There are more than thirty islands in San Francisco Bay, ranging from teeny tiny mounds of dirt and trees, to the touristy, albeit wonderful land masses that are “Alcatraz” and “Angel”. Join us as Eye on the Bay takes a day trip to Alameda. It’s not just the only inhabited island, it’s a classic “middle America” town. Some residents call it “Kansas by the Bay”!

Alameda is fortunate to have two “main street” business district; Webster Street and Park Street. Although we made a stop at the Pacific Pinball Museum on Webster Street, the majority of our day trip was spent in the historic Park Street neighborhood. If you had been here in the 1950’s you would have seen soda shops and old diners. Actually, you still see those remnants of days gone by.


Toy Safari On Park Street
1410 Park Street
(between Central Avenue & Post Office Court)
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 522-1723

Toy Safari is the antidote to the big-box toy stores that have become so common. No wandering the aisles here… someone will actually greet you and ask you, “can I help you?” Toy Safari definitely brings back memories.

Tucker’s Ice Cream
1349 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501-4533
(510) 522-4960

The motto at Tucker’s Ice Cream is “life is uncertain, eat dessert first.” They specialize in rich and full-flavored old-fashioned super creamed ice cream, but they’re also famous for their yogurt, sorbets and sherbets, fresh fudge, cookies & brownies, ice cream cakes and the finest baked cakes and cupcakes. It doesn’t stop there! There’s gourmet coffee, cappuccino, latte, espresso, Italian sodas and much more!

Ole’s Waffle Shop
1507 Park Street
(between Santa Clara Avenue & Times Way)
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 522-8108

A Bay Area institution since 1927, Ole’s Waffle Shop serves up old fashioned breakfast with all the trimmings. Vicki the owner says back in 1972 her dad bought the place for just a hundred dollars down. Great investment!


Alameda Marketplace
1650 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 865-1500

The Marketplace is home to ten locally owned and independently operated businesses focusing on gourmet, all-natural, sustainable, handmade, artisan and organic foods. From gourmet pizza to an ‘on-the-spot massage,’ The Marketplace offers quality food and services.


Alameda Theatre
2317 Central Avenue
(between Oak Street & Park Street)
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 769-3456

The Alameda Theatre is like traveling back in time. This vintage, art deco cinema has been fully restored exactly the way it was back in 1932. The screen is said to be the biggest one in all of Northern California.



Alameda has that perfect mix of dining options with a nice blend of old fashioned and fancy…there’s something for every palette! Start your day with breakfast at Ole’s Waffle Shop, voted “Best in the West” by Sunset Magazine. Grab lunch at Grand Street Bait and Tackle (yes, it’s a great dive bar) to sample the historic garlic chicken noodles. For dinner, we stopped at Zen, an asian-spanish-italian fusion restaurant, favored by many locals. (Try the sushi pizza!)


Grand Street Bait & Tackle
2030 Clement Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-2460

This neighborhood shop sells bait, tackle, fishing supplies and garlic noodles. Yes, that’s right… garlic noodles. The Fireside Cafe used to serve them to servicemen from the naval base and they became known worldwide. When Fireside went out of business, Grand Street Bait learned and perfected the recipe. So now you can order up a bowl of garlic noodles, and a side of bait.


Zen Restaurant
2315 Santa Clara Avenue
(between Oak Street & Park Street)
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-7070

Zen Asian Tapas opened its doors back in 2008. The red and black decor complements the Asian fusion cuisine. We recommend the sushi pizza — delicious!



One great activity is to simply drive and drive and drive the island! It’s hard to put our finger on it, but Alameda is just one of those places in the Bay Area that are a blast to explore! If you’re looking for more formal daytrip activities, here are a few things we knocked off the to-do list:


Pacific Pinball Museum
1510 Webster Street
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 769-1349

The best thing about this museum is that you can actually touch stuff. The price of admission gives you the right to learn everything you always wanted to know about pinball machines… and play them too. No quarters necessary!


Boardsports School
600 Westline Drive
Alameda, CA 94501
(415) 385-1224

No need to go all the way to big island of Hawaii to learn how to surf or kiteboard. At Boardsports School you can ride the waves right here on the island of Alameda. The water is warm. Jane the owner calls it the Caribbean by the Bay.


Rosenblum Cellars
2900 Main Street, Suite 1100
Alameda, CA 94501-7553
(510) 865-7007 ‎

Founded in 1978, Rosunblum cellars offers 20 different types of Zinfandel and has some of the highest rated Zins in California.


Rock Wall Winery
2301 Monarch Street, Suite 300
(between Red Line Avenue & Midway Avenue)
Alameda, CA 94501-7509
(510) 522-5700 ‎

Ideally situated in Alameda, California, the winery boasts spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline. Grapes are sourced from all over California — Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, Zinfandel from Sonoma County, Petite Sirah from Contra Costa County and Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Rock Wall Wine Company represents a new chapter in the East Bay winemaking scene.


