Advice about Oakland Parks

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Oakland parks that have a lot of kids

March 2016

Hi, my wife and I are looking for a nice clean park to take our 17 month old daughter. We currently live in the Dimond district in Oakland and have been taking her to Dimond park. It's a nice little park but I feel a majority of the time we go there it's completely empty and our daughter gets bored fast being the only kid there. Are there other parks in Oakland that are nice, clean and have a regular influx of kids enjoying it? Parks near the Dimond are a plus but we'd be willing to drive if we have to. We've been to parks in San Leandro and SF when visiting friends and have seen much nicer parks there with dozens of kids playing and are hoping to find something similar closer to home.

Thanks!! Hunting for a park

I'm surprised you haven't found kids at Dimond - we always see many people there, though particularly in the playground by the creek/next to the pool. I'd also try in Oakland: Frog Park, Temescal Creek Park, Mosswood Park, Lakeside Park. Berkeley: Totland. Piedmont: Piedmont Park, Dracena Park. There are sooo many parks around. And most are fabulous. Alameda also has some great ones. L

Have you tried Jordan Park off 35th Avenue in Oakland? Not far from the Dimond. My kids love that park and there are usually plenty of kids around. East Oakland Parent

A little out of your area but Alameda has some wonderful parks, particularly Franklin Park one block off Encinal and Grand. Packed with children of all ages all weekend long, (light) rain or shine. Many families come to play for the day from off the island. 2 play structures, grassy area for picnics, picnic tables (some can be reserved, others are first-come-first-served but arrive early in good weather) a big tree to climb, baseball diamond, basketball courts, and tennis courts. If you get bored, it is a 10-15 minute walk to the beach! Alameda Mom

Montclair Park on Mountain Blvd - there's always kids there! Joanie

A hidden gem is Dracena Park in Piedmont and its not too far from that part of town. They have 2 play areas, grass, climbing wall and bathrooms. Also a short hiking /dog walking trail and its pretty easy to park. However it can b e hard to find at first but well worth it! Love Dracena Park

It's a little bit of a drive, but I would highly recommend Alameda's Lincoln and Krusi Parks, which are both very close to the High Street Bridge so very accessible from the Dimond District. Both are wonderful and always have lots of kids/families. Alamedan

Try the Joaquin Miller tot lot on J. Miller Road. It is on the north side of the street. Also try Roberts Regional Park, off Skyline Boulevard. And Montclair Park and Rec Center! Amelia Sue

There are several really good playground parks in the area that I would recommend, all of which require only a short drive (I am in Crocker Highlands not too far from you). Roberts Park is wonderful, but you pay for parking if you aren't a member of the East Bay Regional Parks. Also nice are Montclair Park and Dracena Park. For Dracena, if you look on map, park on Artuna. The first time I went I used my iPhone map and it had me park above the park on Dracena so I had to hike down into the park. It's a lovely little hidden gem of a park, great for a picnic lunch. Lots of people also really like Frog Park in Rockridge but that is farther from you. I also love Cordonices Park in the Berkeley Hills, also a longer jaunt. Hope that helps.

Jordan Park (turn north onto Jordan Rd off Redwood Rd, between Hwy 13 and MacArthur was always busy when my kids were younger (they're 7 and 11 now!), as well as Montclair Park (on Mountain Blvd, just off Hwy 13. Both are not too far from you! Park Mama

East Oakland playgrounds?

Jan 2014

I'm looking for your favorite east Oakland playgrounds. My older kid recently transferred to a school in Maxwell Park and I don't know the neighborhood very well. I'm looking for a playground that I can take my toddler before and then both of them after school. We've been to Dimond Park and Joaquin Miller but that's about it. If there was a coffee shop nearby too I'd be ecstatic. Ready to play

It's slim pickins, but there is Jordan Park off 35th, Union Point Park on the estuary, and Cesar Chavez Park on Foothill near 38th (it's been revamped with new play structures and new name recently). I don't think any of them has a cafe too nearby though. (Have you tried the Hive near Dimond Park? It has a kid's play space.) anon


I have 3 suggestions for East Oakland Playgrounds:

1. Playground @ Jordan Rd. which is just off Redwood Rd. (is actually the same st. as 35th Ave. but name changes to RR as you head to the hills. Great for under 4-5 yr, olds; there is a coffee house @ Lincoln Sq. shopping Center ab out 4-5 blocks away @ Redwood Rd. & Mt. Blvd.

2. Nice playground again for 4-5 yr. olds halfway up Joaquin Miller Rd. from Mountain Blvd. On rite side as you go up from Mt. Blvd.

3. If you have a little more Time, go up Redwood Rd. & continue on down in to the canyon, staying on RR into Redwood Regional Park (about 1-2 mi. Park entrance is on left, plenty of free parking well within park, pay only on weekends. Very nice playgrounds about 1/3 mi. from park entrance, picnic area, w/johns @ park entrance & @ playground. Great safe , quite flat area to ride trikes, scooters, or bikes. A hidden gem.

