Yes, Oakland is a vibrant urban place to visit, but it’s not all about dog-friendly ale and wine trails, waterfront dining and hotels (more about that below). As dog-centric locals know, one of the pleasures of living here is proximity to many open-space preserves where you can flee the big-city hustle-bustle and revel with your pup in the shade of redwoods or atop grassy ridges with panoramic views.
Among the preserves to check out are Claremont Canyon Regional Preserve, King Estate Open Space Park, Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve, Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Anthony Chabot Regional Park and Redwood Regional Park. You won’t go wrong with any of them—especially considering many of the trailheads are within 20 minutes of downtown Oakland.
About that dog-friendly dining: Check out the offerings at Jack London Square, Oakland’s waterfront jewel of a public space. It’s rimmed by many cafes, bars and restaurants with dog-friendly outdoor seating; just stroll around until you find a place that fits your appetite, mood and budget. You might try Plank, sporting a dog-friendly beer garden with bocce court. Or drive on over to Lake Merritt, a tidal lagoon in the center of town, and linger over an upscale meal at Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill. (And yes, usually fog-free October is a great time to soak up the views.)
Want to stay the night? Go for the dog-friendly Claremont Club & Spa if you can swing it, or the trendy Waterfront Hotel, a Kimpton property near the square. You’ll find many pooch-welcoming chain hotels in town, too.
And…if you’re visiting in late October, put Oct. 26 and 30 on your dog-activity calendar. On the 26th, Paws & Claws, a natural-food dog boutique in the Dimond District, hosts its annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade and Costume Contest. Don’t have a costume? You can get one here, of course. Then, on the 30th, comes Wag Hotels' sixth annual Howl-O-Ween Party benefitting the Pets in Need organization. You’ll find tricks and treats around every corner of the “haunted” premises, plus vendors, swag and photos with Cruella de Vil, the villain in the hit 1956 Disney film "One Hundred and One Dalmatians."