50 Best Activities for Teens in the East Bay & Beyond - 510 Families
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50 Best Activities for Teens in the East Bay & Beyond

The East Bay is an incredibly diverse place full of a huge variety of activities for people of all ages to experience, including teenagers. Whether you’re new to the East Bay, visiting with teens, or are a local who just wants to get out of the house, {510} Families has prepared a list of the 50 best activities for teenagers in the East Bay and beyond. After all, teenagers are (arguably) an important part of the family too!

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Favorite Activities for Teens in the East Bay

Within about thirty minutes of Oakland, these activities are easy to access for those of us in Alameda or Berkeley. Most are budget-friendly unless otherwise specified.

  1. Go thrifting on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley – You’re not a teenager in the East Bay until you’ve gone thrift shopping on Telegraph. Check out 2nd Street, Anastasia’s, & Mars to satisfy your clothing needs and Amoeba & Rasputin for some sick records. Telegraph also often has outdoor vendors selling jewelry, crystals, & more. Grab some froyo from Yogurt Park on your way out!
    Favorite spots: 2nd Street Thrift: 2543 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley | Amoeba Music: 2455 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley | Anastasia New & Vintage Clothing: 2360 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley | Mars Mercantile: 2398 Telegraph Ave Berkeley | Rasputin Music: 2401 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley | Yogurt Park: 2433 Durant Ave, Berkeley
  2. Play pinball at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda – Features over 90 new and vintage machines. While you’re over there, grab some donuts at Donut Petit around the corner.
    Costs: Teens pay adult rates of $22 for all-you-can-play. Students pay $15.
    Pacific Pinball Museum: 1510 Webster St, Alameda. Website > | Donut Petit: 711 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda. Website >
  3. Play board games over food with some friends at Victory Point Cafe in Berkeley – With hundreds of games, theme nights, and tasty pizza, you can stay as long as you’d like for a nominal fee. Check out their website for menu and available board games >>
    1797 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
  4. Go to an A’s game – Oracle Arena is reachable by BART! It’s also possible to find tickets on the cheap side. Don’t forget a hat as it gets quite bright in the sun, and be sure to bundle up at night.
    Oakland Arena: 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland
Teens at Oakland A's baseball game
Cheering on the Oakland A’s | Photo: Carol Burton
  1. Grab some burritos at Cactus on Solano and walk up the path to watch the Sunset at Indian Rock Bring a sweatshirt!
    Cactus Taqueria: 1881 Solano Ave, Berkeley Indian Rock Park: 950 Indian Rock Ave, Berkeley
  2. free Explore the Albany Bulb – A beautiful place to walk along the waterfront and look at the public art, including old Burning Man sculptures. Perfect for walking dogs as well. Website >
    1 Buchanan St, Albany
  3. See a movie at AMC Bay Street Get the full Bay Street shopping experience while you’re there– Barnes & Noble, H&M, Levi’s, LUSH, Sephora, Vans, Apple, and Zumiez are some of the stores featured.
    5614 Bay Street, Emeryville
  4. free Go on a hike in Tilden Park – The perfect outing to get out in nature with your friends or family. The Wildcat Gorge Trail is good; end it with a picnic at the Meadows Picnic Area.
    Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley
  5. Go bowling at Bowlero Alameda Check for weekly specials to save $$.
    300 Park St, Alameda
  6. Grab lunch in Downtown Berkeley and have a picnic on the Oxford grass A part of the UC Berkeley campus, the crescent lawn’s view of the Bay makes it a perfect spot to enjoy your Sliver pizza, Crave subs, or Oori rice triangles.
    Sliver Pizzeria: 2174 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley | Crave Subs: 2122 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley | Oori Rice Triangles: 2177 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
  7. Hit the arcades at Boomers Livermore or Round 1 in Concord – Round 1 also has bowling, but the lanes fill up super fast so there’s usually a wait. At Boomers, there’s also go-karting & mini golf.
    Boomers: 2400 Kitty Hawk Rd, Livermore | Round 1: 185 Sun Valley Mall, Concord
  8. Go to an Oakland Roots soccer game – Perfect for soccer fans, you can find ticket price deals on family 4-packs.
    CSU East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward
  9. free Hike to the Big C behind UC Berkeley campus and swing on the rope swing This hiking trail is not even one mile long but is a bit steep. Start in the Foothill Lot just off of Cyclotron Rd behind the Greek Theater.
    Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley
  10. free Hit up some of the local farmer’s markets The East Bay has so many great weekly markets that are perfect for browsing or grabbing a bite of fresh, quality food to start your day.
