There are a variety of unusual things you might hear in Oakland. (distinct from (sometimes overlapping with) things you see in Oakland)

  • helicopters - not that unusual, but we seem to get more than our share
  • trumpets/bugles - every morning at 8AM and every evening at sunset, a bugler plays "To the Color" at Coast Guard Island. This can often be heard from neighborhoods east of the lake. ToTheColor.mp3 (from
  • something like church bells on Tuesday nights downtown (around 13th and Broadway) - any idea what these are? Possibly this art installation described in Annalee Allen's column?
  • can't leave off whistle tips (woo woo, etc.)
  • emergency sirens - these are tested the first Wednesday of the month at noon
  • BART trains - they have a distinctive sound when accelerating, and a unique electronic 'whistle' that sounds as trains come into a station
  • bells from ice cream push carts
  • horns on taco trucks
  • old Chinese guys busking on the erhu
  • call of the "Oakland Night Bird" - AKA car alarms
  • yellers
  • people banging on pots in Temescal

See Also: