The lake has a strange blue-green algae which looked gross along the edges, but they are supposedly strict about kayaks and boats being brought in. You have to pass an inspection so as to not bring foreign algae in to the lake. There are bass and other fish in the lake that you can fish for and there were birthday parties, family reunions and children playing everywhere. That is definitely something I love about this area. Good hikes aren't a far drive, and there are lots of them. My favorite hiking spot is in Oakland, up by Skyline Drive. You can see all of the city, the boats leaving the port - Everything. It is only a 15 minute drive away from the city.
There was a book store called Walden Books that does trades and such, but I had to pull myself away or I would have spent all day in there.
Oakland is diverse and lively. Tomorrow, I plan to hunt down a venue for me and my typewriter near Lake Merritt. I also have plans to see a movie called A Pigeon Sat on a Bench Reflecting on its Existence at the Roxy theater in San Francisco and to explore the San Francisco Public Library.
I have all the time in the world and it feels great.