24 Hours IncityTravel

24 Hours in Oakland with Rebekah Carey McNall of A & B Creative

by Stephanie

This week’s 24 Hours in Oakland comes to us from Rebekah Carey McNall of A & B Creative. Rebekah has called Oakland her home and creative hub for the past three years. As a stylist and designer, she finds a lot of inspiration from her surroundings and today she shares with us her ideal day living and working in this Nor Cal city.  —Stephanie

(And see our peek inside Rebekah’s Oakland home right here!)

Illustration by Libby VanderPloeg

Check out the full guide after the jump…

photos by Jessica Burke

I’ve been lucky enough to call the bay area my home for the past five years. I’ve lived in a few different parts but have resided in Oakland for over three years and it truly is my home. Every time I start a conversation with someone it seems as though they’re in a creative field and pursuing their dreams, which makes sense because Oakland is home to more working artists per capita than any other American city. Living in Oakland creates an incredible sense of community and pride that I’ve never felt anywhere else I’ve lived.

7:00 AM – The whining at the end of our bed means it’s time to take the pups for a lap around beautiful Lake Merritt, which is just a few blocks away. On our way back home we love to stop in to dog-friendly Room 389 (lovely cafe during the day, fun bar at night) for an organic juice, empanada, or my favorite warm day refreshment–their organic mint tea over ice.

10:30 AM – After a few hours of answering email I’m ready for a little inspiration, so I head to Issues to peruse my favorite quarterlies and harder-to-find publications. While on Piedmont Avenue I love to stop by Mercy Vintage for great pulls for any shoots I’m styling or for a few items to add to my own collection. The next stop is the new shop Neighbor, a gorgeously curated place for local and other artisan home and garden needs.


12:30 PM – Time to grab lunch at Pepples Donut Farm. I’m currently obsessed with the vegan rueben and can’t leave without one of their amazing salted caramel donuts.

2:00 PM – I could get lost in Temescal Alley for hours. There is an incredible group of shop owners and artisans tucked into this unique alcove. Esqueleto is home to beautiful creations by Lauren Wolf and other noteworthy artists. It’s also my favorite place for vintage ring fantasies. Alex stops in for a hair cut at the Temescal Alley Barber Shop and the charming ambiance inside makes me wish I could too. Crimson Horticulture Rarities recently expanded. I like to think of it as part natural history museum, part enviable prop closet. The interior of Book Shop is everything I would want in a studio: exposed brick, natural light, beautiful prints, and a well curated selection of books. Definitely a great spot to pick up gifts for your literary-minded friends.

Oak Town Spice Shop makes me want to be a more creative cook. Their colorful and exotic spices transport you to another land. We’re also a fan of their powdered honey–perfect for topping oatmeal, yogurt,  or adding a little sweetness to a smoothie. You can also pick up one of their spice gift boxes like the Lake Merritt BBQ kit for a taste of our neighborhood.


5:00 PM – Ramen Shop is one of our new favorite haunts. They have expertly crafted cocktails and the broth is almost indescribable. Big ceramic bowls of their smoky flavored elixir and freshly made noodles have quickly topped my list of go to gourmet comfort food. Try the smoked pork belly ramen and Kentucky mule.

6:00 PM – Mountain View Cemetery may seem like an odd choice for a local romantic activity, but walking through the historic and notables’ final resting places in route to the peak is currently one of our favorite things to do. Above the cemetery is a eucalyptus grove, which is the perfect place to watch the sun set on the San Francisco Bay.

6:30 PM – Meet up with friends at Dogwood  for drinks and a charcuterie plate. A friend recently introduced me to their selection of Yamazaki whiskey and now I can never go back. Their gramophone chandelier and warm and historic Oakland photos make this a great local watering hole.

8:00 PM – The New Parkway Theater can be a home away from home. In addition to movies, they have amazing food, local speakers, documentarians, trivia night, and rotating cult classic theme nights. Bonus: try a “mysterious meal” for a delicious surprise dinner.

When I have more than twenty-four hours:



Oakland Surf Club (www.oaklandsurfclub.com)

Lost & Found (lostandfoundstore.us)

Pretty Penny (prettypennyclothing.com)

Sacred Wheel (sacredwheelcheeseshop.com)


Boot and Shoe Service (bootandshoeservice.com) (bonus: they have incredible live jazz on Sunday nights!)

Enssaro (www.enssaro.com) is my favorite around-the-corner Ethiopian staple.

Fenton’s Creamery (fentonscreamery.com) has the most delicious in-house made toasted almond ice cream with freshly made caramel sauce.

Shan Dong’s (http://sd.222.to) handmade noodles are easily the best chow mien I’ve ever had.

Taco Grill (taco-grill.blogspot.com) for sustainable and organic Mexican food in Fruitvale.


Mama’s Royal Cafe (mamasroyalcafeoakland.com)

Merritt Restaurant and Bakery (merrittbakeryoakland.com) for all of your chicken and waffle cravings.

