Why You Will Love Oakland’s Grand Lake District:
Alright, everyone, the secret is out: Oakland is the place to be. With its near-perfect weather 365 days a year, its close proximity to San Francisco’s tech and startup jobs, and its soul affirming scenes of cultural expression heard in the ever-happening music and art scene, it’s no wonder why this city by the Bay is swiftly and gracefully growing in popularity. You know you want to be a part of it while you still can, so now you’re probably asking yourself: which of Oakland’s many charming nooks and crannies should I call home? The good news is there really is no bad answer, but looking at the next few points, it might become quite clear (almost as clear as Lake Merrit’s shimmering water on a warm summer day) that the Grand Lake District is the place for you!
1) Oakland is Hip, and Grand Lake is Hipper: centered around one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, if you move to the neighborhood you’ll find yourself surrounded by one of Oakland’s most iconic cultural monuments- the historic Grand Lake Theatre. Built in 1926, this beautiful theatre is a throwback to Oakland’s original arts scene, and this popular spot even has some throwback prices- catch any flick here before 5:45pm often for just six dollars or enjoy free popcorn with any ticket purchase all day on all non-holiday Mondays. Plus, known for its edgy socially conscious marquee signs, it’s no surprise that this gem truly embodies the Oakland spirit.
2) Your Stomach Will Thank You: If you’re anything like the rest of the true Oaklanders out there, you probably have a serious appreciation for all things tasty. The minute you step onto Grand Ave or Lakeshore Ave (the two main hubs in the neighborhood), you’ll have no shortage of options. Whether you’re meeting a friend for a mid-morning espresso, dining al fresco on a yet another perfectly clear evening, or looking for late night cocktails and tapas, the Grand Lake District has got you covered. Make sure to check out Penrose (soon to be Almond & Oak) for an amazing culinary experience & stellar staff or Shakewell on Lakeshore Ave for their 2015 Michelin Guide recommended Spanish, Turkish, and North African fare, Modigliani Cafe on Grand Ave for a delicious, fresh, and affordable coffee and sandwich before hitting a movie at the Grand Lake Theatre, and don’t forget to hit Arizmendi Oakland for some pizza and fresh baked pastries that will make all of your non-Grand Lake residing friends seriously jealous. Oh, and did I mention that there’s also a Trader Joe’s right in the middle of Grand Ave? It doesn’t get much better than that!
3) Stop and Smell The Roses: One of the many things that makes this area so unique is that despite being a city hub, there’s no lack of aesthetic thanks to Splash Pad Park, Lake Merrit, and the Morcom Rose Garden. Are you a fan of fresh, locally sourced, and organic produce and prepared food? If so, go ahead and take a relaxing Saturday morning stroll to Splash Pad Park for the weekly Farmer’s Market for your weekly grocery shopping and to meet some friends for Indian samosas or Mexican tamales to be enjoyed on the sprawling lawn. Afterward, head over to Lake Merrit (just about a 15 minute walk or a 10 minute bike ride) to soak in the sun and enjoy the beautiful string of lights that surround the lake, or maybe even rent a boat for the day! And of course you’ll want to finish off your perfect Saturday by catching sunset in the unparalleled Morcom Rose Garden where you’ll find thousands of roses and even a cascading fountain.
Aside from the beautifully easy and perfectly lovely weekend plans right around the corner from your new home, the endless options of cuisines and restaurants, and the historic landmarks right in your new neighborhood, the Grand Lake District is also just a hop skip and a jump from either Berkeley or San Francisco. Take nearby BART for a stress-free commute! And, of course, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses on your way home.