If Oakland has a tourism hub, this waterfront district is it. Take a sunset walk or a bicycle ride past the moored boats bobbing in the bay or hop aboard FDR’s private yacht, the USS Potomac. If you want to paddle out into the Bay on your own, talk to California Canoe and Kayak. Afterward, peek inside the recreated Yukon gold rush cabin of hometown writer Jack London, whose rough-and-tumble tales of life in the frontier West made him famous. The cabin stands outside ramshackle Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, where contemporary raconteurs clink pint glasses.
Vibrant local events regularly happen around Jack London Square. For a fresh taste of California’s fruit, veggies, and artisanal foods, show up on Sunday morning for the farmers market, held rain or shine from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Crafty artists, funky musicians, and fusion food vendors line the same bay-view promenade during the Jack of All Trades market, taking place on the second Saturday of every month from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., weather permitting.
On a sunny weekend afternoon, Jack London Square is a gathering place for drinks with friends and a bite to eat, most popularly the hand-made pizzas from Forge. After dark, Yoshi’s jazz club puts a parade of touring stars and break-out acts on stage.
Amtrak trains stop at Jack London Square. The nearest BART stop, Lake Merritt station, is just over a half mile away, but it’s not a fun walk. Instead, get off at BART’s 12th St./City Center station and catch AC Transit bus 72 or the free Broadway shuttle south to Jack London Square. The ferry dock for ferries to Alameda and San Francisco is just west of the square. For more Transportation details see Oakland and Around (in the yellow bar).