Gift for my Oakland-based friend?
July 11, 2014 9:00 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting gifts for my wedding party and I'm having trouble picking something for my friend who just moved to Oakland. Could y'all recommend good Oakland-based gifts for under $100? Thanks!

My friend moved to Oakland from Austin in February. She lives east of Lake Merritt near Oakland High School. I've never been to the Bay Area (although I'm heading out there next month!), so I'm stumped in terms of what would be a terrific "thank you for being in my wedding" gift. She likes food, cooking, coffee, cocktails, art (especially sculpture and photography), scifi, and bad movies. I don't know how often she goes into San Francisco so I don't know if getting her a membership to one of the art museums there is a good idea or not (or if it would be a hassle to go there enough to make the membership worth it). She does have a car. If she was in Austin I would get her a gift card to a restaurant she really loves, but I don't know that she's really had the funds/time to explore many places near her. Suggestions? Thanks so much!
posted by vakker to Travel & Transportation around Oakland, CA (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Does your friend have lots of Oakland pride? Many of my Oakland friends sport at least one T-shirt from Oaklandish. It sounds like she would like The New Parkway cafe/movie theater (there's a Groupon for it here, didn't see a way to buy gift certificates for the theater as a whole) if she hasn't been there already.

Friends have taken cooking/fermentation classes at the Institute of Urban Farming and really loved them (very crunchy, East Bay vibe).

Hangar 1 in Alameda (neighboring town) has great vodka, tours and tastings.

If you're visiting the Bay Area next month, it might make sense to wait until you hang out with her in her new city and see what she does/where she goes. Local dance classes/restaurants/shops are very specific to the individual and you want it to be a gift she will use.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:18 AM on July 11, 2014

When I lived off of Lake Merritt, I used to love to go to Kwik Way, now Park Way Drive In. Give them a call and see if you can order her a gift card. They made a GREAT fried chicken basket back in the day.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:28 AM on July 11, 2014

Gift certificates! Try one of the nicer restaurants in her neighborhood, like Penrose or Camino or Bistro Michel. She's right near the Grand Lake Theater, which is a fab old theater that shows first-run movies. She's also right near the Walden Pond bookshop, and Good Vibrations, and Arizmendi Pizza (best vegetarian employee-owned pizza shop-and-bakery around!). Any of those would be a nice gift.

The Oakland Museum of California is an excellent regional museum, with a lot of interesting rotating exhibits. A membership there would be a great choice. Or a year's membership to the local parks -- East Bay Regional Park District has yearly memberships, and if she has a car she can get to any of them. They are fabulous and beautiful.

Or, if she likes architecture, the art-deco Paramount Theater in Uptown Oakland has a regular Saturday morning tour of the theater, which could be followed up by brunch somewhere.
posted by suelac at 10:08 AM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Yes, I came in to say either OMCA membership or EBRPD membership!
posted by wintersweet at 11:26 AM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Off topic, but it might be useful to your relatively-new-transplant friend and your impending visit:

The Oakland Library participates in the Discover and Go program where a number of Bay Area library systems offer their patrons free/discounted tickets to various Bay Area museums and venues. I've gotten into a lot of popular places for free because of this program.
posted by Seboshin at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

As someone who moved from Austin to Oakland a few years ago, why do you want to get her something from Oakland? She's probably already missing (some) stuff from Austin. Send her a good dry rub, spice mixes, or a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream (which can be shipped on dry ice). Or promise to take her out for real BBQ or breakfast tacos next time she is in Texas. (I do like the OMCA membership idea, though!) There are a couple places in town that might have gift certificates for southern-style food she might already be missing. Miss Ollies (more Carribean, but damn their hushpuppies are good) and Pican come to mind...
posted by ch3ch2oh at 11:11 PM on July 11, 2014

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