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The Ultimate Guide to Summer

(112 ways to make the season sizzle)


To help you soak up every fun-filled minute of this fleeting season, we went in search of the East Bay’s mostrelaxing, unusual, and adventurous offerings. Dive into a rundown of our favorite summer activities, and have your dayplanner at the ready—this year we’ve added a handy pull-outcalendar of the hottest events.

Beat the Heat

Boardsports School
courtesy Boardsports School

»When a run through the sprinklers won’t suffice, grab a beach towel, and make a dash for Waterworld Concord. Season passes for the waterslides cost $39.99, just $15 more than a single-day ticket. 1950 Waterworld Pkwy., Concord, (925) 609-1364, www.waterworldcalifornia.com.

»Take advantage of the breezy twilight hours, and kayak on the Bay. Jack London Aquatic Center offers Friday night programs throughout the summer. You must be 16 or older. No experience is necessary, and equipment is provided. 115 Embarcadero, Oakland, (510) 208-6060, www.jlac.org.

»Poor Fido is probably feeling a little hot under the collar. At the Wiggle Waggle Dog Wash on June 30, pet lovers will gather en masse for a suds-intensive afternoon for pooches. Valley Humane Society, 3670 Nevada St., Pleasanton, (925) 426-8656, www.valleyhumanesociety.org.

»Have the kids chill out at Camp Freeze at Dublin Iceland. For boys and girls ages eight to 12, the camp offers skating instruction, broomball, ice bowling, and snowman making. Weeklong sessions run during July and August. 7212 San Ramon Rd., Dublin, (925) 829-4445, www.dubliniceland.com.

»Soothe your sweet tooth with a refreshing root beer float scooped by your favorite A’s players at the annual Mug Root Beer Float Day on August 1. Eastside Club at McAfee Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, (510) 568-5600, www.oaklandathletics.com.

Celebrate America’s independence at one of these local events. Concord’s Calvary Temple presents Flags of Our Fathers (July 2–4), a show involving music, dance, and drama, (925) 458-9100. Enjoy Fourth of July dessert and fireworks aboard the historic USS Potomac, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “floating White House,” (510) 672-1225, www.usspotomac.org. The tiny town of Clayton becomes a wonderland of all things patriotic during the highly anticipated Fourth of July kiddie parade, (925) 673-7300, www.ci.clayton.ca.us.

Get a Rush
»Catch the wind on the Bay. Boardsports School offers windsurfing lessons at Crown Beach in Alameda, where the water is warm and shallow. If you’d rather hit the waves attached to an inflatable parachute, instructors also offer kite boarding lessons seven days a week. Equipment is provided. Westline Street and Otis Drive, Alameda, (415) 385-1224, www.boardsportsschool.com.

»Take in a more relaxed, but nevertheless intoxicating, bird’s-eye view from Mount Diablo with gurus from Advanced Paragliding. If you’re a beginner, expect to take your first flight attached to an instructor’s harness. (925) 963-7802, www.advancedparagliding.com.

»Co-op instructors from the Berkeley Hang Gliding Club offer ground school, plus three weekends of in-flight training that gradually proceeds uphill. Club members own gliders, harnesses, and helmets for student use. By next summer, you’ll be soaking up spectacular views from Mount Tamalpais. (510) 231-5793, http://guest.xinet.com/ucbhgc.

»Captain Aqua offers scuba diving certification and specialty courses to suit busy schedules. You’ll need a mask, snorkel, boots, and gloves, but wet suits and tanks are provided. After plenty of practice in the pool, you’ll be ready to take on Monterey Bay or the Caribbean. 6715 Dublin Blvd., Dublin, (925) 829-3843; 250 E. Jackson St., Hayward, (510) 728-0225, www.captainaqua.com.

»Jump out of a plane over Byron with Bay Area Skydiving. Beginners can skip ground school and advance to a tandem skydiving lesson, in which they’ll find themselves strapped to the front of an instructor’s harness. 550 Eagle Ct., Byron, (925) 634-7575, www.bayareaskydiving.com.

»Adrenaline junkies should also scope out the rides and roller coasters at Paramount’s Great America. Get fired up on Delirium, a powerful spinning pendulum that sends you whirling high above the ground. 4701 Great American Pkwy., Santa Clara, (408) 998-1776, www.pgathrills.com.

Fenton's Creamery

Not only does Fenton’s Creamery and Restaurant dole out wildly generous heaps of house-made ice cream topped with fudge and caramel from the store’s candy kettles, it offers a fun three-part Arctic Tour. Kids and adults get a crash course in Fenton family history, take a romp through the Blast Freezer, and sample the store’s signature sundae. 4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, (510) 658-7000, www.fentonscreamery.com.

