Stern Grove: Free and fun!

If you’ve never heard of Stern Grove Festival, you should definitely check it out! It’s a free music festival in San Francisco that features some great bands. They even have kid-friendly activities, free yoga classes (BYO yoga mats), food trucks, and more!

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The best part, though, is being able to just sit out in the sunshine or not so great in fog, in a beautiful part of the city and enjoying a day off. You can bring in a picnic (with certain limitations, of course) or reserve a picnic table ahead of time.

The venue itself is really beautiful, and located at 19th and Sloat in SF. The free music starts around 2 p.m. each Sunday and the season runs from June 16th to Aug. 18th. The SF Symphony, Psychedelic Furs, and Pink Martini are the ones I am interested in, but a day in Stern Grove, no matter who is playing is always a good day. Hope to see you there!

Event Round-Up: May 18th

We’re almost all the way into summer here in Walnut Creek! The kids will be out of school soon, and the days will keep getting longer and warmer, giving us ample opportunities to take advantage of some awesome Bay Area events.

Diablo Symphony – May 19th (Walnut Creek)

The Diablo Symphony presents Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony and Bach’s Double Violin Concerto tomorrow at the Lesher Center in Walnut Creek! You can get tickets at the door, preceding the 2 p.m. concert. The Symphony Orchestra will be joined by members of the San Ramon Valley High School orchestra for this performance!

Rooftop History Walking Tour – May 31st (San Francisco)

Real estate nerd alert! This sounds so interesting to me, and if you like rooftops with beautiful views, you’ll be amazed by which buildings in the city might have them. This is a really cool tour to take if you like history, as you’ll get into some of the more exclusive private buildings in SF. Tickets are just $35.

Art & Wine Festival – June 1st (Walnut Creek)

For the weekend of June 1st, you can take advantage of an awesome event right in our own backyard! Pair your wine and beer with food vendors, art, live music, a Kids Zone, and more! It’s time for the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. More info here.

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Walnut Creek First Wednesdays – June 5th (Walnut Creek)

Did you miss out on last month’s First Wednesday celebration? Because they are a great time! You can make up for it by coming downtown on Weds., June 5th to take part in a small street fair right here in Walnut Creek. Get more info here – you won’t want to miss it!

Walnut Creek Uncorked – June 20th (Walnut Creek)

Sip, stroll, socialize. Walnut Creek’s Uncorked event is taking place on June 20th downtown! You can sip wines, eat local food, listen to live music, and just wander downtown with your wine. I’d recommend getting tickets in advance, as this event is popular every year!

The best breweries in the Bay Area

It’s always brewery-hunting season for some people, but the crowds really seem to pick up when Spring is in full bloom and the warm summer months approach. If a cold craft brew in the sunshine is your thing, you’ll want to see this list from TimeOut.com of the best breweries in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

Almanac Brewery's bar area
Photograph: Mariko Reed (TimeOut.com)

Fort Point Beer: San Francisco

Fort Point Beer Company is known for its ales and is run by two brothers with local roots.

Novel Brewing Co.: Oakland

You can snag a book from the communal shelf at this brewery and sip on the Dust Jacket IPA in Oakland.

Cellarmaker Brewing Company: San Francisco

IPAs are beloved at Cellarmaker, and now they’ve opened a House of Pizza extension on Mission St. to complete a perfect combo.

Fieldwork Brewing Co.: Berkeley

Fieldwork now has locations in Berkeley, Napa, San Mateo, Monterey, Sacramento, and San Ramon and they produce more than 200 beers!

Rare Barrel
Timeout.com

The Rare Barrel: Berkeley

If you like sours, this is the place to be in the East Bay. Try the kimchee dumplings at the Berkeley tasting room on weekends!

Standard Deviant Brewing: San Francisco

Sports on the TV, unique beers, and a pinball machine? What more could you ask for from a brewery? Standard Deviant delivers.

Temescal Brewing: Oakland

You’ve definitely heard of this one – and probably tried their beer! They have a cozy outdoor beer garden and features food trucks on property for your eating needs.

Ale Industries: Oakland

This is Oakland’s biggest and oldest brewery, located in the Fruitvale neighborhood. It serves seasonal beers, live music, and allows outside food.

Almanac Beer Co.: San Francisco

Like Temescal in Oakland, you’ve definitely heard of – and tried – this Mission-based brewery. Also check out their huge new brewery and taproom in Alameda!

Seven Stills: San Francisco

Seven Stills has good craft beer, but also distills liquor from their beer! They can be found in the Outer Sunset, Bayview and Mission Bay – the latter has a dog-friendly beer garden.

Kristin’s note: on top of all these, I’d add 21st Amendment’s newer brewery and tasting room in San Rafael for excellent beer and friendly service!

Event Round-Up: April 20, 2019

The weather is heating up, and with it is the Bay Area event calendar! Usually we give you five, but since this is such a fun time of the year, we’ve given you a few bonuses to look out for. Let me know if you go to any of these so we can write about them in a future blog!

