Hayward is located near premier tourist locations (San Francisco), first rate educational institutions (Berkeley and Stanford), and an economic powerhouse (Silicon Valley), however relatively speaking Hayward does not have as much to offer as its neighbors. Even so, its central location may make it a very economical home base for tourists and commuters, and its panoramic views of the Bay alone are worth the side trip for visitors.
On paper, the landscape of Hayward sounds nearly perfect. Hayward boasts of a central bay shoreline, a quaint city center with a small town feel in the city flatlands, hills which overlook the bay, and a hub of highways that connect everywhere in the bay area to the inland areas of California. Unfortunately the shoreline is mostly filled with warehouses and marshland, and the city center is slightly run down, although it is slowly being renovated.
As is the case in most of California, you will find it easiest to get to and around Hayward by car. That being said, there are two BART stops in Hayward, including one in the center of town which is in walking distance to many shops, restaurants, the public library and city hall. There are buses run by AC Transit, but these do not go to all parts of Hayward.
Hayward does have a lot of traffic in the Downtown area and on Highways. Hayward has several bus systems that serve the city. AC Transit and All Nighter Bus Network provide bus service and Union City Transit provides service in the Southern Hayward Area along the Union City Border. SamTrans srevice was discontinued in 1999. The HillHopper Bus System provides service to CSUEB. BART Has two stations (Downtown, South Hayward) with BayFair and Castro Valley BART stations nearby. Hayward has a Amtark station in the Burbank District.
Hayward Area Historical Society & Museum & Gift Shop, 22701 Main St, 510-581-0223. Beginning with the Ohlone Indians and followed by Spanish settlers and missionaries, Hayward, San Lorenzo, Castro Valley and other communities clustered on the east side of San Francisco Bay, have long been a cultural crossroads. In the wake of the Gold Rush, former miners and new immigrants established homes and businesses, planted orchards and raised livestock setting down roots that grew into communities known for their diverse population, varied industry, and suburban living. The Hayward Area Historical Society tells the region's story at its downtown museum and through tours of historic sites.
The Japanese Gardens (The Douglas Morrisson Theatre), 22372 N. Third Street, ☎ (510) 881-6777, . 8-4 daily. The oldest Japanese gardens in the US designed along traditional lines.
The clear blue waters of the Don Castro swim lagoon are a favorite with central Alameda County residents. The lagoon and adjacent lake were created in 1964 when the Alameda Flood Control and Water Conservation District dammed San Lorenzo Creek.
Today the lagoon is supplied with water from EBMUD, and a large shallow area is roped off especially for children. The adjacent lake is closed to boating and swimming, but hikers along the shore will discover a surprising wilderness in miniature, where turtles and frogs splash in the water, ducks rest in the reeds and raccoons and deer come down to drink at sunset.
Swimming (fee) in the lagoon is the park's main attraction from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Swim hours are from 11AM to 6PM, and only when lifeguards are on duty. There is a bathhouse, a vending machine, a sandy beach and large lawn areas. Dogs are not allowed in the swim complex.
Picnic sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis, although some reservable group sites are available (fee).
Fishing Anglers along the lake may catch trout, bass, catfish and bluegill. The lake is stocked regularly with trout and catfish. A California state fishing license is required for anglers age 16 or older. In addition, a Park District daily fishing permit is required and may be purchased through a self-registration process located at the swim complex entrance - exact change required. State fish and game regulations apply.
Trails are open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.
Don Castro park is open 8AM-10PM; 8AM-8PM in winter months. Parking and dog fee collected weekends and holidays.
Directions By Car:
From I-580 eastbound from San Leandro, take the Center Street exit in Castro Valley; right on Center to Kelly Street; left on Kelly and left on Woodroe to the park entrance.
From I-580 westbound take the Castro Valley exit and continue west on E. Castro Valley Blvd. to Grove Way; left on Grove; left on Center; left on Kelly; and left on Woodroe to the park entrance.
Hayward is home to the CSUEB, the California State University East Bay, http://csueastbay.edu/. The highlight of Hayward is in the beautiful panoramic views of the bay which can be seen from and near the university in the hills. Visitors anywhere in the bay should definitely take this detour. From the Hayward hills, one can see Fremont, Silicon Valley, Oakland and San Francisco at once.
Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center, 4901 Breakwater Av., (510) 881-6751 (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org). open Tu-Su, 10AM-5PM. A place where children can go to learn about nature, and families can hike on paths through the marshland. Aquariums, an interactive computer exhibit on the Bay, videos, maps, exhibits, a gift shop, and restrooms. Outside an elevated observation platform gives a good view of the surrounding marshlands.
The drive from Hayward/Castro Valley to Oakland on Redwood Road is quite beautiful. This road is usually empty, and has the feel of being in a remote area despite the fact that it is near the bay. Beware of the cyclists and the Import racers that frequent Redwood Road.
