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Driving in Oakland

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new york city
posts: 1,851
reviews: 1
Driving in Oakland

How is driving in Oakland - traffic and parking wise? Any areas that should be avoided?

Thanks!!

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 21,766
reviews: 114
1. Re: Driving in Oakland

Where in Oakland and where are you going and coming from ? It helps to be more exact on what you are doing and where you are going. The traffic in the Bay Area is heavy and that is a bigger issue than traffic in Oakland

The more specific your question the better our advise

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 28,693
reviews: 26
2. Re: Driving in Oakland

<<Any areas that should be avoided?>>

Oakland has some very nice sections. It also has some extremely not nice sections.

So, as belo has said, we need to know your route.

new york city
posts: 1,851
reviews: 1
3. Re: Driving in Oakland

We will be coming from Santa Cruz, we would like to tour San Francisco a bit and we have friends who live in Temescal. We are looking at rentals for 3 nights near Temescal - have leads on some places with parking, but in case those don't work out, how is the street parking?

We like to drive around aimlessly sometimes, just wanted to make sure we don't wander into any unsavory areas.

We are already a bit familiar with the SC/SF area, but have never been to Oakland.

Berkeley, California
Destination Expert
for Berkeley
posts: 5,567
reviews: 60
4. Re: Driving in Oakland

Parking is much easier in Oakland than it is in most of San Francisco and portions of Berkeley. However, it's not a suburban piece of cake either, especially in hot spot business districts (Temescal, Grand Lake, Piedmont Avenue, and Rockridge).

Street parking in Temescal is possible--I do it regularly for shopping, eating, and visiting friends. However, it's not a piece of cake during dinner hours, so be prepared to walk a couple blocks if your destination is right in the center of the action, which is on Telegraph Avenue between +/- 47th and 51st streets.

Traffic in Oakland is not too bad, but many of the traffic signals are uncoordinated, so it's not necessarily the fastest thing to do. You should be fine wandering around in a car anywhere in or near Temescal. Note that the neighborhood west of Highway 24 (and east of Emeryville) is not the nicest place to walk around, but it's perfectly fine for a drive. (I do it all the time without problems.) There are only two areas I would avoid driving in:

1. The first is West Oakland, roughly bounded by I-880 to the west and south, I-580 to the north, and I-980 to the east. Major thoroughfares (San Pablo, Grand, Mandela) are fine, but avoid side streets.

2. The second is East Oakland, roughly bounded by 35th Avenue to the north, the city limits to the south, I-880 to the west, and MacArthur Blvd. to the east. I would avoid all streets in this area except International Blvd.

Good luck, and enjoy your visit!

Edited: 2:11 pm, March 06, 2013
Berkeley, California
Destination Expert
for Berkeley
posts: 5,567
reviews: 60
5. Re: Driving in Oakland

2. Oops, forgot to mention that High Street is okay too. So much for getting my edit correct. :)

new york city
posts: 1,851
reviews: 1
6. Re: Driving in Oakland

Thanks for the detailed reply :-)

What are your favorite restaurants in Oakland?

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 5,312
reviews: 45
7. Re: Driving in Oakland

Temescal is a great area! We visit our niece there and can usually find street parking off of Telegraph.

Your friends there will know the bad areas, and if you're going to any specific attractions, you're unlikely to wander into the bad areas. Davdaven's suggestions are good. But you may not be looking at street signs as you wander, so if you find yourself in a dodgy area, lock your doors and head toward the nearest freeway (which are frequently elevated in Oakland, so you should be able to see it). Or head towards the highrises of downtown.

For restaurants in Oakland, I really like Duende, a new tapas place in downtown. In Temescal itself, Bakesale Betty is great for pastries and lunch (their fried chicken sandwich is hugely popular). Other biggies are Burma Superstar, Pizzaiola, Dona Tomas, Barlata.

Berkeley, California
Destination Expert
for Berkeley
posts: 5,567
reviews: 60
8. Re: Driving in Oakland

Oakland is full of fabulous restaurants. The San Francisco market is too expensive for many up-and-coming chefs, and Berkeley has too much red tape, so they've been opening up shop in Oakland instead.

In Temescal, I recommend Burma Superstar (Burmese), Barlata (tapas), Marc 49 (wine bar/restaurant), Homeroom (mac & cheese), and Mama's Royal Cafe (brunch). Arbor Cafe is fabulous for coffee and pastries, but be prepared for a heavy serving of hipsters. (Despite the ironic facial hair and grandma glasses, Arbor Cafe really is one of the best places for a "proper" Oakland experience.)

I used to be a fan of Bakesale Betty, but they have cut back their hours dramatically over the past couple years and I don't think the owners have their heart in it anymore. I am not enamored with Pizzaiolo and Doña Tomas, but there are many fans.

Elsewhere in Oakland, my favorite restaurant by far is Mua (in Uptown). Their burgers, veggie (CBQ) burgers, and mac & cheese are phenomenal. It gets a bit noisy, but the energy there is undeniable. Grand Tavern (in the Grand Lake district) and any number of restaurants along College Avenue (in Rockridge) are great if you want a date night. À Côté is a great place to start if you can't pick amongst the various options; reservations are recommended.

Are you interested in drinking? If so, I recommend Make Westing in Uptown (cocktails + bocce ball courts = win!), Cato's Alehouse on Piedmont Avenue (pub/restaurant), Kona Club on Piedmont Avenue (tiki bar), and District in Old Oakland (swanky but not too over-the-top). Also, McNally's is a nondescript Irish pub in Rockridge that makes an Irish coffee that is much better than the much more famous offering at San Francisco's Buena Vista. There are countless other watering holes, so let us know if you would like recommendations for dive bars, classy bars, etc.

California
posts: 16
reviews: 18
9. Re: Driving in Oakland

The above poster's information about West Oakland is outdated. It has undergone a big transformation in the past few years and is now hip, has lots of students, and people who commute to jobs in the city, and new loft and condo complexes. It is the oldest and most historical part of Oakland, with mostly Victorian architecture. You would have no problem driving or walking on any "side street" in West Oakland at night. East Oakland is another story, but there is nothing wrong with the Allendale and Maxwell Park areas which the OP includes in the parts to be avoided. Apart from East Oakland, from like Seminary south, there is nowhere in Oakland I would be concerned about driving or walking around in. You can always find parking in Oakland.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 21,766
reviews: 114
10. Re: Driving in Oakland

Guys, think of it from a visitor's perspective. All of you are just putting names out as if there are neon signs all over the city telling a newbie where they are and where not to go or what the boundary is.

We go to Oakland a few times a month and as Daven.. Said, have enjoyed many of the restaurants there and some of the bars -- in fact some that you recommend.

To the OP, sorry but you say you have people you know in that area. What are they telling you ?