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The Williamsburg of the West: Temescal, Oakland

Old doesn’t have to mean boring. In fact, quite the opposite is true for Temescal, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Oakland that is now a bonafide hot spot for international cuisine, the best indie boutiques, and all-around cool vibes. Probably the best-known street here is Temescal Alleys. What used to be horse stables for the Oakland fire department have been converted into adorable storefronts, cafes, and even an old school style barber shop. In addition to many of these stores featured on AOS, a few notable mentions to check out include Esqueleto, Homestead Apothecary, Baggu, Ali Golden, and Book/Shop.

One of my absolute favorite stores in the alley is Crimson Horticultural Rarities, owned by Allison Futeral. In addition to beautiful plant life and home objects, this weird and wonderful botanical wonderland also features oddities such as marionette puppets and skulls. The place is so enchanting that even I, with my black thumb, leave here dreaming about planting my own garden.

Since I know Allison has exquisite taste, I asked her to create a guide to Temescal. Here are her top ten places to visit in the hood.


Temescal Alley

Temescal Alley is a bustling European-style shopping hub full of lovely boutiques and a destination for all! Coffee, clothes, ice cream, plants...what else is there to ask for?!


Doña Tomás

Step through the doors of Doña Tomás straight into Mexico! Sharing is recommended so you can experience the many flavorful dishes Doña has to offer. The patio space is lovely, and ample heat and blankets are provided for your enjoyment any time of year! Don’t forget to visit on the weekends for brunch!

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Rose’s Taproom

I love the bright and friendly atmosphere of Roses’ Taproom! It’s great for beer aficionados or just the casual social drink, plus delicious bar snacks. The staff is always so sweet, and they have great taste in plants!


1234 Go Records

1234 Go always has an amazing selection of new and used records, plus a great zine selection. Dig through their used section to find obscure and collectable gems, find your favorite new release on their walls, or stop in in the evening for a show featuring local bands.

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Manifesto Bicycles

Manifesto is a real community bike shop, regardless of whether you’ve been riding bikes forever, just getting started, or just stopping in to say hi. Their vibe is down-to-earth and friendly, and they have all sorts of goods, from used bikes to new, and all sorts of accessories. Plus, their bike rack/parklet is so cute!


Ruby’s Garden

A women-run business carrying the cutest clothes and accessories for tiny people (kids). What’s not to love? Oh, and the cute space. Not to mention, Floyd is one of the best dogs of Temescal.

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Preserved brings novices and expert chefs alike into the kitchen to learn about traditional fermentation methods and healthy connections with food. They have everything from well-made kitchen tools, to starter fermentation kits. And don’t miss their excellent selection of classes!


DMV Farmer’s Market

Open every Sunday all year, rain or shine, in the Temescal DMV parking lot. The market showcases California’s bounty of locally grown produce and is a staple of the neighborhood, offering organic foods, bicycle parking & maintenance, local artists and more! So nice for an afternoon snack or stocking up for the week.

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Marquee Salon

Sarah Schiek at Marquee is amazing for helping maintain that always-in-need-of-a-trim pixie, though the salon is always doing amazing, edgy styles as well. Oh, and their art-deco branding is amazing.



Café Colucci

It’s debatable whether or not Café Colucci is part of Temescal, but their Ethiopian food is to die for. It’s so well-sourced and flavorful, and what’s not to love about a cuisine focused on sharing many delicious dishes that you can eat with your hands?

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About Allison Futeral


Originally from Baltimore, Allison Futeral has lived in the Bay Area since 1995. She started Crimson Horticultural Rarities on a whim in 2011, after enjoying a career as a public health researcher for years and studying landscaping on the side. Spurred by a love of nature and oddities, Crimson began in a 240 sq. ft. space with only enough room for Allison and two customers amongst the jungle of plants and beautifully curated goods. About five years ago Crimson expanded into the 750 sq. ft. front space in Temescal Alley, where Allison continues to pursue a perfectly curated space, complete with lush plants, handmade goods, and entertaining curiosities. 

Image by Steph Zangeneh Azam