Category Archives: temescal

BEAT the HEAT: Five best swim spots in Oaktown

lyons pool oakland, best oakland swimming spots

Lyons Pool – Dimond Park

[NOTE: I updated this post in 2014 with new links and current schedules. See updated post here.]

It’s hot.  Too hot.  This is why I left L.A. many years ago.  Well… just one of the long list of reasons really.

But back to my point. It’s expected to top out near 90 today, so if you’re like me and you’re melting into a puddle of gritty discontent, here are a few sweet spots to cool you down and freshen you up!

  1. Lake Temescal – For some, the thought of swimming in non-chlorinated water is not appealing (I’m thinking of my boyfriend’s daughter who said, “EWW! it’s slimy!”) But for me, it’s simply the best. No burning eyes, no itching skin, and you get to swim with the ducks & fishes.  What could be better than that?? See last year’s post Sum Sum Summertime! for more detail and the history of this urban oasis.
    $3 for beach access; $2 for kids/seniors; parking can cost extra

    Open daily 5am to 10pm; lifeguards on duty 11am to 6pm
  2. Lyons Pool (Dimond Park) – This outdoor pool set amidst old growth oaks & buckeyes is heated year round and is delicious to step into, especially on cool evenings or foggy mornings. Serious lap-swimmers seem frustrated by its unconventional lanes and warm temperature, but I think this spot is just right, and nowhere near as crowded as Temescal.
    $5 to swim; $4 with multi-pass
    public swim: 2:45pm – 4:15pm M-F; 2:30pm – 4:30pm S/S
    lap swim: 6:30am – 9am/12pm – 2pm/7:30pm – 9pm M-F; 11:15am – 2:15pm S/S
  3. Trefethen Aquatic Center (Mills College) – Another lovely outdoor pool complete with hot tub and lawn areas for lounging, I haven’t been to this one in awhile but used to go frequently when friends lived in San Leandro. I’ve heard the pool isn’t chlorinated but uses another technique (oxygenation?), but I can’t confirm this. This one’s also a tad more expensive than other options, but many folks claim this is the nicest pool in Oakland.
    $7 to swim; $5.60 with multi-pass

    check their schedule here, ‘cuz it’s complicated and will be changing next week.
  4. Temescal Pool – This one’s a north Oakland favorite for it’s year round heated waters and easy access location. Featuring salinated water which means less chlorine (yay!) and lots of props to modify your swim routine (kickboards, fins, etc) this pool is extremely popular and can be quite crowded when the weather’s nice.
    $5 to swim; $4 with multi-pass

    public swim:
    2:45pm – 4:45pm Sat only
    lap swim:
    6:30am – 8:30am/12:30pm – 2:30pm/5pm – 7pm M-F; 11am – 2:30pm S/S
  5. Roberts Pool (Roberts Regional Recreation Area) – Another glorious heated outdoor pool, right in the middle of a redwood grove. I only put this one last because, sad to say, I haven’t been here yet. But from the descriptions I’ve read, it sounds like best spot for a lazy summer day of play. Fewer lap swim hours and far more public/recreational swim hours.
    $3 for public swim ($2 for kids/seniors); lap swim is $3.50 or $2.50 with multi-pass
    public swim: 3:30pm – 5pm M; 12:30pm – 5pm Tu-F; 11am – 6pm Sat/Sun
    lap swim:
    7:15pm – 8:15pm M-Th

Speaking of Temescal…

I love this little district in Oakland.  Yes, it’s gentrified… and yes, there are too many hipsters. But I love it just the same as when I called it my home many years ago, even more so now since you can actually get a decent cup of coffee!

It’s just got so much going for it… one of the oldest neighborhoods in Oakland, horse drawn carriages used to run up and down what’s now Telegraph Ave.

The food, of course, is a huge draw… everything from the 80 year old Genova Delicatessen – a nod to the neighborhood’s early Italian-immigrant residents; to those established by more recent immigrant groups – Asmara & Red Sea; to gourmet delights like Pizzaiolo and Doñas Tomás; to the home of the original Betty’s (her ginger molasses cookies are so good I want to cry!)

There’s my beloved Tool Library (see yesterday’s post).

