OMCA Galleries


OMCA's newly restored garden is free and open to the public Wed–Sun, 11am–5pm (and until 9 pm on Fri). Gather with us and enjoy the gardens!

About OMCA's Garden

With a focus on sustainability and accessibility, OMCA’s terraced gardens facing Oakland’s Lake Merritt have been reenvisioned with new native plantings, amplifying five ecoregions of California on each level of the garden. As part of the first phase of the campus transformation, our central lawn on Level One evokes a coastal forest with a stand of existing redwoods alongside new plantings, creating both a sense of enclosure as well as new perspectives of the Museum and the lake through the new access point along 12th Street. Learn more about the planning that went into the Garden.

  • New paving areas, including new ADA-accessible ramps, provide greater accessibility and improved pathways for visitors to flow from the garden to the terraces, and into the galleries and cafe.
  • To reserve the Garden for a gathering of 26 people or more, please see event rentals. To host a gathering of 25 people or fewer, visitors must follow our Garden guidelines below.

New outdoor stage

The creation of a new, permanent outdoor stage in the central courtyard will support OMCA’s expanded performance, music, and film programs. Complete with built-in lighting and sound equipment, the stage offers an enhanced way for visitors to engage with our outdoor events. 

New 12th Street entrance 

OMCA's new 12th Street entrance on Lake Merritt is open to the public during regular OMCA hours. The 12th Street entrance, created as part of OMCA’s recent transformation of its Gardens and outdoor spaces, makes the Museum and grounds more accessible and usable, provides welcome gathering and green space in our urban environment, and is a vibrant area for events and programs. As always, entrance to OMCA’s grounds and gardens is free to the public.

For visitors and OMCA Members who come through the 12th Street gate wanting to enter the Museum Galleries, tickets and member stickers are available at the mid-level Tickets and Membership desk.

The transformation in the OMCA Gardens also includes expansive plantings of California species that require little water, an expanded lawn, a new stage for performances and events, more seating and tables for gathering, new lighting, updated ADA access, and a new water-conserving irrigation system.

In addition to private philanthropy, this project is funded in part by Capital One Commercial Bank, Oakland Renaissance NMTC, Inc., and the City of Oakland. 

Guidelines for Garden gatherings

  • Small gatherings may use the garden furniture on a first come first served basis. Garden furniture may not be rearranged.
  • Acoustic instruments are allowed in the garden when there are no other OMCA programs or events taking place. Amplified sound is not permitted.
  • Still photography for personal, noncommercial use is permitted. Only handheld cameras with attached standard flash equipment are allowed. No auxiliary flash, lighting equipment, tripods, monopods, or selfie sticks are permitted. Please see our full policy for details.
  • Distribution of fliers or promotional materials is not permitted without prior approval. Contact with requests.
  • Surveying and petition signature gathering is not permitted without prior approval. Contact with requests.
  • Skateboarding, roller-skating, and bike riding are not permitted.
  • Non-service animals are not permitted.
  • Outside vending is not permitted.
  • Shoes and clothing are required.
  • Please pack out your trash.
  • Commercial and wedding photography are only permitted by prior arrangement.
  • Only alcoholic beverages that have been purchased at OMCA’s cafe or a Museum approved bartender are permitted.
  • Littering and dumping are not permitted. Please use the trash, compost, and recycling bins provided to dispose of waste, including ice.
  • Fundraising, selling wares, food, or services, collecting donations or registration/entrance fees, or solicitation of any type of funds are not allowed at OMCA without prior approval and an event rental contract from the OMCA Event Sales Department.
  • Deliveries, such as but not limited to catered food and beverages, flowers, decor, or balloons without approval and an Event Sales Contract.
  • If you bring balloons, make sure to take them with you when you depart.
  • Only battery operated candles are permitted (no flames allowed).
  • No private event signage may be used unless part of a rental contract and approved by Event Sales.
  • No decor attached to any surfaces, windows or landscaping is permitted.
  • No staking in the grass.
  • No fires or BBQs.

Check our homepage in the morning before arriving to make sure the Garden has not been closed to the public for any reason.