We’re pretty crazy about the East Bay already, but when summer rolls around and the chill rolls out, we love it even more. And with all that love in the air already, it’s the perfect time for a first date or a new experience with your long-term SO!
Though you can spend time outside during most seasons on this side of the Bay, we think summer offers the best opportunity. So grab your picnic baskets and bikes, and get ready to spend some time outside this season with your significant other.
Oakland’s Lake Merritt is one of the best summer destinations in East Bay for any activity so why not add a little charm with a picnic basket? After you eat your meal on one of the sweeping lawns, do a little bird watching, hop in a rented paddle boat, or wander through the bonsai collection at Lakeside Park Garden Center!
The Oakland A’s are one of three national teams that call East Bay home and nothing says summer like a baseball game! For an extra festive evening, buy tickets for a themed firework night scheduled throughout the season.
Every Friday, Oakland Museum celebrates the weekend with a Friday night party from 5 – 10 p.m. The festive night market includes a few of the Bay Area’s gourmet food trucks, local beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages in the Blue Oak beer garden, live music and dance lessons! Adults get half-price gallery admission and anyone 18 and under is admitted for free.
Oakland’s Classic Cars West is a vintage car dealership, an art gallery, an event space, a restaurant and a beer garden all rolled into one! While you’re there, you can eat a mouth-watering meal from Hella Vegan Eats and admire the unique inventory from European sports cars to American Muscle and prewar vehicles.
Just over the ridge from downtown Oakland, you’ll find Redwood Regional Park, a hidden redwood forest complete with deer, golden eagles and other wildlife. Check out the East Bay Regional Park District website for a trail map and start planning your peaceful stroll through the woods!
Most traditional dates include dinner, but we think you should spice things up (or hop things up) in a local beer garden! Westbrae, located in Berkeley, serves a variety of hand-selected California Craft ales and lagers including mainstays and eight rotating taps. In addition to a few in-house eats, they host guest food trucks throughout the summer.
Art & Soul Oakland is the city’s annual celebration of music, dance and food! Scheduled for August 19th and 20th this year, you and your date can watch live performances, shop from local vendors and makers, taste Jambalaya, Hawaiian BBQ or Ethiopian cuisine, and catch a ride in a spinning teacup!
Bring your dogs along for a play date while you and your SO peruse artisan crafts, vintage finds, fine art and collectibles at this dog-friendly, monthly market in Jack London Square. While shopping, you can also dance along to live music and taste local selections of food and craft beer. Schedule your date on the second Saturday of the month and hit the square; admission to the event is free!
If movie nights are more your speed, bring your blankets, pillows and snacks to Jack London Square on July 6, July 20, August 3 and August 17 for a community movie on the waterfront. The 2017 lineup of free movie screenings includes date night favorites like Dirty Dancing and Indiana Jones. Make a night of it with dinner in Jack London Square beforehand!
Rockridge Market Hall has been an East Bay staple since 1987. All under one roof, you can treat your date to coffee, a bakery treat and a bouquet of flowers, and you can buy a bottle of wine and ingredients for a dinner at home. It’s the perfect starting point for an epic day date!
Oakland’s Plank is one of the most interesting dinner dates in the Bay. After a dinner of artisan food, you can spend time in the beer garden, challenge your date to a game of bocce ball on the sunny patio, play interactive video games, or knock down some pins at the bowling lanes!
Tucked into Oakland’s historic Broadway Auto Row, Drake’s Dealership was once home to the parts and service department of an old Dodge dealership. Today, you can get wood-fired pizzas and sip brews from Drake’s Brewing Company. We suggest getting a seat in the open-air beer garden featuring fire pits, Adirondack seating and a live music stage!
Smitten started as just a battery pack, a prototype machine and a Radio Flyer wagon in the Mission where they churned ice cream to order. Now, they have nine brick and mortar locations around the Bay Area and California, including one in Rockridge where they still churn to order. Check out their flavors online and find out what’s in season or just show up and taste a few for yourself! Whether you get Blueberry Lavender or Earl Grey with Milk Chocolate Chips, we suggest getting a taste of their scratch-made cookie dough, handmade waffle cones and Strawberry Prosecco Sauce as well!
Tilden Park is one of the District’s oldest parks and offers a carousel, a steam train, picnic areas, a Botanic Garden and Lake Anza, one of our top swimming holes in the Bay Area. You can drive spend the afternoon exploring, or make a day of it by biking up picturesque Tunnel Road. Map your route here and set out for an outdoorsy date! Don’t miss Tilden Nature Area and The Little Farm while you’re there!
Zone Lazer in Dublin is the Bay Area’s longest laser tag experience and the perfect date destination — especially for a rainy summer day! The high-action game is a great way to get everyone laughing and gives you an opportunity to turn your date into a fun competition. Every Monday and Wednesday from 5 – 9 p.m., they offer $5 games, making this a fun budget-friendly outing.
Oakland Art Murmur is all about celebrating what sets Oakland apart with a special focus on its art culture. Their most popular regular events are the First Friday Art Walk, the weekly Saturday Stroll, and the Gallery District Walking Tours held on the third Saturday of every month, but be sure to follow their Facebook page for updates on special events with local galleries and artists. Whichever event you and your date participate in, you’re guaranteed an inside look at Oakland’s bustling art community — and you may even get to try your hand at painting, textiles or sculpting!
No matter your style or your experience, everyone is invited to this summer dance series in Jack London Square. If you missed the June events, you can still attend four in July and four more in August! They’ll be covering everything from Line Dancing and Salsa to West Coast Swing and the Hustle. Check the events calendar to choose your night and your style.
Share your go-to dates
In the comments below, share your favorite date destinations in the East Bay — especially those that take advantage of the summer weather.