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15 things for 2015

This year, Take a step—or major leap—out of your comfort zone.


All photos: Shutterstock


We’re not asking you to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro or wrestle alligators. But we are daring you to get off the couch and try one (or all!) of these boundary-expanding activities.

1. Scale a Peak

When it comes to climbing a mountain, Concord’s Diablo Rock Gym is the place to go. Not sure where to start? “All climbs have a rating system so you can see their difficulty,” says renowned rock climber Hans Florine, the gym’s general manager. touchstoneclimbing.com/diablorock.

2. Join a Band

Admit it: As a kid, you totally wanted to be a rock star. Now you can: Red House Studios in Walnut Creek will match you up with other musicians, provide a practice space, and even book you gigs. redhouselive.com.

3. Play with Knives

Learn how to slice and dice at Epicurean Exchange’s seasonal knife skills class in Orinda. You can also BYOK (bring your own knives) to the class to learn how to sharpen them. epicureanexchange.com.

4. Run a Race

Join other joggers dressed as superheroes for the September Walnut Run in downtown Walnut Creek. The 5/10K starts on Main Street and raises money for local schools. thewalnutrun.com.

5. Unleash Your Inner Idol

The best part about singing in a bar? The audience tends to sing along. Head to Lafayette’s The Round Up Saloon on Wednesday or Saturday before 9 p.m. to secure your favorite song. (925) 284-4817.

6. Tap Your Toes

Clickety-clack your way across the dance floor during Studio 8’s Tuesday evening adult tap classes in San Ramon. Learn the fundamentals and a routine, and you can show off your new moves during the studio’s optional June performance. studio8pac.com.

7. Go Full Monty

Put your artistic abilities to the test by sketching the nude human form at Civic Arts Center’s figure-drawing classes in Walnut Creek. If you’re feeling especially daring, consider modeling for the class. walnut-creek.org.

8. Dance Like a Diva

Want to learn to “Run the World” like Beyoncé? Carol Johnstone organizes music video–inspired dance classes in the Bay Area. Students learn the Naomi Campbell walk, and warm-ups include iconic moves from “Single Ladies.” At the end of six weeks, dancers perform at a nightclub. popstartechnique.com.  

9. Raise a Seeing Eye Dog

To start the process, attend the Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raisers meetings, and get hands-on training with a club member. Not ready to take the plunge? On August 5, stop by the Puppy Raisers’ Pooch Parade in Pleasanton to see dogs and their owners dress up and compete for prizes. guidedogs.com.

10. Become a King (or Queen)

Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month, Oakland’s White Horse Bar hosts a drag show that anyone can join. Alex U. Inn, leader of the drag king (think male impersonators) troupe Momma’s Boyz, advises all first-timers to do their research before gender bending. whitehorsebar.com.

11. Take Flight

Conquer your fear of heights by learning to paraglide. Start on the “bunny slopes” in the surrounding Bay Area—only experts are allowed to soar off Mount Diablo. www.merlinsflightschool.com.

12. Perform Onstage

The Berkeley Poetry Slam—the longest running organized poetry slam in Northern California—hosts weekly competitions at the Starry Plough in Berkeley. The contests, which are judged by audience members, are open to both first-timers and seasoned slammers. berkeleypoetryslam.wordpress.com.

13. Test Your Limits

Give Adam Richman a run for his money and tackle Vic Stewart’s 49-ounce, double-cut porterhouse steak ($90). If you survive, you’ll have your name forever embossed on the “49er Club” Hall of Fame plaque in the Walnut Creek restaurant’s lobby. vicstewarts.com.

14. Make a Crowd Laugh

Your parents may think your stand-up routine is hilarious, but how will you fare in front of an unbiased crowd? The first and third Tuesday of every month, Tommy T’s Comedy Steakhouse in Pleasanton offers open mic sign-ups, and the top five comedians (as determined by the staff) make it to the main stage to compete for audience’s choice. tommyts.com.

15. Score a Date

The Walnut Creek Library makes meeting a potential match even easier, with its free biannual speed-dating events. Share a book-themed icebreaker during your dates, which only last a few minutes each. The next event is just in time for Valentine’s Day, on February 2. wclibrary.org/events.  

To see our editors attempt to tackle this list, follow @diablomagazine on Instagram.

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