A Maximus Guide to Alameda, California
A total of 101 towns and cities comprise the Bay Area, and each offers a unique way of life. Though often overshadowed by their larger or more culturally prominent neighbors, these cities make up the heart and soul of the region. Some might appeal to more nature-driven, escapist lifestyles. Others, to those who constantly yearn for new urban experiences.
One such city is nestled somewhere in between, yet holds a space (geographically—it’s an island; and metaphorically) all its own. Next to Oakland and across the bay from San Francisco on its own little island sits a true gem of a city: Alameda. It’s close enough to the Bay Area’s urban centers to access them with ease, but isolated enough to serve as an escape from the crowds and bustle of the city.
For the outdoorsman, there’s unlimited access to the coastline, giant redwoods and rolling hills nearby, and a mild climate begging to be enjoyed year round. For the foodie, there’s cuisine from all over the world—and we’re not just talking quantity; the food here is good. This should come as no surprise once you learn that Alameda County is one of the most diverse counties in California.
For the social butterfly or settled-down family, Alameda has that neighborly, small-town vibe. With a population of approximately 80,000 residents, it’s large enough to meet new people every time you go out, while retaining the charm and familiarity found in smaller communities.
Our team has fallen in love with this unique and charming island-city as, along Alameda’s south-facing shoreline, you’ll find the aptly named Maximus property, South Shore.
For the drinking crowd, Webster Street is also the prime locale for an intimate meetup with a friend or a larger gathering. Prime nightlife spots include The Fireside Lounge, which often hosts trivia nights and open mic nights, and 1400 Bar & Grill, known for its pizza, drinks, live entertainment and dog-friendly patio. (Other dog-friendly spots include the open-late Alameda Dog Park and the 2.5-mile trail running parallel to the bay—more on that below.)
Much of Alameda’s appeal isn’t its stores and restaurants—it’s the natural geography and the mostly untouched land on its shoreline, which happens to be right across the street from the South Shore community. Crown State Memorial Beach consists of 2.5 miles of shoreline, with a pedestrian-friendly bike path running alongside it. The beach offers stunning views of the San Francisco skyline and the Bay Bridge. In the warmer months, the site draws visitors from all over the Bay Area for windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking and volleyball.
After a day on or near the water, venture to the west side of the island to Alameda’s decommissioned naval base, which now serves as home to breweries, wine tasting rooms, and distilleries. Among the local alcohol establishments is Faction Brewing, opened in 2013 by a pair of beer industry veterans and California natives. During your visit, order a pale ale or IPA (Faction is known for their hoppy beers) and admire the intricate murals painted by local artists. Neighboring Dashe Cellars more than appeases local wine drinkers, with its speciality being classic red wines. Locals from Alameda and beyond can order pick up or home delivery for at-home wine tastings when the tasting room is closed.
And because cities are nothing if not their culture, experience a bit of Alameda’s melting pot through your taste buds. Local favorite Burma Superstar encourages family-style eating—whether you’re dining in or ordering delivery. Inspired by the country of Myanmar (formerly Burma), the restaurant’s cuisine serves bold, flavorful, shareable dishes like Samusa Salad, Pumpkin Pork Stew and Seafood Curry. Plenty of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options are available.
Other favorite eateries include Sakura Sushi Bar & Grill, which serves great lunch bento boxes and Calafia Taqueria, bringing you back to the beloved Webster Street for burritos, tortas, tamales and weekend-only menudo.
Though not quite as infamous as the bigger city within view, Alameda is a charming, quirky, community-focused island, worth a visit, if not an extended stay.