I will fly in to OAK [Oakland International Airport, California, USA] on a Thursday and have a flight to Europe on the next day at 15:00 (from OAK). I will probably pick a hotel in the vicinity of the airport.

  • is it possible to do the check-in and drop my luggage in the morning? (= what is the expected check-in time for a flight to Europe?)
  • is there something to do around OAK if I have 4-5 hours to spare?

EDIT following answers and comments: this question is specifically for a short (pre-flight back home) stay at OAK, and not an opportunity to visit San Francisco (which I will do before, and have done in the past)

FINAL EDIT: We ended up going to Park Street in Alameda, a 15 min ride (~15 USD with Uber) from the airport via roads which were not loaded. A nice place to eat and have a walk.

  • As a side note, I believe that the question is on-topic, I do not really see how it fits in "Questions covering tasks normally performed by travel agents such as constructing travel and tour itineraries (including scheduling and budgeting) are off-topic.". Which travel agency would organize this? – WoJ May 8 '19 at 5:45
  • 'Shopping list' questions are (generally speaking) not a good fit for Stack Exchange sites, though this one is probably sufficiently scoped. You might want to bring it up on Meta. – Glorfindel May 8 '19 at 7:02
  • @Glorfindel This isn't a shopping question. It's a "Where should I visit?" question, and those are squarely off-topic, here, because they're purely a matter of personal taste. – David Richerby May 8 '19 at 7:40
  • @WoJ "Where should I visit?" is off-topic because it's purely personal taste. – David Richerby May 8 '19 at 7:41
  • @DavidRicherby: I did not ask "where should I visit" when I was in SF. There are guides for that. I asked how to manage a specific situation - being stranded at an airport for a few hours. This is similar to "do I have time to go to Paris when at CDG for a few hours". It is a logistic question more than a "how to plan a trip" one. anyway, I got good advice which may be useful for others, should they be in a similar situation. – WoJ May 8 '19 at 12:24

is it possible to do the check-in and drop my luggage in the morning? (= what is the expected check-in time for a flight to Europe?)

Possibly, but I wouldn't count on it, either by policy, or just because the check-in counters are closed. For example, if you're flying Norwegian, I believe they only operate a 1-2 flights most days, and their check-in counters won't be staffed in the morning. I would check with your airline to see what time the counters open and how early they can accept bags, a quick message to them on Twitter or Facebook should get you the answer. Their website will also provide their recommendation for how early to arrive and the deadline when check-in counters close. The airport does not have luggage storage or lockers, so you may need to store your bags at your hotel if you can't carry them with you.

is there something to do around OAK if I have 4-5 hours to spare?

Near the airport, not a lot besides visiting In-N-Out Burger. There is the small Oakland Aviation Museum; you can decide if that's somewhere you want to visit based on the reviews online and your interest level. If you're unfamiliar with the area, for safety reasons (that link has sugguestions for other areas you could consider staying too), and to generalize a bit, I would not recommend walking around East Oakland.

If you get to the Coliseum BART station (take a taxi/Uber/Lyft from your hotel, or get to the airport terminal and pay an extra ~$6 plus the regular fare to ride the train to/from the airport station), you can be in downtown San Francisco in 23 minutes for $4.80 (check schedules, but trains run frequently during weekday daytime hours). You can also visit Berkley or downtown Oakland. While you won't have a ton of time, you could easily explore a little or get an early lunch. You could also ride a few stops further into the Mission District of San Francisco, and perhaps get a burrito (though not really the food I'd recommend before a longhaul flight, perhaps Tartine Bakery instead?).

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The Oakland Museum of California is at the Lake Merritt BART (subway) stop, and is the closest major tourist attraction to OAK. Probably because it is in Oakland, it’s underrated. Note it opens at 11:00.

San Francisco museums near BART include SFMOMA and the Asian Art Museum. They are about 15 minutes further each way.

I think some detail about your interests would sharpen the question.

Also, Zach Lipton is correct that you do not want to be walking around the neighborhood either of the airport or of the nearest station, Coliseum. Lake Merritt, however, is perfectly safe and makes a nice walk if the weather is decent.

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  • Thanks for the information, as for I think some detail about your interests would sharpen the question. - I will spend a few days in SF two weeks before (when arriving to the US) so that question is specifically for a short stay in OAK, awaiting for my flight back (and not as an opportunity to visit SF). I will make it clear in my question, thanks. – WoJ Mar 18 '19 at 9:18
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    @WoJ that absolutely makes sense, but just as a practical matter, visiting SF is just about the same time and effort, plus/minus a few minutes on a train, as visiting destinations in downtown Oakland and Berkeley. By all means visit the East Bay, but I wouldn’t restrict yourself to the immediate vicinity of the airport. – Zach Lipton Mar 18 '19 at 10:29

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