Everyone's always in search of a moment's peace, especially after the hubbub of the market, but who would have thought you could find it tucked away behind a Hayward residential housing tract? The city's Japanese Gardens offer a pleasant, quiet stroll amid perfectly sculpted trees and carefully arranged rock formations. You can bring a novel or a sketchbook and camp out in any of the several wooden pavilions overlooking a pond filled with koi the size of basketballs, and no one will disturb you for hours. The garden is free and open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.
Readers' Pick for Best Place to Be Alone: Tilden Park