The view from Mt. Trashmore in Alameda of the Bay Farm Island Bridge and the yacht club

29 Things To Do In Alameda -The Best Activities & Attractions From A Local (2024)

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Wondering what are all the things to do in Alameda? Take it from me, a long time and very happy Alameda resident, there’s plenty to do here!

Alameda, California is the sweet island town across the Bay from San Francisco and adjacent to Oakland.

Alameda is often referred to the gem of the East Bay because of its throwback, hometown vibe. Known for its beach, its amazing Victorian homes, boat marinas, bike paths, great views, and its overall charm, Alameda is one of those underrated destinations of Northern California.

The island of Alameda is about 6.5 miles long and only 1 mile wide and is attached to Oakland by bridges and tunnels. It’s packed with beauty. Beverly Hills got nothin’ on us when it comes to peeking at big and beautiful homes!

Just like most folks in Alameda, we love it here. I’m excited to share with you all the reasons why!

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The Best 29 Things To Do In Alameda – From A Local (2024)

We discovered Alameda decades ago, and moved  from the city of San Francisco to raise our kids here, and have never looked back. Here are some of our most favorite things to do on the island – and more!

Carrie on the Alameda Beach

#1 Head to the Robert Crown Memorial Beach

Robert Crown Memorial Beach is one of the East Bay Parks State Beaches. Its a 2.5 mile stretch of beach along the San Francisco Bay. Named for former State Assemblyman Robert W. Crown for his work in preserving the beach as a public park, it’s the island’s little spot of paradise.

Until World War II, The Alameda Beach was home to a famous amusement park known as Neptune Beach. Over the years, wind and erosion caused so much damage that in 1982 sand was pumped in by barge. New sand continues to be added to preserve the beach.

Alameda’s beach is the most relaxed spot on the Bay any day of the week, any time of the year. You’ll find space to sunbathe, build sandcastles, picnic, walk, and play volleyball. The bike path will take you along the water.

Swimming is allowed all year round, but there are no lifeguards, so be cautious. The water is shallow and typically warm. This part of the Bay is very quiet, so don’t expect big waves for body surfing. It’s more of a take-a-dip-to-cool-off kind of beach. It’s perfect for letting the kids play in the water and sand.

Check the water conditions before swimming. There’s a bathhouse and toilet facilities for changing.

The highlight is definitely the view of San Francisco from Crown Beach.  It’s like a little slice of heaven right in the East Bay – absolutely worth a visit if you’re looking for a low-key beach day.

Crown Memorial Beach in Alameda
Sunset in Alameda

#2 Walk Along The Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary

The Elsie Roemer Bird Sanctuary is at the east end of the beach and is one of my favorite spots on the island! You don’t have to be an avid bird watcher to enjoy all the bird and marshland activity.

Named for Elsie Roemer, a conservationist who fought to preserve the marshland, this area is home to one of the few salt marshes in the San Francisco Bay. You’ll find herons, pelicans, cormorants, and hundreds of other bird and marine species here.

Start at the viewing platform on the southeast end of Shoreline Drive along the beach and walk the path to see and hear all the activity in the sanctuary.

Bird Sanctuary in Alameda

#3 Try Windsurfing at Crown Beach

Crown Beach can be windy and is a very popular spot for windsurfers. There are rentals and lessons available at the beach. Alameda is considered a good spot for the beginner windsurfer and water sports enthusiast.

Sunset at Crab Cove

#4 Explore Crab Cove & The Doug Siden Visitor Center 

Crab Cove is on the north end of Crown Beach. Lined with large grassy areas and sand dunes, Crab Cove is a small portion of the beach that’s ideal for children of all ages to safely play in the water in high or low tide. The paths for walking and bikes are serene.

And, of course, is the renowned Doug Siden Visitor Center. There you can learn about the marine life of the Bay, enjoy hands on activities, explore tide pools, and discover more of what makes this a favorite spot for nature loving visitors.

Crab Cove was called the Coney Island of the West back when it was Neptune Beach and was filled with bathing spas, carnival rides, and concerts. Now it’s Alameda’s favorite place for picnics, birthday parties, and summer concerts.

Bay Farm Island Bridge in Alameda
Couple sitting on a bench overlooking the city along the Bay Farm Island trail.

