Alameda is an island in the East Bay of the Bay Area, California in the United States of America. It is separated from the mainland by the Oakland Estuary. One can get there from Oakland very easily, by way of one of the bridges or the Webster Street Tube.
Alameda is an island city with a consciousness of its history. It was founded as a Spanish settlement and then became a Mexican one. Many of the streets and neighborhoods have names dating back to the 19th century. There are a great many large Victorian houses throughout the town, including the original Alameda Library, Alameda City Hall, the Elks Lodge, and most particularly Historic Alameda High School. A few of the streets have been restored to Victorian grandeur, notably the shopping districts of Park Street and Webster Street. Once one of many of its kind, the Alameda Naval Air Station was decommissioned in 1997, and has since been the site of a few film and TV productions, in its present form, Alameda Point. Around the Christmas season, the residents of Thompson Street participate in lighting up the whole city block, houses and trees alike. The city is home to a single theater, the classic Art Deco Alameda Theatre, built in 1932, renovated and expanded in 2008. South of the main island is Bay Farm Island, a mostly-residential and markedly suburban district bordering Oakland International Airport.
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Oakland International Airport (OAK IATA) is a close neighbor to Alameda. The traveller's best bet for getting into town is by public transit (AC Transit Line 21). The easiest way for your money is likely to be a taxi, though the major (read: spendier) hotels of Oakland and Alameda offer free shuttle service to and from the airport.
The proximity of Alameda to Oakland makes access by car the easiest. From Webster, 29th Ave. or Fruitvale in Oakland, all exits are clearly marked. From I-880/The Nimitz Freeway, the 23rd Ave. exit is easiest, and the exits leading to the island city are all clearly marked.
The San Francisco Bay Ferry provides service from several points on both sides of the Bay. There are three terminals in Alameda:
- Main Street on the northwest side of the main island - primarily has service during the middle of the day on weekdays, as well as all day on weekends.
- Alameda Seaplane on the west side of the main island - used for morning and evening commuting.
- Harbor Bay on Bay Farm Island - only used for rush hour commuting
Amtrak does not service Alameda directly, but four of its train routes arrive at two nearby stations.
- Capitol Corridor San Jose to Auburn via Sacramento). The route also includes a stop at the Oakland Coliseum/Airport Amtrak station, adjacent to the Oakland Coliseum BART station. The Oakland Coliseum/Airport Amtrak station has no station agents. Passengers may board the train and buy the tickets from the conductor at no surcharge.
- Coast Starlight Seattle to Los Angeles
- San Joaquins Oakland to Bakersfield, California
Passengers riding the Capitol Corridor, San Joaquins, and Coast Starlight trains should arrive at the Oakland Jack London Station (OKJ) at Alice and 2nd St. The station is just east of Jack London Square. Capitol Corridor conductors provide two free bus passes upon request. Getting to Alameda by bus requires one transfer. Pick up AC Transit Line 12 at its terminal on Alice, across the street from Amtrak. The bus may wait at this stop for several minutes before departing. Ride the 12 to the 7th and Broadway stop. From that stop, walk back along Broadway, cross 7th, and go with the flow of traffic to the bus stop at 7th and Franklin (less than one block). From this stop, four lines serve Alameda: Line 19, Line 20, Line 51A, and Line 96.
- California Zephyr Emeryville to Chicago via Sacramento. Reachable by a bus ride via both AC Transit and the Emery-Go-Round.
Passengers riding the California Zephyr train should arrive at the Emeryville Station (EMY)—the train's western terminal. Getting to Alameda by bus requires one transfer. From the train, walk through the station, veer left, and continue two blocks along 59th St. to Hollis St. At the bus stop just to the right of this intersection, pick up AC Transit Line 29. Ride the 29 to the 11th and Broadway stop. Wait at this same stop for either Line 19 or Line 20. For Line 51A or Line 96, turn right on Broadway and walk one and a half blocks to the Broadway and 9th stop.
Alameda is an island, and as such it's difficult to get truly lost if you have your basic bearings. The island is bordered on the north by the Oakland estuary and to the south by the San Francisco bay. The west end of the island is taken up by Alameda Point, the site of the former Naval Air Station. At the south end, you'll find a bridge to Bay Farm Island.
Several AC Transit bus lines go around the island. There is a late-night bus service from Fruitvale BART to Broadway, down Santa Clara and up Webster to Downtown Oakland. There are also a couple of rush hour shuttles from Webster St. commercial area to Jack London Square/Lake Merritt BART area.
