Oakland's Jewel: Lake Merritt Looking a place to run while you're in Oakland? Lake Merritt offers a 3.4-mile circumference that takes you past downtown, through Lakeside Park, past the historic Grand Lake Theater, and along Lakeshore Avenue. If you need a challenge, jog up the Cleveland Cascade or continue your exercise by renting a kayak at the Boating Center. For the kids, there's Children's Fairyland, which Walt Disney visited for inspiration before he built the original Disneyland. For adult refreshment, there's Sidebar on Grand Avenue, as well as Zza's, the nearby Boot and Shoe Service, and the historic Alley (with Rod Dibble at the piano bar) among the Grand Lake district's many tippling and dining spots. Visit in the evening to ooh and ah over the "crown of lights" that begins twinkling at dusk around the entire lake.