If you haven’t heard of Oakland, California yet, just sit tight, you will… As the techies of San Francisco have started to cross the Bay Bridge, they’re brought all the cool, creative and fun stuff with them. Independently owned coffee shops, creative and interesting wares for sale, a thriving art scene, and most importantly a down-to-earth vibe combined with a more affordable cost of living—are just some of this city’s highlights. Recently one of our local Knok scouts shared his favorite spots in his up-and-coming hometown. Thus our locally curated agenda list for families who want to see Oakland for the first time: 

We recommend starting your day with a generous breakfast where the locals flock: Grand Lake Kitchen. Here you’ll find the winning combination of great food with great prices. The restaurant itself is rather small, so families tend to take their first meal of the day to go and head over to the paths and benches along the lake to have a breakfast amidst Mother Nature.  

If it’s Saturday, you won’t want to miss the Grand Lake Farmers Market, which is Open Saturday's from 9:00am-2:00pm. According to our Knok Scout this is the “best place to people watch” in the city; not to mention the outstanding produce, delicious and fresh food to go, and live music.

After breakfast head over to Frog Park, which according to our Knok Scout is the “Locals best kept secret for kids.” This park is located along a lovely stream with a nice walking path that takes you and your strolling crew right to the Sunday Market at the DMV. The park itself is open with green spaces, great play structures, swings and more.

For a quick and satisfying spot for lunch try Holy Land Restaurant, where you may taste the best falafel of your life. Or another great option is Arizmendi Pizza, where you can sample fresh baked goods and steaming hot pizza pies—you will definitely get the local vibe while you enjoy a lively lunch with the kids.

After lunch head over to the Cathedral of Christ the Light, perhaps the most beautiful church in California, it’s the local spot to find some peace of mind, enjoy a stroll around the area, and let the kids play about in the open courtyard. After some downtime by the church, head back into town to check out some of the local artist’s galleries, (like the Oakland Art Murmur) gift shops, (like Urban Indigo) and maybe grab a coffee and people watch at Awaken Café.   

For a satisfying way to end the day get a table at Champa Garden and savor some major flavors of Thai cuisine. The restaurant is in a residential area and despite seeming out of place among the homes, the food, service, and overall experience gets two thumbs ups (and the price is extremely attractive). 


We also recommend planning a date night so you can check out the New Parkway Theatre, which is an indie movie theatre that plays films you can’t see anywhere else; the experience is truly unique to the Oakland scene with coaches, reclining chairs, beer and other comfort food to boot. 


If you enjoyed reading this post, definitely check out the post “Why I Love Oakland, California” and don’t forget to add some of the places you find to our family travel guide!

Image Source: www.flickr.com Page by Jim Davies