If you’re looking for a family activity in Oakland that’s both fun and easy on the wallet, you might want to pay a visit to the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market. Located in Splash Pad Park at the corner of Grand and Lake Park Avenues, this vibrant farmer’s market offers fresh, healthy food in a kid-friendly setting, accompanied by live music. Best of all, it’s free, which is perfect for the family on a budget.
The Grand Lake Farmer’s Market runs every Saturday, rain or shine, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Dozens of local farmers, artisans, and specialty food vendors set up stalls to sell their wares. You’ll find nearly every kind of food that you can imagine, from fresh produce, cheese, fish, meat and bread all the way to coffee, chocolate, and gourmet items. There’s also a long row of ready-to-eat and takeout food stands in case you get hungry for lunch or a snack.
The vendors at the market are quite generous with their samples, so you can easily enjoy a half day of browsing through the colorful stalls. The organic food selection is quite large and varied. Children are welcome and plentiful, and while it can get crowded, no one seems to mind making room for passing strollers.
When you want a break from browsing, you can explore the fountain and water walls of the splash pad that gives the park its name. Your kids will enjoy playing in the water, while you can relax by listening to the live music being performed nearby. You’ll probably be tempted by the wafting scents from the prepared food vendors, representing cuisine from around the globe. Children will particularly enjoy the kettle korn and Belgian waffles.
If you still feel adventurous after exploring all the nooks and crannies of the market, Lake Merritt is a short walk away. There, you can bike or walk the trails while spotting ducks, geese, egrets, and other water birds. If you’re more in the mood for a comfortable chair, the Grand Lake Theatre is just across the street from the market.
Visiting the Grand Lake Market is completely free. You may find yourself buying fresh fruit or locally-grown vegetables, but since you should be doing that anyway, it’s still a bargain. It’s also a great opportunity to educate your kids about organic, healthy eating in a way that they’ll enjoy.
The Grand Lake Farmer’s Market is located at the corner of Grand and Lake Shore Avenues in Oakland, just off Highway 580. It’s open from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. every Saturday year-round, with the exception of major holidays. A limited amount of free parking is available in the adjacent parking lot under the freeway overpass.
Splash Pad Neighborhood Association Home Page: www.splashpad.org/farmersmkt.html
Grand Lake Farmer’s Market Home Page: www.agriculturalinstitute.org/index/getMarketDetails