This short walk requires you pay selective attention, as not all parts are equally beautiful. It takes you from the public marina at Embarcadero Cove past a row of seriously quaint Victorian commercial buildings, including Quinn’s Lighthouse Restaurant, which has a spectacular view of the estuary from its peanut-shell-strewn bar and deck.
Ignore the functional, blocky-’70s offices on the landward side of the street, and the vacant lot you pass as you cross Dennison Street, the road to Coast Guard Island military base. (The base, by the way, is off-limits unless you are part of an official tour.) As you enter Union Point Park and Marina, the path becomes broad and paved, ideal for bikes. You pass the old boatworks and skirt the nautical-themed playground.
Out in the estuary, a half-dozen eight-oared shells are taking direction from a coach. Laughter echoes across the glassy water as the Kelpies rowing club brings their whaleboat into dock. Spotting the photographer on the shore, they immediately begin a recruiting pitch for the Bay Area Whaleboat Rowing Association.
Near Scott Donohue’s monumental statue “Sagame/Follow Me,” which pays tribute to distinguished women from Oakland, a spiral path takes you to the top of the landscaped hill at the south end of the park. The benches at the top, however, are sadly covered with graffiti.
If you continue along the Embarcadero through several heavily industrial blocks, you could, in theory connect with the Park Street Bridge to Alameda. North from the Embarcadero Marina, a disconnected series of waterfront paths and sidewalks would take you to Jack London Square. It would be nice to see this section of the Bay Trail get some love and realize its full pedestrian potential.
Getting there: Interstate 880 cuts up the neighborhood so that not all streets go through.Truthfully, I got lost three times, so I’m going to say use your GPS. But roughly speaking, you’re looking for 16th Avenue and the Embarcadero.
Cool stuff in the neighborhood: Besides Quinn’s, the Just Dance Ballroom is near Union Point Park, as is the Pump it Up party center. The Institute of Mosaic Art is a little farther south, in the Jingletown Arts District.
More information: The Waterfront Action website.