Where to Stay in Oakland, California: 3 Top Areas (+Hotels)

An aerial view of Oakland showcasing the dense urban landscape, with high-rise buildings at the city's core, residential neighborhoods sprawling outward, and the waterfront adding a touch of blue to the urban palette

Gorgeous weather and iconic sites, this Californian city is surely a must-visit! If you’re heading there, then definitely read this guide on where to stay in Oakland, the largest city in the East Bay!

Below you’ll find the 3 most amazing areas to stay for tourists and a list of the best hotels, suited for all prices and arranged by price.

I manually picked and compared all the accommodations in this post, so don’t worry, you’re in good hands!

In short, Downtown is the best area to stay in Oakland! This is where you’ll find the main attractions and some stunning hotels.

And since we’re on the hotel topic, I recommend booking your hotels in Oakland in advance! The good ones always sell fast, so it’s better to secure your spot early! 

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Here’s a short list of the best hotels in Oakland, all set in the Downtown area:

luxury hotel
Stylish hotel room with artistic headboard, modern furnishings, and a cozy gray bedspread
mid-range hotel
Iconic Waterfront Hotel with blue facade, palm trees, and outdoor dining
budget hotel
Modern hotel lobby with orange corner seating and striking hanging lights.


Best affordable accommodation in the center

Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:

Here is a map showing the 3 best areas where to stay in Oakland that I will be talking about in this blog post so you can easily visualize them:

A colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in Oakland with numbered locations and labels for easy navigation
  1. Downtown: for first-timers
  2. Temescal: the coolest area
  3. Berkeley: for sightseeing

1. Downtown – where to stay in Oakland for the first time

Waterfront view of Oakland's cityscape with modern buildings, a prominent American flag fluttering in the wind, and leisure boats docked by the pier under a clear blue sky

Downtown Oakland may be the commercial heart of the city, but it represents much more than just that! Why?

Well, this lovely area has historic buildings, beautiful parks, trendy restaurants, and great museums. If you are a person like me who enjoys cities that blend history and modern elements, you will enjoy your time here!

Start your day by grabbing a good coffee from one of many nice cafes and go for a morning stroll to the charming Preservation Park. After checking out the beautiful historic buildings there, explore the culture and history of the city at the Oakland Museum of California and the Pardee Home Museum

Later, don’t forget to discover the famous Jack London District and its Square, which is such a fun place to explore! There, you can go on wine tastings at Rosenblum Cellars (map), which is set near the Port of Oakland. From this great spot, you can continue the night in the square’s pubs and clubs!

There’s never a dull moment there! At sunset, you can head over to Lake Merritt and enjoy a breathtaking sunset! If you’re with the little ones, you can visit the Lake during the day, and check out the Children’s Fairyland Theme Park, which is so fun!

Definitely interrupt your adventures for a delicious meal at Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar (map) known for its yummy seafood! 

Thanks to the BART Station nearby, by staying here, you will have easy access to other areas around Oakland, like San Francisco, in case you want to take a fun day trip!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Downtown Oakland: a modern hotel lobby with stylish furniture and bookshelves, and a trendy hotel room with a 'Thank You Oakland' mural, encapsulating the unique vibe of the city's accommodations

This hotel has a great location and is set within walking distance to the popular Jack London Square and Lake Merritt. The 4-star hotel features spacious rooms with large windows, a fully-equipped fitness center, and on-site parking. After a day of exploring the town, you can enjoy some drinks and food at the hotel’s chic restaurant or on the outdoor terrace.

Other accommodation options in Downtown

Hotel poolside area with colorful umbrellas, lounge chairs, and a clear blue sky

Waterfront Hotel features spacious rooms, a swimming pool, free Wi-Fi and on-site parking

Modern hotel lobby with orange corner seating and striking hanging lights.

One of the best cheap hotels that offers rooms with city views, a free breakfast and a great location

Minimalist bedroom with contemporary art, a simple desk, and vibrant accents

This Airbnb has a very large room, a fully equipped kitchen, free parking and is a short walk to Bart station and Lake Merritt

Things to do in Downtown

  • Visit the famous Oakland Museum of California and Pardee Home Museum
  • See The Cathedral of Christ the Light (map) and Camron-Stanford House (map)
  • Explore Jack London Square and District 
  • Take the kids to the Children’s Fairyland Theme Park
  • Grab dinner at MAMA Oakland (map),a Michelin-starred restaurant
  • See an exhibition at Joyce Gordon Gallery
  • Go for a stroll at Preservation Park and the scenic Lake Merritt
  • Explore Oakland’ Chinatown

2. Temescal – the coolest area to stay in Oakland

Street view of Cafe Encina in Oakland with a red bicycle sign above, indicative of the city's urban charm and inviting cafe culture

Temescal is located 3 miles (5 km) north of Downtown Oakland and is a very cool neighborhood (one of the oldest in the city) with many hipster cafes, art galleries, breweries and beautiful vintage boutiques. 