Walking is a great way to get around. Walking from Oakland is not recommended.
Traveling from the Harbor Bay ferry terminal area to the Main Street terminal area is faster by ferry than by bus. This only works during rush hour.
- 1 USS Hornet (CV-12), Pier 3, Alameda Point, ☏ . M W-Su 10AM–5PM, Tuesdays Pre-reg or school tours only. The USS Hornet is a retired World War II aircraft carrier that fought numerous battles in the Pacific and also retrieved the astronauts of Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 after splashdown. The ship is run as a museum, with the hangar deck, flight deck, and some other areas open to wander around in, and tours offering the chance to see control rooms, engineering facilities, and other areas of this retired warship. Allow a minimum of three hours; ideally five or more. Admission is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, military and students, $10 youth, members, children 6 and under free.
- 2 Crown Beach (Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach) (Eighth Street and Otis Drive), ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 5AM-10PM. A good beach on the bay. Very popular with kiteboarders and joggers. Due to ongoing maintenance, some areas are inaccessible, but are clearly marked. $5 parking fee, $2 dog fee.
- 3 Pacific Pinball Museum, 1510 Webster St (Between Haight St and Santa Clara Ave), ☏ . Su Tu-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-10PM. A 'museum' of over 100 classic pinball games, arranged approximately chronologically. The Pacific Pinball Museum showcases the "science, art, and history" of pinball. With admission, play is free on all but the oldest three of their 90 pinball machines, so allow several hours to explore the many variations there. $22 for adults, $15 for seniors, military and students (with valid ID) $10 for kids under 12.
- 1 Bowlero Alameda (Formerly Mel's Bowl), 300 Park St (corner of Park St and Shoreline Dr), ☏ . M-F 4PM-midnight, Sa noon-midnight, Su noon-11PM. Alameda's bowling alley of many decades. 40 lanes as well as billiard tables and video games. Usually bustling during the weekends. Laneside food and drinks available, check online menu for pricing. Online reservations for bowling as well as parties.
- 2 City View Skate Park, 1177 W Redline Ave (On Alameda Point). Dawn to dusk. Great spot to ride skateboards and skates and great views of the bay. Access to the skate park has been diverted due to intervening construction until approximately 2023. Free.
- 3 Color Me Mine of Alameda, 2205 South Shore Center (between Trader Joe's and Applebee's), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-8PM, F 11AM-9PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Paint-your-own-pottery studio located at South Shore Center by the beach. Hundreds of preformed ceramics to paint as you wish. No experience necessary. Kids and adults. No reservations needed on most days.
- 1 Alameda Marketplace, 1650 Park Street (at Buena Vista). Daily 8AM-6PM. A large enclosed shopping center in a tidy vintage brick building. Artisan foods and kitchen supplies.
- 2 Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire (Flea Market), 2700 Saratoga St (Corner of Saratoga St and W Sussex Dr), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Varies; see website.. Monthly extravaganza of antiques and vintage items. Hundreds of vendors. Free shuttle service to and from the Faire from Fruitvale BART and the Alameda Ferry at Main St. See website.
- 3 Hangar One, 2601 Monarch St (Alameda Point, near junction of Monarch St and W. Midway Ave), ☏ , [email protected]. Th F 3-7PM, Sa Su noon-7PM. A vodka distillery in a former navy hangar that offers a multitude of flavors, usually pricey. Good place to sip and view the Bay and San Francisco. Guided tours daily.
- 4 South Shore Center (Alameda Towne Centre) (bordered by Shoreline Dr, Park St and Otis St), ☏ . Alameda's centrally-located open-air shopping center, home to Bankers' Row, and the city's main post office and courthouse. Next to the shore of San Francisco Bay.
- 1 Ole's Waffle Shop, 1507 Park St (between Santa Clara Ave. and Webb St.), ☏ . M-Th 5:30AM-8:30PM, F 5:30AM-11:30PM, Sa 6AM-11:30PM, Su 6AM-8:30PM. Old school diner. It has been around since 1927, and has stayed the same. It has a good variety of greasy spoon food. Lines for tables are out the door every morning for the waffles and the pancakes. Under $15.
- 2 Pampered Pup, 1401 Park St (corner of Park St. and Central Ave.), ☏ . A Park Street institution for decades, serving all the basic favorites of hot dogs, including sauerkraut and chili dogs. Under $15.
- 3 Q's Halal Chicken, 2306 Central Ave (across from the Alameda Theater), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-8:30PM, Su 11AM-7PM. A clean, airy and well-lit favorite for cheap and delicious halal wraps, burgers and kabobs. Try the seasoned fries. Take-out orders only for last 30 minutes of each day. Catering available. Under $15.
