Lakeshore and Grand Avenues are one of Oakland’s oldest shopping districts and most bustling neighborhoods. United by the intersection of Grand Lake Theatre, which turns 90 years old this year, both streets have enough coffee shops, stores, and restaurants to keep you busy all day long. It’s a great area to add to your places to visit in the East Bay list. Keep reading for a round-up of some of my favorite spots!
THINGS TO DO ON GRAND AVENUE, OAKLAND:
Breakfast: Grand Lake Kitchen has been known as a breakfast and lunch spot, with eggs served until 2pm daily. Their Savory French Toast, made with poached eggs, rye bread, parmesan, wild mushrooms and arugula draws people in from afar. This summer, the restaurant opened after extensive renovations and includes a full-bar and dinner until 10pm. We can’t wait to taste the new dinner menu, sit outside on their large street patio and people watch! It’s a neighborhood must.
Read: Walden Pond Books is Oakland’s oldest independent bookstore and has a rare books room upstairs. Turn off those digital devices for a few moments and get lost in the pages here. When’s the last time you sat in an old bookstore and perused the titles for a new read? Support local and buy from either their used and new selection — a perfect place to tackle that summer reading list!
See: Grand Lake Theatre is a show within itself. The historic movie theatre, completed in 1926, has three elaborate, main rooms and each is a site to see. There’s a Moorish style palace and a 1920’s Egyptian themed auditorium. Pick a Hollywood flick, snack on some popcorn, and get transported to a whole other era at this vintage landmark!
Shop: Alchemy Bottle Shop, aka the most beautiful, airy and curated shop on Grand Avenue has every boozy must-have for your next happy hour at home. A gorgeous selection of bottles invites you in to this boutique bottle shop and you’ll find everything from locally based spirt companies and independent producers that carefully select the ingredients and methods they use to vintage barware and tastings in their event space upstairs. Peruse this place for the ooos and the ahhhs that it will ignite, take home a bottle to add to your bar or slip in for a tasting!
Dinner: Boot & Shoe Service boasts one of the best dinners in the area so you will want to take into account a longer wait time. A hip, brick-fire pizza joint, with an enjoyable outdoor patio, and a back-of-the-house bar with fantastic cocktails makes Boot & Shoe a lively date night restaurant with a Brooklyn, New York vibe. They often have live pianists and musicians to set the vibrant mood and you can’t go wrong with much on their daily changing menu. They also serve a fantastic weekend brunch.
THINGS TO DO ON LAKESHORE AVENUE, OAKLAND:
Explore: The Grand Lake Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings is one of the most popular farmer’s markets in Oakland. Situated between the lake and the theatre, this picturesque market brings out people and families who want to peruse the stalls of locally made pottery, soaps and goods, shop for fresh produce, freshly squeezed juice, and flowers, and try tasty international food trucks. There’s even a bouncy slide for the kids. Open every Saturday 9-2pm.
Snack: Arizmendi Bakery, an Oakland mainstay, has the best breads and morning pastries in the neighborhood. Expect a line, but also expect for it (like some of the most popular pastries) to go fast. Order a slice of their gourmet potato pizza with smoked mozzarella for lunch and take it to the lake to enjoy, or a bacon sticky bun if you’re in need of a sweet snack. Grab a challah bread to go and maybe even stock up on a few coconut macaroons for after dinner dessert!
Workout: Namaste Yoga is a beautiful and calming oasis in the middle of a busy, urban neighborhood. They are the East Bay’s largest yoga studio with locations in Albany, Walnut Creek, Berkeley, you name it. Opened by the owner who grew up on Lakeshore Avenue, this location is really special. With a retail boutique in front with everything you need for a stylish yoga session to classes and workshops, Namaste is a full service wellness program.
Shop: Urban Indigo is a fun boutique to shop, filled to the brim with quirky, humorous cards, unique gifts, handmade jewelry and home decor. Rated one of the best gift shops in Oakland, weather you’re shopping for yourself or a child, looking for something punny and unique, or wanting to find a special, one-of-a-kind gift for someone, Urban Indigo should be one of the first places you wonder into.
Illustration by Jessica Levitz
Photos by Lauren Edith Andersen