#5 Hike or Bike on the Bay Farm Island Loop Trail

Bay Farm Island is the part of Alameda that is connected by the blue Bay Farm Island Bridge which goes over the estuary of the San Leandro Bay.

As you walk, bike, or drive over the bridge, you’ll see the San Francisco skyline on one side and Oakland on the other.

Stay on the path to the right and you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of Alameda and San Francisco.

With the water on the right and beautiful homes on the left, the 6 mile loop around Bay Farm is a personal favorite. People love it for a stroll or a great run.

It can take about 2 hours to complete, depending on your pace and it’s great for a sunny or foggy day.

#6 Paddle Boarding on the Bay

Paddle Boarding in Alameda’s calm waters on the west end of the island is about as much fun as you can have! 

Many people have their own paddle boards and can launch at many spots by Crab Cove. But if you are like me and don’t own your own, then go to Mike’s Paddle at 1120 Belina Blvd. and rent a board.

It’s super easy for beginners. They’ll give you a quick tutorial and off you go.

It’s kind of like walking on water and seeing the birds up close, the sea lions below, and feeling the crisp air and sunshine. 

Paddle Boarding in Alameda
Carrie in Pddleboarding gear at Mike's Paddle in Alameda

#7 The USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum

The USS Hornet is a World War II aircraft carrier that is now a full ship floating museum docked in Alameda’s west end base.

The ship is 894 feet long, 191 feet wide, and 19 decks tall. This makes the  ship the same size as the TransAmerica building in San Francisco if the iconic building was turned on its side. The USS Hornet was the largest aircraft carrier of its time.

The Hornet is known for many things, including the recovery of the Apollo 11 & 12 splashdowns in the Pacific Ocean. You can see exhibits, artifacts, and have tours Fridays- Mondays 10AM – 5PM at 707 W Hornet Ave, Pier 3 in Alameda.

The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institute. Admission is $15 – $20 for students, seniors, and adults and children under 6 are free.

Look for special events like evening ghost tours and live-like-a-sailor-activities.

USS Hornet Museum in Alameda
USS Hornet Museum

#8 Be A Wizard At The Pacific Pinball Museum

The Pacific Pinball Museum at 1510 Webster Street is an interactive museum dedicated to, you got it, pinball machines!

This organization has found over 100 pinball machines dating from the 1940’s until today for you to play with and hone your pinball skills.

Its a great rainy day activity for the whole family or just if you are a pinball wizard and want to become an expert at one of these rare machines. There’s a shop, displays, exhibitions, and special events. There’s even a pinball league to join called the Little Flippers!

Admission prices are $22 for adults and $15 for students and seniors, or $12 for kids under 12 for a full day of play.

Pinball Museum in Alameda

#9 Park Street – Alameda’s Downtown

Alameda’s Park Street is considered our “downtown.” It’s the busiest spot in Alameda day and evening.

Park Street runs from the Park Street Bridge into Alameda all the way to the beach at South Shore Center.

Given that our largest comprehensive high school is just a block away, Park Street is bustling with students, shoppers, and restaurant patrons all week long.

While many shops and restaurants open and close with some regularity on Park Street, you’ll always find some great boutique shops, lots of antiques, used books and new books, and a pretty wide variety of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.

There are a lot of outdoor seating choices for dining, plenty of ice cream and frozen yogurt and many taco and burrito options!

Park Street Alameda
Tucker's Ice Cream in Alameda

In the mid 1800’s, as Alameda was becoming more developed and the rail and ferry system was created to transport people to and from San Francisco, the commercial side of Park Street began. Now, Park Street has been Alameda’s primary shopping district for over 150 years.

If you pay attention to the buildings up and down Park Street, you’ll notice only one ornate building of that era still standing – The Tucker Building.

Later came the City Hall Building, the Masonic Temple building and others. But then the 1906 earthquake, the world wars, and some unfortunate architectural decisions, and we have a variety of buildings up and down Park Street today.

From Victorian Revival to Art Deco Era, the charm still exists with street lamps, and holiday decorations, and our almost always perfect weather.

Parking can be a definite challenge. There is paid parking along Park St. and small lots behind Tucker’s Ice Cream and behind Tomatina.

