A Senior’s Guide to Oakland: 8 Things to See and Do

As the largest city in Alameda County, California, there is always something new and interesting to do in Oakland. Whether you are looking for a relaxing way to spend an afternoon or you want to find a destination to impress out-of-state guests, we’ve got you covered with these 8 tried and true things to see and do in the area:

1. The Morcom Rose Garden

This beautifully manicured garden, featuring 7+ acres of roses in a breathtaking oasis, offers the perfect spot for reflection. Open from dawn until dusk, the garden offers free admission. With plenty of free parking on nearby residential streets, the garden includes five entrances.

Note: If you enter via the main entrance, you’ll take a slight walk uphill to get inside. But once you enter, you may not want to leave – the garden is timeless and relaxing. Come early and stay late.

Location: 700 Jean Street, Oakland. 

2. The USS Potomac

Commissioned in 1934 and nicknamed the “Floating White House,” the USS Potomac was renamed in 1936 and served as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until he died in 1945. Today, the Potomac stands ready for spectacular cruises and impressive 45-minute dockside tours (on Wednesdays, Fridays, or Sundays). As the website states, “Walk in the footsteps of Presidents and kings.” For individuals ages 60 and over, admission is $8. 

Note: Unfortunately, the facility offers only limited access for individuals who are mobility-impaired, but Potomac staff stand ready to help individuals who need it. The Potomac is available for private events upon request.

Location: 540 Water Street, Oakland.

3. The White Elephant Sale

The largest and best rummage sale in Northern California – you are sure to find something (or many somethings) your heart desires! Save up your pocket change and support a worthwhile cause. The White Elephant Sale is housed in a 96,000 square foot warehouse and benefits the Oakland Museum of California. In 2015, The White Elephant Sale raised an amazing $2.15 million, all by selling donated items from the public. Shop AND help a worthy cause? Win/win. The sale is held early in the year.

Location: 333 Lancaster Street, Oakland.  

4. Oakland Museum of California

Speaking of the museum, when it opened over 40 years ago, it did the unthinkable. The museum brought art, history and natural sciences together under the same roof. Ahead of the curve, The Oakland Museum of California paved the way for museums around the country to do the same. Featuring more than 1.9 million objects, it is impossible to visit the museum without noticing or enjoying something new. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, the museum is open to the public the rest of the week. Hint: On Fridays after 5 pm, adults 65 and up get in for only $5.

Location: 1000 Oak Street, Oakland.

5. Bakesale Betty

This lunch spot is a popular choice for hefty fried chicken sandwiches piled high with coleslaw, as well as some of the tastiest classic desserts on the planet. Open from 11 am to 2 pm, the line has been known to grow long, but rumor is, it moves quickly. And the strawberry shortcake makes the wait worth it.

Location: 5098 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 

6. Oakland Fox Theater

Opened from 1928 to 1970, the Fox Theater was originally one of two of downtown Oakland’s only classic movie theaters. When it closed in 1970, the plan was to tear it down to make room for a parking lot, but in 1975 city officials declared it a city landmark and put it on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it is fully restored, offering live concerts and a full restaurant and bar. The Fox offers a robust calendar of upcoming shows and the Den has a wonderful menu of delicious food and drink choices. Note: The Den is limited to ticket holders only on show nights. 

Location: 1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland.

7. Jack London Square

Located along the Oakland/Alameda estuary, Jack London Square (named for the famous author) is both wholly relaxing and wildly vibrant, depending on the season and the day. With the Amtrak station and the San Francisco Bay Ferry dock – as well as dining, shopping, and recreation opportunities – there is truly something for everyone. Known for its exciting events throughout the year, including outdoor movies and summer night markets, Jack London Square is a highly-sought-after travel destination. Bonus: Look for the Sunday morning farmer’s market.

Location: Broadway and Embarcadero.

8. Lake Merritt

Designated in 1870 as the first wildlife refuge in the country, Lake Merritt was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. With a 3.4-mile heart-shaped shoreline (perfect for the now-present walking paths), the beautiful lake and artificial islands are a peaceful spot for man and nature to mingle. Canoes and rowboats are available to rent, and an amusement park nearby offers a colorful backdrop to the gorgeous scenery. Come take a stroll around the lake.

Location: Lakeside Park, Oakland.

Retire in Oakland

Whether you need something to do in Oakland or you are looking for a place to live, we’d love to meet you. Here at Lake Park, we are a retirement community in Oakland unlike any other. With beautiful views of both Lake Merritt and the East Bay Hills, our natural light and stunning greenery are only matched by our extraordinary community of people. We are a diverse group who enjoys a culturally rich and interpersonally vibrant lifestyle. Our unique setting is matched with the highest level of service and care.

Next time you’re in the area, feel free to stop by! We’d love to show you around. If you’d like to receive additional information about our senior living community in California, or to learn more about the benefits of retiring in Oakland, please contact us today.