Walking Nana.

Best playgrounds in Oakland?

June 2006

I'd really love to hear recommendations for good, safe, clean playgrounds. We've pretty much exhausted the ones in our neighborhood - both public parks and schools with open yards - and would love to hear favorites of others. Thanks!
Mom of Two

Are there any hidden parks that are great for toddlers in Oakland? Kind of like Tot-land in Berkeley? We are on a mission this summer to find the perfect park. we've been to a lot already. But still haven't found the park for us. Mybe you know of a hidden neighborhood park? Not too crowded? Not to vacant. Jordaon Park of 35th avenue is no good for my girl, she doesn't like it there. I think it's too crowded for her. She's shy. We like the one off Joaquin Blvd. Too, but sometimes she doesn't get to swing. also there not much atmosphere. i.e. toys. Still looking. Thanks for your ideas.

We like: - Frog Park (off of Claremont). - ''Little'' Frog Park (also off of Claremont, ''behind'' Bananas). - Colby Park at 61st street. - Lake Merrit park (near the ''birds'' area).

Except for Colby Park, where there are communal toys, and a few sand toys at Frog park, you'd need to bring your own toys to the other parks.

We've enjoyed the new-ish park at Union Point on the Oakland Waterfront, on the way to Alameda. People leave toys a-la totland and it is a nice playground with a pirate ship, kite flying and clean restrooms and sinks; a nice pic-nic area and cool spiral walking thingy... Union Point Park. 2311 Embarcadero Oakland, CA 94606

One place that we just discovered is the Union Point Park, in Oakland. It's right by Embarcadero off of 16th street exit on 880. It's so nice! it's very new, has a HUGE lawn, picnic areas and a great play area with a nautical theme. It's by the water, so you need to watch carefully, but it's perfect for a toddler
mommy in oakland too

There's a new park in Oakland along the waterfront - Union Point Park (close to the Park Street Bridge to Alameda) 2311 Embarcadero is the address. It's got a great view of the estuary and sailboats, a nice play structure in the shape of a sailboat and some ride-on toys brought by neighbors. It does get hot there as there isn't enough shade yet except for the picnic tables adjacent to the play structure. I recommend checking it out.
fan of new park

Beautiful hiking places in and around Oakland

June 2005

Hello there. I am looking to expand my short list of great places to walk or hike especially around nature in and around Oakland. Do you have a favorite place close by that gives you the feeling that you've ''gotten away''? A place you can go to before or after working that's rejuvenating for mind and body? Please share these with me. Thank you so much. Tova

Well, these may be places on your short list already, but here's mine (btw: since I'm a dog owner, most of these are places where you can take dogs, so there would be dogs at these places, just to warn you). These are in no particular order of preference:
Redwood Regional Park
Leona Canyon
Joaquin Miller (dogs on leash only here)
Sausal Creek (but you have to know the trail to take, it's not the main one)

Person of two doggies

You probably already know about the incredible East Bay Regional Park system that goes through Oakland. But, you may not have truly explored it. There are several incredible trails that make you feel very far away indeed. I can only recommend that you explore on your own. Go down trails that are embedded in the forest or down a hill, so you're hiking underground. Some of my favorites are Big Trees, Tres Ensanadas, Sequoia Bay View, but there are many more. Many of these also have places to stop for a bite (tables and benches set among redwood groves) - very ideal. Have a great time exploring.
Hiker in Oakland

Parks in Oakland for Toddlers

May 2005

I recall hearing about a park for toddlers that was designed by the people who did Hardy Park (Frog Park) in Oakland. I think the toddler park was located off of Telegraph Ave. in Oakland. If anyone could give me any info about this park or other parks that are good for toddlers in Oakland, I'd be very appreciative. I checked the archives but couldn't find anything. Thanks in advance. Toddler mom

Toddler parks: 1. Jordan Park from MacArthur go up 35th ave Left on Jordan (it's easy to miss this side street if you've gone to the highway you've gone too far) Park on your right 2. Willard Park Make the Right where Andronicos is on Telegraph Ave Park's on your right 3. Totland Mcgee in Berkeley (sorry, i can't remember the side street) 4. Dimond Park From MacArthur take Fruitvale towards the hills Pass the Safeway and start looking for a wide, cement staircase on your left. that's the park. take the walking path past the pool for the toddler park jw

There are two excellent new parks close to where I live that are wonderful. One is a small park by the Cascade on Joaquin Miller Road. It has a play structure, cushy surfacing and right now the fireproofing goat herd is right next door munching away. Fun for a toddler to see. The other is a new structure in Robert's park on Skyline (near Chabot Space and Science Center), beside the public pool (pay parking in lot). It's the largest outdoor play structure I've seen in a city park and has a huge grassy area beside it. Have fun! JPC

Frog Park off Claremont Ave (the smaller one near the DMV an the larger one near the dog run under highway 24).

