The Square sits on an estuary that eventually terminates at San Francisco Bay. As such, it was an important center of shipping for many years before it became primarily a tourist attraction. Noted American author Jack London, who wrote such books as White Fang and The Call of the Wild, spent a great deal of time at Oakland's waterfront. In fact, it was in the still operating Heinold's First and Last Chance Saloon that London wrote some of his works and also was known to toss back a few beers. The Saloon is also fascinating because it was built from the remains of a whaling ship. Today, it is considered a National Literary Landmark, and fans of the author have been known to make pilgrimages here. Adjacent the bar is a replica of the backwoods cabin in which London lived in Alaska during the 1897 gold rush.
The Square likely does not resemble the rough and tumble locale of London's youth these days. In the place of that rugged pier is a well-orchestrated tourist destination where locals and tourists come to relax awhile. Devotees of London's work may follow the History Walk, a series of historic markers that delineate Jack London, Oakland and the Square itself. This is also an excellent place to get a quick bite to eat, or even to enjoy a gourmet meal. A wide variety of eateries are on the location. Additionally, a collection of stores and outlets for renting bicycles and canoes provide opportunities for hours of entertainment.
Jack London Square also hosts various events throughout the year. The most popular of these is a weekly farmers market that features locally grown produce. It's also quite common to see live musical performances or to be able to take part in yoga classes at various times. Additionally, a variety of dance lessons, fitness classes, and free public movies are on offer. With so much happening, it's clear that the Square's operators are determined to tempt everyone to visit.
Jack London Square is not only an essential destination for lovers of American literature, but it is also a fun and interesting place to spend a few hours. Special performances and classes enrich the rather mundane collection of stores and restaurants. In fact, this is one of the best places in Oakland to indulge in some people watching. The Square also now boasts a hotel, making it possible for visitors to choose lodgings that are centrally located and close to a number of entertaining possibilities.
Attractions in Oakland
Docked at the Jack London Square, the USS Potomac is the former presidential yacht of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Often called the "Floating White House," the USS Potomac is also a National Historic Landmark. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the yacht to learn about the history behind it as well as that of President Roosevelt and WWII. Tours on the yacht also include a scenic cruise along the San Francisco Bay.
Oakland Museum of California
Founded in 1969, the Oakland Museum of California showcases the essence of California through science, history, and art exhibits. Housing more than a million objects, the museum features collections that include highlights such as antique furniture, historical documents, tools, Native American artifacts, and early paintings of the California landscape and Gold Rush era. Additionally, the museum houses thousands of specimens from bird, fish, reptile, and amphibian species native to the area. The museum also offers a restaurant and outdoor gardens that boast sculptures and a koi pond.
The Children's Fairyland is America's first theme park dedicated to young children. Covering 10 acres, the theme park offers several children's rides like a Ferris wheel, carousel, and train. Children can watch their favorite children's books and characters come to live in 30 different play sets, such as Captain Hook and Alice in Wonderland. Also, the park features the Open Storybook Puppet Theater, which is the oldest puppet theater still operating in the country.
Preservation park is a unique attraction that consists of 16 historical buildings that are arranged to reflect an 1800s Oakland neighborhood. Some of these buildings include homes once owned by former local residents such as the Italian villa that once belonged to a San Francisco dentist. Other homes include a Queen Anne cottage and Colonial Revival house. Visitors will enjoy wandering through this charming Victorian neighborhood, admiring the beautiful architecture of the homes as well the beautiful gardens, wrought iron features, fountains, and antique street lamps.
Oakland Ice Center
Oakland Ice Center is a large facility where adults and children alike can enjoy ice skating and hockey. The center also offers various classes for figure skating and hockey. Birthday parties can be booked here as well.
Built in 1931, the impressive Paramount Theatre shines as both a state and national historical landmark. Designed in artistic Art Deco, the theatre hosts fabulous live performances of ballets, musicals, and comedy as well as concerts of jazz, gospel, symphony, blues and pop music.
Oakland Public Bus System
Operated by the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, there are several bus stops and routes for the public bus system that runs nearby Jack London Square. No matter where you are in the square, you can get on a bus in just a few minutes as well as being dropped off from the bus just a few steps from Jack London Square. Maps and Schedules are available on the bus or the local stations.
If you need transportation from the Oakland-Alameda airport or BART station in Oakland to Jack London Square, hop on the Broadway Shuttle. The Orange line of the Broadway Shuttle offers free transportation throughout the downtown area as well as to Jack London Square and several more destinations in Oakland. They also provide transportation to and from the Oakland/Alameda/San Francisco Ferry to get you to your destination more efficiently.
When you are traveling to Jack London Square in Oakland and want to get there quickly and efficiently, check out the Amtrak Train. Amtrak has a station in Jack London Square that can provide you with easy access to the Square once you arrive. Amtrak offers routes to Oakland from many cities throughout California as well as Midwest and Southwest Routes that will bring you directly to Jack London Square. Tickets can be purchased online to make your trip even easier.
