Things to Do Beyond San Francisco in the Summer
Each month we offer a few seasonal suggestions for things to do in San Francisco. This month, we are going a bit further and planting some ideas for the perfect summer fling – whether you prefer to stay indoors or take a walk in the woods. Still got room on your “to do” list. Add this to your reading list: our new summer guide.
East of San Francisco
Easily reached by BART the Oakland Museum of California, which is one block from the Lake Merritt station, is known for its family friendly Friday Nights programing. The festive night market includes gourmet Off the Grid food trucks, live music, dance lessons and drop-in workshops for all ages from 5-8 p.m. Half-price gallery admission is an added perk with ages 18 and under free; currently on view is “Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing” through Aug. 13, 2017.
Bowling. Bocce. Beer. This irresistible threesome is a big draw at the Plank in Oakland’s Jack London Square. A one-of-a-kind entertainment venue, plank offers a full-service restaurant, 18 state-of-the-art bowling lanes, an outdoor beer garden with three bocce ball courts, a patio overlooking San Francisco Bay, three full-service bars, interactive games, live entertainment and private party spaces.
What would summer be without a new thrill ride to try out? Vallejo’s Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has just the ticket: Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth is the newest thrill ride in this attraction which includes 40 rides and wildlife encounters. Ride highlights include 40 riders propelled at nearly 70 miles per hour; as the guests swing higher and higher, they experience a feeling of weightlessness at 147 feet in the air.
YOLO – “you only live once.” No, not that YOLO. We’re talking Yolo County whose name comes from an Indian tribal designation, “Yo-loy.” From the quintessential college town of Davis to the small-town charm of Winters, this area one hour east of San Francisco via I-80 is noted for olive oil and wineries. Verdant Capay Valley offers farm tours and recreation and Davis offers the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
Just two-and-a-half hours east of San Francisco, Tuolumne County is in the heart of the Gold Country and is the Bay Area’s “front door” to Yosemite National Park. The area is also laced with caverns. There are walking tours of this stunning underground world or consider rappelling 165 feet into the heart of a cavern. Among the deep dives are California Cavern Adventure Park, Mercer Caverns and Moaning Cavern Adventure Park.
North of San Francisco
That classic photo of San Francisco shimmering beyond the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge taken from the Marin Headlands will be easier to capture now that the Baker-Barry tunnel has been modernized after a six-month-long closure. The 100-year-old tunnel reopened on June 3, 2017 just in time for summer.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday is being celebrated throughout the United States. One of the more unusual tributes may be a display in Marin’s Civic Center Library branch, 3501 Civic Center Dr., San Rafael. Eddie’s House, the only doghouse designed by Wright, is on public display for the first time, June 8-Sept. 8, 2017. Eddie’s House has been in storage since it was donated by Jim Berger who wrote to Wright in the 1950s when he was 12 years old imploring the world-famous architect to design a doghouse for his black lab, Eddie. At the time, Berger’s father was working to build a full-scale home designed by Wright. The original doghouse was eventually discarded; however, in 2011, Berger received permission from the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation to build a replica from the original sketches and later donated the replica.
This summer, both the largest existing Frank Lloyd Wright building, the Marin County Civic Center, and the smallest, Eddie’s House, will be together in Marin. With its construction in 1960, the Marin County Civic Center is one of the last major works of Wright’s career. Docent-led tours are available.
Considered "the greenest county fair on earth," the Marin County Fair, June 30-July 4, 2017 has been a summer tradition for more than 75 years; rides, music, nightly fireworks and exhibits draw more than 120,000 annually. This year's theme, "Let the Funshine In" pays tribute to the Summer of Love.
Want to see more fireworks? Check out Sonoma County. They’ve mapped out a special four-day Fourth of July itinerary that takes in everything from Kathy Mattea performing at Sonoma’s Weill Hall Green Music Center to fireworks over Bodega Bay. Insiders recommend that you reserve a table now at one of the many view restaurants lining the bay.
South of San Francisco
Don’t wait for Halloween to visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. For the first time in its 94-year history of providing public tours, sections of the house that have never been accessible to the public before as well as areas that have been off-limits for decades are open to the public. Dubbed “Explore More,” this new tour experience will unveil many of the mansion’s hidden hideaways. “Winchester,” a major motion picture starring Helen Mirren as the firearms heiress Sarah Winchester, is currently under production.
Monterey County celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with art exhibitions, special events and musical performances including the 50th anniversary of the Monterey Pop Festival, June 16-18, 2017, which is credited as one of the seminal events of the Summer of Love. See videos from the original festival as well as vintage footage of singers such as Janis Joplin.