Oakland, California, has been making it onto a lot of “best of” lists lately, including a recent selection as America’s most exciting city by real estate company Movoto. For planners, that excitement translates into meeting space, cutting-edge restaurants, lots of retail and surprising cultural attractions.
DID YOU KNOW? The city will soon provide the Oakland Airport Connector, a train line set to run 3.2 miles from the airport to Bay Area Rapid Transit’s Coliseum Station, with stops in downtown.
“Oakland is finally getting noticed as a hip, cool destination,” says Natalie Alvanez, director of marketing and operations for Visit Oakland. “There’s an amazing art and music scene, and it’s become arguably one of the best foodie destinations in the country.” At the same time, she notes, Oakland has a number of outdoor parks and spaces to get outside in the California sunshine, including a lively waterfront the East Bay Regional Park system.
Perhaps the best-known hotel in the city is the 489-room Oakland Marriott City Center. It has a downtown, urban setting and 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. The hotel underwent a $17 million renovation in 2012, which included the addition of several PURE (allergy-friendly) rooms to its inventory. For planners looking for a more intimate, bayside experience, consider the 145-room Waterfront Hotel, a Joie de Vivre property located at Jack London Square with 13 banquet rooms and a capacity to handle up to 300 attendees.
For off-site events, planners can turn their attention to Oakland’s Fox Theater or the Paramount Theatre, both Art Deco masterpieces that have been beautifully restored. Downtown, the mid-century-modern Oakland Museum of California is another option that’s especially well-suited for events, with a conference room, lecture hall and theater on-site.
Oakland Quick Facts
Area guest rooms: 4,000 | Nearest airport: Oakland International Airport | Largest meetings facility: Oakland Convention Center with 64,000 square feet of meeting space