Sulphur Creek Nature Center, 1801 D Street, (510) 881-6747. Tu-Su10AM-5PM (Discovery Center until 4:30PM). Outside are enclosures to view larger birds and other animals, including a raven, red-tailed hawk, coyote, owl and vulture. All animals found here are rescued animals (it operates as a rescue and rehabilitation center) who cannot return to the wild. There also is a beautiful wildflower garden. Interior displays and most events are geared toward younger children, with terrariums at a kids eye level. Monthly programs about animals for a cost of $5-6 per family. Picnic tables, hiking trail. Free.
The best shopping in the Bay Area is found in the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose. The downtown lost a lot of its smaller businesses when Southland Mall opened off of 880, which is a fine place for mall and big box store shopping. Cinema Place in downtown on B Street is a new theater with shopping and restaurants.
Every Saturday at Main St. and B St. 9AM-1PM the Hayward Farmers Market is held.
Although the overall number of restaurants in Hayward is respectable by the standards of most cities in the United States, the choices are disappointing compared to those in nearby gourmet powerhouses Berkeley and Oakland. The advantages here: plentiful parking, lower prices, shorter waits. However, most of the Mexican restaurants, especially the taquerias, are excellent inexpensive places to chow down on authentic, if nongourmet, traditional dishes. If you choose to find a place to eat in Hayward, the city center is normally the best place to go, though many eateries can be found all around Hayward. You can also find food on Mission, Jackson, and Foothill Blvds.
Val's Burgers 2115 Kelly Street. For 1950's style burgers, shakes and fries. World-renowned and visited by many celebrities.
Buon Appetito on A St.
Banchero's Italian Dinners, 20102 Mission Blvd.(510) 276-7355. Classic old fashioned Italian food with an older regular clientele.
Emil Villa's California Barbecue, 24047 Mission Blvd
Hayward Japan Grill, 920 C St.
Han Yang BBQ Grill, 22365 Mission Blvd. Korean
La Pinata #1, 904 Rose St. Mexican.
Buffalo Bills, 1082 B St. (510) 886-9823. Not just a good restaurant and bar. in 1983, California made it legal to both brew beer and sell it by the pint in the same location. This is one of the first to open, and they are still doing it right. If you have not been to a "brewpub", this is a great start.
Favorite Indian Restaurant, 24052 mission blvd. (near Jackson St/Route 92 terminus), ☎ (510) 583-7550, . Daily 11am-10pm. Excellent Indian food to rival the best restaurants of its type in Berkeley and Oakland, at a reasonable price. Buffet available.Also Deliver all all of hayward castro valley part san lorenzo and san leandro
Red Chili, 29583 Mission Blvd. (Near Industrial Blvd terminus), ☎ (510) 881-8593, . Monday through Friday 11 AM to 3 PM 5 PM to 9:30 PM Sat 11 AM to 9:30 PM Sun 11 AM to 9 PM. Beautiful interior, well prepared Vietnamese and Thai food, up to standards of Berkeley/Oakland.
The Pizza House, 954 B Street (between foothill and mission blvds, close to the hwy 92 terminus), ☎ 800-773-7312. 11 am-3 am. Local, high quality hole-in-the-wall pizza and pasta take out restaurant (it does have benches). all the items are made to order, no jarred sauces, and the owners are friendly and professional. their linguini verde (spinach and veggies w/pesto) is very good. OPEN UNTIL 3 A.M. (Free) Delivery area: Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Castro Valley**.
There are also the usual chain restaurants including Dominoes, Taco Bell, McDonalds, The International House of Pancakes, and so on.
A comfortable corner bar, The Bistro,  is really the only place to hear live music in the area on a consistent basis...almost every night. They usually have open mic on Mondays. Never a cover charge, and the music ranges from 1920's, blues, jazz, and rock on any day of the week. It's a small place on B street that's worth checking out if you're there after all the downtown shops close down. They serve salads and sandwiches and have tables that flow outside the establishment. No hard liquor, wines and 12 microbrews on tap, and good coffee.
sapporo restaurant, 22507 main street, ☎ 5107271568.
Mainstay Suites Hayward, 835 West A Street, ☎ 510-731-3571, . Stay at the Mainstay Suites Hayward – an all-suites hotel offering comfortable extended stay lodging accommodations, free Internet access, vacation packages and easy access to the Bay Area’s best attractions.
Like most cities in the United States, Hayward does have its rougher areas. Most of these are small areas right off of the five main streets in Hayward that run east to west. (A St, Winton Ave, Jackson St, Tennyson Ave, and Industrial Blvd.) Some street names to be aware of are:
Gadding Ave (connects Jackson and Tennyson),
Tyrell Ave (Located off of Tennyson Rd),
E. Tennyson Road (Located off of 880)
South Garden Ave (Located off of A St),
A Street off of 880 (at night)
D Street east of Mission
Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Valley Streets (off B and D Streets)
The City has a free Wi-Fi network or "Hot Spot" for the Downtown area. This area of coverage is approximate and may vary in strength and availability and best reception is found at the Main Hayward Public Library (835 "C" Street). The City does not provide technical support for this Wi-Fi system.
Due to its central location it is easy to get to most parts of the Bay Area using a car, BART, or Amtrak.
San Leandro - Hayward's eclectic neighbor to the north, home of the Otis Spunkmeyer headquaters, worldwide industries, malls, hotels and regional parks and shorelines.