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.

In order to keep our members and staff as safe as possible, we will continue to reopen our facilities in phases under guidelines provided by local and State government agencies.

Phase 1
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.

Phase 2
To assist in COVID tracking, you must have a key tag to access the activity offerings at this time. Members will receive a phone call as new activities open on an appointment-only basis.

Visiting Guidelines
Prior to facility entry, members will be required to answer a COVID-19 Safety Questionnaire, have their temperature taken, and maintain mask wearing at all times while in the building.

The Following Services/Amenities are Unavailable
- Some in-person programs or activities
- Private facility usage/rentals

The Following Services are Available
- Food Distribution Programs
- Virtual Programs Platform
- Computer labs, game/pool room, outdoor spaces, and other lounge/program areas for center supported activities. (By Appointment Only)


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.

As for the 2021 parking permits fees, they have been temporarily suspended.

DOSC Membership Registration Form
How to Apply:

Call DOSC at (510) 238-3284 to set up an 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.

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.

Quarterly Newsletter

To view the our most recent newsletter:

Go to the Aging Service's Website

  • Scroll down and click on "Oakland Senior Centers Fall/Winter Newsletter SEP 2021".
  • Scroll just a little more to see all upcoming presentation flyers.

COVID-19 Mobile Testing

NO COST COVID-19 Testing ~ No Appointment Needed!

Thursdays | 8:00am - 2:00pm

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 11:45am - 12:15pm)
  • 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.



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)

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.

9:30 AM - 3:00 AM
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM
9:30 AM - 3:00 PM

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