Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC)

Life may not begin at 55, but here at the Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC) we believe life starts getting better! Our center is a terrific place to socialize and interact with other active seniors. Located across from Lake Merritt, Downtown Oakland Senior Center is Oakland's oldest and largest senior center. Downtown Oakland Senior Center focuses on providing seniors with innovative programs and services that address the physical, mental, and emotional well being of older adults.

Welcome Seniors!

Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC) is open for appointment-based programming Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 3:00pm. Pre-registration, masks and proof of vaccination is required to enter the facility.

Happy Summer!

Summer is upon us, so we are excited to get out of the house and safely socialize at our favorite park or open space. Warm weather and heat makes outdoor activities enjoyable but it also means we need to take care to hydrate and stay cool.

Whether you are lounging in the West Oakland Senior Center Courtyard, dancing on the Downtown Oakland deck, hanging out in the North Oakland Garden, or barbequing on the East Oakland patio it is important to be mindful before the heat catches up to you.

The Aging Services Staff put together this handy guide to help you stay cool. We also thought you would like a guide about when to expect cool or fresh air centers to open.

We hope all our members and their families will have a great summer with our Tips to Cool.


Senior Centers Membership Key Tag Logo

Membership is $12 a year - Such a Deal!

Below is our brand new membership registration form. The updated membership form includes a new demographics section that will help us apply for grants to benefit the Center's programs and services. Keeping in line with our standard center rules, we want to assure you that your personal information will remain confidential.

DOSC Membership Registration Form

How to Apply:

Call DOSC at (510) 238-3284 to set up a registration appointment for the new MySeniorCenter (MSC) system and receive your new key tag. Appointments can be made Monday - Friday, 9:30am - 2:30pm. Payment options include: check, money order or cash. Please make checks and money orders payable to the City of Oakland.

Your Membership Matters! By joining or renewing your membership, you make our programs possible.

Member benefits include:

1. Access to our senior community: virtual activities/classes.

2. Quarterly "Senior Agenda" Newsletter mailed to your home and monthly "Vibrant Times" E-newsletter.

3. Access to valuable resources: Meal programs, Information & Assistance Specialists, and other critical senior services.

4. Discounted program and event fees.

5. Care packages and fun freebies.

6. Countless opportunities to meet new friends and have fun.

Parking at DOSC

DOSC Parking Logo

The DOSC Parking Permit sticker cost is $8.00. This is a Parking Control & Maintenance fee, and it helps offset the cost of the security guard.

  • Only one (1) parking permit will be sold to each DOSC member. No Exceptions!
  • A current Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration must be presented at the time the parking permit is issued - No Registration. No Permit. No Exceptions!
  • Having a DOSC Parking Permit does not guarantee the owner a parking space.

Seniors Resources Guide- North Bay

Please feel free to use the provided resource guide, for help finding resources you may need.

Become an Advisory Council Member

Advisory Council Logo

We are looking for people to share their innovative ideas and skills in finance, event planning, health care, and more, with the senior community.

  • Would you like to have a voice to advise about center programming;
  • Can you attend the monthly Council meetings; and
  • Are able to volunteer at least ten (10) hours per month.

Meetings are held on the 3rd Friday of each month at 9:30am.

Classes & Events

Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC) is open for appointment-based programming Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 3:00pm. Pre-registration, masks and proof of vaccination is required to enter the facility

View and register for classes on

Senior Lunch Program

Spectrum Lunch Program Logo

Spectrum Senior Meals staff is preparing and delivering hot meals.

  • RSVP 72 hours (3 days) ahead of time - if you don't RSVP, we may not have a meal for you.
  • Come on time (pick up is between 12pm - 12:30pm)
  • Pick up will be in the Dining Hall
    • Come up the ramp entrance
    • Check your temp, use hand sanitizer
    • Check in at the MAC Kiosk (let us know if you do not have a MAC Key Tag)
    • Go down the stairs or elevator to the dining hall
  • Bring a bag to carry the to-go container


  1. In Person (by filling out a calendar)
  2. Email:
  3. Call: (510) 238-3284

When you RSVP, please let us know if you want take-out or dine-in.



