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Notable Architecture

Top Rated Attractions in Oakland

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Preservation Park

This park consists of 16 Victorian houses concentrated in downtown Oakland. Each of the homes, which are sometimes open for tours, dates back to between 1870 and 1910 (the latter are technically Edwardian, but the designs are still charming). Some areas of the Victorian park are also available for weddings, meetings, and private parties. Take in five different styles of architecture and beautifully landscaped gardens. In addition to a lovely walk along a scenic street, you will be enjoying a glimpse of what Oakland looked like in the old days. The park is free and open to the public.

Dunsmuir House

This beautiful mansion built in 1899 is an outstanding example of the neo-classical revival style significant enough to have been designated as a National Historic Site by the United States Department of the Interior. The 37-room estate features a Tiffany-style dome, ten fireplaces and lovely parquet floors in its 16,224 square-feet. During the winter holiday season, the house features magnificent decorations and hosts a number of special festive events.

University of California

Perennially ranked among the top universities in the world, this 1,232-acre (499-hectare) campus is embellished with iconic museums, historic libraries, architectural marvels and immaculate lawns. In addition to being educated and enlightened by Nobel laureates, the university also encourages its bright young minds to excel at sports NCAA sports, molding them into well-rounded individuals. Founded in 1868, UC Berkeley is the oldest educational institution in the University of California system. Campus life centers on Sproul Plaza and Sather Gate where you can find a reminder of Berkeley's place in American social history. The site also includes the plaque marking the spot where Mario Savio launched the Free Speech movement in 1964. Steve Wozniak, Chris Pine, Eric Schmidt and Gordon Moore are some of the university's most notable alumni.

Alcatraz Island

A mere 1.25 miles (2.01 km) off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island boasts a fascinating history that extends far beyond its stint as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963; it is also the site of the West Coast's oldest operating lighthouse, the remains of a historic military fortress, and a bird sanctuary. Although within sight of the city, Alcatraz is isolated from the outside world, surrounded by the frigid waters of the bay, the perilous currents making escape virtually impossible. This very fact made Alcatraz an apt choice for a prison meant to house some of the country's most notorious criminals, including the likes of Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud and Alvin Karpis. The year 1969 marked the beginning of another intriguing chapter in the history of Alcatraz when a group of Native American activists occupied the island for 19 months, signs of which are still visible to this day. Amid this turbulent narrative thrives a vibrant habitat for native flora and fauna, creating a miniature world of startling contrasts where the haunting remains of the prison stand amid a striking landscape of rock pools, rugged coasts and lush flora. The isle is now a tourist attraction, one of San Francisco's most popular, with self-guided and guided tours that delve into the past of the island as a whole and the prison in particular.

Golden Gate Bridge

Named one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Golden Gate Bridge spans the eponymous strait that links the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Designed by Joseph Strauss, Irving Morrow, and Charles Ellis, the bridge opened in 1937 as the world's longest suspension bridge, its main span measuring at an impressive 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) in length. The bridge is not quite golden, but is instead a bright orange, its Art Deco towers looming through the dense fog that often mires the bay; a sight that has come to be emblematic of the city of San Francisco. The bridge ferries vehicular and pedestrian traffic between San Francisco and Marin City, the vista points on either side boasting awe-inspiring views of the Golden Gate, while the bridge itself promises unmatched views of the bay.

Ferry Building Marketplace

The Ferry Building Marketplace is a must-see for San Francisco visitors. This multi-million dollar development has an abundance of activities for the entire family. The marvelous building was designed by renowned architect Arthur Page Brown in Beaux Arts Style. Similar to that of the iconic Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, the clock tower of this building is a popular landmark and can be seen from afar. Take a tour of the historic Ferry Building, browse through antique shops, enjoy a view by the bay and a bowl of chowder at Ferry Plaza Seafood or buy organic produce at the Farmer's Market. Enjoy the sights and sounds of what makes the Ferry Building one of the Bay's most popular destinations for entertainment, food, and fun.

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