Alameda’s Best Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems and Local Hotspots

Alameda's Best Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems and Local Hotspots

In this video, we’re thrilled to present our list of Alameda’s best kept secrets: 10 lesser-known yet truly fantastic places to visit in Alameda. Some of which are not-so-secret, but essential knowledge if you’re considering a move here.

Having lived in Alameda for over a decade, we love it here. And the places on our list were unknown to us during our first few years here, but we’ve stumbled upon them over time. Some of these discoveries date back several years, while others are more recent.

Although Alameda’s main island spans only about 10 square miles, there are pockets and hidden gems worth exploring, and we’re excited to share them with you.

1. Encinal Market

First up, anyone who has lived on the East End will tell you that Encinal Market is the go-to spot for shopping. It boasts an excellent beer and wine selection, top-notch produce, a butcher, and all the essentials you could need.

Back when we lived just half a block away, we’d dash over there in the middle of cooking to grab some produce if we were running low or had run out of something, and we’d be back in time to finish sautéing that onion.

2. Encinal Yacht Club

Continuing on a similar note, Encinal Yacht Club claims the number two spot. Originally located on the South Shore of the island many years ago, it now sits on the estuary on the North Shore. It’s a fantastic gathering place, with many locals being long-time members of the club.

One of Encinal Yacht Club’s standout features is the unparalleled view it offers of the estuary and downtown Oakland. It’s also a vibrant community hub, especially in the summer, thanks to its junior sailing programs, which draw numerous families to the area. Additionally, there’s a lap pool that kids absolutely adore during the summer months. You’ll always find some activity going on, and don’t forget to check out the restaurant and bar upstairs; it’s a hidden gem you won’t want to miss.

By the way, we’re members ourselves, and we can tell you that you don’t need to own a boat or break the bank to join. It’s a relatively affordable social club, and many people frequent it regularly, making it an excellent place to meet new people.

Alameda's Best Kept Secrets - Encinal Yacht Club 2

3. Pottery Barn Outlet

Switching gears a bit, the third item on our list is the Pottery Barn Outlet. There, you’ll discover a ton of fantastic deals. We’ve purchased everything from couches to artwork and decor – you name it, they’ve got it in stock.

In addition, they’re constantly rotating their inventory. If you’re a savvy bargain hunter looking to furnish your new home or spruce up your space, this is definitely a place you’ll want to explore. We’ve snagged discounts of up to 70-80% off on couches and more.

Pro tip: be sure to follow their Instagram account because they regularly post about sales and new inventory arrivals. So if you follow them on Instagram, you can hustle over there and get the good stuff before everyone else does.

4. Picnic: Benches at the end of the pier by the Hornet

Close by to the Pottery Barn outlet is the USS Hornet, which draws a lot of people to Alameda.However, one of the lesser-known gems is located just beyond the Hornet, at the very end of the pier. There, you’ll discover a couple of picnic benches, creating a truly delightful spot to grab some takeout and soak in the stunning views.

The sunsets over the San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge are unparalleled, so don’t miss out on this experience. Simply park near the Hornet and take a leisurely walk down the pier until you reach this picturesque spot.

5. Saltbreaker

Not too far from that enjoyable picnic spot, you can elevate your dining experience at a brand-new restaurant called Salt Breaker. It’s conveniently situated just around the corner from the beloved Almanac Brewery, a favorite among locals.

While everyone on the island is familiar with Almanac, Salt Breaker is brand new. It’s a great place where you can savor some delicious food on the base while also indulging in refreshing beverages. This is definitely a spot to keep on your radar and explore if you find yourself in that area. The interior design at Salt Breaker is fabulous, and the food is top-notch, so be sure to give it a try.


If you’re considering a move to Alameda and want a deeper understanding of the neighborhoods, along with recommendations on where to eat, drink, and explore, we’ve prepared a comprehensive relocation guide to address all your questions.

Be sure to check it out and download your copy by filling out the form below: 

6. Island Savoy

While we’re on the topic of food next on our list is Island Savoy, which is at the corner of Bay Street and Lincoln on the main island. Another relatively recent addition, Island Savoy is a fantastic market where you can pick up those little items you might have forgotten to make for dinner.

