Residents of North Oakland’s Temescal have major neighborhood pride, and for good reason: they’ll boast about how they discovered this slightly grittier area while nearby Rockridge real estate was exploding. They peruse the ultra-local Temescal Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning, nodding knowingly to the neighbors. And they love to support the small business that line Telegraph Avenue, the main drag. To get a taste of Temescal for yourself, drop in for a day trip (it’s conveniently located just off Highway 24) and check out the host of kid-friendly haunts.
Photo: Temescal Farmers Market by Rich R. via FourSquare
Temescal Farmer’s Market
There’s no better place to get the flavor of this neighborhood: a mix of hungover hipsters and bleary-eyed new parents flock every Sunday morning to stock up on seasonal organic produce, catch up with the neighbors, perk up with the help of some Blue Bottle coffee, bounce and groove to some live music, and nosh on everything from vegan samosas to wood-fired pizza. It’s in the parking lots of the Claremont DMV, and the Temescal creek area makes a picturesque picnic spot (and a fun place for kids to splash on warm days).
5300 Claremont Ave.
This kids’ clothing consignment boutique gets a great selection of excellent condition fashionable duds from local families. It also features new designs from local “mom-preneurs” as well as a large collection of San Francisco-based Tea Collection. The owner and employees are helpful with ideas for picking out gifts, and even offer gift wrap.
5026 Telegraph Ave.
East Bay Center for Creative Re-Use
A real-life treasure hunt, you literally never know what amazing things you’ll find at the East Bay Center for Creative Re-Use. Perhaps you’re looking for some random markers, collage materials, or other art supplies, or maybe you’ll score a sweet bicycle, an unopened OXO nightlight, a vintage lunchbox, or a barely-used bottle of Essie nail polish–all for incredibly cheap. If your little one appreciates the charm of older things and the hunt for something great, be sure to take a browse here.
4695 Telegraph Ave.
With its row of cribs, carseats and strollers, as well as racks of layette essentials and shelves of baby books, Baby World is the one-stop shop in Temescal for those expecting. In fact, there’s even a registry available. Residents appreciate this locally-owned business saving them a trip to a big-box chain.
440 Telegraph Ave.
Temescal Library and Tool Lending Library
This relatively small local branch of the Oakland Public Library hosts a toddler story time on Wednesday mornings at 10:30, as well as an after-school art program hosted by MOCHA. But the biggest perk for Oakland card holders is the tool lending library. To give your kids a real lesson in the meaning of being green, sip the weekend trip to Home Depot to pick up another new tool and check out the gear you need from this loaning program instead.
5205 Telegraph Ave.
Photo: Frog Park
Follow the creek and greenway up from the Farmer’s Market to this utterly wonderful playground…there’s truly something for everyone. A large wooden treehouse and train-themed play structure for older kids, some tot swings, a sandbox and smaller manipulative toys for smaller kids, and a pond for kids who would rather just explore and make messes. There are picnic tables and a restroom, as well.
5500 Claremont Ave.
Picky little eaters will appreciate a restaurant that deals entirely in mac-and-cheese. Homeroom woos its clientele by offering the classic comfort dish with twists such as oodles of Gilroy garlic, or goat cheese, or Sriracha. They have add-ons just like you used to do as a kid (hot dogs, tuna, peas, broccoli), and a kid’s menu of basic macs. There’s even a Homeroom To Go location open now, so you can call ahead and take your noodles for a picnic.
400 40th St.
Aunt Mary’s Cafe
A down-home southern brunch spot, Aunt Mary’s brings a familial vibe to breakfast. Post up with some of their provided crayons, books, and games, and order up some shrimp and grits or chicken and waffles. On the weekends, the pain perdu is a sweet tooth’s destiny fulfilled!
4640 Telegraph Ave.
Bowl’d BBQ Korean Stone Grill
With the wealth of amazing Korean restaurants up and down Telegraph Avenue, relative newcomer Bowl’d had to offer something special to lure in the jaded locals. Two things that keep us coming back are the spicy Korean Fried Chicken (KFC, in their parlance), and the $6 kid’s bowl, which includes rice, seaweed, veggies, soup, and choice of protein. Kids love rolling up their own little bites in the seaweed–when they’re not ogling the dozen or small small kim chee dishes that come out with every meal.
4869 Telegraph Ave
Rosamunde’s Sausage Grill
The specialty sausage and craft beer’s latest location is set to open in this ‘hood in early 2015…keep an eye out for the big day!
4659 Telegraph Ave
This ultra-popular outpost of the beloved Bay Area chain of Burmese restaurants is always busy, and everyone walks out smiling. Kids go nuts for the coconut rice and samusas, and we do not recommend leaving unless you’ve tried the unforgettable, 22-ingredient Rainbow Salad. Mixed tableside, it’s a feast for the senses, and creates a taste memory and lifelong craving at first bite.
4721 Telegraph Ave.
Temescal parents of tots who still have a social life can often be found at Lanesplitter, enjoying New York-style pies (vegan or Heartstopper?) and California pitchers (Racer 5 or Trumer?) with other families. This ultra laid-back parlor has enough punk eye candy (including a vintage motorcycle) to keep little eyes entertained throughout a meal.
4799 Telegraph Ave.
Charlie Hallowell’s first restaurant (which helped put Temescal on the map) is still going strong, and his Chez Panisse sensibilities will never go out of fashion, especially when the food’s this consistently wonderful. Baby’s first Romanesco? There’s no better place for an immersion in the wonders of local and seasonal produce. And fussy eaters can get a wood-fired plain margherita pizza. We recommend checking out the sunny bocce courts and fountain out back, it’s like a little slice of Italy.
5008 Telegraph Ave
Photo: Doughnut Dolly
You’ve gotta love the moxie of a place like Doughnut Dolly: tucked back in Temescal Alley, this Kickstarter-funded pastry shop felt the love from locals enough to open a Berkeley location last year. Get there early if you want to sample the goods, then pick a cream filling, as well as a sugar topping. The naughty cream (French vanilla) is a perennial hit.
482 B 49th St.
You’ve seen the crowds lined up down the block at lunchtime for the totally-worth-the-wait fried chicken sandwich (as well as the cobalt-blue-haired proprietress), but if you hit up this Temescal institution before the lunch rush when strawberries are in season, the shortcake is a must.
5098 Telegraph Ave.
Photo by Jessamine L. via of Yelp
From its start as a freezer on wheels (a fancy custom tricycle, to be more precise) to its current brick-and-mortar space at the entrance to the uber-hip Temescal Alley shops, this artisanal ice cream maker tempts with both vegan and traditional ice creams, in flavors like oatmeal raisin, vanilla malt ball, and bourbon whiskey for your grown folks.
482 49th St.
When Tara’s opened another outpost besides its College Avenue, lovers of organic ice cream a few blocks south yelped for joy. The smaller storefront still hosts the same luscious and unique flavors that lure adventurous ice cream and sorbet fans to the original Tara’s.
4731 Telegraph Ave.
Did we miss any local gems? Let us know in the comments!