30 of the Best Things to Do in the Bay Area This June

Summer has finally arrived, and along with it, a whirlwind of festivals, fairs, concerts and more.

June 1-3: 2nd Annual Clusterfest

This three-day mashup of comedy and music is presented by Comedy Central and co-produced by the creators and producers of Outside Lands. Headliners include Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, and Berkeley’s Lonely Island, plus a lineup of musical acts including Bay Area bands such as Third Eye Blind. The festival has a distinct Comedy Central flair with a carnival-style South Park Fair and a “library” dedicated to making fun of President Trump’s twitter feed. Civic Center Plaza and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (San Francisco), clusterfest.com

June 1-10: Healdsburg Jazz Festival

The festival is celebrating 20 years, with local and visiting artists including the Fred Hersch Trio, Trio da Paz, saxophonist and flutist Charles Lloyd, the Marc Cary Trio, Marcus Shelby with the Freedom Jazz Choir and others. New this year at the festival: a jazz village where you can meet fellow fans and musicians, hear jazz poetry and music from local talent, and take part in a jazz virtual reality experience. Various locations (Healdsburg), 707-433-4644, healdsburgjazzfestival.org

June 1-29: Dancing Under the Stars

Jack London Square: Dancing Under the Stars
Photo courtesy of Jack London Square.

Jack London Square’s free outdoor summer dance series returns on Friday evenings with a 30-minute dance lesson followed by a dance party. From jiving newbies to experienced dancers, Dancing Under the Stars is open to dancers of all ages and skill levels. The lessons will be taught by professional dance instructors Johnny Lopez and Carla Service. June themes include Cumbia (to the music of Selena), Pop (to Michael Jackson tunes), Polynesian, Bollywood and Bachata, and Salsa and Merengue. Series continues through Aug. 31. Jack London Square, Broadway and Embarcadero (Oakland), 510-645-9292, jacklondonsquare.com

June 2: Nick’s Cove Market

Beginning this Saturday, Nick’s Cove in Marshall is hosting a Bayside Market in its dog-friendly waterfront lounge selling veggies, herbs, and flowers grown on the property’s garden — as well as chowder, oysters, and beer. Every market will feature three other local vendors selling products like cheese, eggs, meat, fish, and veggies. Don’t worry if you miss this one; the market is happening the first Saturday of each month. Bring Fido and your friends and enjoy a gorgeous day out in West Marin. 23240 California Highway 1 (Marshall), 415-663-1033, nickscove.com

June 2: Pints for Paws

Berkeley Humane’s annual fundraiser consists of unlimited craft beer samples, food trucks, and, of course, lots of furry friends roaming about with their owners. 2700 9th St. (Berkeley), 510-845-7735, berkeleyhumane.org

June 3: 37th Annual Mill Valley Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting Festival

Mill Valley Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of Mill Valley Wine Festival.

Set against the dramatic backdrop of Mount Tamalpais, this annual festival features wine from more than 65 premium wineries and craft beers and bites from food purveyors and 12 local restaurants and chefs. Proceeds benefit Mill Valley’s Chamber of Commerce and Kiddo! local school foundation. Mill Valley Downtown Plaza (Mill Valley), 415-388-9700, enjoymillvalley.com

 June 6-10: Napa Valley Jazz Getaway

Jazz and R&B musician Brian Culbertson’s four-day event is geared to people who love two things: music and wine. Happenings include a wine tasting event, daily performances by musicians and comedians (Sinbad is a yearly performer), and a cigar party. Oxbow Commons and other locations (Napa), jazzgetaway.com

June 7-10: Mary Poppins Sing-Along

The perfect nanny with the awesome chops takes center stage at this sing-along showing of the beloved Disney classic, “Mary Poppins.” Event hosts will lead the audience in fun choreographed routines with props (chimney sweeps!) plus all the musical numbers. Costumes encouraged. 3Below Theaters, 288 S. 2nd St. (San Jose), 408-404-7711, 3belowtheaters.com

June 8-10: San Francisco Comic Con

Fans of comic books (and geeky toys, magazines, and other stuff) can flock to Comic Con for their nerdy pop culture fix. This event, which was previously held in San Francisco and is now in Oakland, includes comic industry panels and celebrity autograph sessions in addition to numerous exhibitors. Oakland Convention Center (Oakland), sfcomiccon.com

June 8-24: Shakespeare in the Park

Shakespeare in the Park
Photo by Evelyn Huynh.

Silicon Valley Shakespeare, now in its 20th season, presents a free outdoor production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on Thursdays through Sundays. Step into a pop-up book of fairytale romance and journey into the forest of Arden. Follow the play’s heroine, Rosalind, as she flees persecution in her uncle’s court to find safety — and eventually, love. Willow Bramhall Street Park (San Jose), 408-289-1901, svshakespeare.org

June 9-10: Sonoma County Hot Air Balloon Classic

Go up, up, and away with Darth Vader or Humpty Dumpty at this event featuring dozens of hot air balloon operators. But be forewarned, this one is for the early birds — tethered balloon rides start at 5:30 a.m. and are dependent on the weather conditions. Keiser Park, 700 Windsor River Road (Windsor), schabc.org

June 9-10: Novato Art, Wine & Music Festival

Music is a key element of this downtown street festival with two large performance stages and an impressive lineup of local talent, including the popular Wonderbread 5. In addition to food, wine, and beer booths, there are local vendors selling art and crafts and a children’s area with face painting, giant hamster balls, and other kid-friendly activities. Free admission. Grant Avenue between Redwood Boulevard and 7th Street (Novato), novatochamber.com

June 9: Yerba Buena Art Walk

This yearly event in the Yerba Buena District offers complimentary admission to SFMOMA, Museum of the African Diaspora, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and several participating galleries and museums. Along the way, enter to win fantastic art-related prizes. Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission Street between 3rd and 4th (San Francisco), 415-541-0312, yerbabuena.org

June 10: 108th Annual Dipsea Race

Billed as the “world’s oldest trail race” (and some would argue, the most scenic race of its kind on Earth), the Annual Dipsea Race is one of the Bay Area’s most beloved traditions. Due to environmental concerns, the participant list is capped at 1,500 (sorry, the list is full this year), but there’s plenty of opportunities to come out and watch — and plan for next year’s race. The website offers tips for runners wanting to snag a coveted spot in future races. Starting line at Mill Valley Depot Bookstore & Café, 87 Throckmorton Ave. (Mill Valley), 415-331-3550, dipsea.org

June 15 to July 1: Broadway Under the Stars

Broadway Under Stars
Photo by Ray Mabry.

Transcendence Theatre’s four-show summer season of Broadway musical numbers kicks off June 15 with “Stairway to Paradise” — a new show with songs about life journeys performed by actors and singers from Broadway’s famous stages. Bring a picnic or purchase dinner on site. Jack London Historic Park, 2400 London Ranch Road (Glen Ellen), 877-424-1414, BestNightEver.org

June 15 to July 8: Alameda County Fair

The annual 18-day fair kicks off opening day with a cattle drive featuring real-life cowboys and cowgirls herding steer through downtown Pleasanton. Running over four consecutive weekends, highlights include a new sky gondola ride, horse racing, monster truck and demolition derby events, and an impressive lineup of musical talent including Smash Mouth, 38 Special, Blue Oyster Cult, Sir Mix-a-Lot, and more. There’s also a new fast pass that lets you skip the long lines for an extra fee. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave. (Pleasanton), alamedacountyfair.com

June 15: Giants of Land and Sea

Giants of Land and Sea
Photo by Kat Whitney.

California Academy of Sciences’ newest exhibit explores the giant wonders that make Northern California like nowhere else in the world. Filled with larger-than-life interactives, including a fog simulator and a revamped earthquake “shake house,” visitors will experience the glory of the state’s iconic landscape — a place of constant change where people and climate are shaping the future.The exhibit is translated in several different languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. Opens June 15; exhibit is ongoing. California Academy of Sciences, 75 Music Concourse Drive (San Francisco), 415-379-8000, calacademy.org

June 16: Uncorked: SF Wine Festival

For wine lovers, this event is an opportunity to sample wines from 60 wineries and enjoy nibbles from gourmet food trucks. City View Metreon, 135 4th St. (San Francisco), uncorkedwinefestivals.com

June 16-17: North Beach Festival

The North Beach Festival turns 64 this year and is one of the longest running outdoor festivals in the country. Situated in the historic North Beach District, also known as “Little Italy,” the festival winds through the area’s charming streets including Grant Avenue, Green Street, Vallejo Street, and Columbus Avenue with a number of performing acts and food and wine booths in Washington Square Park. Various locations in North Beach (San Francisco), 800-310-6563, sresproductions.com

June 17 to Aug. 19: Stern Grove Festival

The 81st season of the Stern Grove Festival opens on Father’s Day with a picnic and benefit concert starring R&B artists Peabo Bryson and Jeffrey Osborne. Meadow seating is free (as always), but reserved picnic tables require paid tickets and the proceeds go to Stern Grove. Other notable acts during the season include Ziggy Marley, The Revolution (Prince’s former band), Ronnie Spector, the San Francisco Symphony, and the San Francisco Ballet. 19th Avenue at Sloat Boulevard (San Francisco), 415-252-6252, sterngrove.org

