Where to Holiday Shop in Oakland

College Avenue is a street of fantastic indie boutiques.

Must-stop shops: College Avenue runs through Oakland’s Rockridge, one of the more suburbany neighborhoods of Oakland. A couple kitchens are led by Chez Panisse alums; others are so delicious that lines snake out  the door. And, two indie bookstores are within a three-block radius (pretty high per capita in today’s world). Pegasus Books’ been in the neighborhood since 1969, with a mix of used, remains, and new books as well as a stellar selection of magazines. Diesel Bookstore, a newer place that opened in 1989, hosts author’s readings. In simple terms, go to both. But you’ll find antiquarian gems at Pegasus, while you’ll find great birthday gifts and anything mentioned on NPR at Diesel.

rockridge home xmasPhoto courtesy Rockridge Home via Facebook

Home décor is also a category killer on College with Maison D’Etre, Nathan & Co., and Rockridge Home. Each of these curated boutiques carries unusual gifts from kitschy to classy.

Maison D’Etre oaklandPhoto courtesy Maison D’Etre via Facebook

rockridge home interiorPhoto courtesy Rockridge Home via Facebook

Lunch break: Southie, an offshoot of Wood Tavern (also a good choice if you’ve made a rez in advance for the more upscale), is a favorite for casual fare. Oliveto’s café in Market Hall is primo for snacks and a light salad. Market Hall, an upscale grocery store, is itself a gem food destination that sells gifty edibles like local honeys, teas, or chocolates.

southie sandwichPhoto courtesy Southie via Facebook

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