Alameda Theater & Cineplex at night

#10 Enjoy A Night At The Movies –  
Alameda Theater & Cineplex

The Alameda Theater and Cineplex is one of the best things to happen to our island! Those of us who remember life before Trader Joes and the movie theater are forever grateful for these additions to our town!

The historic Art Deco theater originally built in 1932 has been renovated and is known as the last grand movie palace built in the Bay Area by Timothy L. Pflueger.

If you are in the mood to see a movie, go on the weekends and catch “Alameda’s Got Talent” before the show to see what a small town is really like!

The Alameda Museum

#11 Learn More At The Alameda Museum

The Alameda Museum, located on Alameda Ave. just off Park Street is a great little history museum with exhibitions focused on the history of Alameda.

You’ll find old dioramas, photos, and information about Alameda’s roots in Native American culture, the Neptun Beach amusement park, and the famous residents like Phyllis Diller. 

The museum is only open on the weekends but also hosts events and talks. I saw a great presentation once given by a neighbor all about the history of my street, one of the oldest streets in Alameda!

The Spite House in Alameda
The Spite House front door in Alameda
The Spite house next to its neighbor house in Alameda

#12 A House Built From Spite!

The Spite House at 1359 Broadway is one of Alameda’s most famous spots for the most unusual reason!

In 1938, a man named Charles Froling dreamed of building a beautiful home on his property when the city chose to build a street there instead.

Froling asked for support from his neighbors to fight the city’s plans. However, they disagreed and did not want to help him. 

So, out of spite and anger toward his neighbors and the city, Froling built a skinny home on the property that was left to him.

There it stands today, a 20 ft high, 10 ft wide, and 54 ft long home directly in front of another house. 

The Spite house is now a very beautiful  2 bedroom, 2 bath home that barely allows the neighboring house to breathe. It looks like a house cut in half and has become one of Alameda’s most quirky curiosities.

Webster Street Alameda
Cafe Jolie in Alameda
Mural on Webster St. In Alameda

#13 Head To The West End For
Webster Street Shopping

Webster Street is Alameda’s other downtown and huge supporter of small business owners.

Webster Street runs from the Webster Street Posey Tube from Oakland into Alameda and ends at Central Ave.

Webster is a growing and really happening street with plenty of shops and restaurants.

The west end of Alameda is close to the former Naval Base, Alameda Point. The neighborhoods surrounding Webster Street have a wide variety of architectural styles and the buildings on Webster are ecclectic. 

Webster Street is known as a vibrant and artsy part of town. You’ll find all kinds of great restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, as well as fun festivals and events throughout the year.

Webster has some of Alameda’s best murals, a great Farmer’s Market, and an Al Fresco Dining Park.

Sign to Spirit Alley in Alameda
Almanac Brewery in Alameda

#14 Relax With Friends At Spirits Alley

Spirits Alley was established in recent years along the Bay, overlooking San Francisco in Alameda’s former Naval Base.

Along Monarch Street at Alameda Point, you’ll find about 12 artisan distilleries. breweries, and wineries.

These each have tasting rooms, indoor and outdoor seating, accompanied by food trucks, and great views. This scene has transformed the base into a hip hangout for visitors all over the Bay.

#15 The Webster House – Oldest House Assembled In Alameda

The Webster House at 1238 Versailles Avenue was built in 1854 by John and Caroline Webster.

The home is in the Gothic Revival style and was built in New York and then shipped and assembled here in Alameda in 1854.

The home has been restored and has a historic marker placed in front to identify its significance to the island city. If you are a history buff or lover of architecture, then stroll by for a peek.


The Christensen House on Post St. in Alameda

#16 The Christiansen House – Oldest House Built
In Alameda

The Christensen House at 1223 Post Street (very close to my house) was actually built in Alameda, not prefabricated and assembled here, which gives it its title along with the Webster House.

While there are no records of it’s birthdate, it is believed to be in the early 1850’s and before 1855.

The original house was in the Greek Revival style and has now been rebuilt and redesigned significantly. Check out the home for a peek at Alameda’s oldest property.


The Meyers House in Alameda
The Meyers House in Alameda

#17 Visit The Meyers House & Garden

The Meyers House and Garden at 2021 Alameda Ave. is a museum home of the Colonial Revival era style.

