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Best Urban Park 

Middle Harbor Shoreline Park

Name a place in the Bay Area where you can hear the lonely tolling of a harbor bell, watch a squadron of pelicans fly by, see San Francisco sparkling Oz-like in the distance, and listening to the crashing, clanging, and electronic chirping of ILWU workers zipping around on forklift trucks unloading container ships. Can't? Try Middle Harbor Park. Located smack dab in the middle of Oakland's dockland, the park is a little oasis of Zen-like calm in the midst of the shuffle and hustle of one of the West Coast's busiest ports. The park is a thin strip of green along the water's edge, based on the outline of a huge Navy warehouse that once shipped out supplies to troops stationed all around the Pacific. It is now a restored marsh and wetlands. The soaring picnic area shelters' jagged triangular shapes are a deliberate reminder of the warehouse's old shape. If you tire of gazing out across the Bay, watch huge container ships rumble by and marvel at the carefully choreographed ballet of containers flying on and off their decks. Cast your eyes closer, check out crab fishers on the end of a pier, or hang onto the fence, or just sit there on the dock of a bay legs, dangling over railway ties that once carried commuters onto the ferries to San Francisco. This park is a must for urban explorers.

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