10 Things to do with a baby in Oakland, CA


When we’re not busy raising kids or writing RookieMoms.com, we manage {510} Families, a website for East Bay parents. Whitney and I created the resource we wish we had when home with our firstborns wondering what the heck to do with our time on maternity leave: a calendar with drop-in events and fairs (always ready to answer the old “It’s 10am on a Tuesday, where should we go?” question) and a ton of great free advice about places to go with little ones.

Together with our friend Lisa we offer you some of our favorite spots in Oakland, CA for baby mamas. We’d be thrilled if you made your weekly plan of attack using our notes:

  1. Baby Brigade at the New Parkway Theater @ 474 24th Street, Oakland, CA 94612 . Officially, you are welcome to bring your baby at any time, but Baby Brigade showings are specifically set aside for parents with infants with changing tables set up and an audience that understands if there are a few screams or whimpers along the way. See calendar.
  2. Then Comes Baby @ 3657 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610. New moms can stop in during drop-in times for a comfortable place to nurse or sip coffee. Owner Sabrina is adding post-partum classes and services all the time. See our introduction of Then Comes Baby before you stop by.

Places to go with babies in Oakland
Then Comes Baby lounge area

  1. Bittersweet Chocolate Café in Rockridge @ 5427 College Ave, Oakland 94618. Just because you’re no longer pregnant doesn’t mean you don’t still crave chocolate. Make a date with a girlfriend at Bittersweet Café on College Avenue. Although it might be a tight squeeze, this charming café will make it all worth it when you score your table and settle in with a cup of their signature Bittersweet drink and some pan au chocolat. A great place to spend a Monday morning, and when it’s sunny, you, your friend, and baby can park yourselves out front at a sidewalk café table. (closed Monday)
  2. Chabot Science Center. This is a underrated gem of the East Bay—take the picturesque Skyline Blvd. to the Chabot Science Center. Put baby in a carrier and take your time to explore. Although the outdoor telescope viewing hours may be past your bedtime, there are different programs featured daily, including a 15-minute planetarium show for visitors under 5. Check their calendar of exhibits for other kid-friendly programs and inspire your future rocket scientist. (closed Monday & Tuesday)
  3. Mama’s Royal Café @ 4012 Broadway, Oakland 94611. With a name like Mama’s, you know you’re in the right place. This hipster diner joint will remind you that just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you’re not still cool. Show off your tats if you got ‘em—everyone else here is. Saddle up the highchair next to one of their booths and order from the chi-chi diner menu and don’t forget to check the specials.
  4. Oakland Zoo. Your kid doesn’t even need to be walking yet to enjoy the Oakland Zoo—in fact, this is a great place to put some miles on that stroller . Tiny babies will appreciate the new sites (and smells) and they’re free. Older kids will enjoy the children’s zoo and just making faces with the monkeys.
  5. Hipline Dance Studio @ 3270 Lakeshore Ave. Reserve and pay for your onsite childcare when you reserve your class; the babysitter can watch up to four babies while mom shakes her booty in the studio. Bay Area moms, you must read our 7 ways to get a workout with a baby.

    Hipline Dance Studio Oakland
    Oakland’s Hipline Dance Studio Childcare Room

  6. Lake Temescal Tucked in an unlikely place right next to Route 13 is Lake Temescal, a sweet little oasis right before the Oakland Hills. This lake is surrounded by picnic areas, green patches, and a great sandy beach. When it’s warm, you can swim in the lake, and when it’s not, you can still have fun making sandcastles and strolling along the paved paths.
  7. Farley’s East in Uptown @ 33 Grand Ave between Broadway & Webster has a kid-friendly play area upstairs with occasional storytimes; you can flip through the magazines while your baby sleeps then or get your coffee to go and visit the Lake Merritt gardens.
  8. Jack London Square Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Although it’s tough to compete with San Francisco’s Ferry Plaza farmer’s market, the Jack London Square Farmer’s Market is a close second. Set along the waterfront, this is stroller friendly, with lots of high quality vendors selling everything from fresh eggs to eggplant. Don’t miss the lumpia cart down at the South end. Jack London Square Farmer’s Market is from 10am – 2pm on Sundays.

We have more details about street fairs, yoga classes, where to workout with a baby in tow,  hip places to grab coffee with a tot, and baby-friendly everything in Oakland on 510families.com. Share your ideas about fun in Oakland or wherever you are!!