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Eight Awesome Downtown Oakland Walking Tours

Explore the future (and past) of Downtown Oakland with free summer walking tours
By - posted 5/4/2016 No Comment

Downtown Oakland is undergoing a renaissance that has captured national media attention. Get a glimpse of both today’s vibrant scene and landmarks from Oakland’s past during the 2016 Oakland Tours season.

Free 90-minute walking tours of downtown Oakland are offered every Wednesday and Saturday through October for 2016. The twice weekly guided tours showcase the city’s changing skyline, landmarks, churches and high-rises.

The six-month long tour season ensures ample opportunity to take in each of the eight different tour itineraries.

Each tour, led by a volunteer guide, begins at 10 am from various starting locations depending on the itinerary.

Reservations & Details: Reservations are recommended by leaving a message on the Tours’ 24-hour hotline at (510) 238-3234 or via email to aallen@oaklandnet.com. Get full details, itinerary descriptions, dates and starting locations at oaklandnet.com/walkingtours.

2016 Downtown Oakland Walking Tours

Tour 1 – Old Oakland:

This tour explores the 1870s business district where carefully restored brick commercial buildings now house offices, galleries and eateries. The historic district is a visible reminder of Oakland’s designation in 1869 as the Western Terminus of the Transcontinental Railroad. The tour starts in front of Ratto’s Market & Deli, 821 Washington Street. Tour 1 will be offered on May 7, June 1, June 25, July 23, August 3, September 28 and October 22.

Tour 2 – City Center:

Explore the upbeat style of modern City Center, alongside restored historic landmarks like the Tribune Tower, the Rotunda Building and City Hall. The tour starts in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall. Tour 2 will be offered on May 4, June 15, July 9, August 10, September 10 and October 5.

Tour 3 – Uptown to the Lake:

Standing out among the many new restaurants and clubs, Oakland’s vibrant Art Deco-era landmarks – including the Fox Oakland Theater, the Paramount Theatre and the jazzy blue and silver Floral Depot Building – are the focus of this tour. The tour also features the Kaiser Center’s “secret” rooftop garden overlooking Lake Merritt. The tour starts in front of the Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway. Tour 3 will be offered on May 18, June 11, July 20, August 24, September 14 and October 1.

Tour 4 – Preservation Park:

On this tour, view fine details of the Victorian-style architecture of several 19th century houses, relocated and restored in a tranquil setting just west of downtown. Today they serve as offices for nonprofits, conference meeting spaces and special events. The tour starts at the entrance to Preservation Park, 13th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Way. Tour 4 will be offered on May 11, June 4, July 13, August 13, September 7, October 8 and October 26.

Tour 5 – Oakland Chinatown:

Explore this multi-ethnic downtown district packed with shops, restaurants and cultural institutions, and learn about the contributions made by Chinese and other Asian immigrants to California’s history. The tour starts at the center courtyard fountain in the Pacific Renaissance Plaza at 388 Ninth Street. Tour 5 will be offered on May 21, June 29, July 6, August 6, August 31, September 24 and October 19.

Tour 6 – Jack London Waterfront:

Follow the footsteps of Oakland’s famous literary son Jack London and see some of his favorite haunts. Visit a wholesale produce market in operation since the early 1900s, located alongside newly built residential loft developments. The tour starts by the Jack London Square entry arch at the foot of Broadway. Tour 6 will be offered on May 14, June 8, July 2, August 20, September 3 and October 29.

Tour 7 – Churches and Temples:

Visit historic houses of worship and learn about their influence on the history of Oakland. Featured buildings include the First Presbyterian Church, Temple Sinai and the Roman Catholic Cathedral, Christ the Light. The tour starts in front of the First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway. Tour 7 will be offered on May 25, June 18, July 27, August 27, September 21 and October 15.

Tour 8 – New Era/New Politics:

This tour highlights African-American leaders who have made their mark on Oakland. Learn how former mayor Lionel Wilson, journalist Delilah Beasley, Oakland Tribune publisher Robert Maynard, state legislator Byron Rumford and others changed the city and the Bay Area. The tour starts at the African American Museum and Library, 659 14th Street. Tour 8 will be offered on May 28, June 22, July 16, August 17, September 17 and October 12.