Where should I visit in Oakland/Pleasanton area?
June 22, 2014 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I will be in Pleasanton Tues and Wed and will have a bit of time, but sadly no car - what could/should I do with myself?

I will be in Pleasanton Tues and Wed and will have a bit of time, but sadly no car.

Essentially I will have until about noon on Tues and 4-10pm on Wed.

Obviously not much time. Willing to take the BART.

I have been to SF a number of times, but never west of the city in the Oakland area.

Cheap or free is best.

Any place I should avoid for safety reasons? Especially a night?

I will probably be taking BART to Oakland Airport at around 10. I assume that is safe?
posted by UMDirector to Travel & Transportation around Oakland, CA (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Pleasanton is extremely boring, and most of the stuff really nearby that is vaguely interesting (wine in Livermore, Asian food in Fremont) would require a car.

What do you like to do? That would probably help with recommendations. You can take BART to Rockridge (in Oakland) and eat and shop, or to downtown Berkeley (ditto), or to Lake Merritt BART for the Museum of California. 511.org will tell you how long this will take (allow extra if you have to take buses).

BART at 10 PM can be a little weird, but you should be OK. Make sure that BART is running on time so that you can take a cab if there's a real screwup. (Last time I planned to take BART to the airport, the whole system shut down! It was...great.)

Also, be advised that Pleasanton is noticeably hotter than Oakland/Berkeley/SF. Wear layers/bring a light jacket or something.
posted by wintersweet at 3:00 PM on June 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Alameda County Fair is happening right now, I would highly suggest that if you are interested in county fair doings at all. There is an extensive livestock component, arts and crafts pavilions, model train room, fried everything, and a nice midway. The free concert on Wednesday is ConFunkShun. There is also free horse racing on the oldest horse track in the country, but sadly it only happens Thurs-Sun.
posted by rhizome at 3:30 PM on June 22, 2014 [5 favorites]

Definitely go to the fair--it's one of the best ones I've ever been to (hopefully I'll make it over later). The downtown area is cute to walk around if you are into quaint old-school small towns. I think I'd say to wander town on Tuesday morning and go to the fair Wednesday afternoon.

Pleasanton at night alone is pretty dang safe.

How would you be getting to the BART, though? That's something you pretty much have to drive to.
posted by jenfullmoon at 4:55 PM on June 22, 2014

Meadowlark Dairy - a must!
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:59 PM on June 22, 2014

Jen - I am staying a 9 min walk from the Pleasanton BART station.
posted by UMDirector at 5:12 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you for posting about the fair! I'm visiting the area this weekend, and it looks like a lot of fun.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:40 PM on June 22, 2014

I've taken BART quite a few times late, it's totally fine. The Oakland Coliseum station isn't the greatest, but usually you can get on the bus and wait there. Just remember that for the "AirBART" shuttle to the airport requires a separate $3 ticket, and does not give change. You cannot just swipe your regular BART ticket or pay in cash on the bus. Embarrassingly clunky.

The BART station is really more in Dublin; it's a solid 3 miles to downtown Pleasanton, but there's still a fair amount to do in the immediate vicinity. Google Maps doesn't have the local transit agency, but their trip planner is adequate and accurate. If you get stuck, there's often an UberX available near BART.

I second the fair, supposedly one of the best in California. It has fried oreos (and more), big rides, pig racing, neat hands-on science and music exhibits, livestock, a model train exhibit, and a wine/beer garden with a surprisingly wide selection. Most of the fun stuff is included with admission, which, conveniently, is available in exchange for four canned goods on the 25th.

If you're into Asian food, there's a whole shopping center in Dublin with pretty much any kind you would want: Shabu-shabu, Afghani, Thai, Singaporese, and my favorite, a Hong Kong-style dim sum place. Not cheap, but you can eat dim sum that is well above average plus really good tea for $25 a person. The other places tend to be really affordable. The mall is called Ulfert's Center. It's a mile and a half from BART but there are sidewalks and not too many lights.

About a half mile from the West Dublin/Pleasanton station, there's a quality bowling alley that has occasionally hosted PBA tour events. Food is lousy, but the bowling is good and the staff is friendly and helpful.

It's true that you could be in Oakland in a half hour, but that wouldn't be my choice with such limited time.
posted by wnissen at 6:46 PM on June 22, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yeah, eating up what little time you have with BART travel is definitely a concern.

There's a very tasty HK bakery at Ulferts Center, Kee Wah, and also, if you haven't had Taiwanese snowflake-style shaved ice, don't miss Snowflake. This kind of thing would entertain me pretty well, but if you want museums or other things, you'll have to go elsewhere.

(Don't anyone take my summation of Pleasanton as "boring" personally: it's got a lot more to do than the part of the Bay Area I recently moved to, just not the sort of things that most people want to do while they're traveling. :))
posted by wintersweet at 7:10 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I live in Oakland and used to commute on BART/bike in Pleasanton and it's like a suburban hellscape for anyone not in a car, and there is nothing worth going to near the BART unless you want to walk over a major freeway to go to a bunch of chain restaurants. Their downtown is cute, but I would guess that taking a bus there is way, way more unreliable than BART and you could probably be in Oakland in the same amount of time. It's not what I would call a short train ride to Oakland, but I would do it no question if you're on foot.

Take BART to either Lake Merritt, 12th St, or 19th St stations. If you tell us what you're into I can give you recommendations for what's close. Lake Merritt = the lake, lots of birds, Oakland Museum of CA. 12th St = Chinatown, Old Oakland shops/restaurants. 19th St = tons of bars/restaurants, galleries, Fox Theater, record stores and beer gardens etc.

And yes BART is totally fine at night.
posted by bradbane at 7:22 PM on June 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

It all depends on what you like. I like taking walks interspersed with coffee, food, and beer. :) With your Tuesday morning, you could go to downtown Berkeley BART, eat brunch at La Note and then check out the campus? Or, if you don't need a sit down brunch, you could go to the Gourmet Ghetto and eat at the Cheeseboard. With your evening, you could go to 12 St. BART, grab coffee at Awaken Cafe, walk over to Lake Merritt and walk along it heading north, then cut back west to the Uptown area for beer and food.
posted by salvia at 10:01 PM on June 22, 2014

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