The home, which is three city blocks long, was donated to the city for a park and museum by the three sisters who grew up in the house.

The home has original fencing and a pergola, a carriage house, and a 1935 architectural studio.

It’s a designated historical monument and visitors can see the gardens and learn more about the history of the home, and of Meyers, a famous architect of the time.

The museum is open to the public on the the fourth Saturday afternoon of each month 1-4.

The Brehaut House in Alameda

#18 The Brehaut House – The Most Photographed House in Alameda

The stunning Queen Anne Victorian at 2070 San Jose Avenue is one of the most beautiful of the over 4000 Victorian homes in Alameda.

It is said to be the most photographed home on the island and its obvious why.

The house was built in 1893 by architect Charles S. Shaner for the family of David Brehaut. It’s an eight room mansion that has historic status for its beautifully restored details.

The house apparently has an actual Victorian fainting room, and a basement that was once a speakeasy when it was owned by a wine merchant in the 1920’s. 

Walk by , its gorgeous!


The Hooper House in Alameda

#19 The Hooper House – The Largest House in Alameda 

The mansion at 1234 Hawthorne St. on a cul de sac in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Alameda is worth a drive by because it is the largest home in town at 9,349 square feet.

While that neighborhood is filled with large and gorgeous homes, this is more unassuming.

Originally built in the Tudor style by architect Charles Appelton Hooper in 1910, it has 7 bedrooms, 9 bathrooms, a salt water pool, a gym, a secret room behind a bookcase, and more. It has been owned by many over the years, and was recently sold by a former NFL football player.

See what you think, it was a surprise to me!


#20 See A Play At The The Altarena Theater

The Altarena Theater at 1409 High Street is one of Alameda’s most treasured institutions.

Since 1938, this tiny theater has been putting on professional dramas, comedies, and musicals, hosting children’s theater productions, and providing a piece of culture to Alameda residents.

It’s a well established “theater in the round” community theater with a long standing history of excellence.

Look for their upcoming shows. You will not be disappointed with the quality of the performances. Check it out!

Gates at Lincoln Park in Alameda

#21 Picnic In The Historic Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park on 1450 High Street is Alameda’s Parks and Recreation Department boasts the third oldest public park system in California. 

This park is a historic treasure because it was first established in 1858 as the estate of Robert Thompson who made his fortune in gold and owned the Oregon Steam Navigation Company, and the water company that supplied Alameda with its drinking water. 

The beautiful mansion was designed by William Patton and the wrought iron gates were designed by CH Foster. The home was completed in 1881 and sadly burned down in 1884, even though Thompson was the man who supplied the city’s fire department with its water.

Today, Lincoln park is home to a public pool, playgrounds, pickleball courts, and a huge sports field.

One of its redwoods is sometimes home to monarch butterflies in their November migration period!

Harbor Bay Island trail at night

#22 Fly At The Bill Osborne Model Airplane Park

The Bill Osborne Model Airplane Park, established in 1946, is part of Alameda Parks and Recreation Department’s park services.

The park was named for Bill Osborne, an aeronautics expert who would teach kids how to build and operate model planes at this park until his death in 2002. T

his little known treasure is tucked into Harbor Bay Parkway at Doolittle Drive on the foot of what we call “Mount Trashmore.” This is a landfill hill to the left as you walk across the blue Bay Farm Island Bridge crossing the San Leandro Bay estuary. 

As you walk around and get to the park near Doolittle, you’ll see model airplane enthusiasts flying their planes.

You have to be an Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) to be allowed to fly a plane because they have permits from the city. However, if there are Aer-O-Nut members available, they can assist you.

You’ll find them there on weekend mornings from 9-12. There is a parking lot off Doolittle.

SouthShore Center in Alameda at holiday time.

#23 Shop & Dine At South Shore Center

South Shore Center is Alameda’s outdoor shopping mall by the beach.

Why anyone would build less than beautiful buildings at a beach is not a discussion for this post, but here is where you can find all kinds of shopping, many food choices, supermarkets, a pharmacy,  a post office, and even a car wash.

It’s handy for a lot of things, and it is near the beach, so that’s great! And keep an eye out for events like outdoor concerts, art shows, holiday festivities, and more. 

Lovely desert is one of the things to do in Alameda
Delicious food and dining is one of the things to do in Alameda
Eat Sushi is one of the things to do in Alameda

#24 When Was The Last Time You Went Bowling?

