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Living in Jack London Square

smiling woman under jack London square sign - courtesy of @CheyCheyFromTheBay

Living near Jack London Square offers a unique opportunity to be at the heart of Oakland's vibrant culture and history. Just a short walk or a quick BART ride from modern apartments at Fourth Street East, the square is a hub of activity, blending historical landmarks with contemporary attractions. Here’s a guide to a few of the things that make living this Oakland neighborhood so special.

History of Jack London Square

Jack London Square was built and dedicated in 1951 — 71 years ago at the time of writing. The site of the square was once a busy seaport in the 1800s and played an important role in the California Gold Rush. It’s an area of Oakland with rich history.

The square is named after an iconic figure of the gold rush era — Jack London himself. Most famously, he is the author of books such as The Call of the Wild and White Fang, both based on his experiences during the Gold Rush.

Jack London was also a hugely influential activist. He advocated for labor rights and women’s rights, and was a follower of Karl Marx and other socialist political writers. He also held more controversial views, such as promoting the popular-at-the-time ideas of eugenics and was at times accused of racism.

He organized and made speeches at various spots in Oakland. The cabin that he lived in during the Gold Rush is rebuilt and placed at the center of Jack London Square for visitors.

The oldest building in the square is Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon, which originally opened in 1883 and still stands today. Jack London was known to visit this bar in his youth. The saloon is known for surviving the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, although the powerful event broke the clock in the bar, which is still there today displaying the time the earthquake hit.

In the water across from Jack London Square is the USS Potomac, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential yacht.


Held on Sundays from 9am - 2pm, the Jack London Square Farmers Market is a vibrant weekly market that offers a diverse selection of fresh, locally sourced produce and artisanal food products as well as a maker's market of locally crafted specialty goods and gifts. Residents and visitors can enjoy a wide range of goods while supporting local Bay Area farmers and producers.

Live Events

From the summer live concert series to a holiday tree lighting each December, Jack London Square hosts a variety of community nd cultural events throughout the year.

The Square also hosts regular blood donation drives, and is home to the Oakland Jazz Workshops, a nonprofit promoting the rich legacy of jazz in Oakland.

Outdoor Pursuits

The nearby Estuary Park offers green spaces and a playground for families. You can rent kayaks or canoes and paddle along the Oakland Estuary, exploring the calm waters and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Several outfitters in the vicinity offer rentals and guided tours. The area around Jack London Square is bike-friendly, and you also can rent bicycles to explore the waterfront or venture further into the city.

Shopping and Restaurants

Jack London Square is home to a number of retail shops and upscale restaurants with exciting concepts. The famous Plank restaurant features a combination bowling alley/bocce court/gatropub/beer garden/sports bar/interactive video game cafe. There are seafood restaurants, global cuisine, and new spots are opening on a regular basis. Oakland Supply Co. features merchandise made by creators local to Portland.

Commuting from Jack London Square

London Square is well-connected to public transportation options, making it relatively easy to commute to various parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. The 12th Street / Oakland City Center BART provides rapid transit to San Francisco, Berkeley, and other nearby cities. There are also AC Transit bus routes that serve the area, offering convenient access to different neighborhoods within Oakland.

The square is a departure point for ferry services to San Francisco and other locations around the bay. There are also bike lanes and paths in the area, and you can also take your bike on BART during non-peak hours.

If you commute by car, the experience can vary depending on traffic conditions and your destination. Jack London Square is located near major roadways, including Interstate 880 and Interstate 980, which can connect you to other parts of the Bay Area.

Luxury Apartments at Fourth St East

Life near Jack London Square offers an immersive experience, rich in history, culture, community, and constant innovation. For residents of nearby apartments, like those at Fourth Street East, this area is more than a neighborhood; it's a dynamic community always ready to offer something new and exciting, deeply rooted in its historical past but always looking forward to the future.

Photo thanks: The image in this post is from @CheyCheyFromTheBay