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What is pickleball, you might be wondering, and why are so many people talking about it? It’s the fastest growing sport in the country and it’s loads of fun! Invented back in the summer of 1965 by a group of Dads in the Pacific Northwest to keep their kids from getting bored, it’s sort of a cross between tennis and ping pong, with unusual scoring and slightly smaller courts than tennis. Instead of a racquet you use smaller paddles, and the ball is similar to a wiffle ball. Games are almost always played as doubles and go to 11 points; you can only score points when your team is serving. There are just a few basic rules that are exclusive to pickleball (e.g., you can’t hit the ball in the air while standing in the ‘kitchen’, you must let it bounce first), and you can only serve below the waist—no overhead serving as in tennis. It’s a fast-paced but easier game than tennis, and people of all ages are becoming obsessed with it like I am. Some of the best players I’ve seen are well into their 70s and know how to place the ball perfectly to minimize running and maximize scoring. 

If you’ve never played but would like to give it a try, you’d most likely have good luck just showing up to a public court and hanging your paddle up to join the rotating games. Anxious about being a newbie to the game and knowing little to nothing about it? Not to worry—the pickleball world seems eager to teach new players how to play and share their love of the game with anyone who wants to try. However, if you’d prefer to take a lesson first, many independent pickleball coaches are out there. Just Google ‘pickleball lessons’ and you’re sure to find some local instructors, or go to https://usapickleball.org/ to get an overview of the game and watch informational videos. It’s also a good resource for finding out where to play in your area. 

So give pickleball a try, at least once. You won’t regret it! It’s low-key (depending on your skill level and desired intensity), social, light exercise, and FUN! —Laura O’Hare

For anyone who enjoys riding a bike, the East Bay has something for everyone. From the gentle, level streets and paved paths in Alameda to the steep challenging road rides available in Oakland and Berkeley, there is no shortage of places to ride. But I think one of the best things about living in the East Bay is the trail riding. Oakland has a huge variety of trails for mountain biking and gravel rides, some gentle and gently rolling and others for the hard-core cyclists. Most offer beautiful shady sections, some single-track mixed with fire roads, beautiful views in several directions, and lots of spots to stop and just enjoy your surroundings. 

In Oakland alone, we have Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park, Joaquin Miller Park, Anthony Chabot Regional Park, and Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve, plus smaller sections of trails scattered throughout town. There are literally hundreds of miles of trails to choose from, and you can usually pick up a map at the park entrances. However, if you are new to mountain biking, I would ask around for recommended trails—many of them are deceptively hilly and challenging! Local bike stores are also a great place to get advice on trail riding. There are also lots of great books and websites that offer suggestions, depending on your experience and preferred level of challenge. 

My whole family has been riding the Oakland/East Bay trails for 15+ years and never get tired of it! You’ll see huge redwoods, babbling brooks (in Spring at least!), wildflowers, banana slugs, people walking their dogs or hiking, views of Mount Diablo or the Bay, and so much more. I always like to tell people I live in a very urban area but within 10 minutes, I can be in the forest, on beautiful, peaceful trails surrounded by huge Redwoods, fragrant Bay trees, intricate Live Oak trees and feel like I’ve really ‘gotten away’ from City life for a minute—without having to leave town. —Laura O’Hare

Zillow, one of the most popular Real Estate databases online, is used by buyers, sellers, Realtors, appraisers—and anyone curious—to estimate the value of a home. It is a computer-generated estimate based on available data. While Zillow uses a formula to create a monetary value, we have found that not all factors (and often very important ones) are taken into account. So keep this in mind when perusing Zillow:   

Even the best home value estimations still have a large margin of error, and while these websites can provide a good starting point, they are not reliable enough to set a list price or for submitting an offer. It is, after all, just a computer.

Most importantly, a computer cannot possibly tell you how a house feels—or who lives next door or what the neighborhood is like, which can greatly affect a home’s real value. The true value of a home depends on what it means to you, and the best way to get all of the information you need to help make that decision is to work with a local real estate expert! —Betsy Fedewa

1. Coffee Cultures – Not only is it owned and operated by the famous Jason Paul of Alameda, but local connoisseur Laura Palmer says it’s the best coffee on the Island. Need I say more? http://www.coffee-cultures.com/alameda

2. The Local – The new ownership has revived the establishment and brings brilliant coffee and fresh and delicious pastries to the mid-Park Street Area. https://www.yelp.com/biz/the-local-alameda

3. Julie’s – You can take your delicious coffee to go or you can enjoy the peace of the back patio for a shady mini-vacation. Great place for a coffee date! https://juliestea.com/

4. High Wire – Awesome spot for nearby folks to take a walk to to grab a wildly delicious brew. There may be a small line outside but it’s worth the wait every time! https://highwirecoffee.square.site/?location=11ead68526e6f98480780cc47a2b63e4

5. The Beanery – SOO good! Grab a latte and have a seat for a bit or take a walk through “The Marketplace” to grab a salad from Greens and Grains, Baked Delights from Feel Good Bakery, Seafood from Barons or Sushi from Sushi King. There’s also Alameda Natural Grocery right there for anything you may need from natural home remedies to produce. https://beaneryofalameda.com/

First opened in 1932, the historic Alameda Theatre & Cineplex is a beautifully designed, Art Deco building with one of the largest screens in the Bay Area.

In 1979 after 47 years in business and due to the invention of television, the Theater closed for movies and tried some other activities including a roller rink, a dance hall, and a gymnastics center.

Luckily in 2000, the City of Alameda got involved, and after a $37,300,000 restoration, the theater reopened in 2008.

