Joggers and power walkers charge along the 3-mile path that encircles this 155-acre natural saltwater lake in downtown Oakland. Crew teams often glide across the water, and boatmen guide snuggling couples in authentic Venetian gondolas (fares start at $40 per couple for 30 minutes; 510/663–6603, gondolaservizio.com). Lakeside Park, which surrounds the north side of Lake Merritt, has several outdoor attractions, including a small children's park and
a waterfowl refuge. The lake is less an attraction than a pleasant backdrop to Oaklanders' everyday life.
Aug 27, 2003
People either love or hate Lake Merritt. It's a place you'll find joggers, families and picnickers, as well as panhandlers and junkies. On a Saturday or Sunday morning, enjoy the fresh air and take a walk or jog around the lake. But if you're alone, avoid this place at night. However, at sunset beautiful twinkling lights encircle the lake, creating a romantic mood. Kids love the children's play area that's adjacent to the lake.