount has transformed itself into a multipurpose venue for everything from classics like “The Wizard of Oz” to performances of “The Nutcracker” and the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. Alternatively, head to the New Parkway Theater, where there are love seats and vintage chairs and a cafe with local wine and beer. Shows ($8) range from blockbusters like “Straight Outta Compton” to viewings of the presidential debates.

The Alley is a well-worn piano bar with decades of business cards papering its walls and the famous (some might say notorious) Rod Dibble playing a selection of some 4,000 standards and show tunes. Mr. Dibble has been at his station since 1960, making him an Oakland institution. The crowd is as eclectic as they come, and all are invited to sing, making it karaoke meets cabaret in a time capsule. Then consider making a pilgrimage to Cafe Van Kleef. Its owner and namesake, known as the “Uptown godfather,” died in September, but his bar and its famed greyhound cocktails survive. Van Kleef’s location — walking distance from City Hall — made it a hangout for politicos, including the former mayor and current governor Jerry Brown. On weekends, live music ranges from Oakland Dub to folk to R&B.

Mind’s Eye Vintage at Temescal Alley. Credit Jason Henry for The New York Times


Calling it brunch might be pushing it. Starting at 9 a.m., the Fat Lady serves breakfast with booze. Dimly lit, with dripped-wax-draped candelabras, mismatched paintings and a long bar, this 1970s-era Jack London Square institution is housed in a former (circa 1880s) brothel and built on myth and a mean corned beef hash ($14). After breakfast, walk to the waterfront to Sunday’s farmers’ market. You can take a docent-led dockside tour ($10) of the 1934 U.S.S. Potomac, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 165-foot “Floating White House.” Then drive through the industrial maze of shipping containers, idling trucks and towering cranes to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, where the views of San Francisco’s skyline are unbeatable.

Map data ©2015 Google

With a prime location in Jack London Square, steps from the ferry to San Francisco, Joie de Vivre’s Waterfront Hotel (10 Washington Street, 510-836-3800; jdvhotels.com) has a retro nautical theme, a complimentary wine and cheese hour each evening and prices starting at $209.

Despite the rapid change in recent years, Oakland’s hotel offerings remain relatively meager. Just across the border in neighboring Berkeley, the Claremont Hotel Club and Spa (41 Tunnel Road, 510-843-3000; claremontresort.com) is an East Bay institution. Opened in 1915, the resort has two heated lap pools, tennis courts and a recently renovated 20,000-square-foot fitness center. Rooms start at $191.

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