7.8 out of 10

Lake Merritt Park

Ranked 1st best neighborhood in Oakland
37.8056412581687 -122.258321444405
Great for
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Neighborly Spirit
  • Clean & Green
  • Public Transport
  • Eating Out
Not great for
  • Parking
  • Schools
  • Cost of Living
  • Childcare
  •  
Who lives here?
  • Singles
  • Professionals
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists

Reviews

4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 3/5
  • Peace & Quiet 4/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 4/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Public Transport 3/5
2yrs+
Editors Choice

"Oakland's great escape"

Everything that is noteworthy in Oakland, happens in the vicinity of Lake Merrit. The area is surrounded by downtown Oakland, Laney Community College, above average city neighborhoods and the restaurants that come with these adjacent districts. It is the town’s natural epicenter, giving people a quiet refuge from the bustling life and urban drudgery Oakland is so commonly known for.

During the early mornings and late afternoons, locals can be seen jogging/walking around the narrow 3-mile cement path that follows around the lake’s perimeter. Some use the few grassy knolls as their own stretching areas while others utilize the built-in exercise equipment dotted around the lagoon.

On sunny days, many downtown Oakland workers take advantage of the beautiful landscape and eat on its many picnic tables and benches that fill the parkland. Lake Chalet Seafood Bar and Grill is one of the best spots in the area. Customers can dine on a long wooden dock stretching out into the lake, to which they can watch the handful of rowboats paddling along the lagoon.

At night, Christmas lights are stretched across tall lampposts lining the cement path, which many locals have coined the “necklace of lights.” The lights illuminate the lagoon’s edges, making for romantic spots and a picturesque view.

The lake is also a great place for families to spend their time. Lake Merritt Park boasts the Children’s Fairyland, which offers puppet shows and other family friendly events.
Pros
  • Beautiful and Scenic
  • Great Jogging/Walkinsg Spot
  • Great Restaurants
Cons
  • Hard Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
  • Beach Lovers
5/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 4/5
  • Safe & Sound 3/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 2/5
  • Peace & Quiet 3/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 4/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 3/5
  • Gym & Fitness 4/5
  • Internet Access 5/5
  • Lack of Traffic 3/5
  • Parking 3/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 4/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 2/5
  • Childcare 2/5
2yrs+

"The Watery Heart of Oakland"

Definitely the heart of Oakland, this beautiful water spot really transports city dwellers. This is the place where the joggers come in mornings, where lunch daters go to for romantic walks, and where families take their kids on the weekends. In fact, the “lake” is actually a lagoon created by tides.

Children’s Fairyland on the eastern shore of the lake holds the claim to fame of being the very first theme park that was intending for young children and their families. In fact, it is widely believed that the idea for Disneyland came to old Uncle Walt when he took a little visit to Lake Merritt way back in 1950. You can certainly see the similarities in the way that Children’s Fairyland uses the characters from children’s tale in its design—though Walt would take this much further than Fairyland does.

A great place to go for a date on the lake is the Lake Seafood Chalet right on the western shore of the lake, right next to one of the oldest structures in this area of Oakland, the Camron-Stanford house. The chalet is really a big restaurant with good (not great) food and really nice views. At night, you get lots of twinkling lights reflected in the lake surface. It is also most popular at happy hour.

Next door is a historical spot that gives you a sense what Oakland was like 150 years ago. The Camron-Stanford is a large Victorian that was once the residence of at least one mayor. A nice spot for a visit, but definitely not a destination in itself.

If you really want to feel like you have stepped back in time however, you might want to give the Terrace Room at the Lake Merritt Hotel a try. This chic hotel restaurant is decorated like something out of a 1930’s Dashiell Hammett novel, with big gazebo like windows looking out onto a lake in large white table cloth and hardwood floor kind of room. Just beautiful really. A great place to celebrate an anniversary, for example.

Put simply, this is a great place to unwind on the weekends regardless of who you are or what your situation is.
Pros
  • Beautiful and Scenic
  • Great Restaurants
  • Great Jogging/Walkinsg Spot
Cons
  • A Bit of Crime
  • Hard Parking
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Tourists
  • Gay & Lesbian
  • Hipsters
  • Students
  • Country Lovers
  • Trendy & Stylish
4/5
2yrs+

"The oasis in Oakland"

This is the oasis in an otherwise urban dump called Oakland. This lake has breathtaking views. There is a walking path surrounding the lake. On a warm sunny day, the park is usually filled with kids and joggers, and people relaxing and having fun. On occasion, you may also find wedding parties taking photos. This is definitely the scenic jewel in Oakland. Children's Fairyland is there as well. This is a wonderful amusement park for kids. It brings fairytales to life. There is also a train that goes around the park. great place for kids young and old. Offstreet parking is rare, but for just $3, you can park in a safe location. There are also plenty of restaurants nearby as well. My favorite are Noah's bagels and Rolling Dunes, serving up NY style bagels and contamporary american cuisine with a island flare, respectively.
Recommended for
  • Professionals
  • Singles
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
Toni Hanna
Toni Hanna "Urban dump"? WTH.
2yrs+
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Best Streets in Lake Merritt Park

1

Euclid Ave

4.5/5
"Excellent location and high walkscore"
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Unranked Streets in Lake Merritt Park

Lakeside Dr

3.5/5
"Short drive alongside a long pier"
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17th St

3.5/5
"Great Central Neighborhood"
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