We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Book a Stay + Win a Getaway Book your hotel on TripAdvisor and you could win a great trip!

“Outstanding Museum” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California
Ranked #1 of 114 things to do in Oakland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Oakland Museum of California provides unique collections, exhibitions and educational opportunities designed to generate a broader and deeper understanding of and interest in California's environment, history, art and people. Museum programs are responsive, accessible and meaningful to the public, including school children, teachers, scholars, the immediate Oakland community, and an increasingly diverse California population.
Alameda, Ca.
Level Contributor
63 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Outstanding Museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2013

Great History exhibit and outstanding Art exhibits. Chinese Festival was amazing--had to pull my 7 year old grandson away
after 5 hours; New science exhibit opening soon

Visited March 2013
Thank Alamedabonnie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

446 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
61 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good museum!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 15, 2013

This Museum has 3 levels and at least three major exhibits at a time:
Downstairs is the technology/science area, which was closed for renovation when we were there. On the 2nd level is the history of California and temporary exhibit space and on the top level are the art galleries.

There is on site parking ($5 with validation when you buy you entrance ticket for $12 per adult).

The history of California may not sound like a super exciting exhibit, but it is very well done. The history of the state is really interesting with the native peoples, gold rush, oil, technology, etc. etc. We spent over 2 hours in this gallery alone. There is something for all ages - lots of "look here" things for kids, and interesting artifacts and display panels.

The art galleries are also really good. In addition to the their permanent exhibits, there were temporary glass and photography exhibits when we were there.

My only complaint is that the museum was so good, we ended up spending more time there than I had planned and weren't able to do the other activity I wanted to that day!

Visited March 2013
2 Thank dfinkel78759
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
195 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
“An engaging tribute to the state and its artists”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2013 via mobile

Don't come here in search of deathless art by world-renowned luminaries. That's not what this museum is about. Every gallery expresses a distinctive focus California: its people, its landscape and the spirit of its artists from the forgotten cartoonist who lampooned Gold Rush fever to photographers and painters working now (I particularly enjoyed the documentary photos of everyday suburban life). Explanatory panels are among the most user-friendly I've seen, written to spark discussion as well as to inform. This is a museum that reaches out to its public: ordinary Californians of all ages. I noticed many visitors, including kids, who looked as if they rarely or never went to museums and felt perfectly at home in this one. As a curious visitor to California and a life-long art lover, I felt moved by the sense of discovery that pervaded this well conceived museum. Tip: admission is free on Sundays.

1 Thank Gelatifan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Logan, Utah
Level Contributor
52 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Could spend a whole day here”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 3, 2013

Very well laid out, informative, and interesting museum. The natural sciences floor was closed when we visited, but the art and history floors filled our afternoon, and I don't think we could have done justice to all three in one visit. The outdoor gardens are underwhelming. The history and art exhibits are real gems.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank brachiopod251
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
68 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2013

Got there at about 10:30 AM to find it wasn't open, but parked in the museum parking lot ($1 an hour with admission to the museum) and wandered around the downtown and wound up walking around Lake Merritt (3.5 miles) stopping at the bird sanctuary on the lake. Nice views of the city.

We got back to the museum and took a trip through history. Well done.

The Art part was not for me other than the small F64 Group exhibit (Ansel Adams, Weston, Cunningham).

Restaurant had two piece band (double bass and piano) playing melodies at lunch or you could go out on the veranda for lunch. Food, reasonable and good.

I recommend this as stop. Great history of California from the earliest settlers to now.

I think even a family with teens (you know those folks who know everything, at least for now) would find this interesting, particularly some of the hollywood stuff.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank bobc65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Oakland Museum of California also viewed


Been to Oakland Museum of California? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing