Lake Merritt for all walks of life
Take a walk around Lake Merritt on a Sunday afternoon and you’ll find no shortage of people -- friends, families, joggers, slackliners, yogis, picnickers, musicians and artists all gather round the heart-shaped lake (well, technically it's a tidal estuary). With so many things to do nearby, there’s something for every one.
If you’re a foodie: Check out Off the Grid on Friday nights at the Oakland Museum of California. Grab a bite at one of the many rotating food trucks, and enjoy a free side of live music and dancing.
If you're a romantic: Glide across Lake Merritt on a gondola ride from Gondola Servizio. Bring some chocolates or a nice bottle of wine to enjoy on the water. $60-$175.
If you’re an athlete: Joggers and walkers will enjoy the nearly 3.5-mile loop, which includes glimpses of Children’s Fairyland, Edoff Memorial Bandstand, a wildlife sanctuary and the Pergola. To get your heart rate soaring, stop by The Cleveland Cascade, a 250-foot stairway that leads from Lakeshore to Merritt Avenue.
If you’re part of a young family: Children's Fairyland is a storybook theme park that has been delighting little ones and their parents since 1950. Children’s stories come alive in the theme park that is filled with kid-sized rides and friendly animals. The park is open on weekends during the winter and seven days a week during the summer. All hours and events are weather permitting. $8 for guests ages 1-100.
If you’re a gardener: Did you know Lake Merritt is home to a host of community gardens? Explore seven acres of themed gardens, including bonsai, edible, Japanese, Mediterranean and palm. Hours are 9am to 5:30pm daily. Free.
If you’re a history buff: Stop by the remodeled Oakland Museum of California. It hosts an array of rotating exhibits, plus a permanent displays on California art, history and natural science. If you're a fan of Victorian architecture (or just want to pretend you're in "Downton Abbey" for a day), take a tour of the Camron-Stanford House, which sits on the edge of the lake.
If you’re a nature lover: The Rotary Nature Center is home to an interpretive center (with a working beehive!), and is right next to the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge, which provides sanctuary for migratory birds. Sunday to Thursday, 9am to 5pm. Friday and Saturday, 9am to 3pm.
Note: You can access Lake Merritt from either the 19th Street/Oakland or Lake Merritt BART stations.