A Mecca for Creativity 

No creative outlet goes unexplored in the East Bay's vast cultural landscape.

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Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St., San Francisco, 415-978-2700, YBCA.org) is a venue for new-media conceptualism and a good place to see what's shaking in visual art before it migrates to SFMOMA.

Performance Venues

The Berkeley Community Theatre (1930 Allston Way, Berkeley, 510-644-8956), a 3,500-capacity venue located on the Berkeley High School campus, has seen the likes of the Grateful Dead, Bruce Springsteen, and Metallica.

Cal State East Bay University Theatre (25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward, 510-885-3118, CSUEastBay.edu/Theatre) hosts everything from jazz, to symphonies, to plays and musical theater.

The Fillmore (1805 Geary Blvd., San Francisco, 415-346-6000, TheFillmore.com) is the place where Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis recorded live albums back in the day, and it's still one of the best places in the world to see a show.

Flux 53 Theater (5306 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, 510-842-8841, Flux53.com) is an intimate theater with seating for eighty-plus, and hosts dance performances, art shows, film screenings, music, and more.

The Fox Theater (1807 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, TheFoxOakland.com) is a historic, art deco movie palace that re-opened in February 2009 after undergoing extensive renovation. Now anchoring Oakland's revitalized Uptown district, the Fox has become the East Bay's premier venue for live entertainment.

The Greek Theatre (Gayley Rd. at Hearst Ave., Berkeley, 510-809-0100, APEConcerts.com) is one of the most picturesque outdoor settings for live music in the Bay Area; there's not a bad seat in the house.

The Herbst Theatre (401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, 415-621-6600, SFWMPAC.org) is a stately venue featuring large murals, chandeliers, and a gold-leaf ceiling. It's an exquisite place for watching the finest arts and culture performances.

Historic Sweet's Ballroom (1933 Broadway, Oakland, HistoricSweetsBallroom.com), a magnificent 12,000-square-foot ballroom, channels an earlier, more glamorous era of Oakland's past.

Julia Morgan Center for the Arts (2640 College Ave., Berkeley, 510-845-8542, JuliaMorgan.org) hosts a wide variety of events including the Berkeley Opera, Berkeley Ballet Theater, a whole bunch of children's theater groups, a storytelling series, and world music and dance events.

The Lesher Center for the Arts (1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, 925-943-7469, LesherArtsCenter.org) is home to the Center REPertory Company, Contra Costa Musical Theatre, Diablo Light Opera Company, Festival Opera, Diablo Ballet, and dozens of frequent visitors like Lamplighters, California Symphony, and Smuin Ballet.

Oakland Metro Opera House (630 3rd St., Oakland, 510-763-1146, OaklandMetro.org) is generally used as a performance space (it's the official home of the Oakland Opera Theater), but you'll also find the occasional live indie rock, punk, underground hip-hop, or alt.folk show here at this funky venue.

The ORACLE Arena (7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, 510-569-2121, Coliseum.com) and adjacent Coliseum are home to beloved local sports teams the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, and the Oakland A's, and they're also the biggest venues for entertainment in the East Bay.

The Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway, Oakland, 510-465-6400, ParamountTheatre.com) once served as a movie palace, and is now home to the Oakland East Bay Symphony and touring musical and comedy acts, theater, and ballet performances.

The Regency Center (1290 Sutter St., San Francisco, 415-673-5716) is a midsize room that boasts Scottish Rite architecture, high ceilings, and a balcony for maximum viewing pleasure.

Shoreline Amphitheatre (One Amphitheatre Pkwy., Mountain View, 650-967-3000, ShorelineAmp.com) is the largest outdoor venue in the Bay Area — it sits on more than sixty acres and holds 22,000.

The Sleep Train Pavilion (2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, 925-676-8742) is a midsize outdoor amphitheater nestled in the hills of Concord's outskirts.

Zellerbach Hall (UC Berkeley, 510-642-9988, CalPerfs.Berkeley.edu) hosts the Cal Performances series of truly world-class performances — from Russian ballet to Mark Morris, Australian punk circus to Peking acrobats, Ladysmith Black Mambazo to Cecilia Bartoli,.

Recreational Facilities

Albany Bowl (540 San Pablo Ave., Albany, 510-526-8818, AlbanyBowl.biz) is the place for casual fun or league bowling for those more serious; don't miss the bowl's weekly Monday night Roc-N-Bowl, where you can enjoy cheap games and pumping rock 'n' roll from 10 p.m. till 2 a.m.

Berkeley Ironworks (800 Potter St., Berkeley, 510-981-9900, TouchstoneClimbing.com) features a 45-foot-high climbing wall, and numerous pathways and challenge levels to the peak.

Berkeley Skate Park (5th and Harrison sts., Berkeley, 510-526-5415, CaliSkatz.com) offers 18,000 square feet of cement for private lessons, skateboard camp, or a birthday party.

The Broken Rack (6005 Shellmound St., Emeryville, 510-652-9808, TheBrokenRack.com) has nineteen tables to fill the needs of billiards aficionados.

Camp Winnarainbow (Laytonville off of Highway 101, 510-525-4304, CampWinnarainbow.org), founded by Wavy Gravy, has tightropes, hula hoops, and juggling sticks for campers who play games, craft, and learn new skills.

Diablo Rock Gym (1220 Diamond Way, Suite 140, Concord, 925-602-1000, TouchstoneClimbing.com) is a climbing gym.

Great Western Power Co. (520 20th St., Oakland, 510-452-2022) is a climbing gym.

iFly (31310 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Union City, 510-489-IFLY) is the home of a vertical wind tunnel, which replicates the experience of an outdoor airplane jump.

The Lake Merritt Rowing Club (568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, RowLakeMerritt.org) has been the headquarters for East Bay aquatic fans for forty years. You can take part in a crew or cruise the lake on your own for a morning workout.

Oakland All Craft (499 Embarcadero, Oakland, 510-444-7115, OaklandAllCraft.com) sells canoes and kayaks for a fresh new way to experience the bay — plus lessons.

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