We had a great time reviewing this 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid!
I absolutely love living in Oakland. Even though I’ve had the opportunity to live in a bunch of really lovely places over the years, the energy and vibe of Oakland just takes the cake for me. Our current community, the Lake Merritt neighborhood, is full of fun places to visit. From the weekly farmer’s market to the movie theater, playground, and library, there’s something for every member of our family to love.
We’ve had some rare rain over the last couple of weeks, but that didn’t keep us from heading out to our favorite Lake Merritt neighborhood spots. Fortunately, we were reviewing the 2016 Toyota Highlander Hybrid so a little wet weather didn’t stop our groove at all. Terrence and I packed up Ayva and her friend Jordan, and we hit up our spots in the smooth Highlander Hybrid.
The Oakland Rose Garden
The Oakland Rose Garden (700 Jean St.) is both romantic and a nice spot for families to go hang out. There is a large variety of beautiful roses in a well maintained garden, fountains, and benches that are perfect for reading or having good conversations. I’ve been known to take Ayva and friends there for a quick run through the garden’s path and up the steps to get out some energy, and that’s exactly what we did during our rainy playdate.
Colonial Donuts (3318 Lakeshore Ave.) is probably my most favorite donut shop in the entire city. Open 24 hours, this donut shop is located right on Lakeshore Avenue and has fresh donuts all day long. After running around the rose garden (and Terrence and I watching the girls run around the rose garden) I felt like we all deserved a sweet treat. The girls didn’t take long to pick out their donuts, and couldn’t wait to get back into the roomy Highlander Hybrid to eat them. Confession…I ate my donut in the Highlander, too!
The lake is the jewel of our neighborhood. We’ve walked around it, had picnics in the grass near it, and have even just put a blanket on the ground, pulled out our books, and read on sunny days. On rainy days it’s a lot less crowded, but it’s still lovely nonetheless. Because the weather is generally mild all year around, you can head over to the lake even during the winter months.
Other Places to Visit in the Lake Merritt Neighborhood
There’s plenty more to do in the Lake Merritt neighborhood. You can spend the entire day just exploring the stores and shops on Lakeshore Avenue and Grand Avenue. If you decide to come through to visit, here are some other places you want to make sure to check out:
- Grand Lake Theater – 3200 Grand Ave.
- The Grand Lake Theater is a historic movie house that plays first run movies. Make sure you stop by on Tuesdays where tickets are discounted and they sometimes give out free popcorn!
- La Parisienne – 3249 Grand Ave.
- If you love French pastries, you have to make a stop at La Parisienne. The desserts are decadent, delicious, and believe it or not—affordable! Pick up a choquette and a cup of coffee to nibble on as you explore the rest of the neighborhood.
- Walden Pond Bookstore – 3316 Grand Ave.
- This bookstore reminds me of the ones that I used to hang out in when I was in college. Tons of titles from local artists, obscure books, and a knowledgeable staff make Walden Pond Bookstore easy to get lost in!
About the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
The 2016 Highlander Hybrid is a sweet ride. We really did not want to give it back! Once we got over the gorgeous Nautical Blue color of the SUV, we fell in love with all of the amazing features. First of all, we were able to go an entire SEVEN DAYS without gassing up. The Highlander gets 28 MPG combined city / highway. The other features that stood out for me as a mom of one (soon to be 2), who seems to always be in the car are:
- Hybrid Synergy Drive System
- Seats 7
- 8 airbags
- Blind spot monitor
- Backup camera with 8″ display
- Panoramic Moonroof (in the Platinum Package)
- Brake assist and smart stop tech
Want to check out this fabulous SUV for yourself? Find out more about it on the Toyota Highlander Hybrid site!