28 Best Things to Do in Oakland at Night | 2024 (with Photos)

Mary Adelana

Mary Adelana - Travel Writer

Published: August 29, 2023

Hi there! I'm Mary, a passionate explorer of Oakland's vibrant nightlife scene. Join me as I uncover the top attractions in this incredible city, capturing the essence of its energy through captivating photos. Let's make your trip to Oakland a truly unforgettable experience!

view of a city at night with a bridge

Welcome to the vibrant city of Oakland, nestled in the heart of the Bay Area and just across the bay from its famous neighbor, San Francisco. In this guide, we'll unveil the best things to do in Oakland at night.

Whether you're a local resident or visiting from out of town, read on to discover the city's diverse neighborhoods and lively attractions.

Immerse yourself in Oakland's rich history, enjoy delicious cuisine, experience live entertainment, and create lasting memories. 

Join us as we delve into the nocturnal charm of Oakland, offering something for everybody.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Top Choice Hotel


Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Sunny summers for exploring Oakland's vibrant culture.

Average Temperature

The average temperature in Oakland, United States is mild.

Transportation Options

BART, bus, bike, car, ride-share, scooter, walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Spend a sunny day exploring the charming neighborhoods, such as Jack London Square, with its lively waterfront atmosphere and cozy cafes - perfect for people-watching and enjoying a cup of artisanal coffee.

Immerse yourself in the rich cultural scene by visiting the Oakland Museum of California, where you can admire impressive art collections and learn about the state's history. Don't miss the chance to wander through the bustling farmers' markets, like the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers Market, where you can indulge in a variety of local produce, delicious food stalls, and unique craftsmanship. For an extra touch of adventure, hop on a ferry ride to Alameda Island, where you can soak up the relaxed island vibes or indulge in water sports.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Layers of clothing for changing weather
  3. Travel documents (passport, ID, tickets)

What Not to Miss

  1. Jack London Square
  2. Oakland Museum of California
  3. Lake Merritt
  4. Redwood Regional Park
  5. Chabot Space and Science Center

What to Avoid

  1. High-crime areas
  2. Traveling alone at night in certain neighborhoods
  3. Leaving valuables unattended or visible in your car

1. Visit Jack London Square: A Waterfront Gem

boat docked at the dock with a wreath on it

At Jack London Square, the enchantment of Oakland's waterfront comes alive after dark. Take a leisurely evening stroll along the promenade, relishing the cool breeze and gazing out at the shimmering bay.

Indulge in a delectable dining experience at one of the waterfront restaurants, savoring fresh seafood and exquisite cuisine. 

The lively ambiance of this vibrant district invites you to unwind, sip on a craft cocktail, and enjoy live music performances.

Jack London Square is the perfect destination for a memorable evening filled with culinary delights, breathtaking views, and a vibrant atmosphere.

2. Discover Downtown Oakland

view of city at night with a harbor and mountain

When the sun sets, Downtown Oakland transforms into a vibrant hub of nightlife, where a world of entertainment and culinary delights awaits. 

Embark on a culinary adventure as you explore an array of dining options, from trendy gastropubs to authentic ethnic eateries.

Immerse yourself in the city's rich cultural scene by visiting theaters, galleries, and music venues that host live performances and exhibits. 

Whether you're looking for a night of dancing, live music, or simply soaking in the energetic ambiance of the city streets, Downtown Oakland has it all.

3. Check out the Oakland Museum

two women sitting on bean bags in a pink room

Step into the Oakland Museum after sunset and discover a treasure trove of art, history, and culture. This dynamic museum showcases the diverse heritage of Oakland through engaging exhibits and interactive displays.

Explore thought-provoking art collections, delve into the city's history, and immerse yourself in cultural experiences that celebrate the vibrant community. 

With special events and programs often held in the evening, the Oakland Museum provides an enriching and enlightening journey through the city's past and present, offering a unique perspective on Oakland's identity and artistic spirit.