Come to Alameda’s retro bowling alley at South Shore Center, by the beach. It’s a huge bowling facility that’s got a pub, arcade machines, and music, and the same shoe rentals that you crave when you go bowling.

One of the things to do in Alameda is to see Murals on Webster St in Alameda
One of the things to do in Alameda is to see this mural on Lincoln Ave.
One of the things to do in Alameda is see this bicycle mural on Webster St. in Alameda

#25 Find The Murals Of Almeda

I am a big fan of mural art and expect to see it in the big cities of San Francisco, Rio De Janeiro, and New York City, but surprise – Alameda has a thriving mural artist community.

You just have to drive around town to find them. Webster Street has become a mecca for murals, but keep exploring and you’ll find lots of amazing street art on the island.

Here are just a few locations for you:

  • Beaute de la Nature – 1500 Webster
  • Enchanted Alameda – Webster & Santa Clara
  • Julie’s Cafe –  1223 Park
  • Watching Sea Creatures – Webster & Lincoln
  • Webster Gateway Mural – 1619 Webster
  • Island Cruisin’ –  Webster & Atlantic
  • Welcome To Alameda – Blanding & Everett
  • FrenchVillage – Park Street Plaza
  • Healing Gardens Murals – 1435 Webster
  • You Are Born To Be Loved Korean – Lincoln & Bay 
  • AT Weber Plumbing – 1100 Lincoln
Enjoy walking on the paths as one of the best things to do in Alameda and find this Pier on the Bay in Alameda

#26 Hole In One!

Go golfing! Hit a bucket of balls and dine at the iconic Jim’s On The Course.

The  municipal Corica Golf Course has been an Alameda institution since 1927. The golf courses and vast property have been under restoration for a few years and are ready to be a place “for flora, fauna, and all people flourish!”

You can learn to play and rent equipment, and enjoy a fun activity with friends or family.

PS. Our resident bald eagles have made the trees on the course their home!

Evening view of San Francisco from Alameda is one of the things to do from Bay Farm island in Alameda
A view of Oakland from a walk-in Alameda as one of the things to do in Alameda

#27 Visit The Rhythmix Cultural Works

The Rhythmix Cultural Works Center at 2513 Blanding Ave. is a space dedicated to providing a wide array of cultural experiences to Alameda.

Artists genres include music, dance, and visual arts. The space provides workshops, classes, and events for people of all ages.

Check their schedule of events because they host about 100 events per year and there is always something worth seeing!

#28 Michaan’s Auction House

Michaan’s Auction House, located in the former Naval air station base’s movie house, is a well known, full service auction house.

The auctions occur regularly and events include the buying and selling of rare coins, all kinds of antiques, and fine art.

It’s really fun to attend a free appraisal day, if you have something you think is valuable, or to attend a live auction if you want to know what are people buying!

The movie theater can also be rented out for use.

Carrie tossing a lemon in Alameda

# 29 Shop At The Alameda Farmer’s Market

The Alameda Farmers’ Market at 710 Haight Ave off of Webster St. every Tuesday and Saturday from 9AM – 1PM. Hosted by the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association, this is a fun way to buy locally grown produce and other great treats.

Things to do in Alameda- walk across the bridge in the fog

Where To Stay In Alameda

Alameda is not the hotbed of hotels like her across the Bay neighbor, San Francisco, but if you are looking for some good options nearby, here are a few.

➡️ The Hampton Inn Alameda

The Hampton Inn on Bay Farm Island is just 2.5 miles from downtown Alameda. The highly raated Inn is ight on the water. With a swimming pool, and breakfast included, the Hampton Inn is a great deal. Rates start at $131.

➡️ The Claremont Hotel & Resort

The Claremont is the famous 4 star hotel of the East Bay, set in the Oakland Hills. This 1915 Tudor Revival palace is on a 22 acre spot with breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay. Just 10 miles from Alameda, the luxury resort and spa is known for hosting  couples, families, and celebrities. Enjoy the many dining options, three pools, and a full fitness and spa facility. Rates start at $399.