As one of the Bay Area's main modes of transportation, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system offers convenient access to Jack London Square in Oakland. The BART station is just a few minutes walk from Jack London Square, allowing you quick access to all the shopping and dining destinations in the Square. BART runs throughout the Bay Area as well as over to San Francisco, providing you easy access to the area. You can purchase tickets at any of the BART stations along the route along with riders guides so you can plan you trip.
If you want a quick and easy way to get around town, there are many taxi cab companies available in Oakland that can get you from your location to Jack London Square. The Square offers several locations where taxicabs wait for passengers, providing you with quick access to transportation when you need to get to your next destination. There are many well-known cab companies in Oakland such as Yellow and Checker to provide you with transportation.
Oakland City Center
This is one of Oakland's most impressive shopping centers, but even those who aren't in the market for new purchases will love the contemporary structures and the plethora of businesses and dining options. For those who are in the mood to shop, Oakland City Center is a paradise. Choose from boutique clothing stores selling one of a kind items to handmade jewelers and even regional souvenirs. Visitors are stopping by to pick up some last minute items before heading to the hotel will appreciate the convenience stores and even gourmet food stores serving the local area's gourmands and upscale chefs.
Miette Pâtisserie & Confiserie
This delightful shop has been open since 2001 and is known throughout Oakland as being one of the top sweets shops and bakeries in the state of California. Conveniently located near Jack London Square, Miette Pâtisserie & Confiserie offers shoppers a chance to dine on homemade pastries, cookies, chocolates, candies, and cupcakes right in the shop. Or, there is the option to order an elaborately decorated cake and bring it home for any special celebration. Those with a sweet tooth should be sure not to miss this incredible establishment.
Shoppers who are looking for an eclectic mix of clothing, souvenirs, food stalls and handcrafts should be sure to visit Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, California. A local favorite is the clothing boutique Abigail, a store that sells imported items from Europe. Not only is the shopping experience top notch, but visitors can head next door to the classic used book store or even across the street for a chance to visit a small and charming tea shop. Enjoy afternoon tea or coffee and pick up some treats to take home as a souvenir.
Foodie enthusiasts who would rather cook their own meals at home than dine out in the many Oakland restaurants will want to spend some time visiting BevMo!, a gourmet grocery and liquor store located close to Jack London Square. Choose from one of the biggest selections of wine or champagne in the city, or look through the many international foods from places like Greece, Germany, Japan, and Thailand.
This incredible pedestrian-friendly street is located in the heart of Oakland and is lined with dozens of vendors, local stores, and small businesses. Browse through book stores, buy some locally made jewelry or even dine on incredible food in one of the area's restaurants or fun pubs.
Special Events in Oakland
Waterfront Flicks Movie Festival
Oakland's Waterfront Flicks Movie Festival showcases the country's most popular movies. It takes place many times each year at the Jack London Market Lawn. Some of the most popular attractions that take place during the festival include trivia games, beer tastings, and cooking demonstrations. Other popular attractions include a children's area and a small flea market. Be sure to arrive early to reserve your favorite spot near the festival's stage.
Eat Real Festival
Oakland's Eat Real Festival celebrates the talents of local chefs who use the Bay Area's locally produced foods to create delicious dishes. It takes place three times a year near Jack London Market.
Some of the festival's highlights include cooking demonstrations, gardening demonstrations, live concerts and cooking contests. Other highlights include gardening expos and book signings. Be sure to attend the cooking demonstrations to learn how to make your own cheeses, butter, and salad dressings.
Sound Waves Music Festival
The Sound Waves Weekly Music Series showcases the talents of local rock, indie, and pop bands. It takes place several times during the year near the main entrance to Jack London Square.
Some of the festival's most popular events include live concerts, art demonstrations, and singing contests. Other popular events include dance workshops. Be sure to visit the local food vendors that dot the festival's grounds to snack on homemade hamburgers, pretzels, and popcorn.
Oakland Art Murmur
The Oakland Art Murmur is an arts festival that showcases the talents of Oakland's most popular painters and photographers. It takes place several times throughout the year at popular venues located near Jack London Square such as the Creative Growth Art Center, the Hive Gallery, and Warehouse 416.
Many art enthusiasts enjoy attending the Oakland Art Murmur because it features art displays, guided tours, and art markets that teach patrons about Oakland's art scene. As a result, be sure to arrive early to grab a spot in one of the guided tours that visit the art galleries located near Jack London Square.
Dancing Under the Stars Festival
The Dancing Under the Stars Festival is a festival that celebrates the dance styles that have influenced American popular culture. It takes place near Jack London Square's river walk several times each year.
Some of the festival's most popular attractions include dance lessons, live concerts, and food courts. Be sure to attend the dance lessons to learn dance steps such as the Cha-Cha and the Charleston.
FAQs about hotels near Jack London Square
How much does a cheap hotel near Jack London Square cost per night?
In the last year, a 2 star hotel near Jack London Square can be as cheap as $113.86 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a 3 star hotel near Jack London Square cost per night?
In the last year, the average 3 star hotel near Jack London Square has been $158.52 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)
How much does a higher-end hotel near Jack London Square cost?
In the last year, the average 4 star hotel near Jack London Square has been $204.72 per night. (based on HotelPlanner prices)