4. Explore Oakland Hills

sunset view in Oakland hills

Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Oakland Hills as the sun begins to set. This natural paradise offers an escape from the bustling city, where you can immerse yourself in nature's majesty and marvel at stunning city views.

Hike through scenic trails that wind through lush forests and reveal breathtaking vistas. As twilight descends, the hills come alive with the gentle sounds of wildlife.

Whether you're an avid hiker, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a tranquil retreat, the Oakland Hills provide a perfect backdrop for an evening of exploration and serenity.

5. Experience West Oakland

city with lot of houses and a lot of cars

West Oakland is the beating heart of Oakland's vibrant hip-hop and street art scene, pulsating with energy as the sun sets. 

Take a stroll through the neighborhood's colorful streets, adorned with mesmerizing murals that reflect the city's cultural diversity.

Here you will be able to experience the rhythm and beats of live performances at local venues, where talented artists showcase their skills.

From graffiti-covered alleys to underground music spots, West Oakland is a haven for urban creativity and a must-visit destination for those seeking an authentic and dynamic nightlife experience.

6. Visit Lake Merritt

skyline at night with a lake in the foreground

As the day transitions into night, Lake Merritt transforms into a magical oasis where tranquility meets breathtaking beauty. 

Take an enchanting evening walk around the shimmering lake, as the city lights reflect on the calm waters of Lake Merritt.

Admire the stunning skyline views while soaking in the serenity of the surroundings. From picnicking on the lakeside to renting a paddleboat, Lake Merritt offers various ways to experience its charm after sunset. 

Whether you seek solace, romance, or simply a peaceful escape, this sparkling gem in the heart of Oakland will captivate your senses.

7. Visit the Oakland California Temple

view of a white temple with a fountain in front

The Oakland California Temple offers a truly ethereal experience as night descends upon its majestic surroundings. 

Step into a world of tranquility and find solace under the twinkling stars. Admire the temple's stunning architecture illuminated against the night sky, creating a serene and captivating ambiance.

Whether you're seeking a peaceful moment of reflection or wish to immerse yourself in spiritual practices, this sacred site provides an opportunity to connect with something greater and experience a sense of serenity that can only be found under the canopy of stars.

8. Experience the Bay Bridge

a bridge over water with a city in the background

As darkness falls, the Bay Bridge becomes a dazzling spectacle, showcasing the vibrant spirit of Oakland and San Francisco. 

Marvel at the stunning nighttime views of this architectural marvel as it comes to life with an array of lights that dance across the waters.

Take a leisurely stroll along the Embarcadero or find a cozy spot in one of Oakland's waterfront parks to witness the bridge's mesmerizing transformation. 

The shimmering lights against the backdrop of the city skyline create an unforgettable sight that captures the essence of the Bay Area. This is a must-see location when exploring San Francisco.

9. Explore the Grand Lake Theater

an orange stage curtain in the Grand Lake Theater

Transport yourself to a bygone era as you step inside the Grand Lake Theater, an enchanting cinema that exudes classic Hollywood glamour. The ornate Art Deco interior sets the stage for an unforgettable movie experience.

See the magic of the silver screen as you watch the latest blockbusters or timeless classics. 

The theater's grand ambiance and rich history make it an ideal destination for film enthusiasts and those seeking a touch of nostalgia. Sit back, relax, and let the captivating stories unfold in this iconic Oakland landmark.

10. Discover Oakland Art Murmur

painting on the wall with two people looking at it

When the sun sets, Oakland's vibrant art scene comes alive during the famous Art Murmur. Explore the city's galleries and art spaces as they open their doors to showcase the works of local artists. 

Immerse yourself in a world of creativity and expression, where diverse art forms captivate your senses.

From contemporary paintings to avant-garde sculptures, the Art Murmur offers a unique opportunity to engage with Oakland's thriving artistic community. 

Stroll through the vibrant streets, mingle with artists, and discover the hidden gems that make Oakland an art lover's paradise.

11. Visit the Science Center

view of a large moon hanging from the ceiling

Satisfy your curiosity and embark on a captivating journey of discovery at the Science Center after hours. 

