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]