One night in the Bay Area ...
January 16, 2010 5:10 PM   Subscribe

You and have just landed at Oakland International Airport. It's 6 pm on a weeknight. Your next flight leaves in the morning. You have one night in the Bay Area and no interest in touristy stuff. You want to spend the evening exploring unusual, unknown and/or beautiful places. Where do you go?

Here are some examples of the type of thing I'm looking for:

- An abandoned shipyard.
- An amazing and/or unusual museum or gallery that is open late.
- A really quirky and interesting diner/coffeeshop.
- A Chinese-style night market.
- A gathering of astronomers with telescopes in a field.
- A vaudeville/burlesque show.
- Something one-of-a-kind, like the Church of Elvis in Portland.

Thanks for your suggestions!
posted by dacoit to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
See if the Crucible is doing anything that night, catch bart to downtown and go to The Trappist. Eat dinner at the Fat Lady or Quinns Lighthouse.

Organize a meetup ?
posted by iamabot at 5:25 PM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Meetup and a mission burrito is what I would do.
posted by schyler523 at 5:37 PM on January 16, 2010

If you're getting in at 6pm I'm thinking heading to the mission is a total waste of time. You can find as good if not better burritos in the east bay.
posted by iamabot at 6:02 PM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing The Trappist. Best beer selection in the (510). Closest BART station is 12th st/City Center. And the Linden St. Common Ale is brewed here in Oaktown. They'll give you a taste of anything on tap as they have a lot of beers American's aren't familiar with.

Nthing checking to see if The Crucible is doing anything. Fire + Art= Good.

Fruitvale BART station will get you close to all manner of good Mexican food. Lots of great taco trucks up Fruitvale Ave. My fave is a slight hike away @ 22nd & International (Tacos Sinaloa). There's a shrine to Jesus Malverde, patron saint of narcotraffickers, in the back of the parking lot.

If you have access to a car, Forbidden Island is one of the BEST Tiki lounges in the East Bay, and we got a few. Place has more atmosphere under it's belt than a cosmonaut starting re-entry, and they take their drinks seriously (but not solemnly). The head bartender/owner Martin learned his craft at the Original Trader Vic's in Emeryville.

Check out the East Bay Express calendar.

Every Monday night at the Uptown is the Hubba Hubba Review burlesque show.

The Necklace of Lights around Lake Merritt is gorgeous at night.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:42 PM on January 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

ACK! The Trappist
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 6:43 PM on January 16, 2010

2nding Tacos Sinaloa.
posted by foodgeek at 7:11 PM on January 16, 2010

If you want to stay in the east bay side, check out The New Parish.
posted by hapax_legomenon at 7:15 PM on January 16, 2010

If you like abandoned shipyards, you can head over to Alameda, and can tour an old aircraft carrier. The website has instructions on how to get there with public transportation:
posted by eye of newt at 8:24 PM on January 16, 2010

Depending on the night you arrive you might make it to the oakland art murmur, which has tons of artists exhibiting in shops and a night market environment.

If you want burlesque the uptown and the stork club in downtown oakland have them weekly, as well as a lot of other great shows.

If you rent a car, Chabot Space and Science Center have their telescopes and amateur scopes open to the public a lot of nights.

These are just things in oakland though...
posted by Large Marge at 10:01 AM on January 17, 2010

Switch your flight to arrive at 3 or 4 pm so it's not dark when you get there. Rent a car. Drive up to Point Molate, (pics), a shut-down military base, and catch the sun setting across the Bay amidst vine-covered brick buildings and railroad tracks with trees sprouting between them. (Development plans are being created, so it might not be in the same state on your next trip.) Then head up to Port Costa where you can stay at the Burlington Hotel, a former, ahem, bordello, and eat or at least drink in the Warehouse Cafe. Drive back in the morning confident you saw at least one major slice of Bay Area weirdness.

There are a lot of cool things in Oakland, too. It's too bad for your sake that they've been rebuilding the old train station in West Oakland, though some of the weirdness might still be intact.
posted by salvia at 10:57 AM on January 17, 2010

2 things I missed in SF. There's a wave organ, and beautiful tiled steps.
posted by theora55 at 11:28 AM on January 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Nice! Thanks for all the ideas!
posted by dacoit at 8:49 PM on January 18, 2010

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