Ride the bike path around Lake Merritt
Enjoy an easy 3.5 mile ride around Oakland’s beautiful jewel of a lake. A bike/ped path rings the lake, with many places to stop and sit in the sun or enjoy your lunch. You’ll often hear musicians playing, see tightrope walkers, and witness tai chi or yoga classes.
Ride in the green bike lane on Grand Avenue, or take the inner route.
When you get to the Pergola, you’re at the tip of the Lakeshore area, with shops, bakeries, and other eating and drinking options. On Saturdays you’ll encounter the Farmer’s Market for year-round fresh local fruit and veggies.
Continue around the lake, there are 3 biking options–the designated street bike lane, the outer path and the inside path next to the water (when crowded, leave this for the pedestrians). Stop at the south end of the lake and explore the new amphitheater and public arts projects.Just past Lake Merritt Blvd, as you see the historic Camron-Stanford House, you can get on the bike/ped path. If you’re visiting on 3rd Sunday of the month, $5 will get you the tour.
If you have time, head to the amazing Oakland Museum of California. Lock your bike in the bike corral out front and head inside for the critically-acclaimed exhibits.
You can have lunch at the Lake Chalet out on the dock, perhaps go for a gondola ride . If you’re riding with kids, you might want to visit Children’s Fairyland or stop to play at one of the playgrounds in the park.
Lake Merritt, a bit of history
Lake Merritt, once a tidal marsh on the east shore of the San Francisco Bay was transformed into a 140-acre fresh water/salt water urban lake. It was Dr. Samuel Merritt (1822-1890), a New Englander who was an early town founder and mayor, who in the 1870s put up his own funds to build a dam at the south end of the tidal marsh to create the lake. In the early 20th century, another mayor, Frank K. Mott (1866-1968), oversaw many lake area improvements, including the construction of a lakeside boulevard, a municipal boathouse (renovated and now the Lake Chalet) and viewing pavilion and the establishment of the city’s first public museum (today’s Camron-Stanford House).