  11. Get brunch with your friends at Crepevine in Berkeley or Oakland – The crepes and waffles are delicious and the outdoor seating is super cute. Find more restaurants with outdoor seating >>
    Berkeley Location: 1600 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley | Rockridge Location: 5600 College Ave, Oakland
Helena and friend eating brunch at Crepevine in Berkeley
Waffles, anyone? Brunch at Crepevine in Berkeley | Photo: Helena Kansa
  1. free Bike or skate around Alameda Point Once a US Naval Air Station, Alameda Point is a super awesome spot to explore on wheels. This flat trail goes past Crown Memorial State Beach and the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum.
    950 W Mall Square, Alameda
  2. free Visit the Berkeley Rose Garden A beautiful spot to take pictures. Walk through the tunnel to have a picnic at Codornices Park and ride the concrete slide.
    1200 Euclid Ave, Berkeley
  3. Go ice skating at the Oakland Ice Center Rent ice skates for an hour or two and grab a sweet treat afterward. Both Shake Shack and Little Giant Ice Cream are nearby. Check out our East Bay ice cream guide for more >>
    Oakland Ice Center: 519 18th St, Oakland | Shake Shack: 1954 Telegraph Ave, Oakland Little Giant Ice Cream: 1951 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
  4. See a musical at the Berkeley Playhouse Plays and musicals at the Berkeley Playhouse are often performed by fellow youth!
    2640 College Avenue, Berkeley
  5. Have a museum day at BAMPFA or OMCA East Bay museums are pretty great and have deals on teen admission. Youth 18 & under get in free at BAMPFA and students & 13 to 17-year-olds are $12 at OMCA. The first Sundays of the month are FREE at OMCA!
    Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive: 2155 Center St Berkeley | Oakland Museum of California: 1000 Oak St, Oakland
  6. free Walk around Point Isabel in Richmond – This 23-acre regional park has about 2.5 miles of trails to explore along the Bay, and the special off-leash rules make it a great place to walk a dog.
    2701 Isabel St, Richmond
  7. Go mini-golfing at Golden Tee Golfland in Castro Valley or Scandia Family Center in Fairfield The mini-golf courses at GoldenTee and Scandia are basic but fun. Scandia also has an arcade, batting cages, bumper boats, and laser tag.
    Golden Tee Golfland: 2533 Castro Valley Blvd, Castro Valley | Scandia Family Center: 4300 Central Pl, Fairfield
  8. Relax in the Tilden Park Botanic Garden or the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Acres of plants and flowers are relaxing and great for photos. Botanic gardens in Tilden are free, while the UC Berkeley gardens are $8 for youth aged 5-17. Perfect spot for nature lovers! I love walking around looking at the plants.
    Regional Parks Botanic Garden: Wildcat Canyon Rd, Berkeley | University of California Botanical Garden: 200 Centennial Dr, Berkeley
  9. Go fishing at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley or Lake Temescal in Oakland – Both locations also have great hiking and are beautiful spots for a picnic. Into fishing? Check out our fishing guide >>
    Lake Chabot: 17936 Lake Chabot Rd, Castro Valley | Lake Temescal: 6502 Broadway Terrace, Oakland
  10. Try stand-up paddleboarding at California Canoe & Kayak in Jack London Square or Mike’s Paddle in Alameda – For more, check out our guide to paddleboarding in the East Bay >>
    California Canoe & Kayak: 288 9th Ave, Oakland | Mike’s Paddle: 1120 Ballena Blvd, Alameda
Teens stand-up paddleboarding at Mike's Paddle in Alameda
Stand-up paddleboarding at Mike’s Paddle in Alameda | Photo: Mike’s Paddle via Yelp
  1. Cheer on the Bears at a Cal Sports game – Basketball, football, volleyball– they’re all super fun (and the smaller sports are pretty cheap, too). Stop for boba at Purple Kow afterward. Boba tea fan? Check out our East Bay boba guide >>
    Cal Athletics: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley | Purple Kow: 2164 Center St, Berkeley | U-Cha: 2199 Bancroft Way, Berkeley
  2. free Visit the Tilden Little Farm with your friends – You’re never too old to go see the animals. Admission is free. Bring some celery and feed the cows and goats! There are also great picnicking spots in the area.
    600 Canon Dr, Berkeley
  3. Check out the Alameda Point Antiques Faire This gigantic antique fair is held on the first Sunday of every month. Free admission for youth 16 & under with a parent! Gets crazy crowded so go on the later side after all the hardcore people have left.
    3900 Main St, Alameda
  4. free Bike the Ohlone Greenway – This path is a great way to bike around the East Bay without biking alongside traffic. Endpoints are at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at Hearst Avenue (Berkeley) and San Pablo Avenue (El Cerrito). The trail goes past El Cerrito Plaza mall– pick up some snacks at Trader Joes, Starbucks, or Wingstop on your way.
    Trader Joes: 225 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito | Starbucks: 3090 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito | Wingstop: 340 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito

