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.
BART 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.
From 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 Round. The 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.
- 1 Pixar Animation Studios, 1200 Park Ave. There 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 newer building, built by Steve Jobs, 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.
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, California Pizza Kitchen, 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.
- 1 Emeryville Public Market, 5959 Shellmound St. Open M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sat 9AM-11PM, Sun 9AM - 8PM. Twenty-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.
- 2 Hong Kong East Ocean Seafood Restaurant, 3199 Powell St (Emeryville Marina), ☏ . Chinese Dim Sum, decently priced, but absolutely killer view. The exact same restaurant as the popular upscale chain found in Hong Kong.
- 3 Trader Vic's, 9 Anchor Dr (at Powell St.), ☏ . Delicious Polynesian food in a waterfront dining room, with a fun tiki bar where the Mai Tai was invented.
- 4 Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, 4081 Hollis St (between 40th St & Park Ave.), ☏ . 7AM to 1AM. A hip rock and roll joint serving good quality brunch dishes (the Southwestern omelette with grits is highly recommended), burgers, sandwiches, salads and daily specials.
- 5 Arizmendi Bakery, 4301 San Pablo Ave (between Park Ave. & 43rd St.), ☏ . A worker-owned bakery serving some of the best breads, pastries, and pizzas around.
- 1 Cafe Rack, 5768 Peladeau St, ☏ . A billiard hall with full bar, foosball, free WiFi, multiple HD TVs, a kitchen serving traditional bar food, and a smoking lounge.
- 2 The Prizefighter, 6702 Hollis St, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa & Su 2PM-2AM. Excellent 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.
Emeryville actually features many of the most modern hotels in the Berkeley/Emeryville/Oakland region. Thus, you may choose to stay in Emeryville while actually spending your days in the other (more interesting) cities.
- 1 Four Points by Sheraton, 1603 Powell St (Christie and Powell). Great location, decent hotel. Has a "business center".
- 2 Courtyard Oakland Emeryville, 5555 Shellmound St (Shellmound past Christie), ☏ , fax: . Directly across the street from Bay Street shopping/eating and rooms facing the bay get a great view. Modern and clean facilities.
- 3 Hilton Garden Inn, 1800 Powell St, ☏ . West of I80, close to the bay.
- 4 Hyatt House Emeryville San Francisco Bay Area, 5800 Shellmound St (between Bay Street and the Emery Bay Public Market), ☏ , toll-free: . Each suite has a full kitchen, living room, with separate bed & bath. Bay views. Home to Emery Grille restaurant.
The large stores, the Public Market, and the Amtrak station are all safe areas. 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.
|Routes through Emeryville|
|END ←||W E||→ Richmond → Sacramento|
|Sacramento ← Berkeley ←||N S||→ Oakland → San Jose|
|Bakersfield ← Richmond ←||N S||→ Oakland → END|
|San Francisco ← Oakland ←||W E||→ Berkeley → Sacramento|
|San Rafael ← Berkeley ←||N S||→ Oakland → Livermore|