Emeryville is a small city between West Oakland and South Berkeley in the East San Francisco Bay that many big-name companies, like Pixar and Electronic Arts (maker of The Sims), call home instead of the notorious tech hub of Silicon Valley. There’s both the elegance of new money in town and a change-resistant hippie vibe, given plenty of psychics and astrologers open for business, as well as art galleries and yoga studios.
Things to do in Emeryville
Bay Street, Emeryville’s enormous and tastefully-built outlet mall, is a delight for enthusiastic shoppers: beloved brands like Lush, West Elm, Uniqlo and many more companies have storefronts in both indoor and outdoor parts of the complex, which has an AMC theater to top off the enjoyment. Just nearby, take a stroll along the waterfront either at Eastshore State Park or Marina Park—or both: residents can be seen taking a jog from one end of Emeryville’s “coast” to the other. Fishing hobbyists are in for a real treat after signing up for an Emeryville Sportfishing tour, a diverse team of seafaring men looking to catch specimens as large as sturgeon. The trips are available to those with California fishing licenses (you can obtain one for a day) and a sportfishing stamp, going from 5:30 a.m. into the late afternoon. Rates increase depending on the type of fish being caught, but catch schedules include crab, rockfish, salmon, sturgeon, albacore and lingcod.
Day Trips from Emeryville
Prepare to be spellbound and perhaps unsettled on a tour of Alcatraz Island and its permanently-closed penitentiary, in what is truly a national legend and California must-see. A pricey ticket across the Bay with Alcatraz Cruises covers entry into the federally-run landmark, increasing with a longer duration, inclusion of a visit to Angel Island and after adding on a night tour. An accompanying audio tour tells all the gory details of its use as the original “super-max” prison and its subsequent closure, which set the stage for iconic protests by Native American activists. From Emeryville, taking BART the entire way to Fisherman’s Wharf is not possible, meaning it might be best to take a cab or rideshare for a quicker trip.
For such a small part of the Bay as a whole, Emeryville boasts a variety of temporary living situations for visitors—whether it’s neat and modern studio apartments with an unbelievable view or little “garden oases” of cute, one-story houses surrounded by plants on Vallejo Street. The colorful neighborhood’s flat, walkable streets and usually sunny weather make for a worry-free and laid-back setting for one’s stay. Most importantly, rates here are far less aggressive per night than many currently available rentals in the Bay.
Transportation in Emeryville
Flights to Emeryville and the Bay Area as a whole will arrive at either San Francisco International Airport (SFO) or Oakland International Airport (OAK), and both connect to MacArthur BART Station just a few blocks east of the city limits. Emeryville’s Amtrak Station is connected to the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, San Joaquins and Capitol Corridor routes, reaching as far north and east as Seattle and Chicago. Uber and Lyft operate in most areas of the East Bay and will pick you up almost immediately in a major part of town.