Jack London Square (www.jacklondonsquare.com ) is a great place to go if you’re new to shopping in Oakland . Down on Oakland ’s surprisingly pretty waterfront, the Square is a bustling crowd of tourists and locals come to eat, shop, or catch a movie. The shops here tend toward the big chains.
For more local, specialized shops with a neighborhood feel, head to Rockridge (bwtn. Alcatraz Ave. and 51st St.) or Piedmont. In Rockridge, foodies will want to explore epicurian Market Hall (5655 College Ave.), while bookworms get their fix at well-regarded and independent Diesel Bookstore (5433 College Ave., 510/653-9965).
At the foot of the Oakland Hills, the Piedmont district’s main draw is the delightfully retro Fenton’s Creamery (4226 Piedmont Ave., 510/658-7000) which has been serving scoops since 1894. A local theater, antique shops, and several restaurants line the easily walkable neighborhood.