Explore San Francisco

A Guide to Oakland's Buzzing Uptown

Join the locals flocking to eateries, galleries and venues housed in gloriously restored historic buildings.

While downtown Oakland is home to the city’s stately civic institutions, uptown is where locals gather for post-work revelry. A bustling hub during the 1930s that waned after attention shifted to the suburbs, uptown Oakland is experiencing a vibrant revitalization. In 2009, Oakland dubbed it the Arts and Entertainment District for the neighborhood’s many eateries, galleries and venues housed in gloriously restored historic buildings.

Itani Ramen
Itani Ramen (©Aubrie Pick)

Where to Shop

Uptown owes some of its recent reemergence to Oakland First Fridays, a monthly art bash that fills sidewalks and galleries with a fashionable crowd. For a taste of the city’s flourishing art scene, head to 25th Street where a cluster of galleries such as Vessel Gallery exhibit local artists. At Turtle & Hare, husband-and-wife design team Monica Reskala and Christopher Weiss outfit a sleek, airy showroom with their handcrafted wood furnishings in addition to a selection of refined tableware, stationery and jewelry.

Fox Theater
(Courtesy Fox Theater)

The Best Things to Do

Find dazzling Art Deco gems such as the Fox Theater, a richly detailed 1928 Moorish-themed movie palace that today hosts acts such as Metallica and The Roots. While the Fox no longer screens movies, you can catch second-run flicks over pizza and beer at The New Parkway, a comfy theater that eschews theater seating for vintage sofas and diner booths.

Drake's Dealership
Drake's Dealership (©Megan Bayley)

The Best Restaurants and Bars in Uptown

One of the neighborhood’s most atmospheric eateries, Drakes Dealership, stripped the roof off of a retro brick-wall auto shop and transformed it into an open-air beer garden with fire pits, trees and a whopping 32 brews on tap. For cocktails, head to The Double Standard, where meticulous drinks such as a spiced Pimm’s Cup are best enjoyed on a delightful back patio with picnic tables tucked under towering redwood trees.

Lunch at Gastropig
Lunch at Gastropig (©Pavel Tereshkovets)

It’s hashtags and hash browns at The Gastropig, thanks to the signature "#Baconslut" sandwich—a brioche roll stuffed with bacon, cheddar, chili aioli and a gooey over-easy egg—served alongside a crispy waffle-iron hash brown. At Kured, a new lunch pop-up inside hip Spanish spot Duende, executive chef and owner Paul Canales dishes up sandwiches with homemade sausage, including a harissa-spiced Merguez made with Sonoma lamb.

Jenny Schwarz of Hopscotch
Jenny Schwarz of Hopscotch (Courtesy Hopscotch)

Japanese influences at upscale diner Hopscotch mean you’ll swap traditional eggs and bacon for custardy shoyu eggs with pork belly and kimchi fried rice. And while the steaming bowls of noodles and savory broths are a hit at Itani Ramen, the most fun might be the restaurant’s dessert vending machine that’s stocked with technicolor packages of Japanese frozen treats.

Pork-Betta Sandwich at Kured
Pork-Betta Sandwich at Kured (©Tory Putnam)