Jack London Square
Oakland’s Jack London Square is named after the famous author who grew up on the waterfront. He did some writing at Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon … built of timber from an old ship. Heinolds is still there, next to a semi-log cabin (harkening back to my K+E Log Vector Duplex Cooper Union slide rule) built from half of his Yukon cabin logs. Canada has a duplicate cabin made from the rest of the logs.
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I’m a train buff and always enjoy seeing Union Pacific and Amtrak trains running down the middle of 1st Street. The Jack London Square train station is where you can start your journey to Sacramento (a great railroad museum awaits you), San Jose, Seattle or Los Angeles. Emeryville is the place to catch the California Zephyr to Reno and Chicago.
From the square take the ferry to San Francisco’s Ferry Building and Pier 41; Pac Bell Park during baseball season, and even South San Francisco during the week! FDR’s floating White House, the U.S.S. Potomac, is docked nearby. Or go cruising between May and November; sign up for one of the special Mothers or Fathers Day, Fleet Week or 4th of July events.
Yoshi’s Jazz Club can’t be beat for live music and great food. The club is intimate, with superb sight lines and acoustics. Yoshi has top-notch bookings, and their Japanese restaurant a favorite of ours. The dining staff will reserve a seat in the club for you when you tell them you’re attending a show. Attend the first show, and they’ll always offer available 2nd show seats to you – a bit of Japanese lagniappe.
Everett and Jones is a funky place with the best barbecue around. I love spicy food and have to warn you that their hot sauce … is! The Oakland Grill in the heart of Oakland’s Produce District, and is our go-to spot for breakfast in the neighborhood. Authentic Bagel has the best of the East Bay.
When my mom visited years ago, we took her to Scott’s Restaurant which has seating overlooking the estuary. The look on her face was priceless as a giant freighter glided nearby.
Weekly events include the Sunday Farmers’ Market and there’s dragon boat racing in the summer!
Once primarily an industrial area, Jack London Square is now filled with recently built condos and live-work lofts converted from old warehouses.
Other places to visit – Cost Plus World Market, the East Bay Restaurant Supply Store, Markus Supply Ace Hardware, and Peerless Coffee – the coffee is very good and their roast peanuts are great! Middle Harbor Shoreline Park and Port View Park in the Port of Oakland are fun for kids of all ages.
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