Must-Do Experiences in the East Bay

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Must-Do Experiences in the East Bay

No matter what your interests, the East Bay offers incredible diversity, cultural richness, and natural beauty. Here’s an overview of ten local treasures that are not to be missed.

Hiking in the East Bay Regional Park District

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With over 1,250 miles of trails, this area is a haven for nature lovers. Our park district offers trails for all skill levels. Gorgeous vistas await, whether you are walking one hour, or three. One of the best hikes is a walk through hill and dale to Inspiration Point.

Whether you’re biking, birding, or hiking this moderately difficult trail offers fabulous vistas! Walking the full loop takes just under two hours, and every minute is beautiful. You end up with a 360-degree view of the Bay and Mt Diablo. Be sure to bring water and a snack to enjoy at the top of the hill. After it rains, beware a bit of mud. Note: The parking lot is sometimes crowded, but you may find a spot along the road. Don’t forget your sunglasses!

If you take the road down towards Berkeley on your way out, turn right on Claremont after you pass the Steam Train, turn off and head down the hill towards a Peet’s Coffee and fresh baked goods from La Fournee on Domingo Ave. You’ve earned it! Find More info at  ebparks.org or here.

Oakland Museum of California

A must-visit for its interactive exhibits on California’s natural, artistic, and social history, the museum is the cultural heart of the region. One of the most popular events at the museum is Off The Grid, a Friday night happening where friends and family gather for free live music, dance, food trucks with great snacks, and late night access to the museum’s galleries and special exhibitions.

UC Berkeley Campus

campanile tower in Berkeley
Sather Tower, AKA The Campanile, at UC Berkeley – 3rd tallest clock and bell tower in the world.

Not just for students, the Berkeley campus is a public space offering architectural tours, the Berkeley Art Museum, and the Pacific Film Archive. More info: berkeley.edu You can also take in a performance on campus, or check out what’s happening at the outdoor Greek Theatre (https://thegreekberkeley.com).

Fourth Street Shopping

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So many shops for food, coffee, art & furniture to be found on 4th Street!

This Berkeley neighborhood offers a unique shopping experience with its local boutiques and eateries. Check out fourthstreet.com to see what’s going on, and don’t forget to bring your appetite. This eclectic mix of retail boutiques (think Anthropologie and The Gardener and Warby Parker) and restaurants is surrounded by early Victorians and neocolonial houses, as well as Craftsman bungalows and shingled cottages built in the 1910s, ’20s, and ’30s.

Sake Museum

Just two blocks away, at 708 Addison Street, you’ll find the country’s only sake museum. The Takara Sake Company dates back to 1842, and started in Berkeley in 1982. Learn about how this traditional rice drink is made and then visit the tasting room.

East Bay Vivarium

Walk a block in the other direction from 4th Street and you’ll find a completely different scene: amphibians, reptiles and spiders await in the pet store/zoo East Bay Vivarium at 1827-C 5th Street. Check out massive pythons, tiny baby lizards, and hairy tarantulas after you’ve had a great meal and found cool stuff to gift, stop here to commune with critters.

Tilden Regional Park

Berkeley TildenPark InspirationPoint
Inspiration Point is just one of many trailheads in Tilden Park.

Here you’ll find a wide range of activities, from hiking and swimming to an old-fashioned carousel and the Little Farm. Tackle trails in Claremont Canyon, float in Lake Anza, or simply enjoy natural beauty and family attractions. See ebparks.org/parks/tilden for more info; this is a great place to take the kids.

Botanical Gardens

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One of the most affordable things to do in the entire Bay Area is appreciating the Natural Beauty that can be found here.

Visit the Botanical Gardens for a visual feast in the hills just above UC. Wear good walking shoes and prepare to relax; a great picnic or meditative stroll is easy here.

San Francisco Bay Trail

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Some trails allow dogs and some do not, but the cool ones allow dogs on leashes.

Bicycle along the San Francisco Bay Trail: https://mtc.ca.gov/operations/regional-trails-parks/san-francisco-bay-trail/bay-trail-interactive-map. With its scenic views and diverse ecosystems this trail is the best flat ride ever. Rent a bike and a helmet and enjoy the wonderful view from the shore!

Lake Merritt

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You will find plenty to do at Lake Merritt and tons of options for refreshments afterward.

Walk around Lake Merritt: the loop around this lagoon in the middle of Oakland is just over three miles of mostly flat, paved terrain. Perfect for a late morning outing with or without Rover, the walk around Lake Merritt lends itself to yummy breakfast at a nearby cafe. To get a great overview of everything going on around the lake, check out https://www.lakemerritt.org.