And there’s the art… home to Studio One, the Creative Reuse Depot, ever expanding public projects (see below), and numerous galleries… for those who love doing the Art Murmur thing (tonight!) but are a bit put off by the crowds in Uptown, Temescal is a wonderful alternative.  In fact, tonight they’re hosting a special “Summer Art Hop.” With this weather, perhaps they should call it Winter II Art Hop. Either way, I did the first Winter one and it was a blast.

And speaking of the weather, it looks like the Temescal Street Fair has been postponed.  Originally slated for this Sunday (and partly why I decided to do this post today), it’s been put off until July 10th.

I was wondering how they were going to finish this art project (Temescal Flows by Oakland muralist Alan Leon) in time for the festival… now they have another month.

I’ve been watching its progression for several weeks now and while I wasn’t sure I was going to like it initially, I’m growing rather fond of it.  The flowing/waving lines throughout reference the neighborhood’s Temescal Creek, and specific imagery honors the region’s earliest settlers, the Ohlone.

These pics were shot Wednesday and while much has been accomplished, there appears to be much yet to do…
public art temescal

temescal public art, overpass painting project
Alan Leon, alan leon muralist, oakland murals
temescal flows, temescal flows mural project, alan leon
24 underpass art, temescal art project, temescal murals, oakland murals
temescal creek, waving lines represent water, community art

A Touch of Sunshine

So it’s supposed to rain every day for the indefinite future… I thought I’d share a touch of sunshine.

Remember when I wrote about the Temescal traffic boxes? Well some clever artist has taken to adding his/her own enhancements.  Check out these B&W creature stickers…

creature stickers on temescal traffic boxes

I really love the bird below… wish I’d gotten closer to get a better shot.

traffic signal box art, sticker art
Happy weekend everybody! Hope you stay warm & cozy & dry.

Get your Craft on at the Creative Reuse Depot!

Ok kids… only six days to Halloween!!

How are the festivities coming along?  Are  you putting the finishing touches on your costume?  Or just scrambling to figure out what the heck you’re going to be?  Whichever, you may want to take a little trip down to the East Bay Depot for Creative Use for some inspiration…

east bay creative reuse, cheap art supplies oakland, cheap art supplies temescal

Now located in Temescal (previously in Berkeley), the mission of this wonderful organization, started more than 30 years ago by two Oakland teachers, is three-fold:

  1. divert waste from the waste stream through creative recycling and reuse
  2. provide low cost materials and supplies for local art, education, and social services
  3. increase awareness of the green benefits of reusing materials

How can you not love that? I’ve been a frequent visitor of this venue for years, at both their current and previous locations.  I donated boxes of old CDs and CD cases and bags and bags of old National Geographic and Photo District News magazines. I was thrilled to take these items somewhere where I knew they’d be put to good use… perhaps even transformed into masterful works of art.  Who knows?

recycled goods at East Bay Depot, turning waste into art

recycled materials, diverting waste from waste stream

On the other side, I’ve purchased everything from goods for my Burningman art project, to rolls of industrial margarine foil to use as goofy wrapping paper. It’s kind of what’s so cool about this place… you never know what you are going to find. And there is definitely some weird stuff to be found.

Where else can you find bins of old doll heads? Or boxes of scientific beakers? Of course there’s the more mainstream stuff too… teachers’ educational materials, fabrics and sewing supplies, arts and craft materials, and much much more, all at prices that can’t be beat.

knitting supplies, sewing supplies, fabric supplies

teacher resource center, teacher resource zone, green educators

They also keep busy doing good works in the community. In addition to diverting approximately 400 tons of waste from our landfills each year, they also provide community aid locally, nationally, and even internationally.  For example, right now they are sponsoring a collection drive called “Parkas for Pakistan” to support the 20 million flood victims in Pakistan who are now homeless.

Items most urgently need are winter coats, blankets & comforters, sleeping bags, tents, tarps, etc.  I know I’ve got a few old coats I can get rid of.  How about you? Drive runs through Friday, November 19th. Check link above for drop-off directions.

Whether you’re looking for creative supplies for your kids, your students, or yourself, or just wondering what to do with that pile of junk that’s been sitting in your garage for 3 years or more, the East Bay Depot for Creative Use is a great place to go.

East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, 4695 Telegraph Ave., (510) 547-6470

stopwaste.org, stop waste, reduce waste stream