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Oakland

Travel Guide North America USA Western United States California Oakland

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Introduction

Oakland is the 8th largest city in California and is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, about 8 miles (13 kilometres) east of San Francisco. It has well over 400,000 inhabitants.

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Weather

The weather is comparable to that of San Francisco, though usually a little warmer and sunnier because the incoming fog from the Pacific does not always reach the eastside of the Bay Area.

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Getting There

By Plane

Oakland International Airport (OAK) is about 5 miles (8 kilometres) from the CBD of Oakland. It mainly serves other US cities, but has some international flights as well, mainly to Guadalajara and Cancun and seasonal flights to Terceira, one of the Azores Islands.

To/from the airport

  • Public Transport: AirBART shuttle buses and AC Transit's Lines 73 and 805 buses take passengers between the terminal and the Coliseum/Oakland Airport station, from where there are connections on Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). AirBART generally comes more often than AC Transit buses after 9:30pm daily. AirBART and Line 73 run during regular hours from about 5:00am to midnight, whereas Line 805 is a night bus that runs from midnight to 5:00am. A 3.2 mile (5 kilometres) extension of BART from Oakland Coliseum station to the airport is anticipated to start in mid-2010. A completion date for the project is set for sometime during 2013.
  • Car: Oakland International is accessible from Interstate 880 (Nimitz Freeway) which is 2 miles (3 km) away. The airport can be reached by exiting Hegenberger Road or 98th Avenue. Rental cars are available at the airport and there are also taxis.

By Train

A number of Amtrak trains travel to and from Oakland:

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Bay Bridge Inn Oakland683 W. MacArthur Blvd.Hotel-
La Quinta Inn Oakland8465 Enterprise Way.Hotel-
Motel 6 Oakland - Embarcadero1801 Embarcadero I-880/Nimitz Freeway at 16th Aven Oakland, CA,HOTEL-
Empyrean Towers344 13th StGuesthouse-

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 9. Last edited at 10:37 on Jan 14, 14 by Utrecht. 17 articles link to this page.

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