February 23, 2023
Located in the East Bay Area across San Francisco Bay lies a cultural and historical gem known as Oakland.
Named after the native oak trees in the city, this must-see travel destination in California is slowly becoming an up-and-coming tourist attraction for visitors of all ages. From its artisanal boutiques to its legendary music scene, Oakland is definitely a top place to visit in 2023.
But aside from its hip local atmosphere, what else can you enjoy in the city? If you’re looking for things to do, going to Oakland museums is always a good idea. If you’re not sure where to go, here are some of the best spots to check out.
Before diving into Oakland’s must-see museums, you first need to take a step back and understand the local art scene in the area.
Oakland has always had a thriving and vibrant art and culture scene. With over 50 galleries featuring local artists and streets decorated with expressive murals, Oakland is a city that loves to celebrate creativity.
When you visit the city’s countless tourist attractions, you can immerse yourself in Oakland’s richly diverse history, heritage, culture, and arts, as well as more modern and contemporary works that speak on the current societal climate.
From ancient artifacts to mind-blowing interactive displays, you can unearth a treasure trove of unparalleled artistic experiences in many Oakland points of interest.
Of course, as a visitor, you can’t spend all of your time exploring all of Oakland’s 50+ museums. You need to pinpoint the best ones and add them to your itinerary. Lucky for you, you don’t need to go through the hassle of reviewing each museum and finding the best ones.
In this Oakland travel guide, you can discover the top museum in Oakland that needs to be on your list. Take a look at our top five picks.
Location: 1000 Oak St, Oakland, CA 94607
You can’t go to Oakland without dropping by the Oakland Museum of California. It’s a massive mid-century architectural gem that houses over a million objects (1.9 million to be exact), all of which revolve around California history, art, and natural sciences.
The museum is divided into three levels. Each floor features a unique collection of galleries, gardens, and special exhibitions. Throughout the year, the halls and walls of this prestigious establishment come alive with high-class immersive programs and displays that celebrate the beauty of California. As if that wasn’t enough, every Friday there are food trucks outside of the Museum as well as live music – it’s almost a party in the parking lot!
Location: 10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA 94619
Are you a science fanatic or just a lover of all things space? If so, the Chabot Space and Science Center is the museum for you. It offers a superb cosmic experience that targets audiences of all ages and features a scenic observatory that gives you a breathtaking view of the bay as well as three historic telescopes to view it from.
To go along with the science theme, the museum is filled with futuristic and state-of-the-art optics that put a spotlight on man’s space exploration. The center is complete with hands-on activities and interactive programs, so you and your kids will never have a dull moment exploring all the wonders it has to offer. The Chabot Space and Science Center is also a great place to rent out for private events of various sizes, who doesn’t want their next holiday party in the stars?
Location: 659 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612
If you want to do a deep dive into the unique and diverse African American culture of Oakland, you must visit the African American Museum and Library.
This Oakland historical museum houses both original and traveling exhibitions that take you through the culture, history, and art of the African Americans in the city. While the museum gives you an impressive amount of information on the subject, you can further deepen your understanding of the community by visiting the museum’s library.
The library houses an extensive collection of archival pieces, interviews, and written documents that all answer the question: how did the African American community live in California?
Location: 921 Washington St, Oakland, CA 94607
One of the best places to visit in Oakland is The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment. Referred to as the “only all-playable video game museum in the world,” this one-of-a-kind attraction is a gamer’s dream come true. It features more than 5,300 video games, ranging from well-loved classics to all-new releases.
But that’s not all, the museum also features free programming classes where kids can participate, learn, and interact. If you happen to go on a special day, you can enjoy tournaments, comedy nights, and other fun community events.
Location: 1221 Broadway LL, 49, Oakland, CA 94612
Established in 1988 by founders Jill Vialet and Mary Marx, the purpose of the Museum of Children’s Art (MOCHA) is to bring art education programs to schools and communities in East Bay. They believed that art can be used as a powerful tool for learning, which is why MOCHA works hard to collaborate with educators, artists, parents, and students alike.
When you visit the museum, you and your children can enjoy a wide range of activities like art workshops, art parties, and an open studio where all of you can let your creativity shine and express yourselves in any way you want.
Whether you choose one or all of these Oakland museums to visit, you need to know essential tips to make the most of your experience. These include:
From historical museums in Oakland to more modern exhibits, the city has no shortage of interesting yet informative experiences for all visitors.
Now that you know what to do on your visit to the Bay Area, consider finding the best accommodation for your stay. Book a room at Executive Inn & Suites — the number one best-reviewed hotel in Oakland — to make your trip all the more memorable.
Book now and experience only the best that Oakland has to offer!
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