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Best Free Sites in Oakland

By: Cityseeker
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Chinatown

Located just west of Lake Merritt sits Oakland's Chinatown. Oakland's Chinatown is one of the oldest in the nation, dating back to the mid-19th Century. Although it is lacking in the formal entry gate that many Chinatown's are known for, Oakland's version has some interesting and unique features such as bilingual street signs and diagonal crosswalks, making for a street-crossing frenzy during crowded times. Chinatown is also home to many of the city's best Asian restaurants, not just Chinese but also Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Japanese and more. Chinatown is also host to several celebrations throughout the year including Chinese New Year and annual Dragon Boat races.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Jack London Square

This is a Port of Oakland attraction named after the famous author and Oakland native. The charming waterfront property is filled with numerous entertainment options and quality dining and shopping establishments. Some of the highlights include awesome views, strolls on the boardwalk, amazing restaurants, and the famous Yoshi's Jazz House. You may enjoy the selection of numerous great boutiques plus a movie theater, ferry cruises, and special events like a Farmer's Market every Sunday and an antiques and collectibles show the first Saturday of every month.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Lake Merritt

This shallow, 195-acre (7,89,137 meter) lake is considered by many to be the heart of Oakland. Once an arm of the San Francisco Bay, it actually served as a sewer for a time before Samuel Merritt proposed a dam in order to clean up the lake and have it become the focal point for civic pride and recreation that it is today. As the lake was also a common place to see many migratory birds and ducks, the lake was turned into the first wildlife refuge in North America in 1870. In 1925, the lake's "necklace of lights" was installed, and still stands today making the lake beautiful during day or night. The lake provides many recreational opportunities, including boating, playgrounds, picnic areas and the legendary Children's Fairyland storybook park.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Morcom Rose Garden

The Morcom Rose Garden is a beautiful space of over seven acres located near Grand Avenue. Among the roses are interesting features like the amphitheater, which is frequently used for weddings, and sparkling fountains. Kids will love running through the rows among the colors and fragrances of the garden. Sunday mornings are popular with families at the rose garden who often bring breakfast or brunch picnics with them to enjoy in the garden.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Mountain View Cemetery

The Mountain View Cemetery is a large cemetery in Oakland, California. It was established in 1863 by a group of East Bay Pioneers under the California Rural Cemetery Act of 1859. The association they formed still operates the cemetery today. Mountain View was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who also designed New York City's Central Park and much of Stanford University. Many of California's important historical figures, drawn by Olmsted's reputation, are buried here and there are many grandiose crypts in tribute to the wealthy who are buried there, so many that one section is known as "Millionaires' Row." Because of this, and its beautiful setting, the cemetery is a tourist draw and docents lead bi-monthly tours. Panoramic views of the entire Bay Area greet you among lush green hills spotted with Eucalyptus and Oak trees. Come here and watch the sunset (or the fog roll in) from an unparalleled vantage point, perched in the magnificent East Bay hills.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Lake Temescal

This little East Bay lake in the Oakland Hills is still recovering from a fire that occurred in 1991, but is nonetheless in splendid condition for recreational purposes. The swimming area, open spring through fall, offers a lifeguard on duty in the summer, plus a snack bar and changing facility. Fishing is permitted year-round and the lake is stocked with catfish, rainbow trout, largemouth bass and more. Picnicking tables are found throughout the grassy areas of the park and a playground structure helps to keep children occupied.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Oakland California Temple

People of all religious beliefs have been known to visit here because of its magnificent views and lovely architecture. This LDS temple is one of the most beautiful churches in the San Francisco Bay Area. The 82,417 square-foot, 170 foot-tall temple was built in the early 1960s and can be seen from many scenic points across the Bay Area. The temple features a visitor's center that offers exhibits and interactive presentations on religious topics. It also features a family history center that offers geneaology services and over 21 million microfilms available. The temple remains open to the public Tuesday through Saturday.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

The Bay Area tourist may be surprised to learn that volcanoes once roared in the Oakland hills. This preserve, maintained by the East Bay Parks and Recreation Department, features Round Top, a peak made of ten million-year-old lava and volcanic debris that is one of the highest points in the Oakland hills. The park was one of the first three in the East Bay Regional Parks District, established in 1936. A visitor center at the park has self-guided tour brochures so guests can stroll the park and learn of its historic significance at their own leisure.

Oakland, CA, United States
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Redwood Regional Park

Redwood Regional Park is located in the hills of Oakland. It boasts the largest remaining natural strand of coastal redwood in the East Bay. Early mariners used to use these tall redwood trees to help them navigate the San Francisco Bay. Many locals enjoy hiking and biking around the available trails, which offers gorgeous scenery. In addition to the deer, rabbits and squirrels that roam the park, it is also home to rare wildlife species such as the golden eagle and the striped racer snake. The Roberts Regional Recreation Area, a park within the park, features a swimming pool and playgrounds. Throughout the park, you will find access to a well-maintained system of restrooms, water fountains and picnic tables. The Chabot Observatory and Science Center is one of the park's most prominent attractions.

Oakland, CA, United States
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