“Top 5” Must Do’s in (& Around) Oakland, CA

Oakland is the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth-largest city in California, and the 45th-largest city in the U.S. It’s a place for beautiful scenery, great weather and most of all delicious food at every turn.  If you’re moving to Oakland, or even just visiting, these are my “Top 5” things to do, see, and taste!


Top Dog

Top dog # 3
3272 Lakeshore Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Top Dog Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Top Dog Hot Dogs is a “no frills”, counter service restaurant located on Lakeshore Ave. This one stop shop serves up some of the tastiest frankfurters in the city. Top Dog first opened their doors in Berkeley after searching for the perfect place to sell their sausages and beef dogs.

After a successful run they opened to more locations in Oakland. One on Lakeshore Ave and one that has since closed on Pleasant Valley. I highly recommend Top Dog’s All beef – kosher style frankfurter with chili and cheese. I topped mine with mustard and raw onions. It quickly became a delicious mess in my hands as the juicy beef dog and selection of toppings appeared to be too much for my bun.

Tips here: bring some napkins and your appetite.


Lake Merritt

Oakland is truly beautiful and it’s interesting how that’s never a highlight when people talk about this awesome city. Lake Merritt is a must see when visiting Oakland. It’s a great spot  exercise, walk your animals, feed the ducks or simply  zone on by the water and relax.  Should you be one of “those people” who exercise while traveling, the circumference around the lake is 3.4 miles. So you could approximately burn 2 donuts and a Starbucks coffee off while walking around it. Or at least that was my motivation.


Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe
1805 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94612

Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe

If you’re looking for some late night grub in the Oakland area, you have to stop at Rudy’s Can’t Fail CafeThey are open daily from 7am – 1am and have everything on their menu from breakfast to burgers. After “exercising” around Lake Merritt this is a perfect place to stop in for some comfort food. Their “Breakfast Burger” is topped with Applewood smoked bacon, 1 over medium egg, and is perfect anytime of the day (or night).


University of California, Berkeley
Public University
Berkeley, CA

U. Cal Berkeley

Although not in Oakland, University of California, Berkeley  is a totally  worth stepping a couple miles outside of the city. Take a ride (Uber or Bus) to visit one of the most beautiful, Bay Area campuses in California. The trees speak of age and history, with architecture that is simply breathtaking.  The weather is usually amazing, allowing guests and students alike to roam the massive campus while taking in the plush greens and clear blue skies.

K and K Pho – Berkeley, CA

There are two areas within feet of the campus that are perfect for shopping, eating and more eating. Take a stroll on Telegraph Ave. and enjoy the cool city of Berkeley, while you’re out stop in to K&K Pho for some of the best beef broth around.  Shattuck Avenue Shopping district  should also be added to your list. Shattuck Avenue spans two centers of shopping and eateries – the part more central to Berkeley near Bart and the area of upper Shattuck Avenue that includes the “Gourmet Ghetto,” where you will find some quite famous restaurants!



Arizmendi Bakery, Panaderia y Pizzaria
1268 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Arizmendi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Arizmendi Bakery

Arizmendi Bakery, Panaderia y Pizzaria is a worker owned bakery that values social justice and local community. With a mindfulness for natural resources, Arizmendi’s provide quality, affordable foods and creates a democratic, supportive work space. While providing workers with a sustainable living and ongoing skill development; we model and support alternative economies and cooperative ownership.

This bakery/pizza parlor is Oakland’s one stop shop for savory and sweet. You can stop  here to enjoy a nice cup of coffee, a baked good or a pizza… or all three! I enjoy seeing my food prepared and you can literally see the bakers in the back whipping up treats and pizza pies.


Rosa Mexicano
30 Mission St,
San Francisco, CA 94105

Rosa Mexicano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rosa Mexicano- San Francisco

After a long ferry ride from Napa to San Francisco my hubby and I were tired, tipsy and starving. Not really knowing where to go or what to eat, we hit the streets walking from the ferry building. The streets of San Francisco happened to be quite “dead” on a Friday night. As we walked down Mission St. we saw Rosa Mexicano, a modern Mexican chain eatery known for table-side guacamole & creative margaritas.

Frozen Pomergrante

Reading the words “Mexican Food” was like music to our ears because in Texas it’s comfort food… and after our long day, comfort food is just what we needed.

We ordered the Nachos de Tres Quesos topped with queso fresco, white cheddar, Menonita cheese and the Tinga de Res Guerrero, Braised beef brisket with tomatillo-habanero salsa, house-made slaw and pickled red onion. The Tingas come with  Served with esquites, achiote rice and black beans. The Equites or “Mexican corn salad” was a life changer. So yummy and creamy!

We capped our meal with one of their signature “Frozen Pomegranate” agave cocktails. Their Frozen Pomegranate has been on the menu since 1984 and is made with blacno tequila, triple sec, fresh pomegranate and lime.


I can say with ease that Oakland stole my heart. The people, the food, the breathtaking scenery really makes me want to leave RIGHT NOW to head back. Until we meet again, I will forever miss “The Land.”


4 thoughts on ““Top 5” Must Do’s in (& Around) Oakland, CA

  1. The Mrs. and moi just returned from Cali. This time out we hit Sacremento, Napa, Oakland and San Fransisco! We had a blast and enjoyed lots of great food and scenery. I have already saved your “Top 5 Oakland” must visit selections. We will put them to good use when we head out west again (we are there quite a bit). We ate the Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland and it left me wanting more, especially their chicken and waffles. Thank you!

    1. I am so happy for you two. Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes. I also did a Napa and Sacramento list.. make sure to check them out.
      Thanks for reading.

    1. I left my heart there…and a few pounds. Accidentally walking all the way around the lake twice, made my body very happy!

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