By the way, Oakland is known for having a very hip beer and wine scene! There’s even an Oakland Ale Trail that you can do while visiting. I found this map that shows all the spots, including Ale Industries brewery (map), Drake’s Brewing Company (map) and many others.

If you like funky places, Temescal is definitely your place to stay in Oakland! Plus, the atmosphere is a bit more tranquil here than in Downtown, making the neighborhood perfect for families who want to be away from the crowds.

Temescal offers an amazing food scene with tons of cool cafes and restaurants. Blue Bottle Coffee (map) is a great spot to start the day, and their pastries are delicious.

You will see many unique boutiques here, so make sure to allow some time for window shopping too! And definitely head over to the Piedmont Avenue area, set right nearby, you’ll find many more stores there! 

For those into local products, you should not miss visiting Temescal Farmers Market (map), which takes place every Sunday, where you will be able to find organic products and flowers!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Temescal: the stylish lobby with chic decor, a serene and modern guest room, the hotel's imposing exterior at twilight, and the inviting entrance under warm evening lights

Enjoy the city views from your cozy room at this hotel that has large windows and a flat-screen Tv. The hotel also comes with 2 on-site restaurants where you can grab a late-night dinner when you don’t feel like leaving the hotel, a bar and a fitness center.

Other accommodation options in Temescal

Exterior of a classic roadside motel with a vintage neon sign

A great hotel that has modern rooms with a seating area, a flat-screen Tv and free parking

Cozy bedroom with a plush comforter, wooden headboard, and a small work desk

An affordable place that has a small kitchen, a dining area, and a room with free Wi-Fi

Chic living room with a modern gray sofa, retro-style TV stand, and vibrant artwork

This Airbnb has a spacious room, a kitchen with great amenities, and easy access to the area’s attractions

Things to do in Temescal

  • Go shopping at Temescal Farmers Market
  • Enjoy a pint at Temescal Brewing (map)
  • Explore the Piedmont Avenue area
  • Have fun at the Oakland Zoo
  • Visit the Redwood Regional Park
  • Check out the cool boutiques in Temescal
  • Catch a baseball game or concert at the Oakland Arena & Coliseum
  • Eat a yummy pastry and drink some coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee (map)

Subscribe here to get up to 35% off your accommodation for your next trip!

3. Berkeley – where to stay in Oakland for sightseeing

A scenic aerial shot of UC Berkeley, showcasing the sprawling campus with green spaces and the hilly landscape in the background.

Whether you’re taking a road trip around this part of California or maybe you want to explore more than just 1 town, Berkeley is a great place to set base while visiting Oakland. 

Located in the San Francisco Bay area, around 5 miles (8 km) from Oakland city center, this town offers easy access to the BART trains, making it super easy to head to Oakland or other cities in the area. It takes just 15 min to reach Oakland with one of the BART trains.

While here, make sure to visit all its fun attractions, like the University of California museums and its Botanical Garden, the Berkeley Marina, and the Greek Theatre, which often holds concerts and other events.

If you’re into hiking or want to spend some time in the great outdoors, then head to the Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, which has lots of hiking trails and stunning viewpoints. This viewpoint is perfect for catching a sunset!

The best way to discover Berkeley is simply getting lost in the beautiful streets with street arts, having a coffee in cool cafes, and visiting museums and art galleries of your interest.

And don’t worry, there are plenty of things to do once the sun sets! This is a University city afterall, so naturally there’s an abundance of bars! Spats Berkeley (map) is a great one to start the night!

Luxury hotel
A collage of three hotel photos to stay in Berkeley: a modern street view of the hotel's colorful facade, a welcoming rooftop patio setup, and a cozy, well-appointed guest room with contemporary decor

Enjoy the Californian sun on the rooftop terrace of this accommodation that offers air-conditioned rooms that have large windows. The accommodation also offers private parking and free Wi-Fi.

Other accommodation options in Berkeley

Hotel bedroom with a large comfortable bed, striped carpet, and simple decor.

