Why Visit Oakland for Its Culture and Food

Visit Oakland for Its Culture and Food
Oakland, directly across San Francisco Bay, is renowned for producing artists such as Tupac, Mac Dre, and MC Hammer. But it’s also home to some seriously incredible food. Visit the city and slurp silky Japanese noodles, experience deeply rooted Native cuisine, or indulge in vegan bliss. Discover why you should add Oakland to your next foodie trip.


The city’s creative spirit is evident in its people and places. From the muralists who decorate Oakland streets to the innovative chefs who use their restaurants to explore their roots, there are many ways to experience Oakland’s creativity. Some restaurant looks like it was dragged through a painter’s palette. Jack London Square restaurants are bold and creative, a rarity in today’s restaurant scene. And it’s those daring choices that make these experiences stand out from the crowd.


At a time when relativism is insurmountable, authenticity has become an ethical imperative. It is often defined as a state of being genuine, original, and true. However, authors like Golomb have warned that the quest for authenticity can also be a form of exclusion. It can erode the bond between self and community. In the culinary world, the conversation about authenticity has been dominated by questions of verisimilitude—whether dishes are “real,” “traditional,” and not subject to innovation or interpretation. But as cuisines become more global and familiar, the discussion about authenticity is evolving into one about inclusivity, with chefs and diners embracing fusion and other innovations to keep their offerings fresh. For example, Oakland’s vegan restaurants thrive as plant-forward diets become more mainstream. Meanwhile, some eateries serve traditional Vietnamese fare. The city’s diverse culture and exceptional food scene make it a perfect place to experience authentic cuisine and cultural heritage.


Whether you’re sipping coffee from a local legend or savoring the most authentic deep-dish pizza on the West Coast, Oakland residents have something special to share. They’re always ready to meet you with open arms and a warm smile. The city’s cultural heritage is woven into everything from the food to the arts, and getting involved is easy. Explore a gallery at the Oakland Art Murmur or browse extraordinary works of art at one of the many community-owned and operated spaces. The fourth most diverse city in the US, it’s no surprise that O-Town is also a foodie’s paradise. Eat through the region, sampling everything from spongy Ethiopian injera bread to crispy chicken and waffles to steaming dumplings or spicy Korean bulgogi. If you want to get hands-on, volunteer at the Rock Paper Scissor Collective, where DIY enthusiasts lead classes in everything from zines to terrariums.


People care about sustainability because it is a fundamental tenet of social justice. It is the idea that humans must preserve nature and ensure that future generations can experience its beauty and benefit from its bounty. Sustainable business practices include conserving natural resources, fostering diversity and equity in the workplace and implementing policies that support local communities. For visitors, it means enjoying the food at restaurants that use ingredients sourced from sustainable farms and have low bycatch rates for wild-caught fish. It also means looking for pesticide-free labels on produce and choosing ethically raised and treated meat. It also means seeing art and experiencing the culture at venues. It is about learning more about the history and embracing the community of Oakland – not just treating it as a stop on a tour of San Francisco.