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A Day Away: Jack London Square

Enjoy the waterfront from all angles with a laid-back trip to Oakland's island side.


Itching for an island getaway but can’t afford the flight? Believe it or not, Oakland’s Jack London Square offers a great escape in your own backyard.

9 a.m.

Blue Bottle Coffee. Clay McLachlan/ claypix.com.Get on island time by leisurely sipping a delicious brew from Blue Bottle Coffee (rumor has it they offer complimentary tasting if you come back at 2 p.m.). Then enjoy the vibrant colors of the Sunday Farmers Market brimming with local goodies, activities for the kids, and cooking demonstrations. Consider unrolling your mat for a free yoga class at 9:30 a.m. and sticking around for live music starting at 11:30 a.m.

Blue Bottle Coffee, 300 Webster Street, (510) 653-3394, bluebottlecoffee.net; The Jack London Square Farmers Market is held every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Water Street, between Franklin and Harrison, jacklondonsquare.com.

11:15 a.m.

Take in the waterfront patio lined with swaying palm trees at Miss Pearl’s Jam House while you indulge in a delectable brunch. The light, fluffy beignets will get your mouth watering while you wait for your Creole Gumbo, which features some of the eatery's house-made meats.

1 Broadway, (510) 444-7171, misspearlsjamhouse.com.

1:30 p.m.

Oakland Estuary. Photo courtesy of Benton Carroll.Now that you’ve got some fuel, stroll over to California Canoe and Kayak to sign up for a stand-up paddle boarding adventure around the Oakland Estuary. (Read about the excursion in the July issue.)

409 Water Street, (510) 893-7833, calkayak.com.

3:45 p.m.

Time to check into the Waterfront Hotel, your only option if you plan to stay the night. The location is pivotal to everything Jack London Square has to offer, the nautical décor has irresistible charm, and the staff truly strives to make your stay luxurious.

10 Washington Street, (510) 836-3800, jdvhotels.com.

6 p.m.

Meander through the delicious tapas menu at Bocanova course-by-course. Start your dinner with a bang by ordering the braised beef short ribs with chocolate mole. Keep your pallet whet between courses by sipping wines from their exquisite list of spicy flavors from all over the Americas. And save room for the Mexican chocolate bread pudding; it’s not to be missed!

55 Webster Street, (510) 444-1233, bocanova.com.

7:50 p.m.

Scallops. Photo courtesy of Bocanova.Grab an intimate booth seat at Yoshi’s Jazz Club around the corner, and enjoy a show with tableside service. We were lucky to catch a Hawaiian Legends concert that had us laughing and swaying in our chairs.

Shows generally start at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. 510 Embarcadero West, (510) 238-9200, yoshis.com.

10:30 p.m.

Sit in a working piece of history at the famous Heinold’s First and Last Chance saloon. This place redefines the description ‘a hole in the wall’ because of its shrunken size, solid wood décor, and slanted bar. However, seeing as it was built in 1880 from the timbers of an old whaling ship, its appearance is enchanting. Ask the bartender about the name, and you’ll hear stories of Jack London writing within its walls.

48 Webster Street, (510) 839-6761, heinoldsfirstandlastchance.com.

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