Oakland used to be overshadowed by San Francisco 10 miles to the east, but today this up-and-coming city is holding its own against its bigger brother on the other side of the bay.
Once a gritty blue collar town, Oakland is incredibly diverse and has maintained its strong sense of identity and community while embracing a dynamic and creative ethos. It has a thriving art scene, great shopping, dining and nightlife and an abundance of outdoor activities to enjoy from the ocean to the forests of the east.
The city has a mild climate all year round and the temperatures never get out of hand, peaking in the mid 70s in summer and rarely dropping below 50°F in winter. Winters can be wet and the summers are dry, although fog often rolls in off the sea.
Summer is high season and there is high demand for Oakland flights over the holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year.
Oakland hosts events and festivals throughout the year. May is Art Month and the city’s Art + Soul festival takes place in July. October’s Black Cowboy Parade celebrates the role of black people in settling the West.
Fall may be the best time to visit Oakland, as the crowds have gone and the weather is still warm and dry.
With flights to Oakland from all over the US there are plenty of ways to find a cheap flight when you book with Orbitz.
Flexibility is key and you can use the ‘Nearby airports’ button under your chosen departure and arrival points to compare prices to and from different departure and arrival points. Oakland is so close to San Francisco that it makes sense to look for alternative flights that land there.
The ‘Show flexible dates’ option allows you to find the best deals for Oakland flights on different days.
You can sort your results on the left-hand side of the screen and by using the ‘Show options’ drop-down. This allows you to filter results by airline and ticket type, explore direct or connecting flights and search for flights at certain times of the day.
Optimal flight times from US cities to Oakland include:
Oakland International Airport (OAK) is around approximately 10 miles south of downtown Oakland overlooking the water. There are flights to US cities and beyond and 13 million passengers use the airport each year.
It is connected to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system, which can take you to Oakland in minutes. There are also buses and taxis available at the airport. Shuttle buses ferry passengers to the airport’s car rental center where there is a choice of ten firms.
San Francisco International Airport is located on the other side of the bay and handles more than 50 million passengers a year. From here you can take the BART to Oakland.
Among the airlines flying from US cities to Oakland are:
The BART train network runs from both Oakland and San Francisco airports to central Oakland and is a great way to get around. There are also ferries across the bay and an Amtrak station.
The free Broadway Shuttle runs regularly from Jack London Square to Lake Merritt in central Oakland and the AC Transit bus network serves much of the city. You will need the exact change or a Clipper card.
Hiring a car is a good way to explore Oakland and the surrounding areas. There are many car rental options at the airport.
Lake Merritt lies just east of the downtown area and is an oasis of calm in the center of the city. It has a bird sanctuary, an amusement park that inspired Disneyland, walking trails, botanical gardens and lights that encircle the water. The Oakland Museum of California is just next door.
Jack London Square overlooks the harbor and hosts many of Oakland’s biggest cultural events. The author it is named after spent much of his childhood in the area. The trendy bars and restaurants around the square are well worth a visit.
The USS Potomac, the ‘Floating White House’ as it was known by Franklin D. Roosevelt, is moored close to the ferry terminal. There are dockside tours and regular cruises around San Francisco Bay, but you must book well in advance.
Oakland is a great base from which to explore the Bay Area and beyond, you can easily get to San Francisco and there are tours to Yosemite and Napa Valley.
Oakland is wildly diverse, and has a particularly proud African American heritage, so embrace the different cultures and dive into the city’s vibrant nightlife.
If you want to avoid the high travel season, then steer clear of the summer months between June and August, and the holidays. Though the University of California, Berkeley, and its neighboring businesses tend to get a little quieter around these times, the freeways are still pretty congested, which can prove extra frustrating when the 80 is already ill-equipped to handle routine traffic.
September and October are shoulder season for leisure travel but peak season for business travel. While this doesn’t have a huge impact on Berkeley, as most of the business travelers will be headed into San Francisco for the many conventions held there this time of year, you should still anticipate more foot traffic around the area’s transit stations.
January through April is the low season, with January and February usually seeing the deepest dip in travelers.
One of the great things about Berkeley, and more generally East Bay, is that the weather is much better than in frequently overcast and chilly San Francisco. Outside of the annual June gloom and rainy spring, Berkeley is sunny, with clear skies many days of the year. Summers enjoy averages in the high 60s and low 70s, while winters dip into the 50s. Many agree that September and October offer the best weather.
*Savings based on all holiday package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Orbitz.com from January through December 2017, as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages. For Free Flight or 100% Off Flight deals, package savings is greater than or equal to the current cost of one component, when both are priced separately.
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