The Oakland renaissance has been getting a lot of national attention. With fine dining popping up all over Uptown, the wild success of Downtown’s Art Murmur, the birth of an independent retail center in Old Oakland, and newly soaring real estate values, Oakland is now viewed as a thriving new frontier.

Well– parts of Oakland.

For some, Oakland can be sharply divided into “areas one visits” and “areas one never sets foot in.” A paragraph from a controversial blog post removed from on KQED Pop a few months ago exemplifies the attitude:

The only rule to living here is to find where to go and not to go. […] Stay out of East Oakland and West Oakland. That doesn’t sound like it leaves much, but it does. Trust me, my friends have been violently mugged in East Oakland and had the same house robbed three times in West Oakland. But be my guest if you want to go to either for ‘cool points.’

It isn’t about cool points. Ending the story at “crime” creates an unbalanced narrative that erases the positive contributions of these communities from existence. East and West Oakland are home to parks, restaurants, markets, small businesses, nonprofits, artist collectives, historical landmarks, and a diverse array of cultures, all of which are an integral part of Oakland’s life and identity.

Heading East is a series from Oakland Local that highlights a small sample of what the Eastern parts of Oakland have to offer.

If you have an afternoon, or an afternoon and an evening, it’s possible to visit some of our local favorite spots to get more of the Dimond, Laurel, and Fruitvale neighborhood flavors.

A series dedicated to West Oakland is forthcoming.  Please feel free to use the comments section to give a shout-out to your own favorite spots.

Taqueria SinaloaTAQUERIA SINALOA | 2138 International Blvd

As confirmed by our readers, some of Oakland’s most amazing Mexican food comes piping hot from taco truck windows. Fruitvale is dense with taco trucks, but even with so many options to choose from, Taqueria Sinaloa is a standout. A testament to its popularity, Sinaloa trucks can be found at three different locations. Check out the main location by International and 22nd where two trucks are stationed, parked at all hours, one focusing on seafood and the other serving up chicken, beef, pork, and vegan options. The $1.25 carnitas and al pastor tacos are both serious crowd pleasers.


Halmoni VintageHALMONI | 1601 2nd Ave

Halmoni is a body-positive, woman of color owned boutique that stocks a variety of vintage treasures. The cozy shop is tastefully curated and is home to a plethora of stylish men’s and women’s clothing that couldn’t be in better condition. Drop by Wednesday through Sunday to obsess over owner Natasha Harden’s style, or check out A Naked Lady Soiree, Halmoni’s monthly vintage clothing swap.


Loard's Ice Cream

LOARD’S ICE CREAM | 2825 MacArthur Blvd

Loard’s is a longtime Oakland favorite. They have multiple locations around the East Bay, but the very first Loard’s ice cream parlor opened at 2825 MacArthur Blvd on the Dimond-Laurel border in 1950. The ice cream parlor is a vintage relic, straight out of the 50’s, but the scoops are in no way passé. Visit Loard’s for classic flavors or join the growing legion of fans clamoring for their ube (purple yam) ice cream.


Peralta HaciendaPERALTA HACIENDA HISTORICAL PARK | 2465 34th Ave

This six-acre community park provides a fascinating peek into the Spanish colonial period of California history. Here, you’ll find some of the last traces of Rancho San Antonio, a massive 19th century rancho that used to span 45,000 acres. Visiting the park is free, but $5 guided tours are offered Wednesdays through Saturdays of Antonio Peralta’s 1870 Victorian. The park is also host to a number of community events, including Mexican dance classes, discussions on California history, and exhibitions. It’s perfect for family outings and is incredibly kid-friendly.

11 Responses

  1. Nathan L

    Tacos mi Rancho and Woody’s Cafe out in the Clinton neighborhood are the best! Thank you so much for showing off the best of Oakland in every neighborhood!

  2. OaklandNative

    Allen Temple Church, Acts Full Gospel and the Love Center should also be noted.

  3. Cynthia

    When you take a look at West Oakland, don’t miss Next Step Learning Center on the corner of West Grand Ave. and Curtis St. Next Step is a community-based nonprofit that has been offering GED Preparation and College Transition programs free of charge to Oakland youth (age 17 and above) and adults for over 19 years. 65 volunteers serve as one-on-one tutors every week! It’s a very GOOD NEWS STORY in West Oakland!

  4. LibbyCali

    I know at some point you’ll highlight the zoo and well you should! But when you do, be sure to mention the open space above the Zoo. Some of the most breath-taking views of the bay can be seen from the many trails on hundreds of acres of natural landscape right above and owned by the Oakland Zoo. Or maybe you shouldn’t—-it’s pretty quiet and private up there 🙂

  5. OaklandNative

    Also, when I was growing up Southern Cafe was popular. I heard they’ve re-opened. I haven’t been yet, but my friend who did raved about it.

  6. nina

    Add Anasa Yoga, a new fabulous East Oakland p.o.i., new on MacArthur at High. No, I don’t work there, I just love it. And A shout out for Maxwell Park- the first neighborhood in Oakland’s history…with the biggest, oldest and most amazingly run home owner’s association.

  7. Jimena

    Yes! I live in East Oakland! The potential that I see here reminds me of Divisadero in SF before it got hip. I pray some investors see that many people with extra income who care about sustainable food are moving into the area.

  8. Tim Gray

    That’s where I grew up … had odd jobs at Loard’s ( the “black and white is insanely good) and Mills College and at Merritt College.


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