Watch CBS News

Unique Nights Out In The East Bay Area

Give those usual hangouts and same old routines a rest; this weekend is all about going off the beaten path. Enjoying a unique night out in the Bay Area doesn't have to mean traveling far or blowing all your hard earned cash. While out painting the East Bay a new shade of red, mix it up in one of these delightfully uncommon establishments.
Nightlife & Music Unique Nights, Gondola
Photo Credit:

Gondola Servizio
1520 Lakeside Drive
Oakland, CA 94612
510 663-6603

Price: 30 minute private tour - $40 for the first couple, $10 per each additional person

Close your eyes, and within seconds, Gondola Servizio will transform Lake Merritt into Italy's Grand Canal with its iconic gondolas and sweet sounds of barcarola being sung from the lips of a gondolier. Choose from a 30-minute tour to an upgraded package with a felze (closed cabin) suitable for two passengers who are looking to add romance and privacy to the evening's detail. A variety of options exists; find the one that best suits your plans and budget. For a sweet deal, look no further than the Chocolate Dessert Tour. It serves decadent house-made treats, chocolate eclairs, truffles, hand-wrapped caramels and sparkling Prosecco. Gondolas can accommodate up to six passengers with tours available 7-days-a-week upon request.

Related: Bay Area's 5 Best Tiki Bars

Nightlife & Music Unique Nights Pacific Pinball Museum
Photo Credit:

Pacific Pinball Museum
1510 Webster St.
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 205-6959

Price: Adults—$15; Kids under 12 — $7.50

Geek out at this Alameda location that pays homage to America's favorite arcade game, the pinball machine. Wander through a maze of rooms where you'll find rows of playable machines, nearly 100 in all, some imparting background information on the designer and artist. Vintage machines are kept in the main room, and the more antiquated pieces off limits to the touch. An 1879 Montague Redgrave Parlor Bagatelle earns bragging rights as the Pacific Pinball Museum's most historical piece. Patrons will delight in playing machines built from 1936 to the present and watching technology shift and shape the game while enjoying the eras' modern art. Everything is well represented, from pre-flippers and spring launchers to spinners and magnets. No need to raid the bank for quarters - all machines are rigged to play, simply pay a flat entrance fee. Don't tilt the machines and let the good times roll.

Nightlife & Music Unique Nights Dark Nights at Chabot
Photo Credit:

Chabot Space and Science Center
Dark Nights at Chabot
10000 Skyline Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94619
(510) 336-7300

Price: Adult – $15.95; Youth (ages 3-12) – $11.95; Members – Free

You should always be wary of anyone promising the moon and stars, however, Chabot Space and Science Center actually delivers on this promise. The museum understands the earth makes for fascinating observation after-hours, which is why Dark Nights at Chabot is so wildly popular.  A series of nighttime events includes stargazing with Leah, Rachel and Nellie - names for the center's three telescopes. Rachel is actually the largest refracting telescope open to the public on the West coast. The famous observatory deck allows for breathtaking views 1,500 feet above the Bay. If it's the moonlight you desire, a moderate to difficult five mile hike explores the surrounding Redwoods. Word to the wise: hikes fill up fast. The on-site Skyline Bistro keeps the same hours as Chabot, meaning appetizing dinner entrees are available along with coffee, teas and baked goods before or after your star-gazing experience.

Nightlife & Music Unique Nights Sake Museum
Photo Credit:

Takara Sake Museum
708 Addison St.
Berkeley, CA 94719
(510) 540-8250

Price: Free

Takara brings more than simply a taste of sake to its Berkeley headquarters. Inside the company with "harmonist" values, visitors are greeted with Japanese culture found in the sake museum and tasting room. Tours are provided daily and a video describing the story of sake brewing is available for viewing. The museum features a collection of artifacts on display and an impressive sake press with hanging stone weights - the only one of its kind in the U.S. Takara holds the title as America's largest sake producer and for $5 offers a variety of courses of sake tasting and food pairing guide based on the dry/sweetness, texture and aroma.

Related: Free Happy Hour Food - East Bay

Nightlife & Music Unique Nights, Trapeze Arts
Photo Credit: Trapeze Arts via Facebook

Trapeze Arts
1822 9th St. (cross Street Pine)
Oakland, CA 94607
510 419-0700

Price: $45 - Single Class, 10 classes/10 weeks - $295, 10 classes/20 weeks - $345

Fly through the air with the greatest of ease; you're all harnessed up for the flying trapeze. Raising the bar on fun, Trapeze Arts has been turning people into swingers since 1994. Whether date night, corporate event or just trying something new, students ranging in age are learning to let go and have the time of their lives. The very capable staff of instructors, each bringing years of experience as teachers and performers, are very patient. Feel the excitement and adrenaline rush connecting in mid-air. Your confidence will soar with every catch.

Robyn Chelsea-Seifert is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Creem, Hit Parader, The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and International Musician. Her work can be found at

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.