Architectural Treasures Abound
in Downtown Oakland
You dont need a ticket to see many of the best tourist sights in Oakland.
New and old architectural treasures abound downtown, offering visitors and locals
a chance to see a broad of historic and artistic styles, from the ornate Victorian
to sleek modern designs. Whether youre going on your own or joining a
walking tour group led by an expert, here are just a few of the areas youll
be sure and want to see:
Old Oakland Today, the area between 8th and 10th Streets and
Clay and Washington and Clay and Broadway is known as Old Oakland, but
in the late 1800s it was the heart of town, with block after block of hotels
built to house people traveling from the East Coast on the Transcontinental
Railroad. These buildings are among the finest examples of Victorian commercial
architecture on the West Coast, and the area is now home to a unique collection
of restaurants and shops, as well as theWashington Inn. Swans Marketplace,
which has been a major shopping destination in the Bay Area for over 60
years, was builtin several stages from 1917 to 1940s, and renovations repaired
substantial damage caused by the Loma Prieta earthquake and restored the
terra cotta and glazed brick exterior.
In 1998, the National Register of Historic Districts
designated the stretch between 11th and 17th along Broadway as The Downtown
Oakland Historic District, noting the importance of the buildings constructed
between1900-1949. The 21-story Tribune Tower was designed by local architect
Edward R. Foulkes in Renaissance/Baroque style with Spanish and colonial
influences. The beaux arts Broadway Building constructed in 1909 has gone
through a major retrofit to bring it up to modern standards. When it was
built, the Cathedral Building at Broadway and Telegraph was considered
a skyscraper but today is best known for its Gothic Revival architecture.
Examples of classic Art Deco style are visible all around town, but none
is as grand as The Paramount Theatre which opened in 1931 with 3,000 seats.
Around the corner, the neon sign and marquee of the Fox Theatre at Telegraph
and 18th street has recently been restored.
Preservation Park Four blocks west of Broadway, 16 restored Victorian houses provide a glimpse
into how Oakland residents lived years ago. The two landscaped blocks of the
park include a 19th-century fountain and distinct domestic architectural styles,
including examples of Italianate, Queen Anne, Shingle and Craftsman style.
Inside the houses, Preservation Park is now home to 45 business and non-profit
organizations, and includes five meeting rooms that can be rented for meetings
or private parties.
New Oakland Bold new buildings now shine in Oaklands
modern skyline as well. The Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building has been
lauded for its use of space and sense of place, with a dramatic lobby
that is open to the public. And 555 City Center, Shorenstein's 21-story
office tower has received praise for its beautiful architecture and environmental
features. The rotating artwork displayed at Gallery 555, its public access
gallery is curated by the Oakland Museum of California.
Walking Tours Free walking maps of downtown are available from
the Oakland Convention &
Visitors Bureau at 463 11st Street. Walking tours are offered by a number
of Oakland groups, including the City of Oakland, the Oakland Heritage
Alliance, and the Art Deco Society of California. For more information
on tours, visit our "Tours & Itineraries" section or contact
the organizers directly at: