Emeryville is going through a period of aggressive re-development started during the 1990s and 2000s, where industrial factories and warehouses are being replaced by modern retail and residential uses. Much of this was spurred by anti-development policies in neighbors such as Berkeley and Oakland.
The city is also known for its IKEA store and tech companies, such as Pixar studios. The city is featured in some small way in almost every Pixar film, such as on a map with actual street names in the film The Incredibles or a "Greetings from Emeryville" postcard at the dentist's office in Finding Nemo.
By planeOakland International Airport (OAK) is the obvious choice, but San Francisco International Airport will also do. From the airports, see rail section on BART.
By trainBART is the regional heavy rail service which will connect you to San Francisco, Oakland, and other cities in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, there is no BART station in Emeryville; rather, simply get off BART at the MacArthur station in Oakland and take the free Emery-Go-Round shuttle. If you get off at MacArthur at night, it is wise to be aware of your surroundings (as it is in many urban areas at night.)
Emeryville is home to the Bay Area's major Amtrak station, which is located just east of the Public Market. Amtrak buses run from the Emeryville station across the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. Two long distance Amtrak routes run daily to and from Emeryville: The California Zephyr route connects Emeryville to Chicago via Denver, Salt Lake City, and Reno. The Coast Starlight route runs from Los Angeles to Portland (Oregon) and Seattle via Emeryville.
Amtrak also operates two short distance trains through Emeryville: The Capitol Corridor runs 16 times daily (11 on weekends and holidays) between Sacramento and Oakland, with some trains running south to San Jose. The San Joaquins runs 4 times daily between Bakersfield, Stockton and Oakland, with a stop in Emeryville.
By carFrom San Francisco, take I-80 East and exit on Powell St.
From points East, take I-80 West and exit on Powell St.
The complex freeway intersections just to the south of Emeryville are referred to as the Maze for good reason. Here are some tips to help your confusion:
- Be aware that when traveling through Berkeley and Emeryville, I-80 west travels on the same road as I-580 east and vice versa.
- When traveling from I-880 north onto I-80 east, you cannot exit at Powell. Instead merge right furiously and exit at Ashby/Shellmound. Take the Shellmound fork and right at Shellmound. Go straight and you'll see the Public Market and the rest of Emeryville shortly.
Driving is the best way to get around Emeryville. However, expect traffic delays if you want to go anywhere near Ikea or the Bay St. Mall.
Shuttle service from BART is provided by the free Emery Go Round, and the local provider AC Transit. Transit trip planning is available online.
Emery Go RoundThe Emery Go Round is a free shuttle that connects businesses and shopping areas in Emeryville with the MacArthur BART station. Shuttle schedules are focused on commuters, with most shuttles running M-F during commute hours, although at least one route is active seven days a week between 7AM and 10PM.
Emeryville is an interesting mix of old warehouses, manufacturing plants, and houses and new development in the form of shopping malls and live-work lofts. The Emeryville Marina has stunning views of San Francisco and the greater bay: take Powell Ave. west of I-80.
address: 1200 Park AveThere are no public tours offered of the Pixar studios; to get in you will need to know someone who works there and arrange a visitor entry badge in advance. If you are able to obtain access, the campus is impressive. Steve Jobs oversaw much of the early design, going so far as to hand-select brick colors for the main building and insisting that bathrooms be placed far enough away from offices to force employees to walk through the building to create random connections with others. Animators are given great freedom with their cubicles, and some have built elaborate huts, tiki structures, or other individualized creations for their workspaces. The more recently-built Steve Jobs building hides a lounge within its fireplace that pays homage to Jimmy Claxton, the first black athlete to play in an organized baseball league. Beyond these hidden gems, visitors will appreciate the company store, vast amounts of Pixar memorabilia, numerous screening rooms, and company cafeteria.
The Oaksaddress: San Pablo AveA card club for Texas Holdem players.
Large chain stores are found in abundance in Emeryville. Bay Street Emeryville is a large outdoor, "main street" style shopping center parallel to Shellmound past Christie that includes an AMC Movie Theater, Barnes & Noble, EQ3 Furniture, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, and many sit-down restaurants including P.F. Chang's, Elephant Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, Pomodoro, ZAO Noodle Bar, and numerous fast-casual restaurants. Ikea is adjacent to the shopping center. Emeryville Bay Bridge Center, with several "big-box" retailers such as Home Depot, EXPO, and others, is further down on 40th St., (actually the same street as Shellmound), near San Pablo Ave.
address: 5959 Shellmound StTwenty-five small ethnic restaurants under one roof. It's a great place to go if you can't agree on whether you want crêpes or curry. Prices are generally under $7 for dinners, so it's a good place to go on the cheap.
phone: +1 510-655-3388address: 3199 Powell StChinese Dim Sum, decently priced, but absolutely killer view. The exact same restaurant as the popular upscale chain found in Hong Kong.
phone: +1 510 653-3400address: 9 Anchor DrDelicious Polynesian food in a waterfront dining room, with a fun tiki bar where the Mai Tai was invented.
phone: +1 510 594-1221address: 4081 Hollis StA hip rock and roll joint serving good quality brunch dishes (the Southwestern omelette with grits is highly recommended), burgers, sandwiches, salads and daily specials.
phone: +1 510 923-0497address: 1320 65th StGourmet Mexican food, patio dining, a collection of beautiful art by local artists, and a tequila bar serving over a hundred varieties of tequila.
phone: +1 510 547-0550address: 4301 San Pablo AveA worker-owned bakery serving some of the best breads, pastries, and pizzas around.
phone: +1 510 652-9808address: 6005 Shellmound StA billiard hall with full bar, foosball, free WiFi, multiple HD TVs, a kitchen serving traditional bar food, and a smoking lounge.
address: 6702 Hollis StExcellent drinks at fairly reasonable prices - if you want a whiskey sour with real egg white in it, this is your place. Food options are limited, but patrons can bring a pizza with them. The inside is loud, but heat lamps in the patio make it a comfortable area to gather.
Four Points by SheratonGreat location, decent hotel. Has a "business center".
phone: +1 510 652-8777address: 5555 Shellmound StDirectly across the street from Bay Street shopping/eating and rooms facing the bay get a great view. Modern and clean facilities.
phone: +1 510 658-9300address: 1800 Powell StWest of I80, close to the bay.
phone: +1 888-433-9042address: 5800 Shellmound StEach suite has a full kitchen, living room, with separate bed & bath. Bay views. Home to Emery Grille restaurant.
Large streets except San Pablo Ave. south of Powell are also safe. Treat Emeryville with the same safety attitudes you would treat a large city like San Francisco.
- Berkeley - This neighboring city is famous for its liberal activism, and offers numerous interesting shops, restaurants, and nightlife spots for travelers.