Mr. Claus will visit the Laurel District Dec. 18, but storytime with Santa will replace the usual closeup chat. Credit: The Laurel District

The Laurel District Association is participating in national Shop Small Saturday on Nov. 27 by programming free live music and festive shopping fun.  Don’t miss Puerto Rican musician, Pedro José Pastrana, performing on the cuatro at Vetiver’s courtyard (3841 MacArthur Blvd.) from 2 to 5 p.m.  Other musicians will be strolling the streets. 

The small business owners of The Laurel love what they do, and they want to share their expertise with you. Throughout the holiday season, they can help you find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Be immersed in holiday spirit as you stroll MacArthur Boulevard — adorned in holiday lights and decorations — discovering deals, live music and art, fine dining, kids’ crafts, and treats from merchants. 

On Dec. 18, The Laurel hosts the annual Santa Stroll. Mr. Claus will be on the Boulevard from 1 to 4 p.m. to read stories to kids and pass out treats before heading back to the North Pole.

Pedro José Pastrana performs this Sat. Credit: Laurel District

“The Laurel offers a truly unique shopping and dining experience, the curated selections, the style, the people, a neighborhood vibe with true Oakland heart that you’re just not going to find anywhere else,” says Daniel Swafford, director of Laurel District Association. The identity of a place is defined by its unique and creative small businesses, often sourced from artists and artisans within the same community, reflecting the tastes of nearby residents. The Laurel offers an abundance of locally curated gift items that can only be found in this distinct neighborhood.

Shopping locally lets you avoid the big box crowds, supply chain issues, and holiday stress, and enjoy your shopping experience. Other benefits to shopping Oakland’s small businesses, include keeping sales tax dollars here, which supports city programs and services. It also means ensuring our neighborhood districts don’t just survive but thrive. The Laurel District, which spans MacArthur Boulevard between 35th Avenue and High Street, is no exception. With more merchant ownership diversity than any other district in Oakland, The Laurel offers some of the most authentic and unique shopping, dining, and lifestyle services you can find in the region. Shopping Small means promoting diversity — not only in ownership — but in artisan and locally made products, worldly flavors, and cultural experiences. 

You can also view the Laurel Holiday Shopping & Dining Guide online at for ideas, great finds, seasonal items, holiday events information, and holiday health and wellness links. Whether you’re buying online or at a shop, there are memorable, unique gifts and thoughtful gift cards to be found in The Laurel.

Throughout the year, “Love The Laurel Neighborhood Days” spotlights the business district through a series of public events, hosted by its boutique shops, restaurants, galleries, and service providers. Visitors can enjoy free live music outdoors, pop-up vendors and sales, wine tastings and seasonal menus, and workshops and activities for all ages.