Getting to this walk takes you through some of the homeliest parts of Oakland, but Middle Harbor Park offers spectacular views of the Bay Bridge, Yerba Buena Island, and the container facilities at the Port of Oakland. The Western Pacific Mole — about a 10 minute walk from the main parking lot — is a great place to watch sailboats glide up the estuary, and an observation tower gives you a panoramic view of the wetlands. The Mole itself is a historic spot: When it opened in 1910, it broke the Southern Pacific’s monopoly on the waterfront.
As you would expect, there was nothing much cooking at the Port on New Year’s Day, but a lot of people were taking advantage of the sunny afternoon to stroll or bike around the park. Several sailboats sporting rainbow-colored spinnakers went past, and a young woman serenaded her male companion on a ukulele.
Getting there: Take 7th Street past the West Oakland BART station and through the heavily industrial part of the port. The entrance to the park is on the right, just after 7th Street turns into Middle Harbor Road. There is a large parking lot near the USS Oakland mast and a much smaller one (mostly disabled spaces) next to the Mole.
More information: Port of Oakland website.
Accessibility note: The promenade is paved and gently sloped. The paths around the viewing tower on the Western Pacific Mole are firm, well-drained gravel, nearly level, and accessible for a moderately fit person in a manual wheelchair.