The East Bay boasts some splendid farmers' markets. Each seems to reflect the character of its neighborhood, from sly, down-to-business Jack London Square and activism-minded downtown Berkeley to Blue Bottle coffee-boasting Temescal and expansive, family-minded markets through the tunnel. But when it comes to harnessing the zeitgeist and offering an enjoyable, all-inclusive experience, nothing beats the Grand Lake Farmers' Market. Situated in a park near the edge of Lake Merritt and across the street from the Grand Lake movie theater, it serves metaphorical double-duty as both the heart of Oakland and a de facto melting pot. Visitors come from all directions — posh estates in the hills, mid-century apartments around the lake, urbane downtown lofts, modest homes in Eastlake and North Oakland neighborhoods — to shop for produce and crafts, dine on prepared foods, enjoy entertainment, and take in the life-affirming sights and sounds of others doing the same. Every Saturday morning throughout the year, the market bustles — fresh, vibrant, diverse, laidback, and 100-percent Oakland.
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