The Hayward Japanese Gardens is probably one of the best-kept secrets of the East Bay. This peaceful spot is the perfect place to meditate, take long walks, catch up with an old friend, or do yoga. If you want to escape from the big city, this is it. The gardens have ponds and small lakes, pagodas and gazebos, winding paths and arched bridges. Keep in mind that tranquility is the name of the game here, so don’t bring your dog or your running shoes. But you can bring a date: The garden will surely impress him or her.