Best Activities for Teens in San Francisco

If you have time to go to SF, these are our favorite reasons to hop on BART or cross the bridge and deal with parking:

  1. Relax in the Japanese Tea Garden Say hi to the koi in the many ponds and enjoy a soothing cup of tea. After your visit, buy a pretzel from a stand in Golden Gate Park and walk around Stow Lake. Ages 12-17 pay $0-$7 for admission depending on if you’re an SF resident.
    75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
  2. free Have a museum day at the de Young, the Legion of Honor, or SFMOMA All awesome experiences. Youth 17 & under are free at the de Young and the Legion of Honor, and 18 & under are free at SFMOMA! The rooftop cafe at SFMOMA is a must.
    de Young Museum: 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco | Legion of Honor Museum: 100 34th Ave, San Francisco | SFMOMA: 151 3rd St, San Francisco
  3. free Wake up early to watch the sunrise over the Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Spencer If you can handle that early alarm, Battery Spencer has some of the best views in the Bay– seeing the sun come up over the Golden Gate Bridge is truly magical. Bring a hoodie as this lookout gets pretty windy and chilly in the wee hours of the morning.
    Battery Spencer Observation Point: Conzelman Rd, Sausalito
People watching sunrise over Golden Gate Bridge at Battery Spencer
Overlooking the Bay | Photo: Helena Kansa
  1. free Bundle up to watch the sunset and toast marshmallows over the fire pits at Ocean Beach – 16 Fire pits are available at the bottom of stairwells 15 through 20 from March through October. Note that these fill up quickly. Remember to bring your own firewood and a bucket to extinguish the fire with water. Website >
    704 Great Hwy, San Francisco
  2. Go thrifting on Haight Street – Haight-Ashbury is packed full of great shopping, including Amoeba Music, Buffalo Exchange, Goodwill, Relic Vintage, & Wasteland, as well as tons of food.
    Favorite spots: Amoeba Music: 1855 Haight St, San Francisco | Buffalo Exchange: 1555 Haight St, San Francisco | Goodwill: 1700 Haight St, San Francisco | Relic Vintage: 1605 Haight St, San Francisco | Wasteland: 1660 Haight St, San Francisco
  3. Mini-golf indoors at Subpar at Ghirardelli Square – Not your average mini-golfing with especially-creative holes and SF-themed landmarks decorating each course. Why not grab a sundae at Ghirardelli on your way out?
    900 North Point St, San Francisco
  4. Shop around in Chinatown Low prices are teen budget-friendly. Stop for yummy food at China Live or check out the Fortune Cookie Factory.
    China Live: 644 Broadway, San Francisco | Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory: 56 Ross Alley, San Francisco
Teens in Chinatown San Francisco
Chinatown is a great place for shopping & exploring | Photo: Whitney Moss
  1. Eat your way through the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays until 2 pm. Explore the pier & ferry building while you’re there >>
    1 Ferry Building #50, San Francisco
  2. Go ice skating at Civic Center, The Embarcadero, or Union Square during the holiday season – Starting around Thanksgiving, public outdoor skate rinks pop up all over. These get super crowded so it’s best to go on a weekday. Check out our Bay Area ice skating guide >>
    Civic Center Plaza: 335 McAllister St, San Francisco | Embarcadero Plaza: Market St & Stuart St, San Francisco | Union Square: 333 Post St, San Francisco
  3. Ride the cool escalators while shopping at San Francisco Centre Decent food court on the bottom floor, and a movie theater & arcade on the top floor.
    865 Market St, San Francisco
  4. Have a picnic at Dolores Park Some great food is just down the street– including my go-to’s: Boba Guys and Souvla for Greek food (a bit pricey but delicious!).
    Mission Dolores Park: Dolores St & 19th St, San Francisco | Boba Guys: 3491 19th St, San Francisco | Souvla: 758 Valencia St, San Francisco

