Exploring Oakland in the age of COVID-19

The goals of Oakland Urban Paths are to teach people about Oakland, and to encourage them to explore Oakland (and elsewhere) on foot. So how do we do that under the current shelter in place order?

Even before COVID-19 was a thing, I’d been working on a side project. The schedules of walking tours and those who want to go on them sometimes conflict; people often ask (both about OUP walks and City of Oakland walks): “When will this walk be offered again? I can’t make the scheduled walk.” Too often the answer is: “next year” or “I don’t know.”

Another problem I’ve seen over the years is that some walking tours have largely disappeared from view. Two in particular are Once Upon a Time, Happily Ever After, and Walking the Invisible City. No fault of the creators, because it costs money for a website and time promoting it.

Then came COVID-19. Then came the Bay Area-wide shelter in place order. Then the state-wide shelter in place order. If you’re not in quarantine, you can (and should) still go out to get exercise, buy food, etc., but while minimizing opportunities for contamination. Some people are able to work from home, but many aren’t. And many people are scrambling to continue educating and entertaining their children.

screen shot of walk app on a phone

So it seemed like this might be a good time to release the walking tour app as I have it so far. There are only 3 tours: Old Oakland (based on what I lead for the City of Oakland, though this is a bit longer), 10,000 Steps (based on Walking the Invisible City by Sue Mark and Bruce Douglas), and Once Upon A Time, Happily Ever After (based on Scott Oliver’s audio tour).

But I post what there is so far here as a way for you to keep exploring and learning about Oakland, even if you can’t have a live guide. Point your phone to https://walk.ouroakland.net, pick a tour, and go. Click Start the tour to begin, Directions to get directions to the stop, and Next to go to the next stop on the tour. Note that 10,000 Steps is in two parts and has audio at some stops, and Once Upon A Time… is in three parts, and is 99% audio. (The more audio, the more data it will use up on your phone.)

Please email gene @ oaklandurbanpaths.org to let me know if you take one of the tours, and let me know if you notice any problems with the tours or have any suggestions. See you (from at least 6′ away) on the paths!

9 thoughts on “Exploring Oakland in the age of COVID-19

  1. Hi Gene,

    Thanks for taking the time to put these virtual tours together. I’m looking forward to checking them out. With luck, this will all be behind us in a few weeks!


    John (the Marinite)

  2. And if you are in quarantine or want to stay indoors, the tours work from your computer, too. So you can take the tour virtually if needed.

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