Riding in Sunol
Martub Sundberg

Discover your inner Wyatt Earp while you take in the Western landscape from atop a mammoth beast. Tour the majestic Sunol Ohlone Regional Park with Western Trail Riding Services (Geary Road, Sunol, 925-862-9044,www.westerntrailriding.com ). Las Trampas Stables (18015 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, 925-838-7546, www.ebparks.org ) offers guided trail rides through Las Trampas Regional Wilderness.

Fall in Love
»Sip bubbly and feed each other grapes à la Marc Antony and Cleopatra aboard a Venetian gondola on Lake Merritt. With your own singing gondolier at the helm, you’ll have both arms free for cuddling. Gondola Servizio, Lakeside Park, 568 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, (866) 737-8494, www.gondolaservizio.com.

»On a clear day, soak up an amber-swirled sunset and spectacular views on the deck at Paragon Restaurant and Bar. While you’re there, indulge in a Sunburn. It’s a potent, pleasure-inducing drink that combines pineapple-infused vodka, Pearl coconut vodka, cranberry juice, and fresh lime. 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley, (510) 549-8585, www.paragonrestaurant.com.

»Take a tandem bike for a whirl on an otherwise lazy Sunday afternoon. Hank and Frank’s Bicycles stocks a handful of designs à deux. 3377 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 283-2453; 6030 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 654-2453, www.hankandfrankbicycles.com.

»Watch a movie under the stars with your sweetie. Many cities offer outdoor series, including Livermore (at Wente Vineyards) and Walnut Creek (at Heather Farm Park). Contact your city for information.

Flip-flop season is in full swing, and three little words come to mind: private pedi party. Bring your own colorful cocktails and equally vibrant set of gal pals to one of these local salons. Blondie’s, 560 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 426-1317, www.blondiesshoes.com. Pinkies, 3333 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-1229; 508 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 743-9000; 3211-A Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 901-1500, www.pinkiesnailsalons.com . Tootsie’s, 175 E. Prospect Ave., Danville, (925) 552-6638; 5525 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 595-7272.

Listen Up
»Lucinda Williams and Earth, Wind & Fire play the art deco–fabulous Paramount Theatre on June 7 and July 14, respectively. Additional summer concerts to be announced. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 625-8497, www.paramounttheatre.com.

»The Police are back together and playing McAfee Coliseum on June 13 during their first tour since 1984. Country star Martina McBride swings through town August 1 for a concert at nearby Oracle Arena. Oakland, (510) 569-2121, www.coliseum.com.

»This year, the 100-year old, classically designed Greek Theatre at UC Berkeley welcomes Norah Jones (June 23), Erasure and Cyndi Lauper (June 29), Alison Krauss and Union Station (June 30), and Daft Punk (July 27). Hearst and Gayley streets, Berkeley, (510) 809-0100, www.anotherplanetent.com.

»Head to the hills of Concord for concerts at the Sleep Train Pavilion. The summer lineup includes Chicago (July 6) and Rush (August 3). 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, (925) 676-8742, www.sleeptrainpavilion.com.

»The annual Wente Vineyards Concert Series pairs nationally renowned musicians with the beauty of Livermore Valley wine country. Purchase a dinner ticket, and enjoy local cuisine among the vineyards while Chris Isaak (July 12), Gladys Knight (July 24), Hootie and the Blowfish (July 31), and Huey Lewis and the News (August 23) entertain you. View the full schedule online. 5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, (925) 456-2424, www.wentevineyards.com.

»Sure, the stars come out at big concert venues, but many East Bay cities offer free community concerts where you can enjoy live music almost every night of the summer. Catch tunes while you shop at the newly renovated Blackhawk Plaza (www.shopblackhawkplaza.com ); party in the street every first Wednesday in Pleasanton (www.pleasantondowntown.net ); or groove at the farmers market in Concord (www.cityofconcord.org ). Contact your city offices for free concerts near you.

These fresh fruits double as summertime skincare. Pop them in the blender to make a mask or a vitamin-surged smoothie that elicits a glow from within. Melon: Calms and soothes sensitive skin. Orange: An anti-inflammatory astringent. Pineapple: Exfoliating properties yield radiance. Strawberry: Softens the skin with natural enzymes. Apple: A potent exfoliator. Lemon and lime: Purify and cleanse oily skin.

