In Oakland, you know it’s officially the holiday season when seasonal marketplaces start popping up and when The Hip Hop Nutcracker comes to the Paramount. Besides those holiday events, there’s plenty of other things to do around town, and we’ve listed a few good ones for you below. 

Don’t forget that throughout the holiday season, the city of Oakland, through its “Five After Five” program, is allowing workers and visitors to park at the Franklin Plaza Parking Garage on 19th and Franklin streets for a flat rate of $5 on weekdays after 5 p.m. and all day on weekends.

If there’s something you’d like me to consider for this events roundup, email me at And if there’s an event that you’d like to promote on our calendar, you can use the self-submission form on our events page.

Instant Band

Instant Band takes place every other month. Credit: Greg Simpson

If you ever wanted to be in a band, then you can make your rockstar dreams a reality at Instant Band. Audience members at the event, which currently takes place every other month, have a chance to be chosen by the party’s host to take the stage and perform as part of that night’s band. Once the band is assembled, the group meets briefly to plan a 5-minute set. Those who don’t want to participate can bring drinks to share and simply enjoy the show as an audience member. All attendees must be fully vaccinated and boosted, and masks are required.

Thursday, Nov. 9, 6 p.m to 9:30 p.m., $10, East Bay Community Space, 507 55th St. 

‘Unity In Giving’ dinner at Parche with the Oakland Roots

The interior of Parche in downtown Oakland. Credit: courtesy

Parche, a Colombian restaurant that opened its doors in downtown Oakland at the beginning of the year, is teaming up with the Oakland Roots for a special ticketed event where attendees will be able to enjoy a curated Colombian dinner and the chance to meet players and members of the Roots and Soul soccer clubs. Proceeds will benefit the Roots & Soul Foundation, which helps to create opportunities for Oakland and East Bay youth interested in playing soccer and increase their access to high-quality sports programming. 

Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30 p.m. or 8 p.m., $135, 2295 Broadway

Oakland Diwali

A woman lighting candles for the Festival of Lights in India. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

As Oakland’s first South Asian city councilmember, District 4’s Janani Ramachandran will be hosting an event to celebrate Diwali, a cultural holiday significant to a number of communities in Oakland and the East Bay, including Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and other South Asian communities. Diwali is a national holiday in India, celebrating humanity’s ability to overcome evil and the triumph of light over darkness. This inaugural festival in Oakland will have live music, performances, speakers, and small bites. Oakland’s DJ Madam Gandhi will provide music and emcee the event. UC Berkeley-based Bollywood dance group Azaad will also be performing.

Friday, Nov. 10, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to attend (RSVP online), Zanzi, 19 Grand Ave.

MARCHÉ holiday marketplace

Curl of Art is one of the brands available at the marketplace. Credit: courtesy

The MARCHÉ collective, founded by Sarah Ewick and Betsy Sadler, aims to uplift women-owned and women-led brands by hosting marketplaces nationwide. This weekend, the collective will host its first Bay Area event in Oakland. Guests can shop from over 50 brands from the Bay Area and beyond, enjoy a holiday photo session, get their eyebrows done, try out a variety of culinary and beverage offerings, and much more.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., $15-$18 (children under 12 get in for free), The Bridge Yard, 210 Burma Road, Judge John Sutter Regional Shoreline Park

‘The Hip Hop Nutcracker’ at the Paramount Theatre

The Hip Hop Nutcracker reimagines Tchaikovsky’s 130-year-old ballet as a contemporary holiday dance spectacle. Credit: courtesy

Now in its 10th year, The Hip Hop Nutcracker reimagines Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s 129-year-old classic ballet. In this rendition, Maria-Clara and the Nutcracker prince go on an adventure—but instead of taking place in traditional 19th-century Germany, this tale takes place among the diverse sights and sounds of contemporary New York City. The Hip Hop Nutcracker is performed by a dozen dancers, an on-stage DJ, and an electric violinist.

Saturday, Nov. 11, 7 p.m., $52-$90, 2025 Broadway

Azucena Rasilla is a bilingual journalist from East Oakland reporting in Spanish and in English, and a longtime reporter on Oakland arts, culture and community. As an independent local journalist, she has reported for KQED Arts, The Bold Italic, Zora and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was a writer and social media editor for the East Bay Express, helping readers navigate Oakland’s rich artistic and creative landscapes through a wide range of innovative digital approaches.