Now the vibrant and glamorous Alameda Theatre is a thriving staple in historic downtown. Newly released movies and live sport events entertain guests from Alameda and beyond. Be sure to add a visit to this special theater to your To Do list and enjoy a good time! —Betsy Fedewa

Baseball in Alameda is not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle. On any given weekend or any given evening, you can drive by most fields in Alameda and they are full of kids and families enjoying each other’s company while watching their future major leaguers hit the ball around. Whether it’s baseball or softball, preschoolers or adults, America’s favorite pastime is being played all over this island and nurturing a sense of community second to none.

As a mom of a baseball all-star and a soon-to-be softball pro, I understand this lifestyle more than most. Setting the alarm on your only day to sleep in to get to an early game, scheduling 3 games at 3 different fields at the same time, and driving around with more gear than a team bus can be a lot. Then you settle in next to the group of parents who have now become family and you see your kiddo walk up to the plate as the crowd cheers and it is all worth it. In Alameda, baseball is not just a sport, it is lifestyle and I am all in! —Betsy Fedewa

Many people choose to live in Alameda and parts of Oakland because the commute to San Francisco is as easy as it gets from the ‘burbs. 

Here are 5 easy ways to get to SF from the East Bay:

  1. The Ferry – Obviously this is the preferred choice. The views are incredible and you can grab a coffee on the way in! There are 2 Ferry Terminals in Alameda: One on the West End of town near the old Naval Base and Alameda Point and the other on Harbor Bay. Both take about 25 minutes to get you to the Ferry Building which offers a straight shot to Market Street.
  2. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) – The fastest route is to go to the West Oakland BART Station – it’s a mere buzz through the tunnel and you arrive at the Embarcadero Station in SF just 7 minutes later. And your phone won’t work in the tunnel so you can do a quick meditation.
  3. Bus – The AC Transit ‘O’ line runs every half hour through Alameda and goes to the Salesforce Tower in downtown SF in about 25 minutes, give or take.
  4. Commuter Bus – If you are one of the lucky ones working at Apple or Google, you can hop on a commuter bus and work the whole way there!
  5. Bike – Hop on your bike and pedal to the Ferry, BART, or bus. This is the BEST; you get some exercise and you save yourself the hassle of trying to find parking!
  1. Trabocco in Alameda ~ The Octopus app is fabulous. Say hi to Christine and Giuseppe.
  2. Mua in Oakland ~ The music and vibe are super fun at this Uptown restaurant – wear your high heels.
  3. Asena in Alameda ~ The salad with the goat cheese is life-changing
  4. Kirala in Berkeley ~ Looks empty from the outside, but inside it’s popping.
  5. Town Tavern in Alameda ~ Loaded tots and champagne from a coupe. Yes, please.
  6. La Mediterranée in Berkeley ~ Greek delights on College Ave. in Berkeley.
  7. Lake Chalet in Oakland ~ Get a table outside on the water and go early. Stay as long as you can.
  8. Wood Tavern in Oakland ~ Yummy and Simple. You can’t go wrong, but make a rez!
  9. District in Oakland ~ Dark and Romantic in Old Town, Oakland.
  10. Zut in Berkeley~ A 4th Street institution. Go early so you can cruise the street and shop a bit before you eat!

Imagine you’re surrounded by beautiful water and a cool breeze, watching boats and paddleboards cruising by. Then picture your children playing soccer around all of that. Hawaii? Nope, a different island off the coast of Oakland called Alameda. Soccer in Alameda is unlike most places for children who play one of the most popular sports in the world. Most of the soccer fields in Alameda are on the West End, which give you views of San Francisco or Oakland… or at one field in particular—access to some of the best donuts on the island. If you enjoy watching cargo ships dock and then unload, reload, and then immediately turn around while watching your kids play, there is also a field a block away from that on the now defunct Naval base. 

When kids first begin their recreational soccer experience, they play at a field called Rittler, which is two blocks away from the best beach in Alameda. The breeze from the Bay shoots down Grand to Rittler, and on a hot day you are very thankful for this breeze, but on a cold day, you are cursing it. Like Hawaii, Alameda is considered the main island and then there is Bay Farm, which is part of the City of Alameda but requires crossing a bridge to get to. You can enjoy driving through some of the newer communities as you head to Bay Farm’s Tillman Field. 

And if your child is too young to play rec, or if you are looking for help improving their skills, or you’re an adult looking to join an adult league—Bladium is the place for you. Bladium is a gym and indoor soccer space for people of all ages, and offers an indoor experience for kids between the ages of 18 months to 7 years old. They also have leagues for adults of any age, to enjoy some friendly competition and a night out with peers. 

Alameda has everything you need to start or continue your soccer experience, while also enjoying a little piece of heaven within the hustle and bustle of the San Francisco Bay Area. I highly recommend it! —Melanie Anderson

When my kids were really young, we visited parks nearly every day. Alameda, Oakland, and Berkeley offer a wide variety of parks to choose from. They come in all sizes from small neighborhood jungle gym like you find on Harbor Bay.

to large fields for organized sports—like Lincoln Park in Alameda and Montclair Park in Oakland—to the Tilden Park Little Farm in Berkeley. I thought the parks were just for little kids, but now that my kids are older, I know differently. 

Parks are not just for slides and monkey bars. They offer older kids a place for meeting up and socializing. My 11-year-old loves to go to the park and meet up with her friends and often brings a soccer ball or volleyball with her. She’s there for hours—without any electronics. Being close to a park can be life changing. —Becky Cusack

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