In the midst of the tree-lined boulevard and rows of bungalows, comes a small but bountiful stretch of mom and pop shops, eateries, salons, small businesses, and more. Most commonly referred to as Glenview District, the Park Blvd. block between Whitmore and Glenfield is a good option for parents who have an hour or two to spend exploring the neighborhood and dining with their kids.
Glenview is central to Oakland’s popular Grand Lake neighborhood, the city of Piedmont, Dimond District, and Montclair Village. The Park Boulevard exit is easily accessible off both I-580 and Highway 13.
So what do you do when you come on this end of the Oakland foothills? For starters, you can spend some time taking in the charm and history of the surroundings. Most homes and buildings have been around since the 1930s. With actual sidewalks and crosswalks, it is easy to walk and enjoy the beautiful landscapes with your furry friends, children, and strollers.
Pro Tip: Since Park Boulevard itself is a busy street, and the side streets are narrow and sloped, be extra cautious when kids are on their scooters or bikes.
Where Kids Can Play Near Park Blvd.
For a significant playground with a park for lots of running and creek exploration, then Dimond Park is your best bet. It’s just a 10-minute walk, or a quick minute drive from Park Blvd onto the woodsy El Centro Ave. You can also enter the Dimond Canyon Trail and Sausal Creek through this route.
Pro Tip: As you get closer to Dimond Park, there are no sidewalks so be extra careful if walking, otherwise, a drive may be a better option.
Near Dimond Park, we also love the Bridgeview Trolls Trail Hike with parking available at either end of the trail. Ample street parking is usually available near the Montclair Golf Course (which has a great par 3 for beginners).
The Corpus Christi School Playground is open to the public on weekends when school is not in session. The play structure features two slides, monkey bars, rock climbing, and lots of running space. I was skeptical my kids wouldn’t last long here without swings, but they fully enjoyed it and we had to pry them out of there. Be sure children stay on the playground as cars do come through for church services.
Location: 1 Estates Dr, Piedmont
Where to Eat on Park Blvd. with kids
There are lots of family-oriented restaurants around Glenview and Park Blvd. Most offer indoor and outdoor seating as well as take-out options. On warm days, it’s always a joy to sit outside.
Coffee & treats
The Ultimate Grounds Et Al is a great choice for a quick grab and go for fresh pastries, coffee, sandwiches, smoothies, and much more. My go-to is always a chocolate croissant, and theirs is truly delectable. The service is friendly too!
Location: 4225 Park Blvd, Oakland
Tasty breakfast and lunch
I’ve brought my kids to Glenview recently for a dine-in breakfast and lunch. They thoroughly enjoy the Nutella topped pancakes (who wouldn’t?) at Diggery Inn and the grilled cheese sandwich and fries at the very well-known Park Burger. The milkshakes from both places definitely hit the spot!
Diggery Inn: 4212 Park Blvd, Oakland
Park Burger: 4218 Park Blvd, Oakland
Other local neighborhood favorites
Blackberry Bistro: 4240 Park Blvd, Oakland
Marzano Restaurant: 4214 Park Blvd, Oakland
Pastino’s Pasta & Pizza: 4207 Park Blvd, Oakland
For date nights (or in my case, noon dates)
I love Bellanico Restaurant, Sushi Park, and Paulista Brazilian Kitchen and Taproom. Paulista has a kids menu and serves Mr. Dewie’s cashew ice cream, but the overall atmosphere, to me, feels catered to adults.
Bellanico Restaurant: 4238 Park Blvd, Oakland
Sushi Park: 4209 Park Blvd, Oakland
Paulista Brazilian Kitchen & Taproom: 4239 Park Blvd, Oakland
Other Neighborhood Favorites in Glenview
East Bay Dance Center offers a variety of dance classes for kids and adults. Classes are back in the studio with masks required, and online options available as well. They also offer trial classes. I spoke with the director, who was very friendly and informative, and we are excited to enroll my daughter in a trial session next month.
Location: 1318 Glenfield Ave, Oakland
Femimacus Nails is definitely a local favorite and is true to the neighborhood culture with a whole-hearted atmosphere with great service. Little ones are welcome to sit in with their parents, and if mommy approves, even have their little nails painted!
Location: 4195 Park Blvd Oakland
Savemore Market is known to the locals for its friendly, personable service. It is a great spot if you want to grab some fruit, veggies, or snacks for your kids. At this time, they no longer make their delicious sandwiches (big bummer!), but I am still hoping for a comeback.
Location: 4219 Park Blvd, Oakland
Bakers Martial Arts Cultural Center. For over four decades, this center has been teaching the art of Tae Kwan Do to all ages. In-person training is still not available at this time, but you can sign up for online sessions at no cost through their website.
Location: 4226 Park Blvd (upstairs), Oakland
Visit Oakmore and Leimert Bridge
As long as you’re enjoying the Glenview, a quick visit to the Oakmore neighborhood may be worth your while too. Oakmore is a few minutes away located just to the east of Park Boulevard and north of Dimond Park. This area features the old Leimert Bridge, which offers great treetop views of the canyon trails and Oakland’s “ancient forest” of redwoods, oak trees, and more. Children will need to be picked up to see the view since the concrete wall runs a little high.
For snacks and meals in Oakmore
3 Seasons Thai Bistro: 1506 Leimert Blvd, Oakland
Rocky’s Market, Oakmore: 1440 Leimert Blvd, Oakland
Red Boy Pizza, Oakmore: 1500 Leimert Blvd, Oakland
Plan your Visit to Park Blvd.’s Glenview District
Oakland’s Park Blvd. certainly exemplifies that good things do come in small packages. Though nothing over the top, it provides us Oaklanders a sense of nostalgia, and others a chance to experience the family-friendly setting and historic charm of the Lower Oakland hills.
As an Oakland native myself, I have frequented Park Blvd since the nineties. I would come here to get my nails done and grab Happy Hour drinks with friends, and now I come here to take walks and share pancakes with my little ones. Even decades later, this area still maintains its gentle vibe. And the Glenview district remains an ideal neighborhood to visit with children.
What you can bring: comfortable shoes, water bottles, sunscreen, hats, strollers, and an appetite.
Restrooms: I did not spot any public restrooms. You may need to be a customer to use the restroom at the local businesses.
Parking on Park: It may take some eagle eyeing, but metered parking spots are generally available. I always find free two-hour street parking on Park (near the 76 gas station on Everett). It’s a couple of minutes of walking to the restaurants and shops, but being on foot is part of the Park Blvd. experience, right?