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15 Best Things to Do in East Bay, California

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Are you planning a trip to California soon? Have you ever considered traveling to a less popular destination than Los Angeles or San Diego?

People tell me that the East Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area, in general, are a must-see when you make your way to California. The people, the food, and the music are just the start of what California and East Bay offer.

I can’t wait to book my trip to check out the world-famous San Francisco Bay Area and East Bay. An abundant history and culture is built with and has come from the Bay Area. Many cultural icons found their voice, shaping the United States as we know it today.

Before you book that next trip to one of the more popular choices in California, check out this list of fun things to do in East Bay; you won’t regret it!

Things to Do in the East Bay & San Francisco Bay Area

1. Chez Panisse

Chez Panisse

Address: 1517 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709, United States

Starting as a small gathering spot for friends and neighbors fifty years ago, Chez Panisse is still open today. This restaurant is a true testament to time. The history that the establishment has seen over its many years is astonishing.

This restaurant is sticking true to its roots in today’s modern world. Serving a single set menu that changes daily, still highlighting local growers and ingredients that are in season.

The small organic farmers are still growing small batches of fruits and vegetables and raising small heritage breeds of animals.

Over time, Chez Panisse has established a rooted network of ethical local suppliers, some of which include ranchers, fishers, orchards, foragers, farmers, and homestead gardeners. These growers practice regenerative agriculture and care for the land they harvest their food.

This no-frills dining establishment is still as simple and no-nonsense as initially. With the freshest ingredients possible, the easy-to-choose-from menu is about as good as possible. This is still a place to come and discuss, think, and be with friends, family, and the community. Make sure to check out CityPass, to find all the best adventures that await in East Bay.

See Related: Epic Minnesota to California Road Trip Itinerary

2. East Bay Farmers Market

East Bay Farmers Market

If you want to know where some fresh and locally organically grown ingredients come from, check out the East Bay Farmers Market. This website tells you everything you need to know to visit one or many of the best local farmer’s markets in East Bay.

It is very important to know where our food comes from, whether we are on a vacation, business trip, or whatever your excuse for being in California is!

Food is one of the most important things we can put in our bodies, so we must know it is safe to eat. Local farmer’s markets are one of the best ways to know exactly where your food is sourced.

Follow this site and create the perfect way to spend your day by the water in East Bay.

See RelatedBest California Road Trips

3. Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails in East Bay

If you don’t want to spend all your time in the city and come to California to escape it all, look no further and explore the East Bay hikes. I have compiled a list of some of the best hikes in East Bay. Get your hiking boots on and check out these East Bay hiking trails!

If you need help finding things to do, check out this great website to help you create the perfect day in East Bay according to your preferences.

  • Lake Chabot Loop (Castro Valley)

There is a short loop about 3.5 miles from the marina that offers views of the dam and the lake. Circle the lake with six different trails to explore for almost 10 miles!

  • East Ridge to West Ridge Loop (Oakland)

This amazing loop circles the amazing Redwood Regional Park of Northern California. See some beautiful redwood trees hidden in the ridge over downtown Oakland.

This little peaceful grove was once a bustling logging community in the mid-1800s and is now home to a hidden redwood forest.

  • Flag Hill Trail (Sunol)

Climb up and out of the woods and gain a quick elevation. Watch your step as it is a steep slope with many switchbacks as soon as the trail starts. But the top views are worth it, where you can see across the entire valley.

You can see the reservoir, watershed, and sandstone formations with fossils from ancient seabeds, and possibly even spot a bobcat!

  • Round Top Volcanoes (Oakland)

Within the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve lies many secrets of the Earth. Not only is it a great place for bird watching, but geologists and scientists are drawn there due to the unique geology of the area.

Round Top peak is nearly a 2,000-foot elevation gain made up of 10-million-year-old volcanic rock which is the result of two faults that lie in the middle.

Print the self-guided volcano tour to learn about this amazing area. At one of the stops, a labyrinth at the base of the quarries adds a certain mystique to the hike.

Learn about the area’s ancient history and enjoy a beautiful sunny hike with a view of rolling hills at the top of the peak. Make sure to rest your head in comfort after a long hike. Book now through Marriott.

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4. Yoshi’s

Yoshis Oakland Logo

Address: 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland, CA 94607, United States

Beginning in 1972 as a small sushi bar, Yoshie Akiba and her two best friends built one of the most successful jazz clubs in the entire world. You must go this place if you are trying to get incredible food, including sushi (of course) and an array of other options from the land and sea.

Accompanied by the smooth background sounds of all types of jazz from different musicians nationwide. This award-winning venue includes a 310-seat live performance stage with a massive, technologically advanced sound system. This gigantic building takes up 17,000 square feet in Oakland’s Jack London Square.

