Summer is almost here! If you are coming to Northern California, there are tons of things to do during summer. If you are already living in Northern California, then I am sure you know that there are endless possibilities for fun.
But we millennials are constantly broke (probably due to high student loan debt and rent), so I have gathered a list of events that you can enjoy for $50 or less. Normally the most expensive parts of these events are the food, so be frugal and eat at home before you go, or bring your own snacks.
I hope you get a chance to try at least one of these activities this summer.
Art and Wine Festivals
Art and Wine festivals are amazing! You can go and get some wine for near $10 (a glass, or two I think). Plus the rest of the event is free for you to just stroll around and see the amazing eclectic and fancy artwork that is displayed.
I personally love the Art and Wine festival in Pleasant Hill. Last year, they had a few dance performances and it was amazing seeing all different types of dances performed by kids ranging from 5-13. Unfortunately, this particular Art and Wine festival isn't until Fall of this year.
Normally, there are a few food trucks present, but it is honestly much better to bring your own food, or eat prior to this type of event.
There a ton of other Art and Wine festivals in each Bay Area city every summer, so be sure to check out one close to where you are staying.
The next Art and Wine festival is in Alameda. You can check out the dates/times for Alameda's Art and Wine festival here.
Originally called the Treasure Island Flea Market, this event grew so big that they had to expand the title to make it a Fest (Festival). This is my absolute favorite event to go to throughout the year, and especially during the summer.
There are tons of vendors each specializing in amazing crafts, food, and even clothing. It is a great place where you can find some really cool flea market finds. There are so many different types of items sold, and a few months ago, I even bought hand-made pants! Which are honestly, the comfiest pants I own.
This "fest" occurs at the end every month, so make sure to check it out at least once this summer.
To get into this event, you have to pay $5 per person. If you want drinks it's an additional $5-10. But on the hot summer days, the drinks are definitely worth the extra amount.
What I love the most about this event are the dogs! If you are wanting to get out on a nice day and get some fun exercise with your dog, this is a perfect place for that. On some weekends, I swear that there are more dogs than humans.
Check out their website for more information for the next dates that it will be held on.
Oakland First Fridays
This event is in West Oakland. It is normally free to get in but they ask for $1-5 donation to keep the event going. This event is like a mini Art and Wine Festival, with no wine.
It showcases some phenomenal talented musicians and artists. With the artist vendors, you can find anything from trippy paintings, handmade jewelry, to clothing. The event has food trucks, but there are also great restaurants nearby.
Along with all the vendors, they offer a free Art Stroll, in which you can visit any participating Art galleries in the nearby area for free. This event starts at 5 pm and ends at 9 pm, so grab some dinner beforehand and visit the local bars for some beer with friends after.
If you want some original art for your home, this is definitely the place to get it!
Check out more details on this event here.
This awesome event happens at the end of every June. I have only gone once, but I have been dying to go back.
It is a weekend filled with inclusive celebration and it does not disappoint. Show your love for the LGBTQ community by supporting them at this event. There is no entry fee, but they do ask for donations to keep the event going.
What I love about SF Pride is the freedom of expression that it embodies. There is no negativity involved in this event, and there are tons of fun vendors that attend.
The last time I went, I visited a Henna vendor. They also have amazing music, spoken word, and speeches at different stages around the event. Make sure to bring tons of water because the event can get hot due to the number of people in the area, and it normally occurs on a hot day.
Make sure to dress for warm weather, and in the colors of love.
There are a few food vendors, but it is always better to bring your own food, to make things cheaper.
Check out their website for more information.
Muir Woods and East Bay Regional Parks
Want to try some outdoor places this summer? East Bay Regional Parks has awesome places to go for picnics, camping, and hiking.
I would specifically suggest going to Muir Woods in particular because it is absolutely beautiful, and is an area where you can go on an amazing hike. There are spots to have a picnic and so many great photo shoot areas.
The trees are so beautiful and tall (California's trademark Redwood trees). When you are in the forest, it feels like the whole world slips away and you really get to be alone with your thoughts (and whoever you bring with along).
NOTE: You will need to make a reservation before you go. The park entrance fee is $10, also, there is no cell service in the park.
You can check out the other East Bay Regional parks here.
Bay Area Beaches
Last but not least, I will give you a list of my favorite beaches to go to during the summer.
1. Santa Cruz
They have an awesome boardwalk, beach, and great restaurants with a variety of delicious food. There is a train in Felton, you can take to get there, and it goes through this beautiful forest and ends right at the boardwalk.
The area where the train is is also super quaint. It is built like an old wild west town with an old barn, a school, a general store, and a lot more. The tickets for the train($31) and parking($15) are relatively cheap, and it will take you down to the boardwalk and back.
2. Stinson Beach
I haven't been to Stinson Beach in awhile, but it was always so much fun getting there. If you get car sick easily, I would not recommend going because the road there is super windy.
It is a quiet beach, however, and not many people go there, so you'll get plenty of space to lay out in the sun and relax.
3. Half Moon Bay
The town itself is super cute and old-school. They have a ton of events from music to antique festivals. The reason why I love the beach, in particular, is because it's just super beautiful, and it doesn't get overly hot.
There are plenty of delicious restaurants to try out as well. But if you are on a tight budget, it is a better idea to bring a picnic!
I hope you all take the time to visit the Bay Area, CA this summer. I also hope that this guide helps you in figuring out fun activities to try out while you're here (or if you live here).
What are some events near you this summer that are affordable? Let me know in comments below! Also let me know if you would like to read more guides like this!