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5 Underrated Spots Near CPS

By Sophia H.

Having grown up in the Rockridge neighborhood and gone off campus a number of times during my four years at CPS, I think I've found the definitive best hangout spots around CPS. I was reluctant to write this article because I wanted to gatekeep my favorite spots; however, since I'm graduating I figured I might as well share this information with the community. I hope you take the time to check out some of these spots, as they've helped me get through some tough finals and other stressful times. Organized in no particular order, these places are all pleasant and relaxing, and I highly recommend checking all of them out!

1. Bushrod Park

I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I only discovered this spot a few weeks ago, but I can say it is now one of my favorite parks in Oakland, and possibly anywhere. Bushrod Park, taking up an entire city block, features beautiful lawns and hills that make for the perfect summer picnic area. There's a nearby elementary school, Sankofa United, but I’ve found that the screams of children are not overly disturbing. In a way, they add to the ambience, harkening back to childhood. Even though I’ve only been here once, it’s become one of my favorite parks, with events held regularly at the community center and a small playground (perfect for your younger siblings!). The surrounding neighborhood is also very quaint, so you shouldn’t be discouraged by the time it takes to walk there.

2. Mountain View Cemetery

I've been visiting Mountain View Cemetery for as long as I can remember. And no, this is not the typical gloomy cemetery you might be thinking of. In fact, Mountain View Cemetery is one of the most beautiful green spaces you will find in Oakland. Although it is quite an uphill climb to the upper graves, you can find the tombs of famous people such as Ghirardelli (yes, THAT Ghirardelli), Julia Morgan, Samuel Merritt, Henry J. Kaiser, and more. As long as you’re respectful of the deceased, you are free to walk, chat with your friends, and even sit down for a snack while watching the sunset. It’s also a great spot for watching fireworks on July 4th or New Years (although you might run into other teenagers—ew). If you find yourself bored on a Wednesday or Saturday, the days on which the cemetery’s open, I recommend taking a scenic drive through the cemetery and checking out the unbeatable view of the city!

3. Becky’s Chinese

Becky's Chinese is hands-down the most underrated restaurant on College Avenue. It's crazy to me how little CPS students order from this place, especially considering how close it is to campus (right next to Cactus). It's also a great option for DoorDash, as their takeout is open until 9:00 p.m. and only takes 15 minutes to deliver to campus. My favorite thing to order is the chicken chow mein, which has been consistently good since I started ordering it almost a decade ago. While I've only dined-in a couple times, the ambiance is really nice, with lots of lanterns and other soft lighting. Before graduating, I hope everybody gets the chance to eat at Becky’s and to meet the incredibly nice family who works there.

4. Village Market

Ask any Hillcrest alum – Village Market is the place to be. They have a wide array of options that, although a bit pricey, come in handy when you are in a pinch. They sell everything from baking supplies to Hot Cheetos to ice cream sandwiches, and they even reopened their hot soup bar that had closed during the pandemic. I was thrilled when the soup bar reopened, and I highly recommend the gumbo (which they only have out on rare occasions). They also have fresh sushi which, although I will admit is not as good as Safeway sushi, is well worth the walk considering its proximity to campus. Honorable mention to Terrace Gifts and Coffee nextdoor, which is a great place to cram for finals or finish that term paper bibliography.

5. Flavors of India

If you're craving Indian food, Flavors of India is the place to go. I absolutely LOVE the mango lassi and samosas here, which are at a very reasonable price. As someone who consistently gets Zachary's slices when I go off campus, I started going to this restaurant to switch up my taste palette, and I was pleasantly surprised by the speedy service and calm atmosphere of the restaurant. Since it's right by Philz Coffee, you can take advantage of the free Wi-Fi while enjoying the delicious food and ample people watching opportunities. Enjoy!

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