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How to have an awesome date in Oakland for under ten bucks (year round!)

Featured photo credit: Flickr user Yoav Shapira via Creative Commons

Sometimes, living in the second most expensive metropolitan area in the nation can be a bummer. You know those days-the ones where you’re so broke, you curse AC Transit for eliminating their 90 minute grace period between rides when you just need to run into Home Depot to purchase the screws that WEREN’T  included with your IKEA furniture?  When Craigslist housing section serves as a reminder that  you can’t move out of your apartment even if you wanted to.  Or that time you had to cancel dinner plans with your gal pals after checking the restaurant’s online menu and realized  the appetizer was the cheapest thing you could afford? Yeah, those days.

Now hold your horses before packing up and heading off to Harlingen, cowboy! I’m all about life hacks and finding the possible out of the impossible (I’ll squeeze a dime out of a penny.) And while we may live in a crazy expensive location, our pockets don’t necessarily have to be a reflection that. Take for example my date hack-my guy and I ventured out onto the streets of Oakland to see how we could have an awesome date for UNDER ten bucks. Entertainment, dinner and drinks-the whole shebang!

10 dollars                                                                                  Big Ballin’ in Montclair

Oddly enough, to complete this task, we ventured to the wealthy Montclair District. Truth be told, I rarely venture here due to said reputation. Montclair, a beautiful neighborhood in the Oakland hills, has long been touted as a place exclusive for the elites. Well today my friends, I show you how Montclair can be accessible to those even on the tightest of budgets!

Photo Credit: Flickr user abrin523 via Creative Commons

For Entertainment, we headed to Redwood Regional Park.

With water, blankets and our nifty boom box in tow, we headed to the Oakland Redwoods. We went on a two hour hike while  the tunes of Thievery Corporation (my FAVORITE BAND in the whole wide world) put us in a Zen like state.

Location: 7867 Redwood Rd, Oakland
Cost: Free
Hours: 7 days a week, 5am-10pm
(overnight camping welcome, available by reservation only.)
Photo Credit: atigerinthekitchen.com

From there, we headed to Taqueria Las Comadres on Mountain Blvd.

The food here is so good, we were greeted with a line that extended out the door. Taqueria Las Comadres is a family owned business that’s been around for over 20 years, so you can feel good that you’re spending your bucks on a place that’s been rooted in Oakland for generations. We split their vegetarian burrito for $5.75, which was more than enough for two. These things are massive! If they listed their burritos as footlongs, I doubt they’d head into legal troubles.


photo(1)Photo Credit: Monica Cadena

This hefty burrito will satisfy two growling bellies.

Location: 2081 Mountain Boulevard, Montclair, Oakland
Cost: $2.65-$11.00
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm; Sunday: noon-7:30pm

For the finale of our date, we went to Farmstead Cheeses & Wines for $1 wine tasting!

photo 1
Photo Credit: Monica Cadena

Who can go wrong with one dollar wine tasting?! Especially when all proceeds from the tastings are towards helping the local community. With the help of winos, Farmstead Cheeses & Wines donated more than $12,000 to local schools in 2013.

photo 3                           Photo Credit: Monica Cadena

Who says you can’t enjoy a nice buzz off a buck?

Location: 6218 La Salle Ave. Oakland
Cost: For wine tasting-$1.00 minimum suggested donation, for other products, price varies.
Hours: Store hours: Mon-Thurs: 11am-7pm; Friday: 10am-8pm; Saturday-Sunday: 10am-7pm
For wine tasting events: Fridays from 5:00-7:30 and Saturdays from 2-5



Budget: $10.00

Redwood Regional Park: FREE (10.00)
Dinner: Veggie Burrito at Taqueria Las Comadres -5.75 (4.25 remainder)
Wine tasting at Farmstead Cheeses & Wine for two -2.00 (2.25 remainder)

That left us with $2.25 to spare! Enough to cover my bus ride home!


1229986_10202023545923407_746320165_nMonica Cadena is an Oakland based writer. She focuses on community issues pertaining to urban planning and food justice. She also enjoys writing about arts and culture, particularly her love of music. She studied urban planning at San Francisco State University. When she’s not writing, she enjoys conjuring up new recipes in her kitchen, or enjoying all the Town has to offer. You can contact her at mcadena@naturalisticallychic.com