The shopping is easy when it comes to kids’ stuff


Lori Eanes

The East Bay is a super family-friendly place to make your home. Just walk down College Avenue in Rockridge to witness a healthy stroller brigade or visit Alameda’s Park Street on a Sunday afternoon, a regular pastime of happy families. The thing is, these kids need gear. From bassinets to French couture, we have you—and your kids—covered.

Baby World

This Temescal tot emporium is chock-full of baby gear (from strollers to monitors to health care products), furnishings, toys, and duds. It really beats Babies “R” Us for quality gear, advice, and customer service. Baby World has a nursery design team, installs car seats for free (or checks the installation of car seats purchased elsewhere), and is a great spot to check out the wonderful world of gliders (a must-have for nursing mothers). It’s also an awesome outlet for baby shower gifts, especially clothing brands like Under the Nile, Babysoy, and Colette Kids. 4400 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-547-7040,, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun.

Rockridge Kids

Another great choice for baby gear is College Avenue’s Rockridge Kids. Even mother-figure extraordinaire Angelina Jolie shopped there. The store stocks a wide variety, from strollers to slings, and also has a great selection of toys for young’uns. The shop carries some adorable duds, mainly for infants through preschoolers, from Zutano (infant tees in colorful, whimsical designs, $21.99), L’ovedbaby, and Winter Water Factory (100 percent organic cotton toddler dresses in bold patterns, $49.99) and shoes from Robeez, Pediped, and See Kai Run along with a bevy of strollers, mealtime gear, sun hats, sleep sacks, and diapering necessities. About half the store is dedicated to toys, from wooden blocks to huge 3-D Dinosaur World puzzles. 5511 College Ave., Oakland, 510-601-5437,, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.

Monkey Bars

This certified green business on one of Alameda’s main shopping streets offers up all sorts of eco-friendly options. Alamedans will dig Monkey Bars’ “Cities” T-shirt for tots, which lists the world’s most important urban centers, including Paris, London, Hong Kong, New York and, of course, Alameda. The store has tons of baby products and gear, including Klean Kanteen baby bottles, thinkbaby mealtime products, bamboo bedding, Zoe Organics bath soaps, and BOB strollers, along with cute clothing and gift-ready items. There’s a handy gift registry, too. 1339 Park St., Alameda, 510-769-6905,, 11 a.m.—5 p.m. Sun.—Mon., 10 a.m.—6 p.m. Tue.—Sat.

Berkeley Kids Room

Once your kid moves on from a toddler bed, Berkeley Kids Room offers quality wooden bedroom furniture for children. And even kids have a pretty awesome time visiting the store—bunk beds are super fun to climb, and one featured platform bed even has a slide. You can browse bunk beds, platform beds, desks, bureaus, and more from brands like Maxtrix and Bolton Furniture. It’s also a great place to figure out how to get the most storage in your child’s room—under-bed drawers and various ingenious furniture configurations are all on display. Bunk bed sets start at $569. 6022 College Ave., Oakland, 510-420-0811,, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., closed Mon.

Five Little Monkeys

This delightful Albany toy store is worth the short drive if you’re looking for something unique, educational, or simply fun. Stroll in, and you’re greeted by loads of fuzzy stuffed animal friends. Venture in further and find stilts, scooters, pogo sticks, a go-cart kit ($120 and a great kid/parent project), Eco Blocks by Sprig Toys ($35 for a 50-piece set made from recycled sawdust and plastic), huge wooden dollhouses, modeling sets, marble runs, fand old-fashioned erector sets. You’ll find baby dolls in every ethnicity, crafts kits, and books featuring favorites like Ramona the Pest and Skippyjon Jones. 1224 Solano Ave., Albany, 510-528-4411,, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Thu., 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Sun.

It’s the Children

This small children’s boutique in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto stocks “casual children’s clothing from France and beyond.” It’s ideal for grabbing a layette of Petit Bateau bodysuits (one for $22, three for $40). Owners John Lameyer and Maria Balou Lameyer also have clothes from French designer Claude Vell, such as corduroy jumpers ($75), skirts, and trousers in a sophisticated color palette. There are button-down and nautically striped shirts, plus shoes from France and Italy. The one American brand on offer is Tea, which presents clothing with stylish French-like detailing. The clothes are bon chic, bon genre (which loosely translates to preppy in English) and a bit pricey. But one outfit is worth the splurge. 1506 Walnut St., Berkeley, 510-665-7985, open 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Tue.–Sat., closed Sun. and Mon.

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

Even the most sugar-phobic moms and dads go gaga in this old-fashioned candy shop. A red British phone booth cheerfully greets you as you enter the store—full of English candy staples, of course, like Cadbury Dairy Milk bars and the U.K. version of Mars bars. There’s a panoply of other sweeties, chocolates, and gift items on display. You can also buy candy by the pound—taffy, Bit-O-Honey, and various hard candies—homemade truffles, gelato, artisanal sodas, seasonal goodies, exotic chocolate bars, marshmallows, nougats, even sugar-free candy. Shoppers can also find a few gag items (bacon air freshener, for instance), old-fashioned lunch boxes, andassorted toys. 3206 College Ave, Berkeley, 510-658-9866,, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.

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