This post is brought to you by Uber.


Do any of you remember the Love the Place You Live column? It was focused on encouraging all of us to appreciate where we live and notice the great things about our area, whether it’s a big city or a small town. I’ve had some really fun explorations of Oakland in the past few weeks, and thought it might be fun to highlight some of them using the same column name. I admit it’s somewhat selfish — I like using the need for blog content to get me out of the house. : )

One of the most fun things we’ve done lately is rediscover the ferry from Oakland to San Francisco. We’ve been on it before — usually when friends are in town, as part of a tourist day — but we didn’t realize until earlier this month that it could make a great date night too. As we studied the ferry schedules, we discovered we could head in to the city around 6:00 PM, enjoy dinner and window shopping at the famed Ferry Building in San Francisco, then grab a ferry back by 7:30. That’s amazing! 

For those of you who don’t know the Bay Area, trying to do the same visit by car would add another hour at least of just sitting in traffic, and then another huge chunk of time and money trying to figure out parking. Instead, we get to bypass all of that and take a stunning ferry ride that takes you right under the Bay Bridge!

It’s been quite rainy here, so for our last ferry date night, we grabbed an uberX so that we could get dropped off right at the ferry stop in Jack London Square — it’s one of our Saved Places in the app. (Have you tried the Saved Places feature yet? When you’re on a ride, you can choose to save the destination as a Saved Place, so you never have to look it up again.)

In the mornings, there are many commuters that use the ferry to head into the city for work, and a long line forms. But not in the evenings. In fact, we’ve gone a few times lately and it’s not usual to have just a handful of people on the boat. It feels like you have the whole thing to yourself.

As the ferry leaves Oakland, you pass close by the massive cranes, and huge container ships — both are pretty darn fascinating.

And then, you head right under the Bay Bridge! Check out that view:

The whole ride takes about 20 minutes and you can sit inside if it’s too cold. You can buy your tickets right on the ferry (with card or cash) — so no need to buy them ahead of time. 

The ferry stops right at (you guessed it) the iconic Ferry Building in San Francisco.

The Ferry Building is full of small, pretty shops, and fun places to eat. It has a very European feel, and on the weekend there’s a huge Farmer’s Market there including a robust flower section. 

Before we eat, we love to do a little window shopping, or pick up a treat for the kids at Miette.

There are loads of options for dinner, and one of our favorites — especially if we’re watching the time — is El Porteño. It makes Agentanian Empanadas and they are so good. Plan on two each if you’re hungry.

Watch the clock and head back to the ferry a couple minutes before it leaves — it’s literally just steps away, so no need to get there super early.

There’s an art installation of lights on the Bay Bridge that you can see as you head back. It’s super cool, so don’t miss it if you get the chance to take the ferry.

I think that’s about it for our report. We requested an uberX, as the ferry arrived back at Jack London Square, and it was waiting for us when we disembarked. It doesn’t get more convenient than that. I’ve said this before, but I love taking Uber on dates because it feels like we can start relaxing and enjoying each other’s company the minute we get into the car — no worrying about navigating or getting frustrated by other drivers.

What’s your take on the idea of Love the Place You Live? Are you any good at exploring and appreciating your town or city or neighborhood? I definitely go in waves. Have you discovered anything fun where you live lately? A new shop? A new restaurant? A new library? Or maybe you’ve found a new hike or a park you didn’t know about? And what’s on your wishlist of local things you’d like to do (or do again). I’d love to hear!

P.S. — This is the third post in a 3-post series with Uber. I was hoping to do an interview at Uber HQ for this post, but couldn’t make it happen. Perhaps some time in the future.


Credits: Photos by Kristen Loken for Design Mom.