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Sunday, June 7, 2009

25 Fun Things to Do in Bay Area This Summer

Stuck for ideas on what to do with the kids this summer? Here are 25 ideas.

1. Do you like the cartoon Peanuts? Then visit “Schultz’s Beethoven, Schroeder’s Muse” exhibit at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, at SJSU. Admission is free, and goes through July 31st.

2. Visit the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Get discounted ride wristbands at Costco. Kiddie rides to scary roller coasters – you won’t get bored. Bring plenty of water and munch your way through their ice cream stands and boardwalk fare. Lots of special events, from concerts to beach soccer games and more. The boardwalk is free, so even if you don’t want to ride the coaster it’s a fun day.

3. On the way home, visit Marianne’s ice cream – a huge assortment of exotic flavors. It’s at 1020 Ocean Street.

4. Ride the rails at Roaring Camp in Felton. Even better, ride the rails from Roaring Camp to the boardwalk.

5. Hike in a county or state park - before our governator shuts them down.

6. Go berry picking. My favorite is Webb Ranch in Portola Valley, but find many more sites here.

7. Go tidepooling at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

8. Visit a museum. Try one you haven’t yet been to, whether it’s the California Academy of Sciences, Randall Museum, San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum, Bay Area Children’s Discovery Museum, Habitot or others.

9. Go bowling – for free! Register your kids for 2 free games a day through mid-September.

10. Go ice skating.

11. Go on a day trip to Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory

12. Get wet. Try the new Aqua Adventure water park in Fremont, or Newark’s Silliman Aquatic Center. Or try a city park with water features like Palo Alto's Mitchell Park, Redwood City's Stafford Park or Stulsaft Park.

13. Get cultured! See the King Tut exhibit at the de Young.

14. Make ice cream!

15. Make rock candy - it will take more than a few days!

16. Check out a new park, like Magic Mountain Playground at Coyote Point. Or ride the train at Tilden Park in Berkeley.

17. Join your local library’s reading program and see how many books you can read together this summer. It's free!

18. Go to the zoo.

19. Watch a children’s theater production, like the Children’s Theater in the Park in Mountain View. or Hillbarn Theater in Foster City.

20. Check out the farmer’s market. The San Carlos one on Thursday afternoons features free music.

21. Almost every city has a free outdoor concert series. I'll post a link soon.

22. Browse the stores in Japantown in San Francisco. The kids will love the window shopping, waterfall, treats (try the crepes) and Pika Pika photo booths.

23. Walk over the Golden Gate Bridge. There's no toll for you to get back into the city if you're on foot!

24. Try some new foods, like yummy waffle fish called Taiyaki.

25. Eat your way through the SF Ferry Building. Taylor's Refesher has kid-friendly fare. And the building's Farmer's Markets are on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

What should be added to this list? Please leave a comment with your ideas!


  1. I disagree wuth the Alcatraz suggestion. For any kid under 14, and especially kids under 10, it's entirely inappropriate. The tour emphasizes violence, complete with realistic gunfire and sounds of people dying. I was stunned to hear that at a federal park. I'm not taking my kids back again.

  2. Deer Hollow Farm is located in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, nestled in the foothills of Los Altos.

  3. I would take my kids to the water near the fairmont hotel downtown san jose, she loves just walking around and get wet, later we usually have a cup of coffee at the fairmont lobby lounge, parents and kids both happy. Also, good is Santana Row

  4. i would just like to say that i am under 14 and going to alcatraz would be very fun and there is NoThInG inappropriate about it. Now you were talking about its violence and other stuff well just know that they arent gona sugar coat anything this is a jail what did you expect flower and pony's no there not gona lie about what happend there. thank you for your time.