One of the Bay Area's best kept secrets, Lake Merritt resides midway between Nimitz and MacArthur freeways and just a couple of miles away from San Francisco Bay. The trail around the lake measures about three miles and often welcomes exercisers, strollers, or those just relaxing.
Lake Merritt is a large tidal lagoon located just east of downtown Oakland and in 1870 marked the first lake to be designated as a wildlife refuge by the United States Government. Because the salt levels have fluctuated, the lake stands unique in that it contains fish which can adapt to both fresh and salt water habitats. Dr. Samuel Merritt, after whom the lake got its name, worked to clean up the lake in the late 1800's.
Those visiting at night can experience the crown of lights, also known as the "Necklace of Lights," that surrounds the lake. This feature was added to the area in 1925 and consists of 126 lampposts and 3400 bulbs.
At Lake Merritt, visitors can enjoy a gondola ride, a boathouse, Lakeside Park, Golden Gate Bonsai Collection, or the Children's Fairyland. A short distance away from the lake area, tourists will find other attractions, including the Paramount Theatre, the Camron-Stanford House, and Oakland Ice Center. Lake Merritt is located less than 10 miles north of Oakland International Airport.