➡️ 1 Hotel San Francisco (formerly Hotel Vitale)

In an excellent location, just 15 miles from Alameda, the 1 Hotel San Francisco is across from the Ferry Building and has views of the city skyline and the Bay. Known for its style with local and reclaimed natural materials and sustainably sourced linens.

Best Time To Visit Alameda

The Bay Area is known for its “microclimates,” and Alameda is a perfect example. It can be foggy and cold in San Francisco and hot and sunny across the Bay in Alameda.

The best times to visit are Spring, Summer, and Fall. Alameda has a mild and Mediterranean climate which is pretty great all year long!

Carrie on the Bay Farm Island Bridge

Where To Eat In Alameda

~ Ole’s Waffle House – 1507 Park St. Ole’s is an Alameda tradition. Its the famous traditional breakfast restaurant spot.

~ Trabacco – South Shore Center. Best Italian food in town. An upsacle, everyone’s favorite, delicious Italian restaurant.

~ Mosley’s Cafe – 2099 Grand St. Mosley’s is an adorable outdoor cafe on a marina.

~ Alley&Vine – 1332 Park St. A lovely restaurnat with excellent locally sourced and diverse menu.

~ Tuckers – 1349 Park St. The ultimate in homemade icecream.

~ Burma Superstar – 1345 Park St. A Bay Area institution with outstanding burmese food.

~ Tomatina – 1338 Park St. A low key and great Italian spot for lunch and dinner.

~ Canasta Kitchen – 1544 Webster St. A really good Mexican spot for a little bit different than the usual menu.

~ Yellow Tail – 1332 Park St.  Best sushi in town.

~ Phnom Penh House – 1514 Webster. Excellent Cambodian food.

~ Cafe Jolie – 1500 Webster St. Best French food in town. Great for brunch.

Have cocktails as one of the things to do in Alameda
Winery in Alameda
Visit Spirit Alley as a Things to do in Alameda
Beverages in  an Alameda Restaurant

Getting Around Alameda

~ One key thing to know about Alameda is that it’s a 25 mile an hour town. And you have to really follow that rule, or you might actually get a ticket. 

~ Alameda is also a pretty big bike riding city. There are bike paths traversing the island and all along the coast, so it’s a popular place to enjoy the scenery while pedaling.

~ Alameda has a public bus system operated by Alameda Contra Costa (AC) Transit which will get you around the island as well as on and off the island.

~ The nearest Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station is the Fruitvale Station in Oakland, which is about a 10 minute drive from downtown Alameda. The AC Transit bus line runs from the BART station into Alameda.

~ The best way to come to Alameda from Oakland or San Francisco is the San Francisco Bay Ferry. You can even take the ferry from Richmond, Vallejo, and Mare Island as well. Coming by boat across the Bay is a great way to travel! There are three terminals in Alameda –

1. The Main Street terminal (which is closed for refurbishment until January 2024)

2. The Harbor Bay Terminal on Bay Farm Island

3. Seaplane Terminal on Alameda Point

Uber & Lyft & Taxis

Uber and Lyft are San Francisco based companies, so they are very  accessible! 

Rental Cars

Alameda is about a 10 minute drive from the Oakland Airport, which has multiple rental car companies to choose from.

Fall Tree in Alameda
Purple flowers in Alameda
Red flowers in Alameda

The history behind the island of Alameda

Originally the home of the Ohlone Indians, Alameda was a peninsula connected to Oakland. In the 1850’s, Alameda was settled by the Spanish, who named it after a grove of poplar trees. 

In 1893 the coastal bath houses became so popular that they were frequented by stars such as Ethel Barrymore, Al Jolson, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Jack London.

Then in 1902, the Tidal Canal was formed, cutting an estuary between Oakland and the Alameda peninsula, to allow the passage of cargo ships. This tremendous engineering feat made Alameda an island and no longer a peninsula. Alameda grew exponentially as the train stations and boat services allowed people to get to and from San Francisco more easily.

By 1915, the Neptune Gardens resort became famous for its weekend activities and special events. This became known as Neptune Beach, the “Coney Island of the West.”

Neptune Beach eventually closed in 1939 when the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge made the ferry and train services nearly obsolete.

In 1940 the Naval Base was built which added to the town’s population and importance. During this World War II era, Alameda’s population nearly doubled. 

And even after the base closed in 1997, Alameda continues to grow. It is now a city of over 76,000 people.