As with any big metropolis, getting around the city at night might be difficult due to the high volume of people. It is easiest to Uber or Lyft in East Bay or take public transportation.

East Bay has great public transportation methods such as city buses, light rails, heavy rails, and bikes. Find all maps and schedules here.

See Related: Things to Do in Temecula

5. Moe’s Books

Moe's Books Oakland, California

Address: 2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704, United States

Moe’s Books has been open since 1959, providing customers with valuations of rare and collectible books. They range from a variety of different subjects and expenses. The staff has over 75 years of combined experience with appraisals and evaluations of a number of different rarities.

Now grown into a 4-floor shop, Moe’s is a sight. This massive collection of books is something you have to see yourself. There is at least one book for everyone who walks through the doors.

They are one of the country’s largest buy-and-sell shops, with every genre imaginable. This is a great option on the list of things to do in East Bay this weekend.

If you’re into rare books, spend the extra few dollars with your American Express Platinum to ensure you get the rarest options in print.

See Related: Best Road Trip Books for Kids

6. Urban Wine Trail

Grapes on the Vine

Do you want to make your walking tour on your schedule? Does your vision of a walking tour involve wine and food? Stop what you’re doing because I’ve found the ultimate walking tour for you.

Urban Wine Trail is a unique self-guided walking tour that lets you explore Oakland’s fine wine scene. These aren’t the fancy wineries you’re considering in Sonoma or elsewhere. These wineries are based out of renovated warehouses, serving first-class wine.

Being so close to wine country allows these wineries to source some of the freshest, richest-tasting grapes in the world. Of course, don’t forget to try some of the shops and food establishments along the trail. Oakland is a huge city with a ton of culture to offer!

There are seven different wineries along the trail, each with its unique craft and unique processes for making their wines. Every wine you can imagine, from Tempranillo and dessert wines to lesser-known wines to Zinfandels. There is wine for everyone!

Don’t worry; if you’re not into wine, check out the East Bay breweries on the Oakland Ale Trail. Here, you can learn about the many different types of breweries around the area, as well as other craft beer locations and destinations in Oakland.

After a long day of drinking different wines and walking all over town, rest your head at one of the many different hotels in East Bay. Book now with Kayak.

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7. University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley

Flowers in a Botanical GardenAddress: 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States

This massive botanical garden is located at the University of California Berkeley and is one of the most diverse landscapes in the entire world. There are over 10,000 different species of plants, many of which are ultra-rare and endangered.

The Garden is home to nine different regions from all over the entire globe, along with a big collection of native California plants. The Garden was established in 1890 and its living collections are valued and studied by researchers from all over the world for research and conservation purposes.

Reservations and tickets are required to enter the botanical garden. It is important to call or schedule a reservation online because walk-ins are not permitted, and you will not be allowed in without reservations and tickets.

If you’re flying to California and planning on staying there for at least a few days, use this website to ensure you make the most out of your trip to earn airline miles, hotel points, and dining rewards.

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8. Fenton’s Creamery

Ice cream Serving with Different Flavors

Address: 4226 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611, United States

Fenton’s Creamery was founded in 1894 and has since become a staple in the Oakland neighborhood. Seeing that Fenton’s has been featured on the History Channel, the Food Network, and USA Today must mean the ice cream is something truly special.

Fenton’s tries to preserve the heritage left behind by generations of family members who have continued to run the creamery.

They try to stay true to the roots and produce every small batch of ice cream with the tradition passed down by generations. They put their time, skill, and passion for ice cream into every batch and every scoop.

There is also a second location north of East Bay if you want to explore further! Locals and travelers consider this one of East Bay’s best things to do.

See Related: Best Vacation Rentals in California

9. Anthony Chabot Family Campground

Campfire with Pot

Address: Castro Valley, CA 94552, United States

Anthony Chabot Family Campground is the perfect year-round getaway only 30 minutes from downtown Oakland. It overlooks beautiful Lake Chabot and is the perfect family-friendly East Bay campground.

The campground contains 53 drive-up campsites, 10 hike-in campsites, and 12 RV campsites. These are fully accessible hookups that include sewer, water, and 30-amp electrical outlets. All campsites, including the RV sites, have a picnic table and a fire ring attached to its grill.

There are restrooms available that include hot showers. But who needs showers when they’re camping anyway? Firewood and charcoal are also available if someone forgot to pack the fire fuel.

If you are looking for hiking and mountain bike trails, look no further because the campground provides miles of trails. Considered one of the best East Bay bike trails, is a beautiful trail that circles Lake Chabot, surrounded by trees and beautiful open water. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon in the great outdoors.

Do you need a place to stay while spending time in East Bay? Make sure to use this website to ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.

