Hippest Temescal Alleys Shops
February 28, 2019
Temescal Alleys. It’s a place that most residents of the apartments in the Bay Area should know well (that is, if you’ve got your finger to the pulse of what’s hip). Once a forgotten and ailing neighborhood in Oakland, this area has seen a remarkable turnaround thanks to efforts of the city:
“Over the past decade, the once-neglected neighborhood of Temescal has become a hotbed for artists, chefs, designers and indie shopkeepers, many of whom have set up shop in a pedestrian alley that once housed stables for horse-drawn trolleys in the early 1900s.”
As part of this urban explosion, those shops have become a big hit, part of the reason the pair of dead-end paths have collectively become, in the words of Business Insider, “Oakland’s hippest street.” What wonders away when you come here to shop? That’s exactly what we’ll be taking a look at today, as we explore the stores that have contributed to Temescal Alleys’ reputation.
What Makes Temescal Alleys Shine
There are a great many stores in and around Temescal Alleys that give the area its charm, and you can find a pretty complete listing in the Temescal Alleys Directory. Today, though, let’s focus on a handful that really highlight this area’s character, shall we?
Marisa Mason Jewelry
This unique jeweler stuns with unique style, and savvy readers might already know that the establishment was once known as Marisa Haskell. Savvy readers will also note that the name change was more a formality than anything else, and the same great care for jewelry the store has shown in the past is still relevant today:
“We changed our name due to trademark issues and are now calling the line "Marisa Mason." Same designer, same line, altered name. No identity crisis, just a matter of legality.”
As for the jewelry itself, Marisa Mason is all about handcrafting and high quality. They assemble all of their pieces (pendants, rings, bracelets, earrings, etc.) in-store, and all of their inventory is cast in the Bay Area (a big win for keeping things local). In addition to the house collection, you’ll find various outside jewelry lines available at the shop (including Boet and Animal Handmade) so you’ll never want for variety here. Still, if you’re looking for more great jewelry, just know that Marisa Mason isn’t the only game in Temescal Alleys...
Temescal Alleys’ other jeweler, Esqueleto (Spanish for “skeleton”), also shines in the style department. The brainchild of Lauren Wolf, who came to Oakland from New York in 2011, this store has a lot going for it as knowledge of the craft and experience are concerned. Wolf has studied the art of design deeply, attended New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, and spent nearly eight years building her brand in New York before coming to Oakland.
She, and her team at Esqueleto, are dedicated to helping customers “realize their dreams” in the form of jewelry, but the impact of this store goes even further than peddling rings and necklaces. Esqueleto is also a force in local community, supporting artisans and other small businesses, and helping the city’s scene thrive as a result. One of the many reasons Esqueleto made TimeOut’s list of the 10 Best Jewelry Stores in the Bay Area.
Crimson Horticultural Rarities
Fancy name aside, Crimson is a great place to shop if you’re into growing plants, and their combination of amazing selection and great customer service will keep you coming back for more. Their specialties cover “unique botanicals, beautiful handmade objects, pottery, and a variety of goods for the body and home,” and in addition to selling a wide variety of items for your plant-raising needs, they also do floral arrangements, wedding/event installations, interior stylings, and consultations. It’s a truly beautiful store, but that’s to be expected from an establishment so dedicated to regularly cultivating nature’s beauty.
Crimson aren’t the only purveyors of plants in Temescal Alleys. Homestead Apothecary is also committed to promoting plant life, albeit in a slightly different format. This establishment specializes in the “herbalist’s trade” selling plant-based formulae that are helpful for a variety of needs. Among their offerings, you’ll find a plethora of tinctures, teas, dyes, and burnables to help enhance your life and improve your self care routines.
What hipster haven would be complete without a space for talented artists? In Temescal Alleys, Interface Gallery provides, granting an “independently run, non-profit exhibition space with a mission to enrich Bay Area culture through its support of relevant and engaging contemporary art practices.” The art featured here ranges from local up-and-comers to the internationally reknowned, and encompasses a range of styles as well. You can learn more about their past exhibitions via their website, along with what’s coming in the future so you can plan a visit to check out all the great artwork.
Imagine a store dedicated, almost entirely, to selling bags. The picture in your mind might well resemble Baggu, Temescal Alleys’ foremost dealer in bags for almost any situation. Their claim to fame is their “namesake ripstop nylon shopping bag,” but they’ve got just about everything, ranging from backpacks to fanny packs (and beyond). If you need something fashionable to carry your stuff in while you’re on the go, look no further than this awesome store.
Minds Eye Vintage
As the name suggests, Minds Eye Vintage is all about antique-style clothing for both men and women. For those that want to hone a unique sense of fashion for themselves, this is the outlet to go to, and the selection will help you make a statement that others are sure to pick up on.
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