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Moonlit Walking Tour: San Francisco (May 1st)

You can take a 90-minute walking tour through one of San Francisco’s most famous – and infamous – neighborhoods. Start in the Tenderloin at 6:15 p.m., and your $20 ticket gets you an awesome tour and a whole new perspective. Tickets here.

Wanderlust: San Francisco (May 4th)

Wanderlust Festival, which brings teachers, experts, musicians, and creators for “transformational experiences” is coming to Golden Gate Park on the weekend of May 4th. Get more information here!

Cinco de Mayo Eve Pub Crawl: San Francisco (May 4th)

8 p.m. in Lower Nob Hill/Union Square. Be there, or be square. The night before Cinco de Mayo, you can get the festivities kicked off early with a themed pub crawl! Get tickets at this link.

SF Maritime Beer Fest: San Francisco (May 10th)

Okay, this one is really cool. You can get a $25 ticket for a really unique Beer Fest on a submarine at Fisherman’s Wharf! There will be music, craft brews, and some amazing views of the San Francisco Bay.

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Creek Cleanup Day: Walnut Creek (May 11th)

City and Friends of the Creek are making plans for the 30th Annual Creek Cleanup Day! This year’s event hops to top the 140 volunteers and 16 cubic yards of debris and vegetation that was removed in 2018. More details here.

Youth Art Show: Walnut Creek (thru May 15th)

The Center for Community Arts celebrates its youth artists in this show at Shadelands Art Center. This will include students from preschool up through teen classes. Over 100 artists! Opening reception is on Fri., Apr. 12th from 5:30-7:00 p.m., too.

Beginning Beekeeping: San Francisco (May 18th)

For $25, you can learn how to become a beekeeper! The class is designed for people with no experience in the field, and protective clothing will be provided. This sounds really interesting, especially with beekeeping becoming such an important part of the ecosystem!

Bedford Gallery Exhibit: Walnut Creek (thru June 23rd)

The newest Bedford Gallery exhibit, Tradition Interrupted, is on display downtown. It explores the methods used by artists to conflate contemporary ideas with traditional art and craft. Check it out! And remember that every first Tuesday at the gallery is free.

Best Hikes in the Bay! (UPDATED)

I love hiking. That’s probably why, over the years, I’ve given you all countless Road Trips blogs with hiking involved. I’ve also written about the best hikes near Walnut Creek, best hikes with a bar at the end, and my own take on the best hikes in San Francisco.

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What can I say? It’s habit. So, with Spring right around the corner and the sun starting to shine on our beautiful state, I have another hiking list for you, this time courtesy of TimeOut.com. They’ve listed their 9 favorite hikes in San Francisco, and who am I to argue?

  1. Lands End
  2. Bernal Heights Summit
  3. Glen Canyon Park
  4. Marin Headlands
  5. Redwood Regional Park
  6. Muir Woods
  7. Golden Gate Bridge
  8. The Presidio
  9. Angel Island
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As you can see, they were a little bit generous describing a few of those as “San Francisco hikes.” But they are all great choices, nonetheless! If you’re venturing out that way, I’d also suggest spending half a day doing the entire Dipsea Trail or the Steep Ravine Trail from Pantoll campgrounds to Stinson! You won’t regret it!

The funniest run you’ll ever hear of!

I get a lot of cool event emails around the Bay Area. It’s how I keep you all up-to-date! But I can’t say I’ve seen one that made me laugh out loud like this: Cupid’s Undie Run in San Francisco!

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via: SF Station

According to the website, the “run” is the largest pantless party and mile-ish run in the nation. It takes place this Saturday, Feb. 9th in San Francisco and raises money (100% of the proceeds) for neurofibromatosis.

If you’re brave enough to take part, go to Pedro’s Cantina on King St. in the city at 12 p.m. this Saturday. Right now, you can go to this website and save 20% on tickets right now by using the promo code “TIMEOUTSF20.”

I have run the Bay to Breakers in normal attire, but I am not sure how I feel about my body to expose it to the public – as you can see by the pictures it is a fairly young crowd that participates and it seems more like a party, but it does sound hilarious and has a great cause attached to it. Not a bad excuse for a few drinks, very little clothing, and a short workout!

Event Round-Up: Jan. 19

There’s usually a bit of a lull after the holiday season where the events fizzle out and everyone recovers at the beginning of the year. However, I was able to dig up a few awesome ones in and around Walnut Creek to keep you satisfied. Enjoy the end of January and early February events before we head into the big Valentine’s week and let me know if you go to any!

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Napa Valley Restaurant Week: Jan. 20-27 (Napa)

Everyone knows the cuisine in Napa is just as good – if not better – than its wine. Now is your chance to gobble up some of that delicious fare for a fraction of the normal cost. Napa Valley Restaurant Week is the perfect excuse to visit the wine haven in its off-season.