Engage with interactive exhibits, marvel at awe-inspiring scientific phenomena, and unleash your inner scientist. 

With fewer crowds, the Science Center offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in hands-on learning experiences.

From exploring the depths of the universe in the planetarium of the Science Center to conducting experiments in the lab, there is something to ignite the curiosity of visitors of all ages. 

Discover the wonders of science in an evening filled with exploration, wonder, and endless possibilities.

12. Experience San Francisco Bay

view of a city skyline at night with a bridge

Indulge in the enchantment of San Francisco Bay as the sun sets and transforms the landscape into a breathtaking masterpiece. 

Hop aboard a sunset cruise and witness the stunning colors of the sky reflecting upon the tranquil waters.

Take romantic evening strolls along the bay, hand in hand with your loved one, as the gentle breeze whispers tales of the city's rich history. 

With the iconic Bay Bridge as your backdrop, let the magic of the bay captivate your heart and create unforgettable memories.

13. Discover the Fox Theater

a crowd watching a band perform on stage

Step into a world of enchantment and be transported back in time at the Fox Theater, a historic venue that exudes grandeur and elegance. 

Experience the thrill of live performances ranging from concerts by renowned artists to captivating theater productions.

Immerse yourself in the artistry of the stage, as the spotlight shines on talented performers who bring stories to life. 

The Fox Theater's stunning architecture and acoustics create an atmosphere of awe and wonder, making each visit a truly unforgettable evening of entertainment.

14. Explore the Oakland Aviation Museum

a small plane that is parked inside the museum

Unveil the captivating history of flight under the evening skies at the Oakland Aviation Museum. Explore an impressive collection of aircraft and artifacts that tell the story of aviation's evolution. 

As darkness falls, the museum takes on a new allure, immersing visitors in a journey through time.

Marvel at vintage planes and learn about the courageous pioneers who defied gravity. 

Take in the awe-inspiring sight of illuminated aircraft against the night sky, igniting a sense of wonder and appreciation for the world of aviation. 

The museum is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

15. Enjoy Live Music in Oakland

people are sitting in chairs watching a jazz band perform

In Oakland, the night comes alive with the vibrant sounds of live music. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and groove of the city's thriving music scene at its nighttime hotspots. 

From intimate jazz clubs to lively venues, Oakland offers a diverse range of genres and atmospheres.

Indulge in the melodies of talented local artists or catch electrifying performances by renowned musicians. 

Whether you're a die-hard music lover or simply looking to dance the night away, Oakland's live music extravaganza will leave you energized and craving for more.

16. Visit Oakland Theater

view of a concert with a band and orchestra

Now, let's see the captivating world of live performances and dramatic arts at the Oakland Theater. 

Step into an enchanting realm where talented actors grace the stage, transporting you to different eras and distant lands.

From riveting plays to breathtaking musicals, the theater offers an array of performances that cater to diverse tastes. 

Lose yourself in the magic of storytelling as the spotlights illuminate the performers, creating moments of pure theatrical brilliance.

Experience the thrill of live entertainment and let the Oakland Theater ignite your passion for the arts.

17. Visit Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park for Sunset

a path that leads to a fenced in field

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and find tranquility amidst nature at Reinhardt Redwood Park. 

Embark on a peaceful hike, breathe in the fresh, crisp air and listen to the soothing sounds of nature. 

Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous trek, the park's serene beauty will leave you in awe and provide a rejuvenating experience that connects you with the natural wonders of Oakland.

18. Go to an Escape Room

 a fan sitting on a table in a room

Ready to put your problem-solving skills to the test? Look no further than Oakland's thrilling escape room adventures. 

Step into a world of mystery and intrigue, where you and your team must work together to decipher clues, solve puzzles, and unravel the secrets within a limited time frame.

As you immerse yourself in the immersive environments of these mind-bending experiences, your inner detective will come alive. 

Oakland's escape rooms offer an exhilarating challenge and a chance to create lasting memories with friends and loved ones.

