The Jack London District, also popularly called the Loft District, is an area on Oakland’s waterfront along the Embarcadero. It sits just south of the I-880 Freeway in the area between Adeline and Lake Merritt channel and includes the Jack London Square shopping area and the Warehouse District north of the Amtrak Station.
Historically, the area has been mainly industrial, playing a part in Oakland’s very early history as a hub for warehouse land use, docking ships, and a railway passenger thoroughfare because of its close proximity to the Transcontinental Railroad. Sailors and travelers would stop in for a pint at Heinold’s First & Last Chance Saloon during a break in their journey. The bar still holds the same name and location on Webster Street on the waterfront in Jack London Square. The author by the same name was a notorious customer at Heinold’s, and it is said that the bayside saloon was inspiration for his novels.
The area began seeing residential development in the 1990’s including several reused warehouse buildings such as the Fourth Street Lofts, the Tower Lofts, the Brick House Lofts, the Pocket Lofts, the Portico Lofts and the Phoenix Lofts. And since 2000, over one thousand new units of housing have been built in the area.
The area is extremely lively with performing arts and entertainment at Yoshi’s Oakland, The Night Light, and Oakland Metro Opera house. Also, be sure to check out the Sunday Morning Farmers Market hosted by local retailers, and the once-a-year outdoor street fair The Eat Real Festival. Good eats in the area are too many to count, but a few to list are Everett and Jones Barbecue, Forge Pizza, and Home of Chicken and Waffles for you know what. This district is extremely unique to Oakland and offers bay and harbor views, public transit galore with Amtrak, Bart, AC Transit and even a ferry to San Francisco that takes off from the Square. If you love historic buildings, industrial lofts, and a central location with plenty of amenities nearby, this is the neighborhood for you.
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