- 4 Taqueria Viva Mexico, 2327 Central Ave (near Park St.), ☏ . Daily 11AM-8PM. A nice and friendly Mexican spot with very old country decor. Online ordering available. Under $20.
- 5 Troy, 2318-A Central Ave (between Oak St. and Park St.), ☏ , [email protected]. M-Th Sa 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-8PM. Small, homey little spot that serves food from the Mediterranean. Under $20.
- 6 Abigail's Moroccan Cuisine, 1132 Ballena Blvd (Ballena Bay Marina), ☏ . Tu-F 10AM-3:30PM, Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 10AM-7PM. Authentic Moroccan food - bellydancing and live music during Saturday dinner hours. Online reservations. Private parties. Catering. Dinner (prix fixe) $25/person, Lunch usually under $15.
- 7 Asena, 2508 Santa Clara Ave (between Everett Ave. and Broadway), ☏ , [email protected]. M-Th 5PM-8PM, F-Sa 5PM-9PM. Upscale Mediterranean spot, very romantic. Reservations available. Catering. $15-40.
- 8 Dragon Rouge Bistro, 2337 Blanding Ave (in Park Street Landing, just off of Park St. near Fruitvale Bridge), ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-8:30PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-9:30PM, Su 11AM-8:30PM. Very friendly Vietnamese restaurant with an American twist. Online ordering and reservations. $15-30.
- 9 India Palace, 737 Buena Vista Ave (between Webster St. and Constitution Way), ☏ . M-Th 11AM-2PM, F-Su 11AM-2PM, 5-10PM. India Palace has an excellent (if small) buffet of Northern Indian dishes every lunch, and an equally good set of dishes every dinner. $20-30.
- 10 La Penca Azul, 1440 Park St (corner of Park St. and Santa Clara Ave.), ☏ , [email protected]. Su-Th 11AM-8PM, F-Sa 11AM-9PM. Full-service Mexican restaurant with a very large menu. They offer favorites like enchiladas and burritos and also have more obscure traditional dishes, such as a wide range of seafood, huitlacoche and many dishes served with mole sauce. They offer accommodations for large parties, as well as a considerable catering service and a tequila bar that boasts over 300 varieties. Service is very friendly. Online ordering. Reservations available for large groups. Delivery available. $30-40.
- 11 Phnom Penh House, 1514 Webster St (between Santa Clara Ave. and Haight Ave., next to Pinball Museum), ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9PM. A standard of Oakland's Chinatown that still offers a wide variety of Cambodian dishes on a budget. $15-30.
- 12 Speisekammer, 2424 Lincoln Ave (between Park St. and Everett St.), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. W-Th 5PM-9PM, F 4PM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-8PM. A traditional German restaurant. Great food, great beer. Online reservations. $20-40.
- 13 Sushi House, 2375 Shoreline Dr (corner of Shoreline Dr. and Park St.), ☏ , fax: . Su-Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-10:30PM. Very good sushi and an impressively large menu with a view of the Bay. Very crowded for dinner, especially weekends. $20-40.
- 14 Yojimbo, 1221 Park St (between San Jose Ave. & San Antonio Ave.), ☏ , [email protected]. M-Th 11AM-9PM, F Sa 11AM-9:30PM. A pocket-sized sushi bar with a massive selection. $15-30.
- 1 Fireside Lounge, 1453 Webster St (between Santa Clara Ave. and Taylor Ave.), ☏ , [email protected]. M-Th 4PM-midnight, F Sa 2PM-2AM, Su 2PM-midnight. There is a beautiful bar, nice lounge feel and pool table.
- 2 The Hobnob, 1313 Park St (between Encinal Ave. and Alameda Ave.), ☏ . W-Th 5PM-8:30PM, F 5PM-9PM, Sa 11AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-9PM, Su 11AM-2:30PM, 4:30PM-8PM. Friendly pub with upscale food and drinks without the upscale prices or stuffiness.
- 3 McGee's Bar & Grill, 1645 Park St (corner of Park St. and Buena Vista Ave.), ☏ , [email protected]. See website. Park street institution for many years, very friendly sports pub with hardwood finish and good (If pricey) food. Full catering services available. One of the few places on Park Street that has off-street parking. $30-40.
- 4 Faction Brewing, 2501 Monarch St (on Alameda Point), ☏ . W-Th 2PM-8PM, F-Sa noon-8PM, Su noon-6PM. Brewery with a variety of styles. Nice outdoor seating and rotating food trucks.
