From urban streets to magical forestry, welcome to the Oakland Hills

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When most people think of Oakland, California, they certainly don’t think of stunning sequoias, lush hiking trails, or quaint cottages. But that’s why the Oakland Hills fly under most radar. Surprisingly to some, this area is home to some of the Bay Area’s most beautiful places to relax.

For those who want to stay a while, visit the iconic one Claremont Club & Spa has delighted guests since 1915. This California landmark can be seen from the freeway as you drive into Oakland. Known as The White Castle on the Hill, this historic property is located in the Oakland Hills, just 12 miles from San Francisco. The Claremont exudes luxury from every corner of its 2 acres of manicured grounds.

Most of the 276 rooms offer breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and skyline and super soft beds. The hotel offers a real country club feeling with its activities such as tennis, swimming, fitness rooms and accompanying courses, Pilates and more. And of course it’s not called spa for nothing! The Fairmont Spa recently opened. So if you want to spice up your luxury stay a bit, book an appointment.

For both guests and visitors, the property has an on-site restaurant overlooking the Bay Area – ideal for a sunset dinner! The Limewood Bar & Restaurant offers a menu of seasonally inspired dishes made with local ingredients and the expert culinary experience of Chef Joseph Paire III.

Dishes include shrimp and polenta with San Marzano tomatoes, parmesan; Fried bone marrow tartare with beef tartare, sourdough, parsley; Crispy scorpion fish and hot sauce, buttermilk and pickled onions; Dungeness Crab Bucatini with uni carbonara, Calabrian chilli; and Cioppino with Dungeness crab, mussels, clams and sourdough fennel tomato broth.

So what’s the best way to enjoy the day after a relaxing stay at the Claremont (or a drive to the Oakland Hills if you’re a local)? Here’s What to Eat, Drink, and Do in 48 Hours!

breakfast

Two incredible places for breakfast pastries are Fournée bakery, which is directly across from Claremont, and L’acajou. Fournée bakery has the flakiest and most incredible baked goods and Viennese products. Delicious items include ham and Manchego croissant with Niman Ranch ham and Manchego cheese; twice baked chocolate and almond croissant with almond cream spread, topped with almond cream; and the fruit croissant with organic apricot, vanilla, bean and cream cheese filling, garnished with almond cream.

If you’re looking for something closer to the hills, check out the neighborhood gem, L’acajou. You have a selection of delicious pastries as well as hearty breakfast products such as the Parisian with egg, Zoe’s ham, Dijon, spinach and Gruyère cheese on a croissant and the Eggs D’acajou with eggs on a bed of spinach, topped with melted Gruyère cheese, Zoe’s bacon and a side dish of fried potatoes.

When you need something a little more hearty to start your morning, take a seat Sequoia Diner for your breakfast classics to order. Popular items include the # 1 breakfast sandwich with an oversized egg, pepper jack, bacon, avocado; the corned beef breakfast sandwich with spicy cabbage, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, rye & over a light egg; and plates like the goat cheese omelette with snow peas and green garlic or the corned beef brisket hash.

Having lunch

Before you go hiking in the mountains, grab an upscale picnic lunch! Community table offers seasonal home cooking, including delicatessen items that are perfect for packing in your picnic basket. From gourmet side dishes like Yukon potato and green bean salad; devilish eggs; and grilled vegetables to sandwiches including French ham and Gruyère sandwich and albacore tuna, it’s an ideal pre-hike pit stop.

For something a little more unusual, come by Farm cheeses and wines for, you guessed it, a nice selection of your favorite cheeses and wines. Grab a fresh baguette and off you go!

Groceries in the market hall is another great option for grabbing gourmet take-away meals. They have a variety of delicatessen items, ready meals, salads and vegetable side dishes, and more. Think quinoa with roasted vegetables; Curry Chicken Salad; Beetroot with lemon and olive oil … the choice is huge!

Redwood Regional Park

The best way to experience this part of Oakland is by nature. Unlike Muir Woods, one of the Bay Area’s most popular places to stroll among the magnificent sequoia trees, Redwood Regional Park does not require a parking space reservation. This hidden forest is nestled in the hills just a few miles over the ridge of Downtown Oakland.

The short drive from the busy downtown area takes you to a whole new, extremely peaceful place that feels like cities. One where you’d likely find the characters of Narnia tucked away in a closet somewhere.

It’s a great alternative to other hiking areas that get crowded with tourists, and offers miles of hiking trails lined with pretty ferns and towering coastal redwoods. This park is almost 2,000 acres and is easily accessible for those with a car.

Plan to park in the Skyline Gate Staging Area at 7876 Redwood Rd. Located in the Montclair neighborhood of Oakland. From there you will quickly be immersed in nature, eucalyptus and pine trees, wildflowers and of course, epic sequoias.

Chabot Space & Science Center

If nature isn’t what you’re looking for, stop by nearby Chabot Space & Science Center. This nonprofit is located on 13 acres in Redwood Regional Park. Chabot is a practical facility ideal for those interested in science and technology.

It features a 241-seat planetarium, interactive and hands-on exhibits, space artifacts, a large screen movie theater, Challenger Learning Center, and the only research-level telescopes regularly open to the public for weekly live viewing in the Western United States.

The center is currently closed, but is slated to reopen in November 2021 with new exhibits, events and programs in collaboration with NASA’s Ames Research Center.

dinner

There are so many exciting places to eat and enjoy in Oakland. Within a 10-12 minute drive back towards downtown Oakland, you can sample almost any cuisine.

For inspired Filipino cuisine, head to the Temescal neighborhood FOB kitchen. The owner and cook Janice Dulce offers all Filipino classics, including pancit sotanghon with glass noodles, vegetables and soy; daing na bangus, a whole milk fish marinated in palm leaves, garlic and spices; Pork adobo with soy and vinegar; and the always addicting Lumpia Shanghai, which looks like spring rolls. Lively atmosphere, traditional cuisine and a welcoming atmosphere make this Instragramable spot a 10/10.

Also in the Temescal district is Burma superstar known for its authentic Burmese cuisine. Must-have dishes include tea leaf salad, mixed at the table and made with a unique fermented tea leaf dressing with a crispy mix of nuts, beans and garlic with lettuce; Burmese style beef or lamb; nan gyi dok with flour noodles with coconut chicken curry, roasted chickpea flour, hard-boiled egg, cabbage, wonton, turmeric, chilli and fried onions; and Burmese samusas. Read more here.

For a fun night out atmosphere for friends, stop by Arthur Mac’s Tap and Shack which offers a spacious beer garden with a large selection of beers, ciders and wines. They have a delicious selection of hand-stretched specialty pizzas made from homemade, cold-fermented batter and locally produced ingredients. From pizzas like the BBQ Chicken and King Salami to the hot wings of their Arty, it’s a great place to relax and kick back! And it’s dog friendly!



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