19. Visit Joaquin Miller Park

a pool surrounded with trees

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life and discover a peaceful oasis at Joaquin Miller Park. Explore the lush greenery, surrounded by towering trees and vibrant flora.

Witness breathtaking views of Oakland's landscape as you ascend to higher vantage points. 

Whether you seek solitude, exercise, or simply a moment of tranquility, Joaquin Miller Park offers an idyllic setting for an evening immersed in nature's embrace.

20. Discover the Oakland Zoo at Night

a zoo entrance with colorful lights

Prepare for an extraordinary adventure at the Oakland Zoo, where the excitement continues after sunset. 

Step into the Savanna and embark on an evening safari, witnessing the majesty of wildlife under the moonlit sky. Marvel at lions, zebras, and giraffes as they roam their habitats, their presence captivating and awe-inspiring.

Engage in interactive exhibits, educational programs, and up-close encounters that allow you to connect with the animal kingdom. Oakland Zoo guarantees a wild and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

21. Experience the Bonsai Garden

there are many bonsais on a bench in a garden

Enter a world of miniature marvels at the Bonsai Garden, where artistry and horticulture unite. 

As the sun sets, the garden takes on a magical aura, enhancing the beauty of these meticulously crafted miniature trees. 

Marvel at the intricate details, the delicate branches, and the serene presence of each bonsai specimen.

Make sure to stroll through the garden, finding serenity in the peaceful atmosphere and appreciating the artistry that goes into cultivating these living works of art. 

The Garden offers a unique and tranquil experience for those seeking a moment of contemplation and beauty.

22. Explore the Art Deco Interiors of Oakland

a different types of vintage radio on the table

Transport yourself to a bygone era as you step into Oakland's architectural gems adorned with stunning Art Deco interiors. 

Be captivated by the intricate designs, geometric patterns, and luxurious embellishments that define this iconic style.

Visit historic buildings and landmarks that have preserved their Art Deco heritage, allowing you to immerse yourself in the elegance of the past.

Take a moment to sip a delicious cup of coffee at one of the city's charming coffee shops, savoring the ambiance and connecting with Oakland's amazing history. 

Experience the best night out by visiting the Chance Saloon, immersing yourself in Oakland's Old West legacy.

23. Visit the Oldest Designated Wildlife Refuge in Oakland

a city skyline at night with a lake in front

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Oakland's oldest designated wildlife refuge. 

As the sun sets, a serene ambiance settles over the refuge, offering a peaceful retreat in the heart of nature.

Wander along the trails, surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of wildlife. You might be able to witness impressive sights, from graceful birds in flight to majestic trees standing tall.

Whether you're a nature enthusiast or seeking a moment of solace, this refuge provides an enchanting experience under the starlit sky.

24. Check out a Beer Garden in Oakland

a bar with a mural on the wall

Raise your glass and toast to a night of beer garden bliss in Oakland. Discover charming outdoor spaces where you can unwind and savor the finest craft brews under the twinkling stars.

With a lively atmosphere and a vast selection of local and international beers, these beer gardens offer a true taste of Oakland's vibrant brewery scene. 

Grab a seat at a communal table, strike up a conversation with fellow beer enthusiasts, and let the festive season fill the air with laughter and good cheer.

25. Take a Nighttime City Tour

beautiful view of a city at night with a bridge

Embark on a captivating journey through time as you delve into Oakland's rich history on a nighttime tour. 

Explore the city's iconic landmarks and hidden gems, each with a story to tell. Visit the impressive research library, where archives and artifacts illuminate Oakland's past.

Stroll through historic districts, admiring architectural wonders and hearing tales of bygone eras. Rain or shine, Oakland's history shines through, offering glimpses into the city's vibrant past. 

Uncover the intriguing stories, delve into the secrets of the past, and let the festive season infuse the night with a sense of wonder and discovery.

26. Explore the Floating White House in Oakland

cruise with Christmas lights on it docked in a harbor

Get ready to be awe-inspired as you stand before the floating white house, a remarkable sight nestled along Oakland's waterfront. 