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10. Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze

Mirror Maze with Black Lights

Address: Pier 39, 0-11 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94111, United States

Are you looking for fun things to do in East Bay this weekend? Test your mind’s limits in this whacky mirror maze. Black lights are set up in a literal labyrinth, making mirrors glow and reflect on one another, making it look like an infinite abyss. It is nearly impossible to track where you are going, making it very easy to get mixed up and lose your path.

This mirror maze is family-friendly! As long as your little one likes bright lights. Groups of eight are allowed, so join with friends and family to see if you can make it out in one piece!

The mirror maze is considered one of the best attractions in East Bay. There is a five-dollar ticket fee and a required reservation. Once you have a reservation, prepare for the most fun you’ll have your entire trip!

See Related: Best Things to Do in Northern California

11. iFly Indoor Skydiving

Ifly Indoor Skydiving Building

Address: 31310 Alvarado-Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587, United States

Are you looking for a little excitement in your life? Check out the iFly indoor skydiving experience and amazing facility next to East Bay in San Fransisco.

The trained instructors are knowledgeable and helpful in assisting all ages and skill levels. Choose from a variety of different options for indoor skydiving experiences. Make your wildest dreams come true without ever having to actually jump out of an airplane 10,000 feet above the ground.

Choose from a variety of different options for all skill levels. There is a virtual reality flight that lets you choose to fly in a number of different settings, including skydiving through Hawaii or Dubai and base jumping over the incredible Swiss Alps.

Do you or your children have a birthday coming up? Why not go to iFLY for an incredible, unforgettable experience? There are even flight schools for kids and field trips available for schools.

iFLY also hosts All Abilities Nights for people with physical or cognitive challenges. The instructors and coaches at iFLY aren’t only intrigued by flying. They are there to ensure you can share that same incredible feeling of flying for the first time.

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13. Walnut Creek

Sunset View over Walnut Creek, California

Address: Walnut Creek, California, USA

Walnut Creek is a beautiful, tree-lined suburb located on the outskirts of San Francisco in the east of the city, bordered by lush natural areas. It represents a lively and charming downtown governed by the Walnut Creek City Center Association.

The Village at Walnut Creek is a planned community of 650 company owners and a number of structures in the city’s downtown area. The objective is to keep Walnut Creek’s downtown attractive and friendly while encouraging tourism.

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14. San Francisco

Aerial View of San Francisco Skyline

Address: San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco is the 13th most-populated city and a city-county region ranked only behind in population density in the city. The hilltop peninsula city is framed by San Francisco Bay and the downtown San Francisco skyline, Northern California’s most important cultural, economic, and financial center, with countless technology corporations, including Airbnb, Amazon, and Uber.

The attractions include the famous Cable Car Route, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz Island. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a nonprofit organization with a vast collection of contemporary immersive art.

The Ferry Building, Chinatown, and Little Italy are favorite tourist destinations with historic buildings and excellent dining options.

See Related: Day Trips from San Francisco

15. Sonoma County

Road through Vineyards in Sonoma, California

Address: Sonoma County, California, USA

Sonoma County is a northern county of the San Francisco Bay Area located north of Marin County and comprises towns including Santa Rosa. This renowned county is recognized as a world-renowned wine-producing region in Sonoma Valley, which features 12 designated American viticultural regions.

Around the region, more than 475 wineries may be visited for tours and tastings, and they can participate in many wine country excursions.

The Pacific Coast Air Museum, the Sonoma County Museum, and the Museum of the Sonoma Valley are among the museums in town. The great Marin County is easily accessible from East Oakland and the East Bay Area.

See Related: Things to Do in Los Angeles

Places to Stay in East Bay

1. Fairmont San Francisco Top Recommendation

Looking for a luxurious and centrally located hotel in San Francisco? Look no further than Fairmont San Francisco! This landmark hotel boasts beautifully appointed rooms and suites, as well as a full-service gym and spa. And with two unique dining experiences on site, you'll never go hungry! Plus, Fairmont San Francisco is the only hotel in the city where all 3 cable car lines meet. So whether you're looking to explore the city or just relax in style, Fairmont San Francisco is the perfect choice.

2. Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA

Looking for a comfortable and convenient place to stay in downtown San Francisco? Look no further than the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA. Just a short walk from the Market Street-Kearny cable car stop, making it easy to get around the city. And the rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs, so you can relax after a long day of sightseeing. Best of all, we're pet-friendly.

3. Holiday Inn Express Windsor Sonoma Wine Country, an IHG Hotel

Welcome to the Holiday Inn Express Windsor Sonoma Wine Country! The hotel is conveniently located off Highway 101, just 8.4 km from the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts. They offer a variety of amenities to make your stay with us enjoyable, including an outdoor pool, free WiFi, and cable TV with HBO. Holiday Inn Express guest rooms are spacious and comfortable, with all the amenities you need for a pleasant stay.

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