Day Trip Ideas for East Bay teens

Itching for a day trip? If you have the whole day to spend, these are the best places to go and things to do:

    1. Hit all the crazy rollercoasters at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Season passes pay off in two visits. Six Flags also has a Halloween Fright Fest if you’re into getting spooked.
      1001 Fairgrounds Dr, Vallejo
    2. freeHave a beach day at Stinson Beach One of the more reliably sunny beaches in the area. The Parkside Snack Bar has good takeout options to tide you over throughout the day. Looking for more beach options? Check out our guide to Bay Area beaches >>
      43 Arenal Ave, Stinson Beach
    3. Cool off at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park in Concord – Plenty of waterslides for teens, and Concord is almost always hot. Season passes for Six Flags Discovery Kingdom also work here. Get tickets here >>
      1950 Waterworld Pkwy, Concord
    4. Spend a day in Point Reyes Great hiking, beaches, and nature, as well as cute shopping in Point Reyes Station. I recommend getting pizza at Cafe Reyes and then driving to Drakes Beach.
      Cafe Reyes: 11101 CA-1, Point Reyes Station | Drakes Beach: 1 Drake Beach Rd, Inverness
Helena and sister holding pizzas from Cafe Reyes in Point Reyes Station
Cafe Reyes has some of the best pizza around | Photo: Helena Kansa
  1. Hike up Mount Tamalpais via the Old Stage Road and reward yourself with a delicious lunch from the West Point Inn – Start at Pan Toll Ranger Station, hike is about 45 minutes. The West Point Inn also hosts pancake breakfasts that are a great reward for a morning hike >>
    Pan Toll Ranger Station: 6456 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley | West Point Inn: 100 Old Railroad Grade Fire Rd, Mill Valley
  2. free Walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge – Super touristy, but a memorable experience nonetheless. Don’t have a bike? Rent one here >>
    Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
biking across golden gate bridge
Biking across Golden Gate Bridge | Photo: Andrea P. via Yelp

Volunteering for Teens in the East Bay

47. Lend a hand! From Coastal Clean-ups and working with animals in the shelter, to adopting traffic circles, the City of Berkeley has plenty of opportunities for Teens to help out. Find out more here>

48. Hang out with little kids. The Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley offers a fun, dynamic volunteer program for teens. Help with ingenuity challenges, the outdoor nature lab, the animal discovery zone, and many more fun and hands-on programs. Teens entering 9th grade or 14 years old or above, who are not current Lawrence Hall of Science volunteers, may apply. Make sure to apply before the deadline though since they only have 80 spaces available!

49. Help out at your local library! Alameda, Oakland, San Leandro, and  Hayward are just a few of our local libraries that offer opportunities for Teens to volunteer.

50. Volunteer at a food bank. Contra Costa County has a great program, as does Alameda County. They both have occasional weekend shifts available.

Did we miss your favorite teen activities in the East Bay and beyond? Drop them in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “50 Best Activities for Teens in the East Bay & Beyond”

  1. Helena – Great list! Can’t wait to give my teens this list to choose next time we visit! Thank you! Amazing job!!!

  2. Since you mentioned Pacific Pinball, Alameda also has a vintage arcade museum (think Pac-Man) on Park Street called High Scores. Super fun.

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