We Hella Love Oakland!!!!
For three weeks of September I did a feature on my social media accounts where I spotlighted my favorite Bay Area city. Time to find out why we hella love Oakland! This great city hosts a bevy of fun places you can take your children from parks, to zoos, museums, restaurants, festivals, farmers markets, and lakes. No wonder it is where we spend most of our free time. You can click on any of the underlined titles in the list to be connected directly to their individual page on my website for more information and pictures. This is why we hella love Oakland...
1) Lake Merritt: Of course we have to start this list with the infamous lake that is really at the epicenter of Oakland living, Lake Merritt. Whether you want to get some running in, take a stroll around the waters edge, lay on the shores and bask in the sun, or visit any one of the businesses around the perimeter Lake Merritt has something everyone can do.
2) Astro Park: Set across the street from Lake Merritt, Astro Park is the most visible park the Lake area has to offer. It recently went through a much needed makeover and is a really fun place to take your children now. Also features a giant field sometimes filled with geese and sometimes filled with soccer players.
3) Lakeside Park: Lake Merritt's other park tucked away on the other side of the lake. This park offers a shadier and sandier option for children to play at. Closer to some of the Lake's other features such as the Gardens & the Bird Sanctuary. So you can easily make your rounds at each location.
4) The Bird Sanctuary: It is no shock that Lake Merritt is home to dozens of geese. They can be seen wandering freely on almost all banks of the lake. But what you may now know is that Lake Merritt is actually home to a bird sanctuary. Located right next to Lakeside park, take some corn or crackers and have fun feeding the birds while you are out.
5) The Gardens at Lake Merritt: The Gardens at Lake Merritt offer daily free entry and a nice place to stop and smell the roses while out and about around the Lake. These gardens also host a weekend once a year called Autumn Lights. Where the whole garden is illuminated for the evening.
6) Fairyland: Fairyland is an imaginative place to play though not much has changed at Fairyland since I was little. It is a nostalgic walk down memory lane and also a good place to ride a train, catch a puppet show, or slide down a giant dragon.
7) Museum of Children's Art: Dubbed MOCHA this is far from your expectations of what a museum is. It is more like a really big art studio for your young budding artists. There are multiple stations set up for children and each station has a different art project on it. Kids can do all the messy art they want here & parents don't have to do the clean up!
8) Lake Temescal: Oakland's jewel of a park features a giant lake and beach for swimming, multiple playgrounds, hiking trails, and so much grassy field space to just sit in the shade and enjoy the outdoors.
9) Dimond Park: Is a giant park nestled in the Dimond District featuring two playgrounds, a recreation center that has a pool, lots of picnic benches, and a great grassy field. Also a seemingly dog friendly park as well.
10) Joaquin Miller Park: Is a perfect place to hike in the Oakland hills. A dog friendly trek through giant redwoods. A very calm and peaceful stroll, especially if you can make it during the week not many people out there- offering a tranquil walk in nature. The lower part of the park has a quaint little playground and lots of stairs to climb.
11) Roberts Redwoods: Are located across the road from Joaquin Miller and are equally as impressive with the towering giant trees. The hike has more paths to choose from and they are also a little more challenging.
12) Sibley Volcanic Park: Did you know Oakland has a volcano? Well it does and you can go walk on it! Take a hike at Sibley Volcanic Park, a geologists dream. It is also pet friendly with some great panoramic views.
13) Morcom Rose Garden: Oakland's own rose garden a perfect place to get some exercise, take a picnic, or just stop and smell the roses.
14) The Oakland Zoo: There is so much to see and do at the Oakland Zoo! So many animals to see, so many rides to ride, goats to pet, and the new gondola that takes you up above Oakland for an amazing view.
15) Oakland Museum: Oakland's infamous museum is a great place to learn Bay Area & Califronia history. The kids will love seeing all the artifacts and exhibits too. Plus on Friday nights the museum comes alive with music, dancing, food trucks, and kids projects. Friday nights at the OMCA is a must!
16) First Fridays: The first Friday of every month is dedicated to a giant street party in downtown Oakland. So many street vendors selling their wares: clothes, jewelry, art, books, you name it. Lots of food trucks, music, dancing, and many of the galleries along the walk have open houses for pedestrians to venture in.
17) Grand Lake Farmers Market: My favorite of all the farmers markets for the variety of organic foods offered, lots of stands to grab lunch from, and big bonus a jumpy tent for children to pass the time.
18) Mills College Pool: Yes I am partial because I go here but the pool is really nice. Open all week during the Summer and weekends in the fall for family rec swim.
19) Dover Street Park: A small little park in north Oakland with a lot of heart...& a tire swing. Plus a very forward thinking garden program.
20) Frog Park: One of our favorite parks in Oakland which features a giant wooden play structure that resembles a really fancy tree house. A creek to splash in when the rains provide for it. On Sundays it is just a short walk away to the Claremont Farmers Market, so you can go grab some food and then head back to the park.
21) Piedmont Park: The perfect place to take your dog on an off-leash hike then take your kids to the playground. Also the perfect place to get married & yes we did say I do under the towering redwoods there =-)
22) Montclair Park: This park is really big, has two playgrounds, a skate ramp, a pond, picnic tables, and lots of honking geese.
23) Mandela Foods: Oakland's own Black owned grocery store featuring lots of healthy organic choices. Located in West Oakland with super friendly staff.
24) The Veg Hub: Black owned vegan spot with bomb "fried chicken" located in the Dimond district. Also the nicest staff you will ever meet. For families they have out toys and games to occupy your time while you wait for your food.
25) Souley Vegan: Black owned vegan food with a lot of soul! So many options to choose from and is a local favorite among visiting vegan celebrities.
26) Liba Falafel: Our favorite salad bar to pile a mile high worth of salad into one bowl. Located in downtown Oakland and owned by locals.
27) James and the giant cupcake: The perfect place to grab a sweet treat after lunch in downtown Oakland. They also have plenty of vegan choices.
28) The Malcolm X Festival: My absolute favorite festival all year long that takes place at San Antonio Park in East Oakland. A beautiful day filled with vendors, food, music, and community.
29) Pan African Family Festival: This has become my second favorite event of the year. It takes place in Mosswood Park. Really community oriented with food, vendors, games, music, and lots of FREE kids activities.
30) Grand Lake Theater: Always speaking up for the people, showing fab films, and features a $5 Tuesday where every movie you can go see for just $5!
There are so many more reasons why we hella love Oakland but these are just for starters. So get away from your TV, get outside, and get exploring in this beautiful Bay Area city full of heart and soul!