50 Things to Do in Oakland with Kids

Published Feb 10, 2019

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. 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. Angel Island - Take a ferry to this historical state park to show the kids war compounds dating back to the Civil War. The site's Immigration Station was a point of entry for millions of Asian, Russian and Pacific Basin immigrants. Tram tours are available.

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 (3300 Joaquin Miller Road) - 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 (1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley) - 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 (Berkeley Hills just north of Highway 24. Take the Fish Ranch Road exit east of the Caldecott Tunnel) - 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 (699 Bellevue Avenue) - 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. USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum (707 W. Hornet Ave in Alemeda) - Although this museum is closed on Tuesdays, it is an intimate way for kids to get a sense of how this national and state historic landmark has defended our nation. Both docent-led and self-exploring tours are available. Overnight stays can be planned for scouting troops, small classes and other groups. There is also a summer youth camp for STEM enthusiasts.

8. Oakland Museum of California (1000 Oak Street at 10th Street) - With tons of family-oriented events and Friday nights that cater to kids, you cannot go wrong with the Oakland Museum, which offers workshops, performances and free admission on Sundays and a storytime and Toddler Dance Party on Fridays.

9. Jack London Square (Broadway and Embarcadero) - 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 (9777 Golf Links Road) - 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 (10000 Skyline Blvd.) - 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. Telegraph Avenue - This street runs from downtown historic Oakland to the Berkeley campus. With eclectic shops, bookstores, restaurants and sidewalk vendors, this busy avenue is a good way to help your little ones run down their energy, though you will need plenty energy of your own. The Telegraph Street Fair is perfect for helping your children shop for gifts.

13. Oakland Aviation Museum (8252 Earhart Road) - Appropriately located near Oakland International Airport, this place for static aircraft exhibits and was once called Western Aerospace Museum. Kids can learn to fly through interactive media or sit in an actual cockpit.

14. Fentons Creamery (4226 Piedmont Avenue) - Fentons is an iconic 122-year-old handcrafted ice cream shop that is ideal as an attraction and birthday party location. People come from all over the world for production tours and sample flavors like lemon light and butter brickle.

15. Oakland Athletics - It is never too early to take your little sports enthusiast to a live Oakland A's baseball game at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum. The team holds the third longest record for championships streaks (1972–1974).

16. Homeroom Mac & Cheese - Of course, kids will want to be as far away as possible from any building that looks like school, but no kid can resist mac & cheese. They can get this time-tested, kid-approved dish prepared almost any way they choose.

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 (2500 Embarcadero Ste A) - Parents and kids can drop in for fun at this inflatable playground at any time, but this is a popular favorite for birthday parties and group play. The facility also offers a calendar of themed events throughout the year.

19. Union Point Park (2311 Embarcadero East between Dennison & Kennedy Streets) - 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 ("The Lot" at 1100 Broadway or 1000 Oak St.) - 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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