Download DOSC Spectrum Application

Senior Center Rentals

The Downtown Oakland Senior Center is available for rental to organizations and businesses, but not to individuals for private events, during the evenings and weekends. Four beautiful halls and a Grand Ballroom can accommodate between 15 and 300 guests depending on the seating arrangements. While no tables, food or drinks are ever allowed in our Grand Ballroom, the facility does have other halls where dining for between 25 and 175 guests may take place.


Who would have guessed that when the City of Oakland purchased the Veterans Memorial Building from the County of Alameda for $1.00, life in Oakland would never be the same? After a determined group of seniors identified the building as the perfect location for a senior center, what started as a scattering of classes and activities quickly grew to become Oakland’s oldest and largest senior center.

Prior to the hiring of an “official” director, the senior center under the guidance of a number of building managers, and very enthusiastic and capable senior volunteers. By the end of the 80s an Advisory Council was formed. There were more programs and a new dance on Tuesday afternoon attracted 200 dancers. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake created a major interruption. The Ballroom was taken over by the City Relief Services, and the Tuesday Tea Dance had to be temporarily relocated into Hall 1. Things did not return to normal until the fall of 1991, but the senior center program had survived and was on the move!

In 1994 Howard Banchefsky was hired as the director of the Downtown Oakland Senior Center. Howard added new classes, and he as an enthusiastic supporter of the many dance programs including the Friday Night dances that were started in 1992. Under his direction, a Thursday Tea Dance was added. Recognizing the need for coordination and policy agreement, he established a Dance Council to handle the afternoon and evening dances. Overall center attendance increased with the addition of a new parking lot in 1996. Meanwhile, the dance program continued to expand with the addition of a weekend dance program.

In 2001 Center members proudly celebrated the Center’s 20th Anniversary. And indeed, there was much to celebrate. Between 1996 and 2006 enough income was generated so that the Center’s Fundraising treasury was able to fund over a quarter of a million dollars in capital improvements, and to purchase equipment, furniture and fixtures. By 2005 the combined daytime, evening and weekend dance programs were attracting 600 to 800 dancers a week. Because senior center operating hours ended at 5:00 p.m., the City insisted that a non-profit organization be created to operate the evening and weekend dance programs. In 2006 the Lake Merritt Dance Center, Inc. was formed.

In 2007, the center welcomed Jennifer King as the new director. In an early meeting with center volunteers, Jennifer articulated the need to “set the bar high” so that DOSC would attract and maintain all three generations of seniors. Jennifer and the Advisory Council quickly set about “beautifying” and marketing the center. Oakland Magazine did a five-page story about us; KQED broadcast live from our Ballroom; and the Oakland Tribune did several feature articles on DOSC. In 2012 photographs of our Ballroom (and dancers), taken by a Pulitzer Prize photographer, graced the cover of the SF Chronicle. Under her energetic and visionary leadership, new programs such as Coffee & Conversations, Movie-Lectures events, and an Annual Veterans Recognition Luncheon were added to the center’s already robust program. More than 50 members now regularly attend the bi-annual trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Creative Writing project, done in collaboration with the West Oakland Senior Center, published four anthologies of creative writings by seniors, the only literary project of this magnitude in the entire country. In December 2020, the Jennifer King retired after serving Oakland seniors for 13 years.

In April 2021, Jessi Cutter-Kim joined the team as the new director. As you can see, DOSC’s past has been tremendous, and its future appears even more promising. We look forward to celebrating many more years of Vibrant Living.

Contact Us


Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC)

Map image for Downtown Oakland Senior Center (DOSC), located at 200 Grand Ave in Oakland, CA 94610
200 Grand Ave
Oakland, CA 94610

Phone Numbers

Email Address

Open Hours

We will continue to reopen our facilities in phases, under guidelines provided by local and State government agencies, to keep the process as safe as possible.

9:00 AM - 3:00 AM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

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