Oakland International Airport (OAK) is one of the best ranked American airports for on-time flights. Though its located across the San Francisco Bay, OAK rarely experiences fog delay, as occassinally happens at SFO. In recent years, OAK has enhanced its two terminals with more restaurants, cafes, gift shops, business services and amenities common to modern American airports. OAK TERMINAL MAP
A $3-fare BART Oakland Airport People Mover transports you from OAK Airport 3 miles to Coliseum Station of the BART rapid transit system. From there you pay a separate fare to catch BART to Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Richmond, Walnut Creek, Concord, Pleasanton, San Francisco and SFO Airport. Taxis are plentiful at OAK, Oakland Downtown Marriott Hotel and Jack London Square. Super Shuttle goes from OAK to downtown Oakland, San Francisco and many other parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. Oakland car rental shuttle stop is outside each terminal. The shuttle travels 10 minutes to the Oakland Car Rental Center hosting Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty service.
It what seems redundant, Amtrak Oakland Station is located at 245 2nd Street in Jack London Square, while just a couple miles away, Amtrak Emeryville Station is located at 5885 Horton Street. At either station, board these Amtrak train routes:
Capitol Corridor: Auburn-Sacramento-Emeryville-Oakland-San Jose
Coast Starlight: Los Angeles-Oakland-Sacramento-Portland-Seattle
San Joaquin: Oakland-Emeryville-Stockton-Merced-Fresno-Bakersfield
California Zephyr: Chicago-Omaha-Denver-Sacramento-Emeryville
San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor are two of the most popular Amtrak lines outside the Northeast Corridor. They run multiple times daily and feature a food cabin and WiFi service on board. Coast Starlight and California Zephyr are long distance trains that run once daily.
Opened in 1972, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) has expanded to a 104-mile, 45-station Heavy Rail system that runs underground, under San Francisco Bay, on surface and elevated track that are never disrupted by auto traffic. Its electrified 3rd rail provides enough juice for trains to reach 80 mph under the bay. BART trains carry 435,000 weekday commuters in 4 to 10-cabin trains in 5-15 minute intervals, depending on commute hour. Its large stations only feel crowded in downtown San Francisco during commute hours. During congested weekday morning and evening commute hours, BART is the preferred way to ride between Oakland and San Francisco. Bicycles are permitted on BART during the mid-day, night hours and weekends. Since station floors are even with train floors and each station has elevators, BART is wheelchair accessible. BART SYSTEM MAP
All five BART lines pass through Oakland. Four of five BART lines pass through San Francisco. BART line names and endpoints are:
Fremont-Richmond (does not go to San Francisco)
Fares are distance-based and seem appropriate for miles traveled. If you are familiar with transit ticket dispensers in the NYC, Washington, Philadelphia or Chicago, you’ll easily grasp the same for BART ticket dispensers. BART hours of operation are:
Its reassuring to know that when the 1989 Earthquake disabled San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and a double-deck Oakland freeway, the undamaged BART system continued running. Without BART, a massive number of San Francisco jobs would have ended until bridge repairs completed. Looking forward, BART is repairing original stations and replacing old train cabins with new, quieter ones. In September 2016, a 5.4 mile southerly extension from BART Fremont Station to BART Warm Springs Station opens. In 2018, a 10-mile extension further south to BART Berryessa Station in North San Jose (not Downtown) opens.
San Francisco-Oakland Ferry is by far, the nicest way to travel from Oakland to San Francisco. The ferries are frequent and provide break-taking views of the San Francisco Bay. If you pay for roundtrip, you’ll cruise past Alcatraz and around Angel Island before returning to Oakland Jack London Square. Routes are:
AT&T Park – Seasonal Service to SF Giants baseball games & select events
SF Ferry Building – daily
SF Pier 41 – daily
South San Francisco – weekdays only
Alameda Main Street – daily
PRICING: Fare prices are each way; $6.60 adults; age 5-18 $3.40; children under 5 enter FREE; frequent ferry riders can purchase a discounted Clipper Card.
ADDRESS: Ferry Landing is near 10 Clay Street, Oakland, CA
PARKING: Riders receive up to 12 hrs free validated parking in the 7-story garage at 101 Washington Street in Jack London Square. Validate parking tickets at the ferry terminal. Garage hours are: Mon-Thu 5:30a-1a; Fri 5:30a-2a; Sat 8a-2a; Sun 8a-1a. There is no overnight parking.
Roots & Vines Wine Tours
DESCRIPTION: Full-day private bus tours to Napa, Sonoma, or Livermore Valleys in a relaxed, informative, and interactive setting; discover the best of California wineries and wine. The tour starts with breakfast included at an Oakland restaurant, then departs at 10am and returns at 6pm. Dress in layers if you are unsure about the day’s weather, but note that summer in Wine Country tends to hot. These experienced tour provideers say the best seasons for tour are spring and fall.
PRICING: $139 per person; 8 patron minimum, 22 patron maximum
ADDRESS: Oakland; contact tour organizer for place of meeting details, as it it often at a breakfast restaurant like Coffee With A Beat
Oakland Freeway Network is well developed in terms of traffic status signs, car pool lanes and metered entrance ramps. Nevertheless, traveling westbound on San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (locally called “Bay Bridge”) remains crowded during commuter hours. Traffic is very slow between Oakland and Emeryville across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco during morning and evening commute hours. When traveling westbound on the Bay Bridge, you pay a toll. Traveling eastbound is FREE. Tolls helped build the architecturally-stunning and earthquake-resilient Bay Bridge east span. To best enjoy East Span and West Span views, drive the Bay Bridge between 9:30a-2:30p during weekdays or anytime on weekends. Avoid traffic tickets, DO NOT USE Bay Bridge Fastrak lanes without a (pre-paid toll) transponder on your vehicle.
Since its a very large bay, there are several smaller bridges to Oakland-East Bay. When traveling westbound on the San Mateo Bridge, Dumbarton Bridge, and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, you pay a toll. Traveling eastbound is Free. Traveling southbound on the Carquinez Brdige and the George Miller Bridge, you also pay a toll. Traveling northbound is Free.