Lake Merritt in Oakland California is not only a place where visitors can come and soak up the sun, simply enjoy a picnic, a stroll along edges of the 3sq mile lake or kayak. It is also a source of tremendous pride for those who call Oakland home. The lake plays host to the first ‘designated wildlife refuge’ in the United States – it achieved that status in 1870  – and the heart-shaped lake has been one of the focal points of Oakland community life ever since.

Lake Merritt Oakland

While Oakland destinations like the Chabot Space and Science Center are great for a family day out, the lake allows those in Oakland to enjoy access to facilities that contributed to a great quality of life. There are several open spaces that are perfect for a family picnic and great play areas for kids, many with picnic tables making a day out even more of a pleasure. There are also some great barbecue spots. For those who want to explore the environs of the lake at their own pace, both bikes and scooters are available for hire. Nearby those who are interested in either lawn bowling or croquet will find the Oakland Lawn Bowling club and the Oakland Croquet Club. Get a taste of romance with a Gondola ride for two across the Lake.

After an exhausting day in the sun amble over to the ‘Portal Beer Garden & Restaurant.’ Settle into the patio area of the beer garden and select your craft beer. Then let the wonderful views over Lake Merritt sooth your soul. Don’t forget to order from the menu. The weekend brunch offerings are well worth stopping off for some refreshment.

The northeast area of Lake Merritt is where visitors will find the Grand Lake neighborhood. This is a community that compliments the natural beauty and recreational possibilities of the Lake perfectly. A stroll through the streets of Grand Lake on the way to – or back from the Lake reveals a wealth of entertainment and retail possibilities.

Lakeside Park offers ample opportunity for family fun. Aside from the great children’s playground, the 122-acre park also has lovely formal gardens that are well worth exploring as well as being home to the Rotary Nature Center – which is also worth a visit.

If you are planning a weekend visit to Merritt Lake, then combine that experience with a visit to the incredibly famous Grand Lake Farmers Market. The majority of the produce comes straight from the farm to the market – so visitors in search the freshest seasonal produce will simply not find better. The choice is incredible. Seafood, grass-fed meats, eggs, milk and cheese, bread and other baked goods, coffee, and pre-packed meals. The list seems endless – this is an excellent choice for those who want to support local producers and get the best fresh produce in California.

For those in search of a cultural and educational experience, a visit to the Oakland Museum of California is highly recommended. Here visitors will learn more about the natural history of the region, experience excellent art, and get an insight into the history of California.

A day spent at Lake Merritt is one that is bound to be filled with fun and laughter. It is the perfect destination for families – or those who simply want to recharge tired emotional and physical batteries. Set aside some time to visit.

Getting to SpeedPro East Bay from Lake Merritt

via E 12th St 

  • Head east on Lakeshore Ave toward 1st Ave
  • Turn right onto 1st Ave
  • Turn left onto E 12th St
  • Slight right onto 23rd Ave
  • Continue onto 29th Ave/Park St
  • Turn right onto Blanding Ave
  • Turn left onto Oak St
  • Turn right at the 1st cross street onto Clement Ave