WHAT TO DO
Oakland Museum of California
A masterpiece of late-1960s design, OMCA has “a cool lawn area and art that’s vibrant and daring,” says Cade. Go on Friday nights for the half-price admission, food trucks, and 10 p.m. closing time.
Walk the three-mile loop around this picturesque lagoon (or run it, as Cade’s husband, Green Day bassist Mike Dirnt, does), take a gondola ride, or just explore shops in the area. If you have kids, don’t miss the retro Children’s Fairyland amusement park.
Oakland First Fridays
This street-art crawl is “so colorful and hipster-chic,” says Cade. Start at West Grand and Telegraph Avenues and eat, drink, and walk your way through blocks of street performances, food trucks, and people-watching opportunities.
Grand Lake Theatre
Built in 1926, the Vaudeville theater–turned-cineplex—complete with organ preludes before Friday and Saturday night shows—pairs blockbusters with architectural opulence. “It’s like stepping back in time,” says Cade.
Find pieces like a Céline silk set, Valentino stilettos, and 1980s novelty tops at this decades-spanning shop. “The owners, Karen Anderson Fort and Rachel Cubra, have such a unique eye,” says Cade. “I always find a treasure there!”
WHERE TO EAT
Shan Dong Restaurant
Visit Oakland’s Chinatown to gawk at its colorful murals, then join the queue at Shan Dong Restaurant for hand-pulled noodles, succulent pork dumplings, and crisp onion pancakes. Totally worth the wait.
Oakland’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, this eclectic New American spot (striped bass with chicory, slow-poached eggs with dates) is splurge-worthy dining at its best. You can reserve a table in the dining room or sit at the kitchen bar like Cade does: “That way, you can watch what the chefs are doing.”
WHERE TO STAY
The upscale Jack London Square hotel features nautical vibes (oar-printed wallpaper, compass-patterned carpets), a heated pool and bay-facing balconies. Easy ferry access into San Francisco and a free shuttle to public transit (BART) are a boon to those exploring the city without a car.