Shopping Alley

Spend a Saturday afternoon in a local shopping haven.

Oakland has a bit of a reputation. It’s been called “Brooklyn of the West” and “Oaklandia” for its DIY, artisan populace, known to handcraft, hand-churn, and hand-carve just about everything. These monikers are most true in a sweet area known as Temescal Alley—really, two alleys. Both are pedestrian-only and lined with indie shops housed in horse stables that were built in the 1900s. Shop here for some local flavor.

For cool cuts, look no further than the line in front of Temescal Alley Barber Shop. While waits for a razor shave or contour haircut can be an hour or two, the skill level of the stylists is A-plus, no matter your personal style. A spinning barber pole adds a touch of nostalgia.

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American-made clothing for men is the theme at Standard & Strange. You’ll also find shoes, wallets, sunglasses, and sound advice from the friendly staff.

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Get the dirt on the California lifestyle at Homestead Apothecary, which sells herbs and flower essences for many maladies. Unscrew the caps of the different jars, then sniff, rub, and ask questions. Out-of-towners may be intrigued by “saging hour,” held every second Friday of the month and said to realign energy flow.


Just as much a part of California culture: coffee and doughnuts. At The Cro Café, Sightglass coffee is brewed using a propane-powered machine. Just around the corner at Doughnut Dolly, each fluffy confection is filled to order. You really must try the naughty cream, with vanilla bean and crème fraîche. The proprietress, Hannah Hoffman, is of Chez Panisse royalty: Her mother was a pastry chef at the Alice Waters restaurant.


Crimson Horticultural Rarities may be a mere 500 square feet, if that. Still, you could spend an hour in the modern nursery, falling in love with the rare plant specimens. If you’re looking for something more compact to take home, check out the locally distilled perfume from floral designer Studio Choo.

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The vibe of Marisa Haskell’s chic necklaces and earrings is modern tribal at its best. The high-fashion jewelry, crafted from leather, suede, turquoise, and gold, can be found throughout the Bay Area… but they are made exclusively at this shop in Oakland.


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