Lake Merritt

Lonely Planet review

Oakland’s visual centerpiece, Lake Merritt is a gorgeous place to stroll, jog or lollygag on a sunny day. Once a tidal marsh teeming with waterfowl, it became a lake in 1869 with the damming of an arm of the Oakland estuary. It still supports migratory birds and remains connected to the estuary, but its 155 acres are briny and unfit for swimming. You’ll spot hundreds of Canada geese (and their droppings) along a 3.5-mile perimeter path. You can also rent boats. Those crew teams whipping past? They’re the Lake Merritt Rowing Club.