Things to do in Alameda -go to Christmas Tree Lane
Christmas Tree lane is one of the things to do in Alameda

What’s the deal with
Alameda’s Christmas Tree Lane?

Alameda’ s famed Christmas Tree Lane is the 3200 block of Thompson Ave between High Street and Fernside Ave. It’s as festive as a street can be and has become hugely popular for visitors all over the Bay Area. 

The tradition has been going since 1938! Residents decorate their homes and yards, hang lights in all the trees, volunteer Santas sit for photos and chats, local seniors answer all the letters posted in Santa’s mailbox, and thousands of visitors stroll and drive up and down the street every year.

FYI: According to a 2022 Alameda Post article, The city of Alameda does not cover the electric bills for the homes, however, the Alameda Power company does help with hanging the center divider lights and covers some of the cost for those lights.

The generous homeowners pitch in to cover costs for an umbrella insurance policy, for renting a cherry picker, buying postage and candy canes and are just great about putting up with the crowds! 

Palm Trees in Alameda

So Many Fun Alameda Community Events!

~ Alameda’s Famous 4th Of July Parade has been going strong since 1976. It is the longest parade in the nation with a route of 3.3 miles. You gotta see it to believe it. From dancing sanitation workers, to zebras, to cheerleaders, marching bands, and bagpipes. You’ll see it all on Alameda’s 4th of July.

~ The Alameda Sandcastle Contest happens on the second Saturday in June at Crown Memorial Beach since 1958. Bring your shovels and join the 400 participants or just spend the day marveling at how creative playing in the  sand can get!

~ Halloween in Alameda Is a big deal here. Start the festivities days before by driving on streets like Grand St., Sherman St., Thompson St. and Central Ave. People go all out for the big night in October. Its always a fun time, especially when the weather is so mild that time of year!

~ The Alameda Legacy Home Tour happens each year in September. Since 1973,The Alameda Architectural Preservation Society has held this fundraiser event to give people an inside look at some of Alameda’s most treasured homes. I love this opportunity to see some of the beautiful restored homes on the island. 

Ducks in a row in Alameda

Alameda Fun Facts

Alameda is in some ways a quirky little place.  Here are some fun facts you might not know. 

~ The Tregloan Court “Little People Houses” is nothing but a weird myth. The small homes on Tregloan Court have long been rumored to be built for little people who were working in the shipyards during World War II. According to a Bay Curious article from 2018, these small homes were placed on small lots and were actually built before the war. There is apparently no record of little people being hired to build ships, nor that homes were built for them in Alameda. 

~ The Alameda Public Library was established in 1910.

~ The College of Alameda was founded in 1968 and later opened on the 62 acre spot on the west end of Alameda.

~ In 1912, 20 year old Alameda resident, Nell Schmidt, was the first woman to swim across the Bay from Alameda to San Francisco in just three hours. She apparently permanently changed swimsuit fashion forever and is now in the open water swimming Hall Of Fame.

~ Actor Tom Hanks lived in Alameda from 1973 and 1976 with his father and siblings while he attended high school in Oakland.

~ Phyllis Diller, the famed comedian, lived in Alameda during the 1940’s. She got her comic start by performing for the Edison School PTA, where her children attended.

~ Vin Diesel, actor, and his twin brother were born in Alameda.

~ Alameda is just a 2 hour drive to the famous  Carmel-By-The-Sea.

~ Alamere Falls is just 1.5 hours away!

~ The remarkable Dipsea Trail is only 1 hour away!

Carrie in her front yard in Alameda

Now you’re an expert about all the things to do in Alameda!

In a nutshell…

Alameda is a beautiful island community in the San Francisco Bay with great weather and beautiful views. There are so many free and fun things to do here to help you enjoy the natural beauty of the region. You can come for day trips, night life, or just for a quick walk on the beach. You’ll be happy you did!



Hi There! I’m Carrie.

Carrie Green-Zinn Bio Page

I’m a native New Englander, turned New Yorker, turned California girl! Following a dance career, working as a dance therapist, and being a school psychologist, I’m now ready to share my passion for photography and travel with you! I absolutely love seeing the world with my family and friends. I know you feel the same! Let’s go! 

A flat lay of MILK photo album travel books
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