Join the Action at Alameda Point
Artisanal spirits, athletic adventures, and antique auctions liven up a day at Alameda Point.
Photo by Pat Mazzera
Join the renaissance that’s well underway at Alameda Point. In the 1940s, Alameda Point was home to one of the largest naval air stations in the world. Shuttered since 1997, the former naval base has seen a revival of industry, an infusion of craft beer and spirits producers, great food, and community activities—as well as the time-honored memorials and museums recognizing the area’s military history. Spend a winter weekend exploring the treasures of Alameda Point.
So much more than a Christmas tree lot, Wonderland Trees can turn a casual visit into a festive family outing. Each year, Speer Family Farms transforms an industrial parking lot moonscape into a wonderland of giant slides, jumpy castles, kid-friendly games, a baby animal petting zoo, and—of course—Christmas trees. The Speer family offers a variety of sustainably farm-raised firs, wreaths, and garlands. Their helpers even tie the tree to the vehicle, providing the appropriate ties, so all you have to wrangle are your kids. 2153 Ferry Point, Alameda, 510-705-2352, WonderlandTrees.com.
Play pitch-perfect holiday tunes with the help of the master piano technicians and piano rebuilders at Callahan Piano. Their bright and airy piano workshop overlooks the bay from inside Alameda Point Studios—a maker’s community housed in a massive warehouse formerly used to rebuild naval aircraft engines. Now you’ll find woodworkers, sculptors, metal workers, screenprinters, and more. Commission handcrafted gifts while taking in this collaborative hideaway. 1800 Ferry Point Bldg. 14, Alameda, 510-835-8448, CallahanPiano.com, AlamedaPointStudios.com.
Find exquisitely unique holiday gifts at Michaan’s Auctions, one of the largest auction facilities in Northern California. Peruse and bid on the fine arts, jewelry, and antiques online—or attend an auction in person. No need for a ticket or reservation—the public is welcome, so don’t be shy to have your first auction experience. Michaan’s also offers free appraisals if you’re convinced you have an undiscovered treasure on your hands. For more economical treasure hunts, visit the much-loved Alameda Point Antiques Faire at 2900 Navy Way the first Sunday of each month. 2751 Todd St., Alameda, 510-740-0220, Michaans.com.
Not sure where to bring holiday guests on a cold, winter day? Peek inside the past with a visit to the world famous USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum. The comprehensive museum keeps kids engaged and hooks grumpy grandpas with hands-on history about the naval base, aircraft, and Apollo landings—there’s even a flight simulator for the adventurous. Arrive early in the day to take advantage of the docent-led tours. Ready for more military history? The Alameda Naval Air Museum, around the corner at 2151 Ferry Point Building, honors the role of the Pacific Fleet in WWII aviation and beyond. 707 W. Hornet Ave, Pier 3, Alameda, 510-521-8448, USS-Hornet.org.
Over 175,000 square feet of action await you inside the spectacular Bladium Sports & Fitness Club. The bi-level warehouse/sports paradise houses multiple indoor and outdoor soccer fields, a 35-foot tall rock climbing wall (you can even schedule rock climbing birthday parties), a mixed martial arts ring, basketball courts, volleyball, lacrosse (!), and fitness classics like group exercise, circuit training, and CrossFit. Not feeling sporty? Hang in the cafe and enjoy a bite or a cold tap beer while you watch the live matches in the gym or on the sports bar’s big-screen TV. Seriously. You may never leave. 800 West Tower Ave., Alameda, 510-814-4999, BladiumAlameda.com.
Bikes make the best holiday gifts. When you bundle both a bike and support for a community-empowerment nonprofit, you achieve gift-giving nirvana. Changing Gears Bike Shop sells quality refurbished bikes (complete with warranties) and as-is used bikes at discounted rates. Have your ride professionally repaired or make use of the free repair stands and loaner tools for the DIY-savvy. Changing Gears has a community-building work-trade program for low-income adults and youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds that provides job training opportunities and access to sustainable transportation. If you want to play Santa, donate your previously loved bike to the cause. 650 W. Ranger Ave., Unit C-2, Alameda, 510-995-1478, ChangingGearsBikes.org.
Photo by Pat Mazzera
Fuel the holiday fun with some good old-fashioned doughnuts at Hometown Donuts. The Chen family has been perfecting island doughnuts for nearly 30 years now, and their light, fluffy taste will keep you coming back. Try specialty doughnuts that feature seasonal flavors, or stick with glazed classics and their not-to-miss fritters. Cutting back on sweets? Opt for the double cheeseburger to protein-power your shopping season. 1930 Main St., Ste. 1, Alameda, 510-522-7475.
Spirits Alley is in the heart of Alameda Point. From craft beer to fine wine and liqueurs, local artisans have transformed Monarch Street into a quarter-mile destination in its own right. Faction Brewery has a family-friendly tasting room where you can relax with your dog, take in stunning Bay Bridge and San Francisco views, and enjoy local food truck eats. Once there, sip your way through Rock Wall Wine Company, St. George Spirits, Hangar 1 Vodka, Building 43 Winery, and the rest of the Spirits Alley joints for a laid-back afternoon. 2501 Monarch St., Alameda, 510-523-2739, FactionBrewing.com.
Take the hassle out of holiday cooking with Pacific Fine Food Catering. Community-minded owner Kelly Kearney has been feeding the Bay Area since 1999, offering a wide range of dishes beyond just holiday fare, like Hula Chicken, a crowd favorite. Have a holiday dinner catered, or visit the hula-themed to-go window for a quick bite while you’re cruising Spirits Alley. Kearney sources locally and even features her Spirits Alley neighbors in chocolate stout cupcakes inspired by Faction Brewing Stout and a vanilla mascarpone cake featuring St. George’s Nola coffee liqueur. 2480 Monarch St., Alameda, 510-748-9604, PacificFineFood.com