June 19: “Judy Dater: Only Human”

Spanning five decades of the artist’s work, “Judy Dater: Only Human” at the de Young Museum is the first exhibition in more than 20 years to explore the career of Bay Area photographer Judy Dater. This exhibition will provide a survey of Dater’s work, celebrating her achievement as a pioneering figure in 1970s feminist art and her subsequent creative evolution. Runs June 19 to Sept. 16. de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive (San Francisco) 415-750-3600, deyoung.famsf.org

June 21-24: 29Rooms

Pop-up exhibits seem to be the rage these days — and paradise for avid Instagrammers. Refinery29’s 29Rooms is (you guessed it) 29 rooms filled with visual surprises. The sensory funhouse promises lots of color and an emphasis on social good. Palace of Fine Arts, 3362 Palace Drive (San Francisco), 29rooms.com

June 22-24: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Photo by Mike Doran.

Lightning McQueen would have a blast whizzing around the Sonoma Raceway, one of the few raceways with a series of curves and elevation drops that also hosts NASCAR events. During this annual race, the cars will complete 110 laps, make 1,100 turns, and excite the crowd with lots of engine revving noise. Even non-race fans can get a thrill out of this one. Don’t forget to try a deep fried Twinkie, too. Sonoma Raceway, 29355 Arnold Drive (Sonoma), 800-870-7223, sonomaraceway.com

June 22: Music in the Park with Tony! Toni! Toné!

Step back into the 90s with hits like “It Feels Good,” “Little Water,” and “Whatever You Want” from this R&B sensation band originally from Oakland. The night’s opening act is San Jose’s No Water After Midnight performing hip-hop and funk classics. Plaza de Cesar Chavez, 1 Paseo de San Antonio (San Jose), sjdowntown.com

June 23-24: San Francisco Pride

The largest gathering of its kind in the nation, San Francisco Pride gets much of the credit for why San Francisco is considered to be ground zero for the LGBTQ community. The parade alone (on Sunday along Market Street) has more than 200 participating organizations, plus a number of exhibitors and performances throughout the entire weekend. Civic Center Plaza, 335 McAllister St. (San Francisco), 415-864-0831, sfpride.org

June 23-24: Wonders of Space & Time

During this annual performance art event centered around Italian street painting, the city streets of San Rafael become the canvas for talented Madonnari (street painters) who use chalk pastels to create amazing, albeit temporary, works of art in a matter of hours or minutes. 5th Street at A Street (San Rafael), 415-884-2423, italianstreetpaintingmarin.org

June 30 to July 1: Fillmore Jazz Festival

The Fillmore Jazz Festival is the largest free Jazz festival on the West Coast. From sunup to sundown, visitors can groove to the sounds of live music from multiple stages, browse the offerings on more than 12 blocks of fine arts and crafts, and enjoy gourmet food and beverages. Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy (San Francisco), 800-310-6563, sresproductions.com

June 30 to July 4: Marin County Fair

Marin County Fair
Photo courtesy of Marin County Fair.

This is a fair with a nostalgic, all-American feel. Highlights include nightly fireworks over the beautiful lagoon, entertainment by Eddie Money, Los Lobos, Leann Rimes, and Petty and the Heartshakers, plus carnival rides, a barnyard, petting zoo, and oodles of fair food. When it’s time to cool down, wander the exhibit halls to view the cake and pie contest entries, decorated art chair collection, and crafts projects by Marin’s schoolkids. Marin County Fairgrounds, 10 Avenue of the Flags (San Rafael), 415-473-6400, marinfair.org


René Magritte: The Fifth Season

This longstanding exhibit at SFMOMA focuses on the latter half of Rene Magritte‘s career, from approximately 1943 to 1967, a period of the artist’s remarkable transformation and revitalization. Featuring more than 50 oil paintings and a dozen gouaches — including his iconic “The Son of Man” painting — the exhibition will reveal Magritte as an artist attuned to the paradoxes within reality. Through Oct. 28. SFMOMA, 151 3rd St., 415-357-4000, sfmoma.org


On the last weekend of the month, Treasure Island transforms into a mecca for treasure seekers. With 400 vendors, dozens of food trucks, live entertainment, DIY workshops, and kids’ games, there is something for everyone. 500 Ave N, Treasure Island (San Francisco), treasurefest.com

Donna Berry Glass is the editor of the Bay Area Better Letter, and the online editor at Marin Magazine. When she’s not writing and editing, she enjoys spending time with her family exploring the natural beauty of Marin County, snuggling with her Cavalier King Charles and tackling her never-ending list of DIY home and garden projects. Donna is a supporter of the California Academy of Sciences, a world class science museum and research institution, and SF CASA, which provides court-appointed advocates for foster youth.



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