In part 2 of our series dedicated to East Oakland (read part 1 here), we visit an artist enclave in Jingletown, an Oakland staple in Knowland Park, and a family-run bakery near Mills College, in addition to two enchanting spots in the San Antonio neighborhood: a social change institution, and a sandwich shop known throughout the Bay Area for its deliciousness.


Oakland Zoo

OAKLAND ZOO | 9777 Golf Links Road

The Oakland Zoo is one of our city’s greatest treasures. Founded in 1922, the zoo’s been located in East Oakland’s Knowland Park — a beautiful spot for hiking or picnicking — since 1936. The Wayne and Gladys Valley Children’s Zoo, the Wildlife Theater, the California Project, the Rides Area, and the sections dedicated to the rainforest and the African savannah make the Oakland Zoo a national standout. 660 native and exotic animals are currently reside here. Grab a group of friends for Feast for the Beasts, or pack your sleeping bag for the Community Groups Overnight workshops and scavenger hunts.


 That Takes the Cake

THAT TAKES THE CAKE | 5855 MacArthur Boulevard

That Takes the Cake is an adorable, family-owned cupcake shop tucked into an unexpected storefront on  MacArthur Boulevard, near Mills College. If you’re driving, you might just miss it — so slow down and double back. The store features cupcakes, cakes, and cupcake “bouquets” for weddings and other special occasions, all incredibly moist and coming in a rotating cast of delicious flavors. The charming shop proudly proclaims: “Our aim is to bring cheer to the world, one bite at a time.” And you will be cheerful indeed upon discovering your favorite flavor (Key Lime-O-Licious and Elvis is in the Building are so f-ing good). Grab some coffee with your mini cupcakes or order up an assorted batch for your next fiesta and soak up the sugary goodness lovingly provided by That Takes the Cake.


EASTSIDE ARTS ALLIANCE | 2277 International Boulevard

The EastSide Arts Alliance is an organization of artists, cultural workers, and community organizers of color who promote improved quality of life and systemic social change by providing free youth art classes, cultural programming, public art projects, ongoing gallery exhibitions, and more. Their work contributes greatly to the cultural landscape of the San Antonio neighborhoods and Oakland as a whole. If you haven’t yet checked out any of their arts programming — the annual Malcolm X Jazz Festival in particular — you owe it to yourself to do so.


Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from Irish Monkey

IRISH MONKEY CELLARS | 1017 22nd Avenue

Oakland is sprinkled with urban wineries that take advantage of California’s micro-climate, which produces next-level grapes. East Oakland’s Irish Monkey Cellars is one of Oakland’s stars. The intimate location produces a ton of top-notch wines with affordable prices. Irish Monkey Cellars characterizes their wine as “fruit-forward style, moderate oak, varietal character and the good, flinty, and earthy aromas of hand-pressed grapes.” Stop by for tastings on Saturday and Sunday, 12–5 p.m., to experience a true labor of love from winemaker Bob Lynch and his crew.


 JingleTown Recording


If you are an East Bay musician, you’ve got to check out JingleTown Recording. After all, this is where Green Day, Machine Head, Iggy Pop, Raphael Saadiq, Smash Mouth and Zion I laid down some of their best tracks! JingleTown Recording is a special musicians’ enclave that, for ten years, exclusively served major label projects, but opened to the general public in 2012. The equipment is top-notch, rates are reasonable and the immaculate space is guaranteed to inspire creativity.


 Banh Mi Ba Le

BANH MI BA LE | 1909 International Boulevard

What is banh mi? It literally means “sliced bread” but is used to describe a delicious French-inspired Vietnamese sandwich. These Vietnamese sandwiches are characterized by perfectly flaky French baguette, fresh pickled vegetables, chilies, cilantro, and a protein: pâté, meatballs, fried eggs, pork or chicken. Banh Mi Ba Le is one of the finest Vietnamese sandwich producers in the Bay Area. The complexity of flavors and freshness for the price (we’re talking $3 gourmet sandwiches) will shock you.


That concludes part 2 of Heading East. Stay tuned for part 3!

Feel free to share your own favorite East Oakland spots in the comments.

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