It’s the 4th of July weekend and we’ve got something of every stripe (and star) to keep your kiddos happy post-firework glow. From an urban circus to a forested symphony to a day on an organic farm, here’s our picks for family fun this long weekend. Click here for our 4th of July round-up of the best fireworks-and-more events around the bay. Go forth and have fun!
Photo credit: John Spicer
4th of July Cruise
Hornblower Cruises & Events is featuring a special 4th of July Beer Lunch Cruise perfect for family and friends to celebrate the day San Francisco–style. An All-American lunch buffet with BBQ, champagne, and beer is yours to enjoy while you pass the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, and Angel Islands, and take in the scenic SF skyline. Fri., 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. San Francisco. $73/adults; $43.80/child 4-12; children 3 and under are free. All Ages. Event details.
The 30th Annual Fillmore Jazz Festival
Spend the weekend in the heart of San Francisco’s historical jazz district–Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy will be lined with stages of live music, fine art and crafts, food, beverages, and plenty of spontaneous dancing. It is the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast! Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.–6 p.m. San Francisco. Free. All Ages. Event details.
SF Symphony at Stern Grove Festival
Stern Grove Festival’s summer concert series continues with the San Francisco Symphony. Pack up a picnic lunch and head out to the grove early to score your spot, then head over to the Kidstage area from 12–1 p.m. for crafts and a classical symphony instrument petting zoo. The selections for the day include Mancini’s Baby Elephant Walk and Hanson’s Children’s Dance. Sun., 12–2 p.m. San Francisco. All Ages. Event details.
Picklewater Free Circus Festival in Union Square
Bring the kids down to clown around and enjoy the antics of this circus troupe featuring Circus Bella and Prescott Circus Theater. Sun., 2–4 p.m. San Francisco Free. All Ages. Event details.
July 4th Ice Cream Social
Walnut Creek’s summer temperatures are a perfect reason to enjoy some ice cream (not that you need a reason…). This 4th of July the city of Walnut Creek is turning 100 and everyone is invited to enjoy a Paint Out project, a concert, and root beer floats served up by current and former mayors. Fri., 3–7:30 p.m. Walnut Creek. Free. All Ages. Event details.
El Cerrito World One 4th of July Festival
The city of El Cerrito hosts its annual 4th of July Festival, with a stage of all-star music from around the world curated by World One Radio. In addition to the global sounds, guests will enjoy circus tricks, hula hoopers, an art show and sale with demos throughout the day, tons of great food and community fun. Fri., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. El Cerrito. Free. All Ages. Event details.
Nature Detective’s July Jaunt
Bring your walking shoes and a snack and join Nature Detectives in exploring parts of the shoreline that are usually closed to the public, looking for cool plants, animals and bugs along the way. Sat., 11 a.m.–12 p.m. Hayward. $7. 3-5. Event details.
Free First Sunday at OMCA
Enjoy a free day at OMCA! Visit the major exhibitions SuperAwesome: Art and Giant Robot, and Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records. Tour the galleries, check out the goods in the OMCA Store (Cali-shaped nut dish anyone?) and nosh on delicious kid-friendly food at the Blue Oak Cafe. Sun., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Oakland. Free. All Ages. Event details.
Saratoga’s Independence Day Celebration
Beautiful downtown Saratoga shows its red, white, and blue pride at this old-fashioned 4th of July celebration. Dress in your patriotic best and head down to spend the morning checking out artwork, live music, a parade, a patriotic song sing-along and much more at this community event. All kids get free popsicles and mini-American flags! Fri., 9:30–11 a.m. Saratoga. Free. All Ages. Event details.
Palo Alto’s 33rd Annual Chilli Cook-Off
Celebrate 4th of July with family and friends at the 33rd Annual Chili Cook-Off. Teams recruited from restaurants, local business, community groups as well as police and fire departments battle for the Best Chili Award! Live music, kids activities and a variety of great food make for a smokin’ hot 4th of July celebration. Fri., 12–5 p.m. Palo Alto. Free. All Ages. Event details.
San Jose Jazz presents Super Soul Brothers
If you are looking for something less explosive and more experimental on the 4th, this two hour concert of video game theme song covers, part of San Jose Jazz, will do the trick. Hear music from Sonic the Hedgehog, Mario Brothers, Link, and more with the Super Soul Brothers. Come on everybody, do the Mario! Fri., 7–9 p.m. San Jose. Free. All Ages. Event details.
Harlem Globetrotter’s Summer Clinic
Your kid’s head will spin when they get the chance to spend two hours with the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters in a Summer Clinic. Your little players will learn the fundamentals as well as how to be a good teammate on and off the court, get a photo and autograph, an official clinic certificate, a personalized nickname and a ticket voucher to attend the next Globetrotters’ 2015 North American Tour. Sat. and Sun., three sessions: 9 a.m.–11 a.m., 12:30–2:30 p.m., and 3:30–5:30 p.m. San Jose. $69. 6-12. Event details.
7th Annual 4th of July Firecracker Race
Start off Independence Day with a bang! The Firecracker 4 miler runs through the heart of revitalized downtown Novato and then traverses the back side of the city over hills and dales. There is also the Mayors One Mile if that’s more your style. Family discounts available. Fri., 6:30–10 a.m. Novato. $15-$40. All Ages. Event details.
As You Like It
Marin Shakespeare kicks off its 25th Silver Season with a classic production of As You Like It. And all performances are “pay as you like it” with a donation. Sat., 8 p.m. and Sun., 4 p.m. San Rafael. Donation. All Ages. Event details.
Make a Hummingbird Feeder
Come enjoy a fun and easy woodworking project and help attract birds to your summer garden. Bring your junior woodworker and join the rangers at Stafford Lake Park to assemble and decorate hummingbird feeders using reclaimed materials. Kits and healthy snacks provided. Reserve your spot (it’s free) by emailing email@example.com. Sun., 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Novato. Free. All Ages. Event details.
Family Sunday at Green Gulch Farm
San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch farm is a beautiful retreat from hectic city life, and the first Sunday offers a program just for kids. Crafts, seasonal projects on the farm and garden, yoga, and ritual. Please check in before the program at the table near the southwest side of the zendo. Sun., 10–11:30 a.m. Muir Beach. $10/family suggested donation. All Ages. Event details.
What’s on your calendar this weekend? Let us know in the comments below!