They offer an array of snacks and boast a full coffee bar as well as a deli sandwich shop. So, whether you’re grabbing sandwiches for a trip to the Hornet or simply enjoying lunch elsewhere, Island Savoy has you covered.

7. Lazy Bird Coffee

In a similar vein, within that cozy business district on Central, you’ll find Lazy Bird Coffee. They serve up mouthwatering sliders and delectable breakfast burritos every morning, along with a wide selection of delicious baked goods. It’s a spot you definitely won’t want to miss, and their coffee is absolutely fabulous.

8. Mosley’s Cafe

Now, if you happen to find yourself more in the central part of the island rather than the West End or Gold Coast, there’s Mosley’s Cafe. It’s situated at the far end of Grand Street. You can park at the boat ramp, take a stroll along the path, and you’ll find yourself on a pier, literally surrounded by the estuary while you enjoy your morning coffee and snacks. It’s a delightful spot to catch up on the newspaper, read a book in the morning, and, of course, have a satisfying breakfast.

9. Forbidden Island

After you’ve visited Lazy Bird, Island Savoy, and Mosley’s, and the day is wearing on, it’s time to make your way to Forbidden Island. This is a cherished Alameda favorite for those who have been there. It’s a tiki bar located not far from Island Savoy, precisely at the corner of Sherman and Lincoln.

Alameda's Best Kept Secrets -Forbidden Island 1

The ambiance is unique, with its low ceilings and dive bar charm that’s nothing short of amazing. Be sure to give it a try. What sets it apart is its menu, which rates drinks in terms of skull and crossbones – one skull and crossbones for mild, and four for strong. Explore their inventive drink options and have a really fun evening at Forbidden Island.

They even offer outdoor seating, so you can enjoy the open air when the weather is nice. But when it’s not-so-nice, you can immerse yourself in the cozy low-ceilinged atmosphere for a truly memorable tiki bar experience.

10. Path that parallels Bay View

When you wake up in the morning, ready to go for a walk or run to burn off those calories, the place to do that is the next item on our list. It’s the path that runs parallel to Bayview but on the waterfront side.

This path is tucked behind all the houses, situated between their properties and the high tide line. It winds along the shoreline, meandering its way on an unpaved trail. Along the way, you’ll enjoy a splendid view of the water and the city. It’s open to the public from dawn to dusk.

If you’re traveling down Shoreline towards Broadway and don’t want to turn up Broadway, you can veer left and explore this charming little nature trail. It’s not very lengthy, but it’s a delightful path that you absolutely must check out. The views of the water are simply breathtaking. It’s a true hidden gem.

Alameda's Best Kept Secrets -Path that parallels Bay view

11. Bay Farm Trail

The last item on our list is a continuation of that trail. Once you arrive at the Bay Farm Bridge, you can cross the pedestrian bridge, take a right, and you’ll find yourself on the path in front of Bay Farm. While many Alamedans are already familiar with this path, it remains one of our favorite places for a leisurely walk or a weekly run along the Bay Farm path.

This path is fully paved and currently undergoing significant improvements to make sure it’s going to be nice and smooth. People often use it for their daily commute to the Bay Farm ferry by bike, making it not just a walking path but also a popular biking route.

Many residents walk their dogs here, enjoy coffee breaks, or relax on one of the picnic benches while soaking in the expansive views. From here, you’ll see views not only the main island of Alameda but also the Oakland skyline, the Oakland Hills, and, of course, the iconic San Francisco skyline. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss.

Moreover, this path actually goes the entire loop around Bay Farm. It conveniently connects back to the main island via the pedestrian bridge, allowing for easy on-and-off access as well.

That wraps up our list. WE hope our list of "Alameda's Best Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems and Local Hotspots" has helped you.

Did we miss anything? Is there something you’d like to see in a part two?

Moreover, if there’s any other way we can assist you, whether it’s serving as your preferred real estate guide or simply engaging in a conversation, we’re here for you. You can easily reach out to us by clicking here to find our contact information and send us a message. 

Here’s to all your success! 

Alameda’s Best Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems and Local Hotspots

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Alameda’s Best Kept Secrets: Hidden Gems and Local Hotspots

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