The Most Beautiful Picnic Spots In Oakland

Photo of Aubrey Douglass
9 February 2017

Oakland is an eclectic place to enjoy food and nature, and an ideal destination to take a break and experience the East Bay’s beauty with a picnic. There are many locations within the city and in the rolling hills where you can go to appreciate all the Oakland has to offer. Enjoy our guide to the best spots to eat and relax in the outdoors.

Lake Merritt | © John Douglass

Lake Merritt

Map View
A grassy and urban hangout located right next to downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt offers a perfect space to enjoy both city and nature. With a 3.4-mile shoreline, there are plenty of places to lay down a blanket and enjoy the atmosphere of the East Bay. Lake Merritt is the perfect picnic spot to go people watching, listen to music, and sip on drinks. Its location also makes it easy to grab food from a local restaurant and relax by the water. Check out the Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, which is widely considered the best in the East Bay. It draws groups of people to eat and bask by the lake in the Oakland sun. Look out for special events held at the South end of Lake Merritt to enjoy live music while picnicking.

Redwood Regional Park

Just a few miles from downtown Oakland, the 1,830 acres of Redwood Regional Park is a wonderful place to enjoy classic Bay area nature. This massive forest of redwoods contains walking trails, flowing creeks and rare species such as the golden eagle. Bring a meal for two and sit amongst the trees or reserve one of the park’s picnic sites for a larger get-together. No matter the weather, Redwood Regional Park is a scenic spot to picnic while taking in the beautiful nature that Oakland has to offer.

7867 Redwood Road, Oakland, CA, USA

Mountain View Cemetery © Daniel Ramirez/WikiCommons
Mountain View Cemetery | © Daniel Ramirez/WikiCommons

Mountain View Cemetery

Located at the eastern end of Piedmont Avenue, the Mountain View Cemetery is a must-see picnic spot and viewpoint in Oakland. While a cemetery may not be the first place that comes to mind when seeking a place to enjoy the outdoors, Mountain View Cemetery offers one of the best scenic overlooks of the Bay Area. Grab a bite from A.G. Ferraris, Simply Greek or one of the many other delicious restaurants on Piedmont Avenue and then follow the entrance road all the way up the back hill. Whether it’s sitting on a bench or lying on the grass, the view of downtown Oakland, the Bay Bridge and San Francisco in the distance is stunning.

5000 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA, USA

Morcom Amphitheater of Roses © JillShinkle
Morcom Amphitheater of Roses | © Jill Shinkle

Morcom Amphitheater of Roses

Formerly the Morcom Rose Garden, this hidden gem of Oakland is a picturesque place to enjoy the beautiful scenery and a sandwich. Take a seat on a bench or plop down on the steps to soak up the sun and take in the wonderful smells of the flowers. This small but quaint location features thousands of roses, a reflection pool, and a flowing fountain to provide a calm ambiance. It is the perfect spot for a low-key picnic to talk, relax, and appreciate the unique beauty of Oakland.

700 Jean St, Oakland, CA, USA

© JohnDouglass
Huckleberry Botanic Reserve | © John Douglass

Huckleberry Botanic Regional Reserve

For those who like to work up their appetite, the Huckleberry Botanic Regional Reserve is an ideal nature path to stroll on before enjoying a homemade picnic. Located in the hills of Oakland, this winding trail is short but sweet. Walk under shady trees and fallen leaves while looking out at the rolling hills of Orinda and Lafayette before reaching a scenic overlook of the Bay. It’s rare to find two great views, the inland East Bay and the Bay Bridge, but this path provides it. Bring a blanket and hang out at the end of the trail with friends or for a fun and outdoorsy date.

Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA, USA
By Aubrey Douglass