- 5 Alameda Island Brewing Company, 1716 Park St (near corner of Park St and Eagle Ave), ☏ , [email protected]. Tu-Sa noon-10PM, Su noon-9PM. A spacious hipster brewery with a massive tasting room and a long list of things to drink. Pet-friendly, off-site parking available, see website.
Bars & nightclubs
- 6 Club House, 1215 Park St (between San Jose Ave. and San Antonio Ave.), ☏ . M-Th 9AM-10PM, F 6AM-1AM, Sa 6AM-midnight, Su 6AM-10PM. Nice and friendly dive bar.
- 7 Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge, 1304 Lincoln Ave (corner of Sherman St. and Lincoln Ave.), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. M-F 4PM-10PM, Sa-Su 2PM-10PM. One of the owners is a former bartender of the venerable Trader Vic's so it's not surprising he and his cohorts have opened a bar that comes with all the 1960s-esque island interior fixings—waterfalls and bamboo trimmings.
- 8 Lucky 13, 1301 Park St (corner of Park St. and Encinal Ave.), ☏ . Daily noon-2AM. Great beers on tap, motorcycle friendly, a jukebox that pumps out good music, and they have a bbq in the back if you want get something from the grill.
Coffee, tea & chocolate
- 9 The Beanery, 1650 Park St (in the Alameda Marketplace, near Buena Vista Ave.), ☏ . Daily 6AM-4PM. A good little spot that can serve strong coffee that's as black as pitch.
- 10 Bad Barista (formerly Cafe Au Lait), 3215 Encinal Ave. Suite D (inside Encinal Shopping Center, near High St.), ☏ . Daily 7AM-2PM. Small friendly family-owned coffee shop that makes its own pastries and will make your coffee exactly the way you ask for it.
- 11 Coffee and Tea Traders, 883 Island Dr. Suite B2 (inside Harbor Bay Landing Shopping Center), ☏ . M-F 7AM-3:30PM, Sa 7AM-2PM. A mom and pop coffee and teahouse with murals and fresh pastries.
- 12 Julie's Coffee and Tea Garden, 1223 Park St (near the corner of San Antonio Ave. and Park St.), ☏ , [email protected]. Daily 7AM-4PM. Friendly coffee and tea shop with huge loose tea selection and excellent vegan baked goods. Free wifi and a beautiful backyard garden with abundant seating.
- 1 Coral Reef Inn & Suites, 400 Park St (near Franciscan Way and South Shore Center), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Meeting/banquet facilities, handicapped accessible, Tour desk, swimming pool, all facilities non-smoking, Safe deposit box, Fax/photocopy. $100-170.
- 2 Extended Stay America, 1350 Marina Village Pkwy (Near Mariner Square Dr., behind the Posey Tube), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Full kitchens, kitchenware provided, ironing board and iron, free wifi, fitness room, complimentary breakfast, pet-friendly room, flat-screen TVs, free local calls. Stays under 1 week require a credit card. Pets will incur a non-refundable fee. $150-200.
- 3 Hampton Inn and Suites Oakland Airport, 1700 Harbor Bay Parkway (near N Loop Rd. and S Loop Rd.), ☏ , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. On Bay Farm Island, near Oakland International Airport. Complimentary breakfast, free newspaper during the week, full business center, meeting rooms, available audio-visual equipment, gift shop, free parking, free airport shuttle. $150-170.
- 4 Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, 1628 Webster St (Corner of Pacific Ave. and Webster St.), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Complimentary breakfast, free parking, gym, spa, on-site laundry, free wifi, full HVAC. $120-150.
- 5 Marina Village Inn, 1151 Pacific Marina (near Triumph Dr. at the Estuary), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , [email protected]. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Complimentary breakfast, high-speed Internet, cable TV, Complimentary high-end bed and bath products, Waterfront rooms with private balconies. $80-250.
- 6 Rodeway Inn (formerly Days Inn), 1925 Webster St (Corner of Atlantic Ave. and Webster St.), ☏ , fax: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Free breakfast, free newspaper during the week, Copy machine, free Internet, HVAC, free local calls, cable/satellite TV. $80-110.
- Alameda Sun, 3215J Encinal Ave, ☏ , fax: . Alameda's only locally owned and operated newspaper.
San Leandro is across the bay by using California State Route 61, there are plenty of shorelines and beaches here, as well as malls, hotels and worldwide industries (including Otis Spunkmeyer's and Ghirardelli's worldwide headquarters)