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50 Things to Do in Oakland with Kids

Published Feb 10, 2019 | Updated Mar 20, 2020

There are so many fun and free activities to do with your kids in Oakland. How many on our list can you check off?

Kids have an energy level that is through the roof, which means you know you need to get them out of the house to burn off all that energy.

Here is a list of 50 suggestions of fun places to go with your little ones in and around the Oakland Area. Warning: there are tons of fun spots, so If your children each want to go to a different place, you will have to practice some serious democracy to decide where to go.

1. Mad Science of the Bay Area offers a variety of programs and workshops that will spark your child's imagination. There is a variety of educational programs and entertainment that are offered. 

2. Lake Merritt- This large heart-shaped tidal lagoon is just east of downtown and offers boating rentals, bird watching, gardens and the oldest wildlife refuge in the United States. Lake Merritt is the site for many city events, including running, cycling and music festivals, service events and awareness rallies.

3. Joaquin Miller Park- If you are ready for a hiking adventure on trails through one of California's few Redwood forests, this urban park may be just the thing for you and the kids. Expect to be up close and personal with wildlife, plants and fungi.

4. Lawrence Hall of Science- If you are a parent of a future stem leader, this is an inspiring hangout for your genius. Hands-on exhibits, 3D films, a planetarium and summer camps give youth a peek at their own futures in the field of science.

5. Tilden Regional Park- Scenic views on a scaled-down steam train, the Little Farm, fishing, a beach Environmental Education Center, and the hand-carved antique. Herschell-Spillman Merry-Go-Round carousel are enough to keep your kids fascinated and learning in the process. Features are wheelchair accessible.

6. Children's Fairyland- Stimulate the active imagination of your children by taking them to this storybook set theme park complete with gentle rides, live entertainment, friendly animals and gardens.

7. Explore the Randall Museum- This museum strives to inspire creativity, curiosity, and an appreciation for the world around us. 

8. Children's Creativity Museum- This is a great place to take your kids to nurture creativity and build collaboration. There are opportunities for creative expression, critical thinking, and innovation. 

9. Jack London Square- With waterfront views, walkways, kayaking, bicycling, shopping and dining, there is always a fun time at Jack London Square. This is a popular hangout destination for the Bay area.

10. Oakland Zoo- The timeless attractions for kids of all ages, the Oakland Zoo has more than 700 native and exotic animals. The kids can even watch the black bear, sun bear, condor and elephants on live webcam.

11. Chabot Space and Science Center- This is a science space that engages almost every aspect of a child's imagination, offering a discovery lab, music odysseys, children's film festival, summer camp, planetarium with telescope viewing, special festivals and tinkering stations.

12. Studio One Art Center- Come check out the facility and take classes in ceramics, sculpture, flower arts, glass fusing, bead-making, painting, and so much more! 

13. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific- Explore the museum and spark your imagination through both art and film. 

14. Habitot Children's Museum- Bring your kids to explore interactive exhibits, play areas, and a world of discovery.

15. Go to a local playground and bring a ball or frisbee. This is a great way to have some fun, stay active, and get some fresh air. 

16. Paramount Theatre- Experience the variety of movies, concerts, variety shows, and more at this popular theatre. 

17. Museum of Children's Art (MOCHA)- Interactive art spaces engage the creativity of the young artist and helps strengthen family bonds. The museum offers, art parties, field trips, day camps, open studios and weekend events.

18. Pump It Up- Parents and kids can drop in for fun at this inflatable playground at any time, but this is a popular favourite for birthday parties and group play. The facility also offers a calendar of themed events throughout the year.

19. Union Point Park- If your kids have a large flair for make-believe, they can spend the day pretending they are pirates on a giant pirate ship play structure near the estuary. This playground features slides and climbing walls to help them imagine a whole world of treasure, swords and adventure on the high seas.

20. Food Trucks- In most families, no two kids eat the same foods, so why not find Off the Grid food trucks to make sure everyone gets what they want to put in their tummies? Usually, there is a food truck show at the Oakland Museum of California on Fridays and downtown on Wednesday through Friday.

This list is not exhaustive. Oakland seems to have an endless supply of things to do. Here are more places that offer outing possibilities for you and the kids:


21. Fox Oakland Theater

22. Remember Them Humanitarian Monument

23. Museum of Paleontology

24. Playland-Not-At-The-Beach Museum

25. Pacific Pinball Museum

26. Crab Cove Visitor Center

Arts and Culture

27. African American Museum and Library at Oakland

28. Oakland Asian Cultural Center

29. Oakland Art Murmur

30. Paramount Theatre of the Arts

31. Woodminster Summer Musicals

32. Uptown Art Park

Sports and Recreation

33. Oakland Ice Center

34. Oakland Outlaw Derby Girls

35. East Oakland Sports Center

36. Kinetic Arts Center

37. Adventure Playground

38. Virginia-McGee Totland

39. El Cerrito Splash Park

Parks, Lakes and Gardens

40. Dimond Recreation Center

41. FROG Park

42. Lake Temescal

43. Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve

44. Port View Park

45. Morcom Rose Garden

46. Codornices Park


47. Fortune Cookie Factory

48. Zachary's Chicago Pizza

49. Brown Sugar Kitchen

50. Drake's Dealership

Looking for awesome upcoming events? Feel free to check out ChatterBlock's Community Events Page (we add to it daily)!

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Comments (2)

August 30, 2018, 3:49 p.m. Flag

So many great things to do here! I would add that the Oakland Museum has a special free event every Friday night, with access to the museum and music & dancing -all free. There're great food trucks out there to complete the evening. Check it out: http://museumca.org/friday-nights-omca.


August 30, 2018, 3:52 p.m. Flag

Also, my friend opened up this amazing movie theater with couches and coffee tables! It's called The New Parkway and it's also in the downtown area. They show all kinds of different movies there and have great food -which they'll BRING TO YOU while you watch the movie! They also do a lot of community education, documentaries, free screenings, etc. It's a wonderful space. Go check it out -and tell Moses that Mailisha sent you! 8^)


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