Park Street is for Lovers (of Retail and Dining)
For as small and quiet as the Island may seem, Alameda always keeps things fresh on Park Street.
A Park Street excursion should include a visit to Alameda Brewing Company.
Photo by Pat Mazzera
It’s no secret that Park Street is one of the—if not the—cutest shopping and dining strips in Alameda County. For as small and quiet as the Island may seem, Alameda always keeps things fresh on Park Street. Last year, some 20 new businesses opened. Ring in 2016 by exploring what’s new in a day (psst, bring a date on a sunny February afternoon) along Park Street’s tree-lined blocks.
Enjoy the simpler joys in life with a stop at Books Inc. Walls lined with the latest in fiction and nonfiction could keep you occupied for hours, and manager Nick Petrulakis might have a cocktail recipe to suggest with certain titles. For a bit of nostalgia, shop some of vintage shops like Juniper Tree Vintage to score anything from 1960s Pendleton wool jackets to Mad Men-worthy hats to wicker picnic baskets. Books Inc., 1344 Park St., www.BooksInc.net; Juniper Tree Vintage, 1320 Park St., 510-865-1577.
Cross the street to include a shopping stop at Dandelion Flower Shop to pick up freshly cut beauties for $5 in the bins out front or splurge on a carefully arranged bouquet or flower crown. 1419 Park St., 510-522-2275, www.DandelionFlowerShop.com.
Keep the party going with a slight detour off Park to Pippa & Co. for some of the best balloons (think oversized medicine ball) in the Bay Area. The adorable storefront is stocked with party favors and décor that could make you squeal just looking at them—who knew tassels could elicit a physical reaction? But it’s those helium-filled globes that will delight any age. Letterpress and calligraphy are among the crafty workshops dreamed up by storeowner Lisa Milestone. 2544 Santa Clara Ave., Shop.PippaCo.com.
Whether or not you find accessories for the perfect picnic, you can stop in the Alameda Marketplace for coffee, cheese, wine, and other snacks and drinks from 10 local vendors. It’s like a small-town equivalent of the Ferry Building in all the best ways. 1650 Park St., www.AlamedaMarketplace.com.
For those who like a little history, just walk along Park Street to find remnants of the past, including the Masonic Temple and Lodge dating back to 1891. Designed by Oakland architect Charles Mau, the building is one of many reminders of what Alameda looked like at the turn of the 20th century. 1329-31 Park St.
Fans of arcade games with quarters to spend can have a blast at High Scores Arcade, a museum to gaming as a social endeavor where 1980s-era classics rule. And miniature golf moves indoor across the street a block away at Subpar Miniature Golf, with an 18-hole course that offers a safe place to seek hiatus from the anticipated nasty El Niño downpours. High Scores Arcade, 1414 Park St., 609-468-3083, www.HighScoresArcade.com; Subpar Miniature Golf, 1511 Park St., 510-521-4653, www.SubparMiniGolf.com.
Like movies? Then catch a flick inside the nearby Alameda Theatre & Cineplex. The Art Deco structure was restored to its 1930s glory in the mid-2000s and has since become as big a must-see for locals and visitors alike as the blockbuster films it hosts. 2317 Central Ave., 510-769-3456, www.AlamedaTheatres.com.
If you prefer moving scenery of another kind, venture further afield in Alameda and catch views of the bay on a Valentine’s Day cruise (Feb. 13 and 14). Head to Mariner Square, and hop on a yacht for nearly three hours with a buffet dinner and bar. High points: white-glove service and twinkling skyline photo ops. www.CommodoreEvents.com/Valentines-Day-Cruise.html.
Saboor Safari is back with another iteration of Angela’s. Back in late 2014, days before the Mediterranean restaurant was set to open its new location, it burned down, a casualty of arson. Zafari didn’t let it stop him from opening, albeit a year later and across the street. Today, you can stop in for his duck strudel and house-made chutneys—both staples at previous locations in Alameda—in addition to lunch and dinner plates on a rotating menu chock-full of local, seasonal ingredients. 1640 Park St., 510-263-8788, Angelas2go.com.
Beers flow like hoppy lava at Alameda Island Brewing Company, where you can enjoy flights or pints in the microbrewery’s tasting room or patio. In between beers, you can tour the 10,000-square-foot facility to see what founder Matthew Fox and his crew are brewing. Be prepared to be a participant in some research and development: Fox is known for making small batches, and he welcomes customer feedback. 1716 Park St., 510-217-8885, www.AlamedaIslandBrewingCompany.com.
Go from beers made in small batches to ice cream made in batch freezers over at Tucker’s Super Creamed Ice Cream. The popular parlor prides itself on creating wholesome treats the old-fashioned way. Lick away at tangy sorbets, dig around a mound of up to 12 scoops in the Granddaddy sundae, or sip on a coffee float. For the health conscious, enjoy a freshly made vanilla yogurt topped with fresh fruits. 1349 Park St., 510-522-4960, www.TuckersIceCream.com.