3 great reasons to show up early
Stroll around the lake: After an $88 million renovation, Lake Merritt has shed its shabbiness. Now the 3.1-mile path along the water’s edge is lined with freshly planted trees. Park yourself on a bench and watch rowers glide across the water. From Broadway, walk four blocks east on 20th St.
Check out a new Oakland classic: For the best waterfront view in town, grab a barstool at the communal table at the Lake Chalet’s Pump House Bar in the newly revamped Lake Merritt Boathouse. Pair locally brewed ales with oysters, fresh ceviche, or warm hummus and pita. $$; happy hour 3 p.m.–6 p.m. Wed–Sun; 1520 Lakeside Dr.; 510/208-5253.
Scope out the art scene: For a glimpse of what emerging local artists are doing, hit Oakland Art Murmur’s First Friday art walk, when about 20 galleries downtown and in the adjacent Uptown neighborhood greet (and in some cases pour wine for) a stream of visitors. Events: Feb 5, Mar 5, 2010.