Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.
There are many places throughout Oakland that offer stunning views of the Bay, the bridges, and San Francisco. One of my favorites can be found at Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in West Oakland. The park is set smack dab in the middle of the bustling Port Of Oakland, so it’s literally humming with the sounds of commerce. But, what the park lacks in quiet serenity, it more than makes up for with its panoramic views of San Francisco and the Bay.
From the vantage point of Middle Harbor Shoreline Park, the San Francisco skyline can be seen in full profile, with the Bay Bridge stretched out before it.
If you visit the park at low tide, you can see how shallow the Bay is (the average depth is only 43 feet). At this time, Middle Harbor is transformed into a series of mudflats that attract flocks of hungry shorebirds. When you see those flats, it becomes obvious why the Bay needs to be occasionally dredged to keep the shipping lanes open.
At the west end of the park, a modern observation tower is available to provide optimal 360-degree views.
The park has ample trails, mostly paved, where you can walk or jog. You can also enjoy a front row seat for ocean-going vessels entering or departing from Oakland Inner Harbor since the western end of the park forms one tip of the Inner Harbor Channel (the opposing tip being formed by the end of Runway 31 at the former Alameda Naval Air Station).
The park is surrounded by huge cranes that load and unload the many container ships that enter the Port of Oakland from around the world. These cranes inspired Steven Spielberg in his design of the martian machines used in the 2005 movie, The War of the Worlds.
At the northern end of Middle Harbor, the park becomes Port View Park. From this vantage point, you can sit on a bench and look back over Middle Harbor to the Port, with downtown Oakland and the more distant Oakland Hills in the background.
While you may not expect to find a park in the midst of one of North America’s largest ports, you should plan a visit on a clear day to Middle Harbor Shoreline Park and the smaller Port View Park to get some exercise while enjoying the pristine views they offer.
Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.
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