Oakland  is home to several professional sports teams of varying reputations and records. The best consistent players are the MLB Oakland A’s (510/762-2277, http://oakland.athletics.mlb.com ). Part of the American League, the A’s have seen their ups and downs, but they almost always put on a good show for their fans. The NBA’s Golden State Warriors (510/625-8497, www.nba.com/warriors ) court action can be fun to watch, particularly if you’re rooting for the away team.
The most notorious team in pro football, the Oakland Raiders (510/625-8497, www.raiders.com ) call the East Bay home again after a stint in Los Angeles . The fact that they haven’t been getting their game on too well in recent years has not lessened the devotion of Bay Area fans to their beloved Raiders. If you get tickets to a game, be aware that the gangster reputation is not for nothing—the home side of the stadium can get rowdy and rough.
All three teams play at the Oracle Arena and McAfee Coliseum (7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, 510/569-2121, www.coliseum.com ), a complex with both a covered basketball arena and an open-air stadium that hosts both the A’s and the Raiders. Though the vast majority of event and game-goers are perfectly safe, the Coliseum isn’t in the best neighborhood, so pay attention as you walk out to your car.
The jewel of Oakland ’s renewed downtown culture is Lake Merritt and Lakeside Park (650 Bellevue Ave., 510/238-7275). Here you can take a walk around the lake, play a few holes of golf, rent a kayak for a peaceful paddle, or even get in a set of tennis. For families, Children’s Fairyland provides hours of entertainment and diversion.
Recreation buffs can peruse California Canoe and Kayak (409 Water St., 510/893-7833, www.calkayak.com , daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m.). CCK carries not only kayaks and equipment, but a wide selection of outdoor fashions for both men and women.