Top Places To Eat, Play, And Explore In Emeryville, California

© Coolcaesar/WikiCommons
© Coolcaesar/WikiCommons
Photo of Adrienne Sigeti
3 October 2016

If you’re planning a trip to the Bay Area, Emeryville might not be the first destination that comes to mind. But take a look at our top seven favorite places to eat and explore in the city across the Bay, and we might change your mind.

Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria

Bakery, Vegan, Pastries
Map View
Chocolate Pastry and Scone Arizmendi
Chocolate Pastry and Scone Arizmendi | © Brad Greenlee/Flickr
Arizmendi Bakery and Pizzeria is a Bay Area institution and a favorite of local foodies and pizza lovers from Oakland to San Francisco. No trip to Emeryville would be complete without a stop at this truly unique pizza and bakery joint. Arizmendi offers a wide variety of fresh salads and delicious pastries, pizzas, and coffee drinks. Some pizza and pastry favorites include the delectable butternut squash pizza with caramelized onion and rosemary olive oil and the sourdough egg pastry sprinkled with chili flakes. Unlike more traditional pizza parlors, Arizmendi features a ‘Pizza of the Week’ board showing each day’s pizza offerings. Only one variety is served per day, so if you’re a picky eater, make sure to plan ahead. You can also check the website or call the store for updates to the menu.

Bay Street Emeryville

If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, a Friday night dinner and movie, or a relaxing afternoon stroll, then Bay Street is the place to go. Bay Street offers a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options for people of all ages. There are several quick service options to choose from like Pizza My Heart as well as fancier sit-down restaurants like P.F. Chang’s. Bay Street also hosts various events and entertainment for all ages including the Pacific Coast Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 3-7 pm. Other events include Sunday night salsa from 3-5 pm in May, June, and July and free Latin dance classes each Thursday from 7-9 p.m. in July, August, and September. Make sure to check Bay Street’s website for a list of fun events throughout the year.

Bay Street Emeryville, 5616 Bay Street, Emeryville, CA, USA, +1 510 655 4002

Pixar Animation Studios

For those traveling with kids or for those who are kids at heart, no visit to Emeryville would be complete without taking a quick peek at its most beloved cultural landmark. It will be a quick peek because unless you know someone on the inside, the only thing you will be able to see is the giant Pixar sign at the front gate. So you may ask, why stop at all? Beginning in 1979, Pixar Animation Studios has been the birthplace of some of the most cherished characters in modern animation history. In 1995, Disney and Pixar released Toy Story, their first collaborative project and the first ever computer-animated feature film. In 2000, Pixar moved to its current 22-acre home in Emeryville. Several local hangouts and eateries including Arizmendi (Inside Out) and Fentons Creamery (featured in Up) make brief appearances in Pixar films, so keep your eyes open.

Pixar Animation Studios, 1200 Park Ave, Emeryville, CA, USA, +1 510 922 3000

McLaughlin Eastshore State Park

Emeryville has several options for anyone hoping to take in a scenic view or a quiet stroll through nature. Eastshore State Park, operated by the East Bay Regional Park District, provides 8.5 miles of parkland along the beautiful San Francisco Bay from the Bay Bridge to Richmond. Visitors can take advantage of sunset views from pedestrian and bicycle trails that parallel the water. Make sure to visit the East Bay Regional Park District’s website for trail maps, transit information, and directions to the park.

Eastshore State Park, Powell St. and Frontage Rd, Emeryville, CA, USA

Marina Park

If you’re in the mood for a picnic lunch or a sunset stroll, look no further then Emeryville’s Marina and Marina Park. Marina Park is smaller and lesser known than Eastshore, with residents frequenting the area for a jog or a quiet break from the day. On a clear day, visitors are rewarded with views of the Bay Bridge, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. A word of caution for those who may be unprepared, make sure to bring a jacket or two. In true San Francisco fashion, when the winds pick up, the temperature drops drastically.

Marina Park, 3300 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA, USA

Wally’s Cafe

Cafe, Middle Eastern
Map View
Falafel, hummus, and salad plate, Wally’s Café
Falafel, hummus, and salad plate, Wally’s Café | © Amy Gahran/Flickr
Wally’s Cafe, another Emeryville favorite, is a must for anyone craving delicious Lebanese and Mediterranean food. Don’t be deceived by its cramped hole-in-the-wall feel. What it lacks in space, it more than makes up for in taste. From pomegranate chicken and lamb kebabs to falafel wraps and homemade bakhlava, Wally’s has you covered. Wally’s was recently awarded a spot in Yelp’s Top 100 Places to Eat in the U.S. in 2016. A word to the wise, Wally’s does not accept credit cards, so make sure to bring plenty of cash.

Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe

Cafe, Diner, American, $$$
Map View
Burger | © RobertoCardona/Pixabay
If you’re looking for a casual breakfast or brunch spot, then make sure to hit up Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe. Rudy’s specializes in quality diner food taken to the next level. Rudy’s offers both traditional diner grub like pancakes and eggs and less traditional items like the Buffalo tofu wings, mac ‘n’ cheese with chicken, and a Monte Cristo sandwich made with challah French toast and dusted with powdered sugar. For the healthier inclined, Rudy’s has a wide variety of salads and vegetarian options including the Buffalo salad that comes with your choice of Buffalo chicken tenders or fried Buffalo tofu. Rudy’s is open from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. Monday through Sunday, so don’t miss out.