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West Oakland

Just the facts

Main strip:  7th Street
Who dwells here: Working-class families, urban homesteaders, activists, artists
Population: Approx. 32,000
Founded: Early 1800s
Main architecture: Victorians, brick and corrugated warehouses
Neighborhood giant: Port of Oakland
Well-known residents: author Novella Carpenter, modern artist Bruce Beasley
Where to mingle with locals: Old Kan & Beer Brewing Co., The Crucible and La Perla Taco Truck

The vibe

West Oakland has long been the neighborhood of Oakland with strong African American roots that earned a nickname Harlem of the West. Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday and Big Mama Thornton among others had gigs along the 7th Street strip. Later, the Black Panthers set up HQ. Despite this Bluesy activist history, the neighborhood hit hard times. But today it’s undergoing a growth spurt driven by grassroots organizations. Newcomers co-mingle with the old guard to create unique fusions like the po’-mi sandwich at 10th and Wood restaurant (bah-mi + po-boy) and Seoul /Soul izakaya at FuseBox restaurant. Dilapidated Victorian mansions, once the home of sea captains, are being spit shined. Colorful street art decorates businesses. Civic pride runs high.

The inside inside scoop

Eat, drink and admire your surroundings at Oakland's self sustaining industrial park, O2 Artisans Aggregate. While many areas of the industrial park are not open to visitors, Soba Ichi, an authentic hand-made buckwheat soba noodle house, is open for dinner Wednesday-Sunday evenings. 

If you only have three hours

Among a street of shipping containers and brick warehouses is the backyard work-area of folk-artist John Abduljaami who chainsaws figures from wood. Keep an eye out for some of his pieces at the Oakland Museum of California (located in Downtown near Lake Merritt).

Old Kan & Beer Brewing Co., a brewery/restaurant by Michelin star chef James Syhabout, as is a wine tasting room by Campovida.

Yes, there’s a beach in Oakland and it’s at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, built on the site of the Oakland Naval Supply Depot. See the cranes that supposedly inspired the AT-AT Walkers in the Star Wars trilogy.

Hungry for more? Pretty Lady is worth the wait. A diner where you can try American classics with a Korean twist. More places to eat & drink in West Oakland.

How to get here
Freeway exit: 7th Street
Bart Stop: West Oakland
Bus lines: 26, 31, 62, 314, 800

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