Park Review: Live Oak Park in Berkeley - 510 Families
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Park Review: Live Oak Park in Berkeley

Live Oak Park in North Berkeley is a fantastic spot for families with children of all ages. With playgrounds, grassy areas, shady trees, basketball courts, tennis courts, BBQ facilities, and an accessible creek, Live Oak Park really does have something for everyone. The park is separated into two areas, divided by Codornices Creek, with the playground, courts and Live Oak Community Center on one side, and the tree filled park on the other side. Your family is sure to find something to love at this beloved Berkeley park.

playground and grassy field
Live Oak Playground in Berkeley | Photo: Julie Herson

Live Oak Park Features

Location: 1301 Shattuck Avenue, at Berryman Street between Shattuck Avenue and Oxford Street.
Unique Features: There’s something for everyone: playgrounds, nature play, basketball and tennis courts. And a bouncy teeter totter in the tot lot.
Swings: Two baby bucket swings and big kid swings in tot lot; two big kid swings in the larger playground.
Fenced in? The tot lot is fully fenced in with a mostly working gate.
Surfaces: Big kid park has a mix of rubber, wood chips, grass; tot lot is all sand.
Bathroom: Yes, there’s an outdoor public restroom on the Oxford side next to the tennis courts. The Community Center also has bathrooms.
Lunch tables & seating: Lots and lots of shaded benches and places to lay a blanket.
Parking: No off street parking, but there is neighborhood street parking on Shattuck Avenue or Oxford Street, though weekends can get crowded.
Shade: There are lovely big oaks and redwoods that provide lots of shade, though the big kid structure is fully in the sun.
Pros: Mixed age appropriate, easy for adults to supervise kids in different playgrounds. Fun nature play in the creek.
Cons: No off street parking so parking can be difficult on busy weekend days. Crowded on weekends.

little girl climbing play structure
There are plenty of climbing opportunities for your little ones at Live Oak Park | Photo: Julie Herson

Live Oak Park Playgrounds

The playground in Live Oak Park is separated into two areas for different age groups. Children aged 5 and up will enjoy the open playground space featuring slides (including a large, twisty one), swings, monkey bars and a climbing structure. For younger children, there is a fenced-in toddler play area with sand, a small climbing structure, bouncy rides, toddler swings and small slides. These two playground areas are right next to each other, which is perfect for families with children of different ages. Park benches are available in both areas for parents to sit on while they watch their children play. A grassy area adjoins the open playground area and is the perfect spot to set up a blanket for snack breaks.

children on teeter totter
The four person teeter totter is a favorite in the tot lot | Photo: Julie Herson

Alongside the playground area there are basketball courts with a drinking fountain, a popular spot for riding scooters when not in use for basketball. (Ok, fine, many children ride scooters while others shoot hoops at the same time.) Another, larger, grassy area lies next to the basketball courts with two tennis courts on the other side. Both the basketballs courts and tennis courts are lighted for night-time use.

Live Oak Park Nature Play

On the other side of Live Oak Community Center lies the grassy park area and creek. This large open space is home to lots of trees providing plenty of shade for lunch on a sunny day. The park is quite hilly in places but there are plenty of flat areas to sit as well as the occasional park bench. It’s a great spot to sit and enjoy a pizza from nearby Cheeseboard. This park space is home to several community events throughout the year including the popular Himalayan Faire.

Check out another great park with a creek>.

children playing in creek
Bring a change of clothes just in case someone falls in the creek. They usually do. | Photo: Julie Herson

Codornices Creek is the highlight of Live Oak Park for many children. This tiny creek cuts through the middle of Live Oak Park and is a lovely spot for children to play in the cool water on a hot day. With the towering redwoods along the edge, the creek is always shady and cool. The creek bed can be accessed at several points by either a staircase leading to the water (next to the picnic area) or by scrambling down the sides where it is not so steep. Smooth rocks line the creek bed with larger rocks sticking up acting as stepping stones – perfect for crossing without getting too wet. The edges of the creek are smooth and make the perfect place for little ones to paddle their feet without the risk of slipping on the rocks. The water is rarely more than ankle deep making it perfect for children to wade in, however like all bodies of water, parents should make sure to check the conditions first and should stay with children at all times. The creek is a great place to take a bug viewer and search for aquatic bugs like water striders.

children playing in creek
The bridge, redwoods and creek make for wonderful imaginary play | Photo: Julie Herson

If You Go

  • Sand toys for little kids
  • Basketball/Soccer Ball for big kids
  • Sun hat, sunscreen
  • Water shoes/boots for creek play
  • Change of clothes for those inevitable slips into the creek
  • Lunch and a blanket to relax on
  • Scooters if the basketball courts are empty

The Bottom Line

Live Oak Park is a popular spot for kids who like to play and explore. With the traditional playgrounds as well as the creek to wade through and grass fields to run around on, your family will certainly be able to find something to enjoy at Live Oak Park. Yes, it can get busy on the weekends and parking isn’t always easy, but ultimately Live Oak Park is a lovely place to play and spend time with your family and friends.

two children walking in grassy field
The large grassy field at Live Oak Park | Photo: Julie Herson

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