Down and around in Uptown Oakland

Uptown, one of the thriving neighborhoods in the city, is located next to downtown in the entertainment district. It is bounded on the south by 16th Street, on the north by Grand Avenue, and on the west and east by San Pablo Avenue and Franklin Street. The main thoroughfares that connect to Uptown are Broadway, Telegraph Avenue and West Grand Avenue.

Historically, right around the late 1940s, Uptown was the main center for shopping that included major department stores such as I. Magnin, Sears, J.J. Newberry, Kahn’s and Liberty House and was also a destination area where the Fox Theater, the Paramount Theatre and smaller live-music venues provided entertainment to local and regional residents into the late hours of the night. Due to demographic changes and suburban sprawl starting between the late 1950s and early 1980s, Oakland experienced a population decline that resulted in the closure of major department stores that later were converted into office space.

In the late 1990s, the Uptown district started to transform as new residential and small-scale commercial development attracted more people and businesses in the area. Within the last few years, Uptown has become denser and more attractive due to its nightlife entertainment and is considered one of the most popular neighborhoods in Oakland and in the Bay Area.

Uptown has a rich history, a strong art scene, good stock of historic buildings, diversity, upscale restaurants and trendy bars that have raised the image of the city. As newer residential and commercial projects are being developed or are underway, Uptown looks promising and has started to attract new businesses such as tech or start-up companies.

Uptown is a great destination district for anyone who seeks to venture out and experience music and comedy shows in small scale theaters, pop-up artworks in nearby warehouses, local galleries in alleys, custom manufacturing stores and occasionally wine or beer tasting within social events.

How to get to Uptown:

  • On foot or by bicycle: Head north on Broadway or Telegraph.
  • By bus: Take the free Broadway “B” Shuttle.

Uptown nightclub
Uptown nightclub

Fox Theater
Fox Theater










View down Telegraph Avenue
Telegraph uptown

Oaksterdam at 19th Street and Broadway
Oaksterdam at 19th and Broadway

Guide and Photos by Mike Rivera