Parents’ Guide to Alameda

Chris lives with his wife and two sons (age 2.5 and 5) on the island of Alameda; he thinks Alameda is crazy kid-friendly and we should all be lucky enough to live there. Feel free to ask him anything about his beloved island city in the comments. In the meantime, here is Christopher’s must-list for parents.

alameda theater

Best park – Franklin Park. Home base for our family. The coffee dispenser has not yet been installed but pretty much the happiest place on earth.

Best place to get wet – Crab Cove at Crown Memorial State Beach. The small cove is on the location of the storied Neptune Beach amusement park. The visitor center has a handful of interactive exhibits and large fish tanks. Great, relatively inexpensive birthday party spot. Admission is free.

Best toy store – Toy Safari. New and used toys stacked to the ceiling. Literally a dream come true for kids and parents.

adorable alameda family

Best baby gear store – Tot Tank. Everything a new parent needs including great advice and community events.

Best family-friendly breakfast – Jim’s Homestyle Diner. Huge portions of above average greasy spoon fare and lots of booths, plus it opens at 5:30 – what’s not to love? Ole’s Waffle Shop is great too but the breakfast lines are certainly not kid-friendly. Save Ole’s for a special breakfast for dinner meal.

Best lunch to go – Sandwich Board. Strange customer service. Great sandwiches. Nuf said.

Best family-friendly dinner spot – Kamakura. Show up at 5, walk right into an empty table and watch Faith Yamato, and her staff, work their magic.

Backfloat Alameda shirts available at Modern Mouse Gifts

Best indoor activities that are free/cheap – the Park Street Trifecta: Peet’s, Books, Inc., and Toy Safari. Pro tip: make sure to stop at Peet’s first!

Fun indoor activities that cost money: Movies at Alameda Theatre, flipping out at the Pacific Pinball Museum, and bowling at Southshore Lanes.

pinball museum

Great, cheap kids hair cut – Beauty Cut.

Big adventure – Alameda Naval Air Station/Alameda Point. Lots of cool stuff to check out including the USS Hornet MuseumAlameda Skate Park, and the Balladium Sports Club.

USS Hornet picture by wendy copley, all rights reserved

Best sugar rush – Tucker’s Ice Cream. Secret sugar rush: Lee’s Donuts. Shh.

Best island pride – Backfloat t-shirts: www.backfloatshop.com. Available at Modern Mouse in Alameda (along with a lot of other local artist stuff.

Thanks so much to Chris for sharing his list of faves. I’m delighted to have him as a contributor to our site. We need more island people and more dads, right?

[Photos: Theatre by Kevin on flickr; Family and Kids in cool tees by Chris and Backfloat; Pinball by TheRealMichaelMoore on Flickr, and Wendy Copley on the USS Hornet]

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Comments

  1. Katherine says

    How could you leave out the new minigolf place, Subpar Minigolf? (I haven’t been yet but have been wanting to check it out). Alameda is a great town, I agree…

  2. says

    YoJimbo is also very family friendly and I’ve heard that the owner of Yellow Tail will bring out mashed edamame for those newly introduced to solid food. Only in Alameda would you have three super family friendly sushi restaurants.

  3. Chris Kiuchi says

    @Katherine. I contemplated including Subpar BUT it’s really not a great place for my family. The holes look cool but the the game play is way too hard for 5 and unders. Also, the place looks half-finished, smells like smoke (people smoke outside the open front door) and is a touch depressing. Believe me, I want to LOVE Subpar but it seems like they either 1) ran out of money or 2) ran out of inspiration.

  4. Eli says

    Chris I agree Subpar is most aptly named LOL I was very disappointed! Yellow tail is extremely kid friendly. I have been going since my daughter was a baby (now 12) and the owner always remembers her. We also now have a toddler and the owner makes a huge fuss of him as well.

  5. Annabelle says

    Don’t forget the library! http://www.Alamedafree.org
    FREE storytimes and events for all ages, as well as super friendly staff! The Community Sing-Along on Mon./Wed. morn is the perfect place to get my tot totally stimulated and ready for her nap. The library is a major fixture of our Park St. experience . . . If it’s a nice day we walk to Lincoln Park!

    Also if you have a library card, you can actually get FREE passes to the Pinball Museum and the USS Hornet, as well as tons of local museums. http://discover.alamedafree.org/

  6. Cara says

    I am a sucker for used toy stores, and I have heard about Toy Safari and then promptly forgot to ever check it out. Must do so!

  7. Denise says

    Great list. We love Alameda too! My daughter also loves running around Lincoln park. I love that it’s enclosed and that they have a tot play structure for the little ones. Linguini’s Pizza on park street is a great sports bar that is also kid/family friendly. La Penca Azul is also great because they always have music and big crowds so if my toddler starts getting loud or throwing a tantrum…no one notices! lol

  8. says

    Great post. We love living in Alameda, having migrated from SF when we had the kids. Viva Mexico is our go to place for dinner with the kids. No one seems to care if they are running around or the boy is sticking his straw up his nose.

  9. Kimi says

    Nice list Chris! From one Alamedan to another. I do like Linguinis and la Taqueria (near Tucker’s), and my new fav restaurant Mint Leaf. Toy Safari is cool to browse, prices are too expensive. I agree w/you on subpar. We’ve only gone once. Hope to see you around!

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