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How to Save and Splurge in Alameda, San Francisco's Hip Suburb

From local gin to collectible toys, here's how to balance your budget Alameda.


Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant

Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant (Photo: Tomas Demenis)

Yume Sushi ($$$)
Just like the island of Alameda, which is nestled between San Francisco and Oakland, this intimate, tree-house-style restaurant keeps a low profile. To make a dinner reservation, you must show up in person on the day (go before noon), but an omakase meal here is worth the extra effort: The nigiri features some of the most impeccably sliced fish in the Bay Area.

1428 Park St., 510-865-7141


Mama Papa Lithuania Restaurant ($)
With its wrought-iron chandelier and heavy wooden furniture, this Lithuanian eatery resembles a medieval tavern. Once the charismatic owner (whose mama runs the kitchen) has greeted you, start with the cepelinai – a potato dumpling that’s one of Lithuania’s favourite dishes. Finish with a slice of medutis, a delicate, seven-layer honey cake.

241 Park St., 510-522-4100


Alameda Point Antiques Faire

Alameda Point Antiques Faire (Photo: Allen Michaan)

Alameda Point Antiques Faire ($$$)
On the first Sunday of every month (weather permitting), 800 vendors gather for the area’s largest antiques show. The former naval base bustles with treasure seekers of all stripes, from families to keen-eyed retirees. There are plenty of suitcase-friendly items to be found, like old baseball cards, vintage cookware and first-edition books.

2900 Navy Way, 510-522-7500


Toy Safari ($)
Few shops better capture Alameda’s small-town spirit than this family-run business, which is crammed with board games, model kits and collectibles. In keeping with the island’s old-timey sensibility, Toy Safari’s real treasure is its vintage section, featuring a large collection of Star Wars figures and shelves’ worth of hard-to-find Lego sets.

1410 Park St., 510-522-1723

Happy hour

St. George Spirits

St. George Spirits (Photo: Matt Salvo)

St. George Spirits ($$$)
On a tour of this craft distillery, located in a 65,000-square-foot airplane hangar, you’ll get a taste of the spirit-making process, from the fermentation tank to the bottling line. Afterward, sample six of their vodkas, gins and liqueurs, which capture the flavours of Northern California, like the Terroir Gin, with notes of Douglas fir.

2601 Monarch St., 510-769-1601


Faction Brewing ($)
With a patio that offers views of the San Francisco skyline, five-ounce tasters for just $2.50 and rotating food trucks on site, it’s easy to while away an afternoon at this kid- and dog-friendly brewery. Start things off with their flagship brew: the Faction Pale Ale, which is smooth with a pine kick that makes it extra fresh.

2501 Monarch St., 510-523-2739



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