Search

Grand Lake

Just the facts

Main strips:  Grand & Lakeshore avenues
Who dwells here: Avid runners, foodies, young families, musicians
Population: 4,650
Founded: 1860s
Main architecture: Art Deco to 1950s flats
Neighborhood giants: Lake Merritt and Grand Lake Theater
Best slice: Boot & Shoe Service
Where to mingle with locals: Lakeside Park, the Saturday farmers market, and, at night, The Alley

The vibe

This neighborhood has that Saturday-by-the-lake relaxed vibe. Shopping, eating, drinking, movies, Grand Lake has it all. Looking for the hustle and bustle on a sunny weekend day? You can find it all in this sunny neighborhood next to Lake Merritt. The only thing that can steal the thunder from the glittery water is Grand Lake Theater, a 1926 masterpiece that literally lights up the neighborhood. Oakland’s largest indie bookstore, Walden Pond Books, just around the corner, carries works by regional authors.

 
If you only have three hours

The 3.1-mile Lake Merritt can be walked, jogged, padded, peddled or gondola-ed. Looking for a lakeside guide? The audio historic tour, “Once upon a time, happily ever after,” can be downloaded online, starting at the Rotary Nature Center.

Splash Pad Park (redone by famed landscape architect Walter Hood) is not only the spot for the weekly farmers market, but is also the location of its kid-friendly fountain and playground.

Swing by the 1930s-era Morcom Rose Garden, where you’ll find seven acres and 5,000 rose bushes of blooming bliss, thanks to the care of tie-dye bearing volunteers called Deadheaders.

Feeling peckish? Swing by Arizmendi Bakery or Colonial Donuts to treat your sweet tooth to something irresistible. 

Thirsty after all that touring? Grab a pint at Heart and Dagger, the areas’ divey lakeside saloon. The outdoor patio is a destination in itself.

Looking for something a little fancy? Check out Penrose, Boot & Shoe Service, Shakewell, or Camino for one of Oakland's fine dining experiences. 

How to get here

Freeway exit: From I-580 E, the Grand Ave/Lakeshore exit; from I-580 W, the Grand Ave. exit
BART stop: 19th St/Oakland for Grand Ave. (though you’ll still need to take a bus, or walk about two miles to access the heart of Grand Ave.)
Bus lines: NL, 12, 58L, 75, 805 (all-nighter)

Oakland spotlight The