Where to park it in the East Bay: Urban parks and plazas

Lake Merritt may be the East Bay’s most easily recognizable spot for resting and roaming in the middle of Oakland, but you can take a breather at lesser-known locales when that scene isn’t your thing; smaller quiet and green spaces are also within BARTable reach. Avoid the rushing crowds for some downtime in between city tasks, or lay out a picnic spread for a weekend group hang at one of these East Bay urban parks and plazas.

Martin Luther King Jr Civic Center Park

Whether it’s a standard day on the calendar, a festival, or a holiday cultural event, spread that blanket for a lawn picnic at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park.

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Kaiser Roof Garden

Sure, we might be biased because this 3-acre rooftop garden sits atop the BART headquarters, but it’s a true Oakland gem with a bird’s-eye view that is open to the public and hosts Friday lunchtime concerts throughout summer.

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Kaiser Roof Garden

19th St. Oakland
Ohlone Greenway and Park

Just on the other side of Sacramento Street from North Berkeley Station, the Ohlone Greenway ushers pedestrians and bicyclists to Ohlone Park on Hearst Avenue.

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Ohlone Greenway and Park

North Berkeley
Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

In addition to being a headline-making epicenter for activism, Frank H. Ogawa Plaza also doubles as a place for daily relaxation.

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Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

12th St. Oakland City Center
Grove Park

This central Berkeley park hosts soccer matches on its lengthy lawn space alongside tennis courts, basketball hoops and playground sets for the tots.

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Grove Park

Ashby (Berkeley)

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