Grand Lake / Lake Merritt
The real estate of the Grand Lake District
, which sits upon the northeast edge of Lake Merritt
, is considered the jewel of Oakland
. It also holds the title of America's first wildlife sanctuary. The migratory rest-stop makes for colorful and entertaining bird watching.
The commercial centers of the district are Grand and Lakeshore Avenues, both laid-back social centers with plenty of shopping and dining opportunities.
Grab a quick sweet at Arizmendi Bakery
, or have a hearty sit down brunch at Lynn & Lu's Escapade Cafe
. Highly recommended options for lunch and dinner are everywhere. Spettro's
and Boot & Shoe Service
(also great for morning coffee) are all wonderfully relaxed. Try some raved-about high-end cuisine at Penrose
, or the popular sushi houses Mijori
Work off that gastronomical surfeit by ambling along the shore of the lake or head to Splash Pad Park
, where people from all over the Bay Area gather on Saturdays for one of the best farmer's markets around. The path all the way around the lake is just over three miles and along the way there is plenty to visit, like the Rotary Nature Center
, Children's Fairyland
, the Sailboat House
and much more. The picturesque Morcom Rose Garden
on Jean Street is a hidden treasure when you feel like soaking up a bit of tranquility.
A visit to the Grand Lake Theatre
on Grand Avenue is not to be missed. The movie palace is an area landmark whose architecture lives up to its name. Catch a show on a Friday or Saturday and the Mighty Wurlitzer organ majestically rises from the floor to give a mini-concert before the film begins.
This is a district with balance. The stimulation and fun of city life is ready for you to pick your pleasure but, for those moments when you find yourself drained and in need of refueling, the lake is waiting.