What Are the Best Museums to Visit Near Oakland?

Oakland is an incredible city with lots to offer, and those who visit rave about the arts and culture, but where do you start if you’re new to the area?  From an aviation museum to the space and science center that’s home to a planetarium, there are plenty of reasons to get lost in the art and history of this area!

These are the best museums to visit when you’re near Oakland, and why they make this area even better.  

Mills College Art Museum

If you love art and want to see what the young minds of the area are creating: it’s time to stop at the Mills College Art Museum.  This school is almost 150 years old and offers a view of paintings and prints that can’t be viewed anywhere else.  These pieces are primarily by San Francisco Bay Area artists and collected mostly by Northern California artists.  If you bought one of the many Oakland houses for sale, you’d get to possibly be neighbors with some of the fantastic artists in this collection.

Pacific Pinball Museum

If pinball makes you smile, it’s time to check out the Pacific Pinball Museum!  This nonprofit museum and arcade will walk you through the chronological growth of pinball games, ranging from the 1940s to the present day.  With over 90 playable machines, you can see and feel the changes the machines went through.  Hand-painted murals make the building itself a piece of art and use vintage jukeboxes as the main form of music to keep with the classic theme.  This is a great place to throw a birthday party or fun gathering.

Oakland Aviation Museum

Formerly called the Western Aerospace Museum, the Oakland Aviation Museum is a 40-year-old space that allows you to view over 30 vintage and modern airplanes.  These planes are both civilian and military and offer other displays that show the aviators that changed the world and helped form what we now think of as these professionals.  This is an incredible walk to take, getting to see such large pieces of history in person as you learn about them.  Each plane has a plaque in front of it that explains its lifetime, inventors, and who donated it.

Chabot Space and Science Center

This museum and science center has everything from a planetarium to an observatory deck where you can see the planets and stars in far better quality than you ever could with the naked eye.  Visitors rave that they love that the first Friday of every month is free and that the fantastic telescopes give them the chance to see everything from Venus and Mars to stars they could have never spotted otherwise.  This is a fascinating stop to make and helps you find your literal space in the universe a little easier.  

Oakland Is a Hub for Art and Culture

Whether this is your first time in town or you’re coming back after having been gone for a while, consider touring some of these amazing museums.  Anyone could fall in love with this city if they started at these locations!

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