St. George Spirits
2601 Monarch Street
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 769-1601

St. George Spirits was founded as an eau de vie distillery 30 years ago and the principles of Old World eau de vie distillation continue to inform every product they make today. St. George is open to the public for tours and tastings. Groups of 5 or more should call ahead for reservations.


Ploughshares Nursery
2701 Main Street
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 898-7811

Ploughshares is an environmentally sustainable retail nursery specializing in California native, drought tolerant and edible plants. Part of the Alameda Point Collaborative (APC), Ploughshares offers the highest quality locally grown plants, and the knowledge and expertise to help you successfully grow them in your own garden.


Alameda Point Antiques Faire
2900 Navy Way
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 522-7500

The Alameda Point Antiques Faire is the largest antiques show in Northern California. Held on the 1st Sunday of every month, the Faire boasts over 800 Dealer booths. Nothing sold is under 20 years old.


Eye On The Bay is the San Francisco Bay Area’s source for things to do, places to go and sights to see. This Emmy Award winning magazine-style show features cheap eats, Bay Area bargains and weekend getaways.

Comments (17)
  1. Nancy Eddinger says:

    In watching this program, I didn’t catch the name of the “bed & breadfast. It was the USS ? Can you help me?


    1. ccv says:

      The retired (museum) Aircraft Carrier USS Hornet, at Alameda Point.

  2. JMcCredie says:

    Had dinner tonight at Zen – it’s better than ever!

  3. Rich Wheeler says:

    I loved your coverage of Alameda, but you didn’t so justice!
    I was born and raised in Alameda and there is so much more you could have covered that would have been of interest to people that wish to visit Alameda.
    I live in Tucson, AZ and happen to get Bay Area Stations and Record every Eye on The Bay and was very happy when you did this segment yesterday, May 19, 2011.
    Thanks you!

  4. YSM says:

    You have to experience it to believe it. A bit of a step back in time, friendly, simple and safe!

    This is a beautiful place and a well kept secret,so that it can stay this way. Thanks for the coverage.

  5. CAK says:

    A great piece on Alameda, We’re the 6th generation calling Alameda home. Not really middle America. Unique unto it’s own. For we lifers it has significantly grown. It’s has a mystery about it. Alameda is a destination.You have to be really lost to find yourself in Alameda, on your way to another town. There are a lot of treasures and history here. Harold Camping lives here. Beyond that the community offers places of worship for people of faith. Trains once ran down Lincoln Ave. The Borden’s Milk Elsie Train ran regularly down the tracks. Many lifers purchased the family homes, have raised their children and now have visits from grandchildren. A good place but not perfect. A real place.

  6. Sarah says:

    Don’t forget this website for Alameda Naval Station…FANTASTIC place to visit in Alameda!

    USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier Museum

    Open 7 days per week!

  7. d.watson says:

    We also have a great 4th of july parade ,2treet fairs on park street 1 on webster str. and the biggiest car show on park street.400 cars 25000 people free to the dont forget crab cove concerts.

  8. 3rdGenAlamedaNative says:

    “Kansas by the Bay”? Ew! Never heard that one B4. Who visits Kansas for food, shopping, or play? Well, Robb Ratto lives in Hayward, not Alameda. I generally like EyeOnTheBay (even when it goes to Taiwan!) but I’m afraid Huell Howser did a much better job, still incomplete, characterizing Alameda as a fine example of California’s Gold. Too bad we have the state’s worst fire/police response for the money. Response time is prompt, but they don’t know what to do once they get there. Maybe AFD & APD think they’re in Kansas. too, Toto. Kansas has no beaches. You’re safer there.

  9. whyask says:

    I’d like to see the missing 4th segment. I assume this is where the marketplace and Alameda point are covered? (It’s nothing like Kansas, and I’ve never heard it called that before….I hear “Island City”, but the point is that it doesn’t feel as urban as its location would insinuate.

  10. ESP says:

    Kansas?? I have lived in Alameda for 8 years, after growing up in the UK and living in Asia for several years, as well as San Francisco itself. I am definitely an “urbanite” and a world-traveller. I am quite sure that if Alameda were like Kansas (no offence Kansas) it would not be my choice of home. I can’t think of anything less like Kansas or “Middle America”. How can you possibly describe somewhere that has beaches, city views, is only a 30 minute ride away from one of the coolest cities in the world and has fabulously preserved architecture on almost every street as “classic Middle America”. What a travesty!! “Kansas by the Bay” – complete nonsense. Every resident I know calls it the “Island City” – by definition nothing like Kansas!!!

  11. Alameda Resident says:

    I have lived in Alameda for over 20 years and it is a unique Island City…nothing like any other place on earth. That’s one of the reasons why I chose to live there! The Gold Coast, Park St., Webster St., Clean and green businesses, climate, and a friendly style. Tuckers Ice Cream, here I come!

  12. Broderick Perkins says:

    Absolutely eye popping reporting.