Grand Lake Farmers Market
Location: Lake Park Ave, Oakland, CA 94610
Pricing: Free to get in, vendors $-$$
Hours: Saturday 9am-2pm
Description: This is by far my favorite Farmer's Markets in the East Bay! While I do love the Kensington and Jack London Square Markets as well, the Grand Lake Farmers Market is the most kid friendly of them all. Before you make your children go walking around to buy the freshest fruits and vegetables with you, you can happily and inexpensively let them go jump out their energy in the jumpy tent and high bouncy slide near the corner of the Market across from the Grand Lake Theater. The tickets for the slide and the jumpy tent are very reasonably priced if you buy them in a bundle package, 20 tickets for $10. I usually buy that pack and save half for the next time we come. After they have some fun and jump their energy out your child will be more receptive to going shopping with you. The array of fruits and vegetables are vast and you will have many different choices, some of the sweetest oranges I have ever tasted I have gotten there. My daughter loves that they leave out samples of many fruits, and that she can grab as many fruit samples as she wants with tiny tongs. From eggs, to honey, to fresh salmon, to grapefruit, and bok choy- you can find it all here locally grown and organic. If you are coming in the morning or for lunch there are sooo many delicious food stands to choose from, they offer every type of cuisine you could have a yearning for. There's Thai food, burritos, dim-sum, rotisserie chicken, fresh baked waffles, crepes, empanadas, smoothies, and Uhuru (my favorite) which has great breakfast plates. Now that I am Vegan I love to get veggie curry at the Thai place, falafel from the Liba truck, or visit Donna's Tamales. Before I leave the ice cream Creamery has vegan options. If these aspects of the Grand Lake Farmer's Market aren't enough to draw you in, there is also the fact that it is right near Lake Merritt and within walking distance of two children's park that are located around the Lake, which also makes it convenient for a family day of fun!
Highlights: This is the only Farmers Market that I know of that has a jumpy tent and a slide, which really makes it ideal for kids to accompany you at. My daughter enjoys all the Farmer's Markets for different reasons but this is her favorite because she knows she can get some fun play time out of it too. The food stands are one of my favorite things because you can find whatever type of cuisine you are in the mood for, and if nothing truly catches your eye you are within walking distance to 100 other restaurants located around the Lake area.
Tips: Bring cash!!!! Not all of the vendors take cards and not all of the vendors card machines are working when you get there. There is an on-site ATM if you forget but the fee to use it makes you think twice. Also parking is a bother, if you can park a couple blocks down and do not mind walking, I recommend that. We park at my daughter's martial arts class and walk a few blocks over afterwards.