Holiday Shopping in the East Bay
Temescal – The Temescal has become one of Oakland’s hottest, hippest neighborhoods. Longtime business BabyWorld on Telegraph Avenue is one of Oakland’s best spots for baby and little kid gear and clothing. Ruby’s Garden features gifts and hip baby and kids’ clothing from local designers, plus gently used clothing. For a fun and unusual stop, check out the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, also on Telegraph, for low-cost art supplies, paper goods, fabric, home decor and much more that have been diverted from landfills.
There’s no shortage of spots to stop for a meal or snack, including lining up for Bakesale Betty’s famous fried chicken sandwiches or grabbing a scoop at Tara’s Organic Ice Cream or a puff of sugary goodness at Doughnut Dolly. Gluten-free eaters come for miles for the breads and baked goods at Mariposa Baking Company.
A weekly farmers’ market is held on Sundays from 9am-1pm at the DMV on Claremont Avenue. For the holidays, the bi-annual Winter Art Hop will be held on the evening of Dec. 5 with shops and galleries open, strolling musicians and Santa Claus. temescaldistrict.org
Montclair – A woodsy neighborhood shopping district in the Oakland Hills, Montclair Village is charming any time of year, and even more so during the holidays. Located off Highway 13, the small, walkable shopping area includes shops with gifts for anyone on your list. Family-friendly favorites include Montclair Toyhouse and A Great Good Place for Books. The Montclair Egg Shop, celebrating its 40th year, serves breakfast all day, or pick up a snack of pizza, donuts, smoothies and more at myriad casual restaurants. montclairvillage.com.
A farmers’ market takes place each Sunday from 9am-1pm.
On Dec. 4 from 5:30-8pm, stores will stay open later for the Montclair Village Holiday Stroll, offering food, drink and special discounts and promotional offers. Free parking will be provided in the Village Garage at the top of LaSalle Avenue from 5-9pm.
SUB: Nearby Shopping Districts
Alameda – The island of Alameda has earned the unofficial moniker “where hipsters come to breed.” Certainly, there are a number of shops – both old and new – along Park Street that cater to that baby boom and to kids as they grow up. Toy Safari is jam-packed with new and reused toys and collectibles for the young and young-at-heard on your shopping list. Nearby, Lauren’s Closet mixes new toys, art supplies and more with used clothing for kids and women. Both Tot Tank and Monkey Bars offer clothing and gear for babies and tots, and Happy Feet is many families’ go-to spot for kids’ shoes. Books. Inc. has a great children’s section, plus toys and unique gifts.
If you need a break, you can take the kids to play mini-golf on a Bay Area-themed course at SubPar or check out the old-school arcade games at High Scores.
For refreshments, visit one of several frozen yogurt shops or throw calorie caution to the wind and grab a homemade ice cream cone at Tucker’s Ice Cream. www.shopparkstreet.com.
The city will hold its annual Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting, with live music and entertainment, on Dec. 6, at 4pm.
Walnut Creek – Broadway Plaza is one of the East Bay’s favorite one-stop holiday shopping destinations, with large departments stores including Macy’s and Nordstrom to clothing and children’s retailers including Gymboree and Janie & Jack. Many more shops and restaurants are located nearby. www.broadwayplaza.com. www.walnutcreekdowntown.com.
For holiday fun, the Broadway Plaza tree lighting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 7 pm, and Santa will be on hand for photos beginning in November through Dec. 24.
Once your shopping is complete, head over to Walnut Creek on Ice in Civic Park for ice-skating fun at this seasonal outdoor rink from Nov. 7-Jan. 11. $11 weekdays, $15 weekends. Civic Park, 1375 Civic Drive. iceskatewalnutcreek.