Category: Neighborhood Profile

Jack London District

Where Oakland begins

Located south of Interstate 880 along the Oakland Estuary between Adeline Street and Oak Street, the 225-acre Jack London District historically served as a center of maritime trade and commerce. It is one of Oakland’s oldest districts and also one of its newest and most exciting mixed-use neighborhoods with more than 1,000 housing units, offices, retail, and live-work units in new and converted buildings located primarily east of Broadway around the still active Produce Market.  Much of the housing was built as a result of Governor Jerry Brown’s 10K plan, the effort he launched during his term as mayor to bring 10,000 residents downtown.  Many of the traditional heavy industrial and distribution uses left the District after World War II but they have been replaced by an eclectic mix of light industrial activities, performance spaces, food production, wineries, off-price retail outlets and other uses.

At the heart of the district and the foot of Broadway is Jack London Square, one of Oakland’s most popular tourist attractions. In addition to operating one of the West Coast’s busiest ports, to the west of the Square, the Port of Oakland controls commercial development within the Square except for two sites the City recently approved for residential projects.

How to get to the Jack London District:

  • On foot: Walk south along Broadway from downtown.
  • By bicycle: Take Clay Street, 9th Street and Washington Street.
  • By bus: Take the free Broadway “B” Shuttle along Broadway to Jack London Square.

Waterfront view of cranes of the Port of Oakland
Port of Oakland cranes

Produce market
produce market

Guide and Photos by Vivian Kahn and Kristin Maravilla

Adams Point

Home Sweet Gnome

This high density residential neighborhood located north of Lake Merritt is bounded by Harrison Street, Grand Avenue, and Interstate 580 / Macarthur Avenue.  The neighborhood name comes from Edson Adams, the original landowner.

This neighborhood contains a hodge podge of architectural styles.  There is a mix of older craftsman and Mediterranean style homes scattered among 1970s era condominium and apartment buildings.  Restaurants of various cuisines (Mexican, Japanese, Ethiopian, Italian) and small businesses line Grand Avenue.

This area has grown in popularity due to its diversity, close proximity to Uptown and Grand Lake, and easy transportation options.

How to get to Adams Point:

  • By bus: From downtown Oakland, take the AC Transit 12 route northbound on Broadway directly to the neighborhood.
  • On foot: Alternatively, this route can be a leisurely 2 mile walk along Broadway and Grand Avenue.
  • By bus: Broadway can also be traveled using the free Broadway “B” Shuttle.

Guide and Photos by Jackie Yang

Old Oakland

Old town charm meets new wave trend

Head out for a stroll through Oakland’s historic town center to find beautifully restored buildings dating back to the 1860s, exquisite local eateries, entertainment, and shops!

Old Oakland is the historic downtown and is situated just south of the current downtown, between Jack London Square and Chinatown.

In the 1860s, Old Oakland was the center of downtown welcoming travelers from the old Central Pacific Railroad Station on 7th Street. After the 1906 earthquake, Old Oakland began to decline and the downtown shopping district moved north. In the 1980s, property owners began to restore the historic buildings and revitalization continues as new businesses pop up throughout the neighborhood. The Arlington building, originally named the Nicholl Block, is a beautifully designed brick building decorated with gargoyles that covers the block between Washington Street, Broadway, 9th and 10th Streets.  One block west is the Swan’s Housewives Market, a historic East Bay shopping destination that dates back to the early 20th century and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Swan’s Market was redeveloped as a mixed-use establishment with affordable rental, co-housing, live-work, retail, office, and non-profit spaces, reopening in 1989. The project won several awards, including a California Preservation Foundation Design Award and a California Redevelopment Association Award of Excellence. The building is now bustling with popular restaurants, several of which share an open market like space.

How to get to Old Oakland:

  • On foot: Walk south on Broadway just past the Marriott Hotel then turn west on 10th, 9th, or 8th Street.
  • By bus: Multiple bus lines, including the free Broadway “B” Shuttle, travel along Broadway and will drop you just steps away.

Old Oakland
Old Oakland 1

Dining at Cosecha and the Cook and Her Farmer
Old Oakland 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View down 9th Street
Old Oakland 3

Guide and Photos by Dana Turréy

 

 

 

 

 

Downtown Oakland

City Center

City Center is the product of an “urban renewal” effort initially launched in the 1950s.  The original plan was to raze 70 blocks of aging Victorian and Italianate style buildings with modern office towers. Objections from residents and property owners led to a much more modest redevelopment plan in 1966, focused on a 12-block area between Broadway, Jefferson, 10th and 14th Streets.  The first office building opened at 14th Street and Broadway in 1973, followed by the Clorox Building in 1976.  Construction of the complex stalled during the late 1970s and 1980s, and was eventually scaled back to include fewer retail shops, partial restoration of the street grid, and condominiums instead of offices on some of the blocks.

City Center includes the distinctive “twin towers” of the Oakland Federal Building, the Marriott Hotel and Oakland Convention Center, and much of Downtown’s Class A office space.  A pedestrian arcade and civic plaza extends through City Center between Broadway and Clay Street.  The plaza features lunchtime concerts and is a popular gathering place for Downtown office workers, with restaurants and shops, public art, outdoor seating areas, and an entrance to the 12th Street BART Station.

Across 14th Street is Oakland City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. City Hall is a landmark Beaux-Arts style building.  When it was constructed in 1914, it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River.  The building was extensively retrofitted after the 1989 earthquake, with rubber bearings added to enable the building to move laterally up to 20 inches during an earthquake.  The Oakland City Council still meets in the ornate Council Chamber at the top of the grand staircases in the main lobby.

The park and plaza in front of City Hall is named for former Councilmember Frank Ogawa, a civil rights leader and the first Japanese American to serve on the City Council (1966-1994).  The plaza was the site of the Occupy Oakland encampment in 2011 and the flashpoint for the riots that followed removal of the camp in 2012.  Be sure and step inside the “Rotunda” building on the east side of the plaza.  Once home to Oakland’s largest department store, it is now an office complex featuring a massive central atrium and domed ceiling.

The area east of Broadway and north of Chinatown includes a number of Oakland’s distinctive skyscrapers, including the iconic Tribune Tower.  This area features a grid of wide north-south streets (Franklin, Webster, and Harrison) and narrow numbered east-west streets, in some cases lined with shops and restaurants. The block of 17th Street between Franklin and Webster is particularly charming, and is the center of an area popularly known as “Oaksterdam”, for its concentration of medical marijuana dispensaries.  East of Harrison Street, a high-density residential neighborhood (the Lakeside Apartment District) extends to the shores of Lake Merritt.

How to get to City Center:

  • On foot: Cross 12th Street to find the City Center plaza/retail area and 14th Street to find City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza.  Other areas described here are on the east side of Broadway.

City Center plaza and Federal Building
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City Center plaza and Tribune Tower
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Clorox Building and 1111 Broadway
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Guide and Photos by Barry Miller