Colby Park on 61st Street a little above Telegraph Ave (a smallish park).

Willard Park (in Berkeley) behind Willard Jr High on Telegraph Ave.

Bateman Park (in Berkeley) at the corner of Colby & Prince by

Alta Bates emergency entrance (another smallish park)

Montclair Park on Moraga Ave, has a little Western Village theme.

Baby-friendly places in East Oakland

May 2005

Hi - any suggestion out there for places to take an 8 month old learning to crawl - places specifically in East Oakland (near Mills college)? She loves other kids and toys and it would be nice to know of places close by our house to take her. thanks so much

It's on the other side of 580, but we love the park on Jordan just off of 35th (left on Jordan off of 35th (coming up from McArthur). the park is about a block down. It's big with a section for little kids with a sandy area, one for bigger kids, basketball nets, grassy knoll. And, people have donated all kinds of little tykes stuff. It's quite busy whenever we're there but I our son loved it before he could walk and is now holding his own with the other kids now that he's a toddler. I will say, because there are so many kids, a baby will sometimes get knocked around, but as long as you watch your baby closely, it should be allright. anon

We hope to share with future mothers' groups our five years of experience planning fun excursions, or just good places to meet. We list a lot of fun places to go with babies and toddlers on our website, We have un-password protected those parts of the site we feel may be helpful to those outside our group. Enjoy! Carolyn

Try the park in Oakland right off 35th Ave on Jordan Rd. It is toddler friendly with an area for smaller kids and one for bigger kids, all surrounded by sand. It is 100% enclosed by gates and everyone in the community leaves older toys, plastic trucks, etc. so there is a lot to do. There are swings, slides, tunnels to crawl around. There is a big grassy area as well to picnic or let your toddler crawl around. It is one of our favorite parks. Wendy

Oakland parks where I can meet other toddler moms

June 2003

I am a stay at home Mom with a 2 year old girl who just moved here from La Jolla and we are having a hard time connecting with other stay at home parents. In La Jolla, we met a lot of great parents in the parks and beaches around our house. We're not finding it so easy here, since it seems the parks we have been frequenting (Montclair and Piedmont) are mostly kids and nanny groups. Does anyone have any insight into the great parks that are mostly moms and kids. I love the nannys and they are always very friendly, but I feel a little on the outside. Thanks. Mona

Try the FROG parks in Temescal/Rockridge. There is a smaller park at Redondo and Clark Sts, near the intersection of Telegraph and 51st, which is specifically for kids younger than 5, and further north is Hardy Park. More information on location is here: I've found a higher ratio of parents to nannies at these parks.

Also, if you go up to Berkeley, Willard Park in Southside, San Pablo Park in So. Berkeley, and Codornices Park in No. Berkeley are all great. Robin

Try Jordan Park (real name Avenue Terrace) on Jordan Ave off of Redwood Road - take 13 to Redwood Exit - go down the hill to Jordan and take a right. Park is on the right. Or Willard Park in Berkeley - sorry don't know the street, but if you're on Telegraph, you turn right just before Andronico's market. The park is on the right just past the tennis courts. Or, may I recommend a toddler program, like Kindergym, Music Together, or Kids in Motion? Lots of Moms and Tots at these events.

Welcome to the Bay Area and good luck meeting people. If you're interested in joining a very active Mom's Group - post again and include your email address - I'll contact you then. Alison

Try the small park near Rockridge Bart. It has a nice wooden play-structures, a good sand box, and, I believe a good 'mom' ratio. I don't have the exact address, but it is right next to the dog park, under the 24 Freeway overpass, just south of Claremont Avenue. Also Tot-Land in Berkeley, on California and Virginia, is fabulous. Anna

Have you tried Frog Park in Rockridge? The larger playground is located near the intersection of Hudson and Claremont, also accessible from Miles and Hardy. It's a great park for kids, and while many nannies and kids go there, I have been among many other moms and dads - particularly on weekday afternoons (after 3) and weekends. Good luck Jennifer

I've met other toddler parents at Frog Park (Hardy and miles, near 24 over pass) and Avenue Terrace Park (Jordan St. near redwood road, just west of 13). To begin your best bet is going to be late afternoons and weekends. During the day it does tend to be a lot of nannies. Also check out mom/toddler programs. I find that on the days I am home w/ my daughter I want guaranteed socializing. I've enjoyed and signed up for kindergym (off for the summer unfortunately) kindermusik (classes start next week), and swim classes (mills pool has them through early August) and made connections that way. Good Luck! extroverted toddler mom