Holiday Inn Express offers comfortable rooms with a coffee machine, free wifi, and a fitness center

Hotel breakfast area with cereal dispensers, toasters, and a coffee machine

A great place in Berkeley that boasts air-conditioned rooms, breakfast and free parking

Bright and airy apartment kitchen with modern appliances and a small dining area

This lovely private villa features rooms with great amenities, a kitchen, and a nice garden

Things to do in Berkeley

👑 Luxury price:US$250
💵 Mid-range hotel:US$150
🛏️ Budget:US$100
📍 Best area:Downtown
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Marriott City Center
Mid-range hotel:Waterfront Hotel
👛 Best budget hotel:Hampton Inn Oakland

BONUS: The best hotels to stay near the Airport

A vibrant Southwest Airlines plane ascends over Oakland, contrasting the bustling airport below and the calm bay waters in the distance

Booked an early flight or maybe one that’s super late? If so, you might consider staying in a hotel right near Oakland International Airport, which is 10 miles (12 km) away from the city center. 

Although there are train connections, airport shuttles and taxis, if you can’t be bothered to travel that late or early, it’s a good idea to just sleep in one of these hotels! I’ve looked around and found the best ones for each price range.

So let’s check them out: 

  • Luxury: Holiday Inn Express – just a mile away from Oakland International Airport this hotel offers a free 24-hour airport shuttle, comfortable rooms, a daily hot breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. Your room is equipped with a microwave, fridge, and coffee maker which is ideal if you arrive or depart at an odd time of night and simply want to crash in your room. 
  • Luxury: SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport – sleep like a baby in the comfy rooms of this hotel that has a flat-screen Tv and a coffee maker! Set less than 1 mile away from the Airport, it offers 2 swimming pools, an airport shuttle, fitness center and a breakfast. 
  • Mid-range: Best Western Airport Inn & Suites Oakland – this accommodation offers guests a free breakfast in the morning and rooms with coffee makers. Located less than 1 mile from the airport, it comes with a gym, a hot tub where you can relax and a business center. 

FAQs about where to stay in Oakland

The Oakland skyline unfolds across the calm blue waters of Lake Merritt, with red blooms in the foreground adding a dash of color to the serene urban landscape

🗺️ Where should I stay when visiting Oakland, CA?

Downtown is the best place to stay in Oakland for first-timers. By staying here, you will have easy access to main landmarks such as Jack London Square and all the museums. The best hotels to stay here are Marriott City Center and Waterfront Hotel.

🤔 Is it safe to stay in Oakland CA?

Oakland, California is a safe city, but at night, it is better to avoid secluded streets and alleys.

🛎️ Which are the best waterfront hotels in Oakland?

Waterfront Hotel and the Best Western Plus are the best hotels near the waterfront in Oakland. 

✈️ What are the best hotels near Oakland International Airport?

The best hotels in Oakland near the International Airport are SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport and Holiday Inn Express. Both offer an airport shuttle and have great reviews.

🚖 How long does it take to get from Oakland Airport (OAK) to Oakland city center?

It takes around 30 min by BART Train and 15 minutes by taxi or car to get to the Airport from the city center. 

💸 Is it cheaper to stay in Oakland or San Francisco?

It’s cheaper to stay in Oakland than San Francisco. Hotel prices are usually higher by US$100 or more in San Francisco.

🗺️ What county is Oakland, CA in?

Oakland is set in Alameda County, in west-central California.

💯 What is the safest part of Oakland?

Temescal and Downtown are some of the safest areas to stay in Oakland!


A sweeping view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge stretching across the calm blue waters, with traffic flowing and the city skyline in the distance under a clear sky.

Oakland is such a fun and chill place to visit in California!

I hope that this guide on where to stay in Oakland, helped you decide which neighborhood and hotel to pick for your stay!

It’s not easy to choose (I know that well), so if you need a bit of help, here are my top 2 favorite hotels, both set in Downtown Oakland:

  • Marriott City Center – such a great place that offers rooms with city views and an outdoor terrace
  • Waterfront Hotel – enjoy the waterfront views at this hotel which has an outdoor pool

There you have it! The best of the best! Just remember that it’s important to book your accommodations in Oakland in advance, as the good ones usually sell out pretty fast!

Have a wonderful time exploring Oakland’s breweries and wine cellars! Don’t forget you can always drop me a comment below if you have any questions! I’d be happy to help you out!

Enjoy your time in Oakland, CA 


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