Step aboard this historic presidential yacht and immerse yourself in the rich legacy of American history.

Admire the elegant craftsmanship and intricate details that once hosted world leaders and dignitaries. 

From the deck, take in the breathtaking views of the bay area and let the gentle breeze brush against your skin. 

A visit to the floating white house is a truly unforgettable experience that transports you back in time.

27. Visit the Chabot Space and Science Center at Night

a space suit in a space station

Ignite your curiosity and embark on an astronomical adventure at Chabot Space and Science Center. 

Delve into the mysteries of the cosmos as you explore interactive exhibits, marvel at celestial displays, and engage in hands-on activities.

Step into the observatory and gaze at the star-studded sky, as knowledgeable astronomers guide you through the wonders of the universe. 

Whether you're a space enthusiast or simply seeking a glimpse into the vastness of our universe, Chabot Space offers an illuminating experience that will leave you in awe.

28. Check out College Avenue

a sidewalk with a food truck

Indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of College Avenue, where a night of culinary delights, unique shopping, and local charm awaits. 

Explore the diverse range of restaurants, from trendy bistros to cozy cafés, and savor delectable flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

Discover one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops, offering an array of fashion, art, and artisanal goods. 

As you stroll along the avenue, soak in the lively ambiance, bustling with the energy of locals and visitors alike.

College Avenue is the perfect destination for a memorable night of dining, shopping, and soaking in Oakland's local charm.

FAQs: The Best Things to Do in Oakland at Night

In this section, we will provide answers to frequently asked questions about the best things to do in Oakland at night.

Which Oakland attractions are best visited during the day?

Some of the best Oakland attractions to explore during the day include the Chabot Space and Science Center, where you can discover the wonders of the cosmos, and the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, a magnificent property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Enjoy the serene beauty of the reflecting pool and create lasting memories at the charming Children's Fairyland. Don't miss the chance to visit the impressive sights and soak in the rich history of these incredible destinations.

When is the best time to visit Oakland?

Oakland welcomes visitors year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. Spring and fall offer mild temperatures, making it ideal for outdoor exploration and enjoying the city's parks and gardens. Summers bring warmer weather, perfect for festivals, concerts, and outdoor activities.

Winter offers a festive season with holiday events and a chance to experience Oakland's vibrant cultural scene. Whenever you visit, Oakland has something exciting to offer.

What are the most romantic places for couples visiting Oakland?

Couples visiting Oakland can find romance in several enchanting locations. Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the reflecting pool at Lake Merritt, or plan a romantic picnic in the serene surroundings of Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate.

Explore the charming streets of Old Oakland, where you can discover cozy cafés and intimate restaurants. For a touch of whimsy, visit Children's Fairyland and let your inner child run wild. Oakland offers endless opportunities for couples to create magical moments together.

What are the best attractions for families with kids?

Oakland has a plethora of family-friendly attractions that will delight kids of all ages. Children's Fairyland is a whimsical theme park where imaginations soar. The Chabot Space and Science Center offers interactive exhibits and educational shows that will inspire young minds.

Don't miss a visit to the impressive Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, where kids can explore the beautiful grounds. With its diverse range of activities, Oakland ensures that families with kids have a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Oakland at Night

As we come to the end of our exploration of Oakland's nocturnal wonders, we hope this guide has provided you with a glimpse into the excitement and beauty that awaits you in the city at night.

Whether you're a local looking to rediscover your hometown or a visitor seeking a memorable experience, Oakland offers an abundance of attractions and activities that cater to every taste and interest.

From the iconic landmarks like the Bay Bridge to the quaint charm of Old Oakland, from the natural splendor of Redwood Regional Park to the vibrant streets of Telegraph Avenue, this city holds something for everyone.

So, venture out and embrace the magic of Oakland's evenings, as you immerse yourself in its rich history, savor delectable cuisine, explore its thriving arts and music scene, and create unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime. 

Experience the allure of Oakland at night. You won't be disappointed.