While you might be layering up against the cold and violent winds here in SF, our fellow Bay Areans across the bridges are likely enjoying those little things called sun and warmth. We're here to remind you that it’s officially summer in the East Bay, which means there are plenty of reasons for city dwellers to venture over the bridge, even on a holiday weekend like this one. Following are a few of our favorites:
Pizzaiolo's Patio – The endlessly popular pizza joint, owned by Chez Panisse alum chef Charlie Hallowell, opened its expansive back patio for summer hours last week. Open as long as the weather holds, the patio not only adds more al fresco dining tables to Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, it also provides a pleasant outdoor waiting area for the restaurant and helps to at least slightly reduce the wait time for Hallowell’s delicious thin-crust beauties.
Actual Café's Afternoon Delight – A perfect combination of Oakland’s art and bike cultures that somehow manages not to be pretentious, Actual Café is worth a visit any day of the week, but especially on Saturdays from 3pm to 7pm, when $10 pitchers of excellent local beers are on offer. It’s the perfect excuse to enjoy a Linden St. lager or a Trumer pilsner, grab an outside table, and revel in the café’s “laptop-free weekends” policy. If you linger too long over brews this Saturday you can catch a live set from Oakland folk rocker Clay Hawkins before heading back to the city.
Lake Anza Swimming – It’s hard to believe that you can find Midwest-style summertime lake swimming in the Bay Area, but that’s exactly what you’ll find at Berkeley’s Lake Anza. Tucked into beautiful Tilden Park, the lake features a small sandy beach, large grassy picnic area and a decently large official swimming space. Outside the entry gates, plenty of park patrons opt to jump off surrounding rocks into the lake, rather than swimming within the buoys—the park police don’t really mind, but keep in mind that the lifeguards may not jump to your rescue. The lake is currently open only on weekends and entry fees are $2.50 for kids ages one to 15, $3.50 for adults ages 16 to 61; the park is hosting an open house celebration for Memorial Day, so stop by the Visitor’s Center on your way to the lake to check for any special deals. There’s also a decent little café located within the Lake Anza gates in case swimming makes you hungry, and don’t forget to meander around the along the lake to catch a view of the adorable little mallard duck families teaching their ducklings to swim.