Oakland Travel Guide

McMullen boutique founder, Sherri McMullen’s guide of what to eat, where to stay, and how to dress in Oakland, California.

McMullen boutique in Oakland, California.

I was living in Oakland, working in corporate retail, and knew I wanted to open my own store. Oakland didn’t have any luxury retail shops at the time, the last closing in the 1990’s. Oakland felt right, it was my home and I knew people wanted to support a local business instead of having to drive into San Francisco to shop. There is a spirit and sense of community in Oakland that made me want to move here in the first place. I opened during the recession and some thought I was crazy to do so, but here we are over 12 years later.

It was important to me that if a young woman of color was walking by the window or came in because she followed me on Instagram that she’d see herself reflected in the store. I want her to know that there’s a place for her in this world, in fashion.

Part of the McMullen mission is to highlight emerging designers, women and designers of color. Every single piece in the stores has been curated by Sherri during her buying trips to New York, Paris, London or Copenhagen. Sherri views each piece through the lense of the McMullen customer.

Where To Eat:

Brown Sugar Kitchen: A McMullen favorite, soul and comfort food restaurant and bar. Locally owned by professional chef Tanya Holland, who is another powerhouse female entrepreneur. She is our next door neighbor — so it’s easy to order food or take clients and staff.  

Farley’s: Another local McMullen favorite. It’s a coffee shop with delicious food that also highlights Oakland as a city with it’s “Keep It Oakland” gear.

Bar Shiru: A great local spot to grab a cocktail. They have a full vinyl analog listening system and craft mixologists.

McMullen founder, Sherri McMullen.

Where To Stay:

The Claremont Club & Spa: Over 100 years old, the Claremont Club & Spa is an iconic Art-Deco California landmark. The hotel’s infamous Tower Suite features a panoramic view of the Bay.


McMullen boutique in Oakland, California.

What To Do:

First Friday’s: The first Friday of the month, Telegraph closes to allow food vendors, musicians, jewelry vendors set up, and Oakland locals and transports congregate to dance, eat, and gather in the streets.

Oakland Museum: The Oakland Museum is an art, history, and natural science museum that celebrates many facets of California. OMCA nurtures its ties to the community by offering education programs.

Fox Theatre: The Fox Theatre is a venue and Oakland landmark that originally opened its doors in 1928. Today it lives as a live music venue, arts school and restaurant.

Lake Merritt: A three mile heart shaped tidal lagoon in the center of Oakland. Lake Merritt is a great place to enjoy a picnic or to walk the circumference of the lake.

How To Dress:

The Bay Area is infamous for its microclimates and ever-changing weather, so the Bay Area woman doesn’t usually leave the house without layering. Often times you don’t want to leave your house without a jacket, sweater, or trench.


McMullen boutique in Palo Alto, California.