Oakland, Calif., has gotten lots of buzz lately thanks to its diverse and fast-expanding dining options. From casual soul food and burrito spots to the two-Michelin-starred Commis, this Bay Area hot spot will scratch any attendee's culinary itch. But for many groups, the city's rich culinary offerings can be overwhelming. If visitors have just an afternoon or evening to spare, choosing which restaurants or food-and-beverage spots to check out and learning about what they have to offer can be tough for an outsider.
So why not get the assistance of an insider? Oakland boasts a number of food-and-drink-focused tours ideal for getting a deeper, and tastier, appreciation for the city and its wide-ranging neighborhoods. Here are five group-friendly ones worth considering for your next meeting.
Old Oakland Tour
Get an appreciation of this city's 19th century roots as the final West Coast stop of the Central Pacific Railroad line by taking the Old Oakland Tour, offered by See.Eat.Love. Attendees will try a range of local favorites and stop at shops along the way as they gain an appreciation for this often overlooked part of the city.
Rockridge Food Tour
The Rockridge Food Tour, from Local Food Adventures offers a number of Oakland food outings on foot, but their first tour was this three-hour guided walk through the Rockridge neighborhood. Attendees will take in the area's history, architecture and European elements while filling up on a six-tasting "progressive lunch" complete with demonstrations from the area's chefs.
Oakland Sweets, Spirits and the Beyond Food Tour
A great option for Halloween season, or any other time of year, the Oakland Sweets, Spirits and the Beyond Food Tour from Local Food Adventures puts a sweet spin on the standard ghost tour. Over 90 minutes, attendees tour two local cemeteries (including one listed on the National Register of Historic Places) sampling treats such as mini red velvet cupcakes at Le Farine Boulangerie Patisserie and ending up at the Kona Club for a spirited tiki drink.
Oakland Uptown Food & Drinks Tour
The San Francisco–based food-tour company Edible Excursions offers a number of Oakland-focused outings. For example, the Oakland Uptown Food & Drinks Tour will takes attendees through the neighborhood's historic landmarks, including the Fox and Paramount theaters, in addition to culinary treasures such as Calavera's tacos on handmade corn tortillas, fresh hand rolls at Itani Ramen and chocolate from Sweet Bar Bakery (run by Michael Jackson's former chef).
Oakland Coffee Rush
Though it's not a traditional walking tour, the Oakland Coffee Rush from Visit Oakland provides visitors with a trail of coffee roasters, cafes and other attractions ideal for appreciating the third-most popular U.S. city for coffee lovers. Options include the Latino-owned Café Santana Roasting Company (which offers a Horchata Latte, Mexican Mocha and homemade Lavender Latte), local roastery Highwire Coffee Roasters (pictured), the vegan-friendly Timeless Coffee and the Green Day–owned Oakland Coffee.