Brown Sugar Kitchen (brownsugarkitchen.com)

Pebbles Donut Farm (www.pebblesdonuts.com) (brunch on weekends)

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe (iamrudy.com) (their Challah Bread French Toast is incredible! They’re also a great late night spot too)


The Washington Inn (thewashingtoninn.com) and Air B and B can also guarantee an authentic Oakland experience.


Grand Lake Theater (renaissancerialto.com)

Leona Heights Park, has a rugged redwood lined canyon trail on the way up and epic bay views on the way down.

The Fox Theater (thefoxoakland.com) is a beautifully restored historic concert venue in uptown Oakland.

Oakland Museum of California (Museumca.org)


Flora (floraoakland.com)

Penrose (penroseoakland.com)

Haven (havenoakland.com)

Plum Bar (plumoakland.com)

Portal (portaloakland.com)

I could go on for ages about all of the incredible spots in Oakland, how rich the culture is, and how much I love it here. Come for a visit and see for yourself!


Suggested For You


  • Next time I go to visit my cousins in Oakland, I hope to stop at some of these amazing spots!
    (btw, am I the only one bothered that ‘cemetery’ was misspelled in the map?)

  • @Victoria It’s so hard when it’s just for 24hrs in my city! However, I did include Taco Grill in Fruitvale, Merritt Bakery and Portal in East Oakland as well as Brown Sugar Kitchen in West Oakland in case you missed it.

    • Merritt Bakery & Portal are in EastLake, not East Oakland. Big difference. I don’t know if Victoria was also confused. East Oakland spots to visit: Some great parks in the East hills. The Zoo? Mills College? Honestly, I have lived in Oakland for decades and there’s not many “destination” spots in East Oakland that I’d send visitors to.

  • This is the most comprehensive and well curated guide to Oakland I’ve ever seen. I’m so happy to see spots in West Oakland, East Oakland, and Fruitvale get some recognition!

  • Thank you for featuring my wonderful city. I’m glad Mountain View Cemetery was mentioned as it’s one of my favorite places to hike. There are so many riches here that it’s hard to pare them down, For great household items and gifts don’t forget Nathan & Co in Rockridge and Piedmont Ave. For a cult sandwich, Bakesale Bette’s in the Temescal. Also in the Temescal Dona Tomas for amazing Oaxacaan cuisine. And don’t forget one can now walk or ride one’s bike to Yerba Buena on the Eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Also Yoshi’s is a jazz club that’s always worth a visit. I could go on but dinner is almost ready.

  • I understand, @rebekah. I didn’t mean to sound so bitchy–I think I was grumpy yesterday.

  • Yeah, Oakland! I miss you dearly, and I’m excited to see so many great spots on this well-curated post (especially Oak Town Spice Shop and Brown Sugar Kitchen)! Nice job, Rebekah!

    I second Vajra’s comments about Yoshi’s (some huge jazz names come through here) and about Bakesale Bette’s… I could eat a whole chicken pot pie on my own (a 9-inch pie!). Bay Wolf is also a fine dining institution; they do an AMAZING duck.

  • I have also lived in Oakland for the last 3 years, and I HELLA love it! It makes me so happy to see my city featured here.

  • I lived in Oakland for about 1.5 years when I was near 10 — I wish I’d been old enough to truly appreciate it. Feels like such an opportunity missed. I hope I get the chance to visit again.

  • @hayley, you have to go to Fairyland by Lake Merritt! It was apparently the inspiration for Disneyland! Lake Merritt also has a few different playgrounds, ducks to feed, a bonsai garden. The Oakland Zoo is also fantastic. The steam trains and carousel at Tilden Park in Berkeley are so fun too. Hope you have a great trip!

  • @hayley By far my fav hang with the littles is the Oakland Museum. If you can hit a Friday night you’ll be in for an extra special all-Oakland treat: food trucks, great bar, cool crafts and dancing under the stars, starts at 5pm but we go early to check out the great exhibits (the lizard lounge, the great sculpture gardens, the jellyfish bean bag room, the robot monkey, shadow screen, termites…). Bring some sketchbooks and markers too!

  • Love this guide! Oh, and if you correct the spelling in the Pepple’s Donut Farm and Mountain View Cemetery links, they should work just fine.

  • I’d love to see maps that are designed by actual cartographers or geographers sometime! :) Good call including Mountain View Cemetery. It’s a neighborhood treasure that many of us use as park space and it was designed by Olmsted, the designer of New York’s Central Park.

  • I’m so delighted to see our fair city featured on your blog. I would also add that Wood Tavern is a must visit for restaurants and the joint next door is great for those who like more casual fair -Southie, the little brother restaurant. Admittedly I’m biased as both are owned by my sis and her husband but still, anyone will tell you what warm, welcoming environments they are and the food is consistently off the charts great.