Exploratorium After Dark: Radioactive: Jan. 24th (San Francisco)

This is a weekly event in The City at “After Dark” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Go down to Pier 15 and enjoy the adults-only event in the incredibly cool museum. It costs about $20 at the door and is free for members. You can go to this from 6-10 p.m. on Jan. 24th.

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San Francisco Beer Week Opening Gala: Feb. 1st (San Francisco) 

You can’t beat a fancy night out in San Francisco for the most anticipated craft beer event of the year in Northern California. It’s not a cheap ticket, but the kickoff for SF Beer Week takes place from 6-10:30 p.m. at Pier 35. More than 120 NorCal breweries will be pouring their newest, most specialized beers. Check it out!

Pink Floyd Concert Experience with House of Floyd: Feb. 1st (Walnut Creek)

At 8:00 p.m. at the Lesher Center on Feb. 1st, you can go to see the Pink Floyd experience in concert right downtown! It’s a live musical tribute that pays homage to Pink Floyd’s famous shows, with sound effects, lights, lasers, video projection, and more. More info here!

Free First Tuesday: Feb. 5th (Walnut Creek)

As you’re probably well aware by now, there is a Free First Tuesday in downtown Walnut Creek at the Bedford Gallery. From 12-5 p.m., you can get free admission to the coolest art gallery in town and check out all the new exhibits. If you haven’t been, it’s definitely a hidden gem in Walnut Creek.  With a new exhibit that just launched on Sunday the 13th, going through March 24th, “Altered States” features artists across generations living and working along the California coast who harness natural elements of the environment to create their artwork. I think that will be a future blog!

Come for the climb, stay for the views

The beauty of San Francisco is well-known around the world. We are extremely lucky to live close to one of the world’s best cities, but one thing most people don’t know is that there is excellent hiking within San Francisco! I found a great blog about the best hikes and views in the city, and want to share with you.

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You all know about views from The Golden Gate Bridge, The Cliff House, and Coit Tower. But there are some hidden gems on lesser known hills and from some major hotels in the city. Depending on your level of energy, you might be interested in the hikes up the hills below, or just to take the elevator up to the tops of those hotels for a drink and a view.

Here, I’ve compiled three of the best views; one from a hill, one from a hotel, and one from a museum. For the full list, see the link above!

Billy Goat Hill

This one is really popular for its epic views and the fun swing that takes you over the edge of the world! The hike is about half a mile long, so people of all abilities can climb up there. There are magnificent views overlooking Noe Valley, the downtown skyline, and the glimmering bay!

Hamon Observatory Tower

Have you ever wanted a free way to visit the de Young Museum? This is your ticket! The Hamon Observatory Tower at the top of the de Young is always free, and takes you to the 9th floor with stunning views in literally every direction of the Bay Area.

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The View Lounge

On the 39th floor of the Marriott Marquis downtown, you can climb, or take the elevator, up to The View Lounge. Get there early to secure a table by the massive window and take in a San Francisco sunset. Bonus: this one has delicious, strong (and overpriced) cocktails!

Event Round-Up: Oct. 13, 2018

It’s finally that time of year, when the summer heat melts away and the brisk Fall air rides in on the San Francisco fog. Everything turns orange with Halloween and Thanksgiving on the horizon, and schools are in full force again. There are still heaps of fun activities to do this season, and I’ve chosen a few of the best:

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East Bay Walk to End Alzheimer’s: Walnut Creek (Sat. 10/20)

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event for fundraising for the disease, and supports the care and research of it. The East Bay chapter will do their run from 8-11 a.m. next Saturday, Oct. 20th at Heather Farm’s Park. Check out their Facebook event here.

Beach Blanket Babylon: San Francisco (Sat. 10/27 and more)

If you’ve never experienced the hilarity of Beach Blanket Babylon, now is the time. Tickets are still available for the Sat. 10/27 show, and you don’t want to miss the artful, gut-busting show that pokes fun at politicians, celebrities, athletes and more. A fun family outing, especially if you have older kids.

Boo at the Zoo: Oakland (Sat. 10/27 & Sun. 10/28)

From 10 am to 3 pm on these days, bring the kiddos out for a fun pre-Halloween stroll through the Oakland Zoo! Costumes are encouraged, and the kids can trick-or-treat, ride a train, join a dance party, get their face painted, and more. Not to mention, you’re at the zoo watching the animals play! More info here.

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Warren Miller’s “Face of Winter”: Walnut Creek (Tue. 11/6)

There is truly no better way to get fired up for the skiing and snowboarding season than watching the latest Warren Miller film. It’s an annual tradition for serious snow-goers, and this year’s version is bound to be just as awesome! Check it out at The Lesher Center downtown.

Her Room/Her World: Walnut Creek (thru 12/30)

Her Room/Her World is an exhibit at the Bedford Gallery that showcases prints, video, paintings, and installations by New York artist Portia Munson, who does feminist art. The key attraction is an installation called Pink Room that specifically appeals to women and girls. Check it out!