Who’s joining us in Oakland, CA for the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit?
If you yelled out a resounding “I am!”, then this post is for you. (And if you’re still considering it, it’s not too late to register.)
Oakland, while often lumped together with San Francisco due to proximity, is a major city on its own. In fact, it’s the 8th largest city in the vast state of California.
Our Bay Area-headquartered VolunteerMatch office is packed with staff from Oakland. And here’s what us locals have to say about what you should do with your free time before, after, or between 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit activities:
- Catch Some Sun
Unlike its foggy neighbor to the west, Oakland is reliably sunny. And if you’re coming from winter climates, you’ll have nothing to complain about. The typical climate in Oakland in December? 60s and sunny.
- Walk Around Lake Merritt
While you’re enjoying the sun, why not take a stroll around this 155 acre beauty of a lake? The 3.4 mile shoreline, always bustling with people, events and even birds, serves as an urban oasis. Don’t believe me? Check out these photos.
Want to get on the water? You can also take a ride in a Venetian-style gondola.
- Catch a Movie at Grand Lake Theater
After a full day of collaborating with and learning from other corporate volunteering enthusiasts, spend your down time taking in a movie at this gorgeous, historic theater. Trust me, you’ve never seen a movie theater quite like this before.
Redwoods can grow up to 360 feet tall!
Hike the Trails at Redwood Regional Park
With a few minor exceptions, redwoods are unique to Northern California. And they’re breathtaking. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you’ll want to set aside some time to hike the hills of Redwood Regional Park, a secluded redwood grove found just a few miles from Oakland’s downtown.
- Wine Tasting in Jack London Square
Jack London Square, with its waterfront location, is packed with restaurants, bars and culture. My favorite part? The urban wine trail. You can leisurely wander around Jack London Square and neighboring Oakland locations, while periodically stopping into your choice of 11 wineries.
Have more time? Take a scenic ferry ride across the Bay to San Francisco.
- Make Some Feline Friends at Cat Town Café
Cat napping at Cat Town Cafe.
Oakland is the proud home to the nation’s first cat café.
What is a cat café, you ask? Imagine a coffee shop where instead of simply enjoying your latte and scone, you also get to hang out with adorable, and adoptable, kitties. Reservations recommended.
- Shop Around!
Oakland is full of fun shopping. We’ve picked a few of our favorite places, all within walking distance of the Summit:
Maple Street Denim: A mere 2 minute walk from Oakland Marriott City Center – where the Summit will be held, you’ll find this unique, local clothing store that touts the slogan, “Quality Clothing for Quality People.”
Marion and Rose’s Workshop: Right next door to Maple Street Denim, this fresh shop sells local and American-made home décor items, jewelry and more.
Oaklandish: It’s more than a clothing store. It’s a cultural movement. Started as an art project to build local pride, it’s now a certified B corp and iconic in the region.
- Last but not least, my personal favorite pastime, EATING:
The VolunteerMatch staff compiled our personal list of favorite restaurants within about a mile of the Summit. * indicates that it’s within 4 blocks of the Summit. (Descriptions are courtesy of Google.)
Souley Vegan: Warm corner eatery preparing vegan versions of Louisiana-style soul food, plus cocktails & desserts.
Chop Bar: Rustic-chic gastropub offering all-day American comfort fare & cocktails, plus beer & wine on tap.
Mua: Renovated, industrial warehouse offering eclectic small plates, cocktails & songs spun by a DJ.
DESCO*: Vintage-style bistro in a historic space serves Italian food with a focus on seasonal ingredients.
Tamarindo Antojeria*: Trendy upscale Mexican restaurant boasts gourmet tapas & margaritas in a modern, airy interior.
Encuentro: Farm-fresh vegetarian tapas, cheese plates & wine served in a modern neighborhood bistro.
Longitude: The classic tiki bar gets an upgrade with this bar & lounge offering cocktails, snacks & entrees.
Lake Chalet: Basic seafood, cocktails & Lake Merritt views are found at this renovated boathouse with a patio.
Shan Dong*: Buzzing eatery featuring traditional Chinese staples in a bright, straight-up setting.
For those joining us next month at the 2015 VolunteerMatch Summit, I hope this post has added to your excitement! And for others, it’s not too late to register and plan your trip. Learn more.