Gondola Rides on Lake Merritt

While it may not be the Grand Canal in Venice, you can experience an authentic Venetian Gondola ride on Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

Operating year round, Gondola Servizio offers private tours (meaning you are not thrown together with strangers) on a reservation only basis.  Come as a couple for a romantic sunset rid, or put together a party of up to six for a more festive occasion. 

Available cruise packages include:

  • Marco Polo:  30 minute tour, $45 for two people, additional guests $10 per person.
  • Casanova:  55 minute tour, $75 for two people, additional guests $10 per person.
  • Promessi Sposi:  A photographers delight, and a popular choice for special occasions.  Gondola Servizio will work with your photographer to create a photo-worthy event.  This is a popular package for engagement and wedding photos, and family portraits.  $225 for two people, additional guests $10.

Group tours are also offered, and customized requests are always considered

From September through May cruises are offered Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 pm – midnight.  During the Summer (June through August), cruises are offered daily.

Use the Fairyland entrance of Lake Merritt, and park in the Gondola Servizio parking lot.  You’ll meet your gondolier out on the dock.

I’m still holding out for a ride in Venice, but till then, this will be the next best thing.

Photo credit:  FreeFoto


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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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