neon speaks

festival & Symposium

Photo: Andrew Danish

Walk, bike, or drive to trek Oakland's historic neon landscape with this collection of self-guided tour maps. Signs that light up at night are designated on the maps with red map markers. Star markers designate Oakland's finest neon signs. Bonus signs are included on every map for those who want to go further and see vintage signs that are off-route. Each route is a 4-mile trek.

 

Help us gather the history of the small businesses that these signs represent, and send  feedback on condition of the signs.  Send us historic photos or ephemera scans of matchbooks and postcards, we'll post them in the correlating Google map marker descriptions. Oakland Neon maps were developed by urban researchers and neon historians Gene Anderson, Al Barna, Devi L. Dahl, Andrew Danish, and  Randall Ann Homan.

Start at the Fruitvale BART station and just keep going all the way to MacArthur Blvd. This route features the famous Golden Hours, High Hat Cleaners, Kasper Hot Dogs and Donut Time signs.

View Fruitvale-MacArthur map

Photo: Al Barna

Start at the Rockridge BART station and follow the loop of neon. This route features the French Cleaners, Children's Hospital,  Dutchboy, and Discount SCUBA  signs.

View Rockridge Loop map

Start at the Oakland City Center BART station, and look for the iconic Tribune Tower. This route features beautiful neon of small businesses and three movie palaces: the Fox Theater, the Paramount Theater, and the grand finale is the Grand Lake Theater. The best time to see and photograph these brilliant theater signs is the blue hour, just before sunset.

View Downtown/Grand Lake map

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Al Barna