East Bay Adventures

From a gondola ride on an Oakland lake to a bike tour through urban wineries to chic shopping to stepping aboard and exploring a WWII aircraft carrier, check out 10 of our favorite things to do in the East Bay.

1 GONDOLA SERVIZIO
There’s nothing more romantic than a Venetian gondola cruise ... in Oakland? Say “ciao” to Gondola Servizio, offering gondola rides from the historic boathouse on Lake Merritt. Don’t miss the night cruises among Lake Merritt’s twinkling “necklace of lights.” gondolaservizio.com. 1520 Lakeside Dr., Oakland, 510.663.6603

2 TAKARA SAKE
Established in Berkeley almost 30 years ago, Takara Sake is the largest sake brewery in the country. Using all natural ingredients like pure snow melt from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and rice from the fertile Sacramento Valley, Takara applies traditional craftsmanship with modern sensibilities to make their quality sake. Tastings opened to the public, seven days a week. takarasake.com. 708 Addison St., Berkeley, 510.540.8250

3 HEINOLD’S FIRST & LAST CHANCE SALOON
Enter Heinhold’s and step back into another time. Smack-dab in the center of Oakland’s waterfront Jack London Square, Heinold’s was built in 1880 from the timbers of an old whaling ship. Since then, writers like Jack London and Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as adventurers and politicians, have frequented this watering hole, with its colorful captains’ hats hanging from the ceiling and historic photos adorning the walls. Be sure to hold tight to your drink, as the bar is slanted as a result of the 1906 earthquake. heinoldsfirstandlastchance.com. 48 Webster St., Oakland, 510.839.6761

4 OAKLAND ZOO
Nestled in the rolling hills of 525-acre Knowland Park, the Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. Open daily 10 am-4 pm. 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, 510.632.9525, oaklandzoo.org

5 URBAN WINERIES
You don’t have to head up to Napa to swirl, sip and savor some of the best in California wines. You can even bike your way from zinfandel to syrah. Cycle through the East Bay on an easy, flat, guided tour that stops at urban tasting rooms and includes a picnic lunch along the way. eastbaywinerybiketours.com. 655 3rd St., Oakland, 510.285.7884

6 OAKLAND MUSEUM OF CALIFORNIA
The OMCA brings together collections of art, history and natural science to tell the extraordinary stories of California and its people. The building itself is one of the most significant architectural examples of mid-century modernism in the United States. museumca.org. 1000 Oak St., Oakland (BART stop: Lake Merritt), 510.238.2200

7 USS HORNET MUSEUM
The historic USS Hornet aircraft carrier participated in World War II and the Apollo 11 space mission to the moon. It’s now moored in Alameda in the San Francisco Bay, and visitors can step aboard to learn about its contributions to history. uss-hornet.org. 707 W Hornet Ave., Alameda, 510.521.8448

8 UC BOTANICAL GARDEN
Classified as a living museum, the botanical garden at UC Berkeley exhibits over 12,000 different kinds of plants over 34 acres. Offering a worldwide collection of wild plants from all origins, this garden specializes in botanics native to the Mediterranean. botanical garden.berkeley.edu. 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, 510.643.2755

9 BERKELEY REPERTORY THEATRE
Born in a storefront on College Avenue, Berkeley Rep has moved to the forefront of American theater. It gained renown for an adventurous combination of work, presenting important, new and dramatic voices alongside refreshing adaptations of seldom-seen classics, and sends its productions to Broadway on a regular basis. berkeleyrep.org. 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, 510.647.2949

10 FOURTH STREET SHOPPING DISTRICT
The hottest and most upscale shopping district in Berkeley, Fourth Street is where shoppers come to pick up everything from sleek furniture to unique children’s clothing to organically raised, grass-fed beef in recently converted industrial buildings. This is high-end shopping but it’s still Berkeley with a definitive, laid-back feel. 4th Street between University and Cedar streets, Berkeley, fourthstreetshop.com

Erin Roth
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