Resting in a valley formed by the Hayward fault, the neighborhood of Montclair sits on the western slope of California‘s Oakland Hills. With heavily-forested winding roads and the quaint center of Montclair village, this Oakland neighborhood is the perfect place to come on a sunny day in the East Bay.
The Oakland neighborhood of Montclair radiates sweetness from the moment you arrive. Reminiscent of a small ski town, Montclair Village is the heart of this Oakland district. Compactly filled with rows of stores, coffee shops and restaurants, people flock to this commercial area at all hours of the day to enjoy its charming atmosphere.
Yet with many stores closing early, it’s best to get a jump-start on your day in this neighborhood. Montclair offers a variety of eateries for early birds; stop to grab breakfast or a coffee at Noah’s Bagels or Peet’s. Or, if you’re looking for a sit-down brunch, check out the Montclair Egg Shop. Offering a variety of classic breakfast dishes such as assorted omelets, Mexican-style favorites and sweet treats, this diner is open for breakfast and lunch. Additionally, check out the Montclair Village Farmers’ Market starting at 9 am every Sunday.
After getting your morning fix, Montclair provides a variety of parks to enjoy East Bay nature, such as the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. When a sunny and clear day blesses the Bay Area, the absolute best thing to do is hike. Climbing up a hill big or small will usually reward you with beautiful scenic views, and Sibley offers just this. Located off of Skyline Boulevard, the Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve was one of the first three parks established by the East Bay Regional Parks district in 1936. Drive up the striking, winding Oakland Hills’ roads before happening upon the park’s easy-access free parking lot. Bring a friend or a dog to experience several trails, such as Round Top Loop and the Volcanic Trail. Magnificent views of rolling green hills and the Bay Bridge can be enjoyed from this park, along with a unique labyrinth sure to entertain hikers even on a cloudy day.
Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA, USA
After getting your nature fix, head back to Montclair Village to stop by stores such as McCaulou’s, Someone’s In the Kitchen or Hatch to shop for clothes, shoes or home décor. Stroll north on Mountain Boulevard, and you will pass the rustic Montclair Park equipped with a pond, baseball field and an old western playground. Additionally, you’ll find the public library and historical Montclair Women’s Cultural Arts Center.
By the afternoon, Montclair Village starts getting busy with locals stopping by for lunch or a sweet treat, thanks to the Village’s variety of restaurants and its favorite lunch stop, Taqueria Las Comadres. Whether you want to sit inside or take food to go, “the Taqueria” as many call it, is a cozy taco shop that offers mouthwatering authentic Mexican cuisine. And with its counter service that allows for a quick meal, this eatery surely won’t disappoint even foodies on-the-go.
Before leaving this picturesque neighborhood, be sure to grab something sweet. Montclair offers two frozen yogurt shops for those looking for something light as well as a European-style treat shop, Le Bonbon. With chocolates and candy made in-house as well as imported favorites, this chocolate boutique exudes adorable appeal. Stop in for their locally-made fudge or your favorite brand of chocolates and candies to end a sweet trip to Montclair.
By Aubrey Douglass
Aubrey Douglass is a student at Pitzer College and a Bay Area native who enjoys all things cheese.