California Sunsations: Oakland

Rebecca Silverstein
California Sunsations: Oakland
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If you’re into eco-friendly living, then you’ve gotta hit up Oakland. This Bay Area city is home to some of the greenest — and coolest — people in the country. But that doesn’t mean that Oaklandites don’t know how to have fun!

Click through to see where the locals eat, shop and hang out. Follow our guide through the city, and you’ll feel Oakland’s Golden State of Mind in no time.

Our Sunsations series explores some of the best spots in California for eating, drinking, shopping, and more. For more information about our relationship with PacSun click here: cmp.ly/3.

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Click through our guide to Oakland to learn where the locals eat, shop and hang!

Lake Merritt Gondoliers & Boats: Spend some time on this gorgeous saltwater tidal lake, located in the center of downtown Oakland. Pedal boats, rowboats, kayaks and canoes are available for rental. Or, if you feel like being chauffeured around the lake, hitch a ride on a private gondola from Gondola Servizio.

Esqueleto Jewelry: Lauren Wolf sells her own beautiful nature-inspired jewelry, as well as one-of-a-kind pieces from local and indie designers, at this airy desert-themed boutique. Located in the hip Temescal neighborhood, Esqueleto has a very inviting, natural vibe, thanks to its desert décor (think animal skulls, antique display cases, cacti and succulent plants). Bonus: The shop also features work from Oakland painters, which is switched up monthly.

Crimson Horticultural Rarities: Rare indeed! Tucked away in an alley, Crimson Horticultural Rarities is a unique botanical shop owned by Leigh Oakies and Allison Futeral. Step inside, and you're whisked away to a wonderful world of succulents, tillandsia and plants that you won't find in everyday florists. Make sure to check out Crimson's signature floral arrangements, which involve incorporating natural objects.

Doughnut Dolly: Mmm… doughnuts. But these aren't just any doughnuts. Hannah Hoffman's artisan hole-less, cream-filled doughnuts are some of the yummiest we've ever tasted. Besides the original "naughty cream" filling (it's crème fraiche pastry cream), they also come in salted Mexican chocolate, chocolate hazelnut, lemon curd and raspberry jam, as well as seasonal specials like huckleberry curd passion fruit curd and tomato jam with lemon verbena sugar.

Highwire Coffee: Get caffeinated at this popular java joint, located in the Rockridge Market Hall. Owned by three guys with over 55 years of combined coffee-making experience, Highwire roasts its beans in small batches twice a week in nearby Emeryville to preserve delicate flavors and aromas. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about their offerings, which also include tea and pastries.

Pizzaiolo: This isn't just any old wood-fired pizza joint. Besides being absolutely delicious, Pizzaiolo is part of the Slow Food movement. Chef-owner Charlie Hallowell used only organic, Oakland-milled flour and strives to use locally grown, organic, seasonal meat and produce whenever they can. Therefore, the menu changes daily to reflect what they can get from local farmers. Be sure to make a reservation because there are only 83 seats at Pizzaiolo, and they fill up fast!

Article Pract: An easy way to describe this Temescal shop is to call it a knitting store. But while it's got yarn, needles, patterns, books, accessories and classes for knitters, that's only half the story. The other half is a store for local craftspeople to sell their goodies, like bags, hats and more.

Ali Golden: Bay Area designer Ali Golden has been making her simple, yet stylish clothes for a minute, but it wasn't until fall 2011 that she finally opened her Oakland boutique, located in Temescal Alley. Ali's latest pieces are absolutely stunning, including more of her signature sheer maxi dresses and lots of bold colors. If you're not familiar with her line, we definitely suggest paying this sunny shop a visit.

Minds Eye Vintage: Minds Eye opened in Temescal Alley in early April, but this vintage shop has quickly become a block favorite. Owners Maya Messoriano and Sarah Rainey have a wonderful selection of fashion-forward pieces for both men and women. Plus, every first Friday of the month, they curate a fun, themed mini-collection.

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