Where can you find the best view of San Francisco in the entire Bay Area? Oakland, of course. Whether you’re tucked in the hills or close up near the water, the views in Oakland are truly stunning.
And, with approximately 260 sunny days a year in The Town and less fog than our neighbor across the Bay, it’s always a good time to catch the sunset. Here are our five favorite picturesque sites to visit.
We know, it may sound odd to recommend a cemetery for sunset, but trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this legendary site. You may have heard of a little destination in New York City called Central Park? It’s designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, also designed Mountain View Cemetery, established over 150 years ago in 1863. You’ll also spot several notable names throughout the cemetery--famed architect Julia Morgan, Bobby Hutton of the Black Panther Party, and J.A. Folger of Folgers Coffee fame are all buried here.
Perched at the end of Piedmont Avenue, the top of the cemetery offers sweeping views of downtown Oakland and San Francisco. Spend some time exploring the walking paths and gardens as you enjoy this uniquely-Oakland viewpoint.
If you’re looking to get as close to the Bay as possible without actually being on the water, Middle Harbor Shoreline is your best bet. Built on a former Naval Supply Depot, the 38-acre park is situated next to the city’s working port, the fifth busiest working port in the country. Also an ecological reserve, you’ll find birds, fish, and other fascinating species along the shoreline here.
Bring a blanket and plop yourself down on the lawn as you watch the sailboats and ferries cruise by underneath the Port of Oakland’s famous cranes. San Francisco will seem just a stone’s throw away, as you watch the sun disappear behind its iconic skyline.
Whether or not you’re lucky enough to stay the night at the Claremont Club & Spa (now a Fairmont Hotel), a visit to the property’s restaurant should be on your list for optimal sunset viewing.
The Limewood Bar & Restaurant offers 360-degree views of the East Bay, with San Francisco and Marin peering out in the distance. Grab a glass of wine and kick back on the porch as the sun goes down. No regrets.
If you’re never visited Oakland, a trip to the East Bay Regional Park trails in the hills is a must. From towering redwood forests to horseback riding to archery, you could spend several days exploring and still not see it all.
When it comes to sunset viewing, don’t miss Joaquin Miller Park, an easily-accessible location off of Highway 13, roughly 20 minutes from the heart of downtown Oakland. There are a few different entrances to the park, but we love the short walk from Joaquin Miller Road to Lookout Point. Park along the road and take the Bishops Walk trail--you can’t miss the well-marked “Lookout Point” sign. Bring your favorite sunset-viewing beverage and snacks and get ready for some magic.
5. Lake Merritt
By now, you’ve likely heard about or visited Oakland’s gem, Lake Merritt. Activities abound both day and night, but the lake is often best experienced right as the sun goes down. Bring a picnic and find your favorite spot around its 3.4-mile perimeter. Or, snag a spot at Lake Chalet, the only restaurant situated along the shoreline (check out the new Tequila Pier along the restaurant’s dock).
Looking to view the spectacle from a lake point-of-view? Why not experience it via an authentic Venetian gondola ride, available below Lake Chalet through Gondola Servizio. Opt for a romantic gondola ride for two, or bring your crew with you--the gondola can seat up to six people. BYO bottle of wine.