Things To Do With Kids in Oakland

Oakland is a city in the Bay Area often forgotten as it hides in the shadows of San Francisco. It is known for inhabiting more artists per capita than any other city in the country and has historically held a leading voice for American rights. Today, more than 420,000 people live here and is home to more than 125 known spoken languages. Explore our collection of deals on popular attractions, educational entertainment, cultural activities, and other fun things to do with kids in Oakland.

The best of Oakland varies from classic kids entertainment like zoos and parks to unique attractions and outdoor havens like the Redwood National Park. You shouldn’t have to leave Oakland to see redwoods but if you walk towards the coast there are hundreds to be marveled at. Browse other top attractions for kids in Oakland:

  • Take a trip to the long-standing Oakland Zoo as it nears its 100th birthday
  • Visit Franklin Delano Roosevelt's presidential yacht, the USS Potomac, or book a cruise along the Bay Area
  • Appreciate immersive art and a community experience in the KONO District
  • Shop around and enjoy the restaurants in Chinatown Oakland
  • Explore an area of the East Bay Regional Parks District just outside Oakland, the Redwood Regional Park

In 2013, Movoto named Oakland the most exciting city in the country based on park acreage, fewer fast food restaurants, and eight other categories of criteria. The New York Times also ranked the city #5 on their Places To Go in 2012 list. To no surprise, the city is loaded with fun entertainment for families to enjoy. Browse other activities to do with kids in Oakland below:

  • Enjoy 7+ acres of greenery and outdoor oasis at the Morcom Rose Garden
  • See a funny performance at the All Out Comedy Theater
  • Explore the Oakland Hills at Joaquin Miller Park
  • See a family show at the Woodminster Amphitheater
  • Catch an Oakland A’s game at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum

Find and hike the city’s historic staircases built for commuters to easily climb the hilly areas of the city. Some are as old as half a century! Locals call them the secret stairs and walking city tours with Berkeley Path Wanderers Association or Oakland Urban Paths showcase a few of the once-forgotten staircases. Find more cheap things to do with kids in Oakland below:

  • Save on admission at the Oakland Aviation Museum
  • Try a self-guided scavenger hunt for two through downtown Oakland
  • Go on a zombie scavenger challenge with Zombie Scavengers
  • Shop and eat at local favorite restaurants like The Fat Lady in Jack London Square
  • See art, history, and natural science exhibits at the Oakland Museum of California

Oakland is a culinary capital too. According to an Estately survey, Oakland has the best breakfast, coffee, Chinese, food trucks, and was named runner-up in several other categories. Try some of the city’s top-rated ice cream shops and restaurants with the kids:

  • Watch how fortune cookies are made at the Fortune Cookie Factory
  • Save on admission to Children’s Fairyland, famous for inspiring Disneyland
  • Enjoy famous amusement centers in San Francisco like The San Francisco Dungeon
  • Play make-believe pirate at Union Point Park on the giant pirate ship play structure with slides and climbing walls
  • Try hands-on cultural and art activities at the Museum of Children's Arts

Oakland has several kid-friendly group tours including city scavenger hunts and horseback riding lessons. For more group-friendly kids activities, try the following:

  • Take group piano lessons with Exploring Music
  • Tour the city as a group with the Operation City Quest walking scavenger hunt
  • Register for horseback riding lessons at Castle Rock Arabians
  • Take a trip to San Francisco and use a Groupon for discounted admission at the Aquarium of the Bay
  • Walk around, shop, and eat in Jack London Square, a fun entertainment and business district

Most of the museums downtown have awesome exhibits that open the doors to learning new things. Check out more educational attractions for kids in Oakland:

  • Sign up for sailing classes at Afterguard Sailing Academy
  • Save on admission to the Chabot Space and Science Center
  • Score over half off individual or family passes to Peralta Hacienda Historical Park
  • Buy interactive music lessons for young children from Mini Music
  • Visit the African American Museum Library At Oakland

The weather in Oakland is almost always pleasant but some days are just better spent indoors. This Bay Area city has a wide variety of things to do inside ranging from arcade-style entertainment to live performances at historic theaters. Find more indoor attractions for kids in Oakland below:

  • Bowl for half the cost at AMF Bowling Centers
  • Try an interactive laser shooting experience at 7D Experience
  • See a movie and appreciate the gorgeous interior decor at the Grand Lake Theater
  • Enjoy public hours at the Oakland Ice Center
  • Go for a quick drive to the Rockin' Jump trampoline park in Fremont just 30 minutes away