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Exploring Oakland: Tours, guides and other resources

Did you know that the original site of the University of California was at 13th and Franklin in downtown Oakland? Not far from our Franklin building, a plaque commemorates the spot where UC was first chartered on March 23, 1868.

From the very beginning to the present day, Oakland has been an integral part of UC. If you’d like to find out more about the city we’re in partnership with, here are some resources to explore:

Free Oakland walking tours 
From May to October, enjoy free 90-minute walking tours through Oakland’s downtown districts. Tours are offered Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10 a.m. Reservations are recommended but not required. Choose from one of eight tour itineraries. 

Oakland Heritage Alliance
The Oakland Heritage Alliance offers low cost, highly recommended tours and events such as “Tiles and Terracota in Uptown Oakland” and “Oakland Artscapes.” See schedule of events.

Oakland Urban Paths
This organization leads guided walks on both familiar and little-known stairs and pathways that wind through various parts of the city.

See California: Oakland Landmarks
This webpage has brief descriptions of city landmarks such as Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, Joaquin Miller’s home, and the Paramount Theater.

Building tours
Speaking of the Paramount Theater, you can experience this Art Deco masterpiece by attending a concert or a classic movie (complete with cartoon, newsreel, raffle and Mighty Wurlitzer prelude) or taking one of their tours. Other historic buildings you can visit in downtown Oakland include the Camron-Stanford House, the Fox Theater and the Pardee Home museum.

East Bay Hills Project
Are you more of an armchair explorer? Check out this organization’s website with its historical photos and descriptions of the Oakland hills and other neighborhoods such as Rockridge.

Books about Oakland insert

Books about Oakland at the Laurel Bookstore.

Oakland maps
Love old maps? Here’s the site for you.

Books about Oakland
Visit the Laurel Book Store right here in downtown Oakland at 1423 Broadway – it has a corner devoted to books about Oakland and its history.

Oakland Wiki
For anything else you might want to know, check out this Wikipedia-type site for all kinds of information about Oakland including local history and trivia, murals, landmarks, parks, community resources and annual events. There are sections dedicated to every district and neighborhood in the city.


Have a site or resource to suggest that’s not mentioned here? Leave a comment below so that your co-workers can enjoy it, too!

Thanks to Tracy FitzGerald in Communications for the research and ideas she contributed to this article.


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