Rediscover Montclair for Shopping, Playing, and Eating

Montclair is closer then you think—and more fabulous than you remember.


Published:

Grab tea at Sophie's

Photo by Lori Eanes

With more than 200 businesses tucked into a few square blocks, Montclair Village makes shopping, dining, and running errands a breeze. The vibrant hillside community has ample parking, a thriving Sunday farmers market, and is famous for its welcoming vibe. It’s a destination in its own right, or a sweet stop for snacks, when you’re en route to area parks. Stocked with everything you need for work or play, Montclair is closer than you think—and as fabulous as you remember.

 

Shop

Local shopping + independent bookstore = true love. Go for the books, go for the cozy vibe, go for the weekly lineup of award-winning authors reading from their latest works. Whatever the reason, just go to A Great Good Place for Books. Ask owner Kathleen Caldwell for her latest recommendation or browse the fantastic selection of children’s books, YA, and literary fiction. 6120 LaSalle Ave., 510-339-8210, GGPBooks.com.

McCaulou’s department stores have been delivering style to the East Bay since the 1960s. McCaulou’s Shoes—a stand-alone shop distinct from the longtime and well appointed department store around the corner at 6211 Medau Place—delivers seasonal styles and great sales: good for fancy feet, fitness wear, summer sandals, and winter boots. Plus, there’s a solid selection for men and kids, too. 2020 Mountain Blvd., 510-339-2210, McCaulous.com.

The friendly staff members at Farmstead Cheeses & Wines guide you through the curated selection of international and local fare whenever you stop in, making it an easy pre-party stop for the perfect host gift or treat to share. Love to wine taste? Try established and up-and-coming wines, 5-7 p.m. Fridays or 2-5 p.m. Saturdays for $1. Love to drink for a good cause? All tasting proceeds are donated to local schools. It would be criminal to pass it up. 6218 La Salle Ave., 510-864-9463, FarmsteadCheesesAndWines.com.

Photo By Lori Eanes

Wine and more at Farmstead.

Play

The perfect Sunday awaits at the Montclair Golf Course. Beer is cheap, burger and fries just right, and the laid-back vibe pretty hard to beat. Forget what you think about prim-and-proper golf culture: Newcomers are welcome here, as are the kiddos. Play the nine-hole course or whack a bucket of balls at the driving range while taking in the beauty of the canyon. No golf gear? No problem. Rent or buy what you need in the friendly pro shop. 2477 Monterey Blvd., 510-482-0422.

Let the kids run wild at the Montclair Recreation Center. The center hosts youth classes and recreational sports, while the surrounding park area is prime for kids of all ages. There are two playgrounds—one for wee toddlers and one for bigger kids. You can rock the skateboard ramp, shoot hoops on the courts, or play a pickup game on the baseball diamond. Not the sporty type? Grab a coffee and read in the sun. 6300 Moraga Ave., 510-482-7812, www2.oaklandnet.com.

Stroll California history on the beautiful Montclair Railroad Trail, a 1.5-mile linear public park whose trailhead is hidden in plain sight at the top of Montclair Village. The trail follows a section of a passenger and freight rail that was in between 1912 and 1957. Historical markers indulge your nerdy love of the past, and the tree-lined path is an easy nature escape in the center of town. 6235 LaSalle Ave., behind the Montclair Parking garage, MontclairTrail.org.

 

Eat

From the colorful decor, poppy Thai tunes, spicy Southern Thai menu, and genuinely attentive and happy staff, the dining experience at Daughter Thai is darling. Believe them when menu items say spicy—the delicious gang som white fish curry will have you sweating. Favorites like pad thai dot the menu for those who don’t want the heat. Visiting feels like a celebration, and the rich flavors will have you coming back for more. 6118 Medau Place, 510-823-2354, DaughterThai.com.

Red, white, green, yellow, floral, wu long—Sophie’s Cuppa Tea wants you to know not all caffeine is black. Owners Xiaobei Wei and John Brown researched tea for eight years before opening this Montclair treasure. They access the spring pick (read: crème de la crème) of tea leaves on their annual picking trip to China. Go deep with educational tea tastings 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturdays, groove to live music after the Sunday farmers market, or just hang with a house-baked treat and free Wi-Fi any day of the week. 2078 Antioch Court, 510-500-3404, SophiesCuppaTea.com.

El Agavero is always packed. The family-friendly Mexican joint serves up fan favorites like enchiladas verdes and soul-healing caldo tlalpeño (spicy chicken vegetable soup served with tortillas, rice, and avocado), while also offering more flamboyant affairs such as whole fried red snapper with garlic or spicy diabla sauce. Open breakfast through dinner, you may never need to cook again. 2017 Mountain Blvd., 510-339-3000, ElAgavero.com.

 

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