Savor Summer

Va de Vi

Fine cuisine tastes so much more fabulous when enjoyed in the open air. Enjoy outdoor dining at these local faves boasting great atmosphere: Sidewalk scenery at Va de Vi Bistro and Wine Bar (1511 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, 925-979-0100, www.vadevi.com); cool shade at Bridges (44 Church St., Danville, 925-820-7200, www.bridgesdanville.com); and festive feasting at Blue Agave Club (625 Main St., Pleasanton, 925-417-1224, www.blueagaveclub.com).

»There’s nothing sweeter than fruits and veggies from a farmers market. No matter where you dwell in Diablo Country, you’re sure to find one in full swing in a neighborhood nearby. For details on local farmers markets, visit www.diablomag.com.

»If you’d like to pick your own produce, go to Brentwood to gather the season’s most succulent peaches, nectarines, apricots, and cherries. Also be on the lookout for honey, perfect green beans, and nationally renowned sweet corn. Visit www.harvest4you.com for information on participating pick-your-own farms and hours.

»More than 30 Livermore Valley wineries will showcase their wines throughout downtown at Pleasanton’s Summer Wine Stroll on July 19. Pick up a commemorative wine glass and tasting map, and you’re off. Tickets available at Clover Creek, the Rose Hotel, Studio 7 Fine Arts, and the Pleasanton Downtown Association. Main Street, Pleasanton, (925) 484-2199, www.pleasantondowntown.net.

»Celebrate the wonderful things that happen when the food, wine, and people of a region come together. At Livermore Valley’s Wine and Food Experience, A Taste of Terroir, on July 26, sample and vote on the valley’s best culinary offerings. Palm Event Center, 1184 Vineyard Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 447-9463, www.livermorewine.com.

»Don’t miss the Moraga Pear Harvest on August 11 and 12. Pick a few pears for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and for your family table. Then mark your calendar for the Moraga Pear Festival on September 29, which features music, art, a pear-cooking contest, and pear pies for sale. www.moragaparks.org/page4.html.

»Take dining alfresco to new heights at Moonlight on the Mountain on August 25. For $200, you can partake of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and a lavish sit-down feast on Mount Diablo under the glow of the moon. Live music and a live auction are highlights of this affair to benefit Save Mount Diablo. (925) 947-3535, www.savemountdiablo.org.

»Get your dim sum fix at the annual Oakland Chinatown Streetfest August 25–26. The free festival spans several blocks and features Asian cuisine, arts, and entertainment. Downtown Oakland from Ninth to 11th streets and from Broadway to Harrison streets, www.oaklandchinatownstreetfest.com.

Get Cultured
»California Shakespeare Theater kicks off its summer season with Richard III, the tale of one of history’s greatest villains, through June 24. The season continues with Man and Superman (July 4–29), The Triumph of Love (August 8–September 2), and King Lear (September 19–October 14). Bruns Amphitheater, 100 Gateway Blvd., Orinda, (510) 548-9666, www.calshakes.org.

Cal Shakes
Courtesy California Shakespeare Theater

»View new work by 500 local artists in just two weekends at East Bay Open Studios 2007 June 2–3 and 9–10. Stop first at ProArts’ preview exhibition, then pick up an event map for a self-guided tour of participating artist studios. 550 Second St., Oakland, (510) 763-4361, www.proartsgallery.org.

»Experience new works from Bay Area ballet and modern dance companies June 16–24 at the annual Oakland Dance Festival. This year’s participants include Company C Contemporary Ballet, ODC Dance, and Flyaway Productions. Malonga Casquelourd Theatre, 1428 Alice St., Oakland, (925) 708-0752, www.companycballet.org.

»On June 24, you can pack a picnic and experience opera in two different outdoor settings. Head to Livermore wine country for Opera in the Vineyard, hosted by Livermore Valley Opera (Cedar Mountain Winery, 7000 Tesla Rd., Livermore, 925-960-9210, www.livermorevalleyopera.org), or catch Festival Opera in downtown Walnut Creek for Opera in the Park (Civic Park, Civic and Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, www.festivalopera.com).

Alameda County Fair
Anthony Pidgeon

Think old-school carny rides, live concerts, cooking demonstrations,art exhibits, livestock competitions, spectacular fireworks, and a colorful, prize-studded midway. At the annual Alameda County Fair, June 22–July 8, cotton candy–loving folks can wander for hours and never get bored. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 426-7600, www.alamedacountyfair.com.

Go Retro
»Slick back your hair à la Grease and swoon over more than 2,500 American-powered hot rods, custom cars, muscle cars, and trucks at the Goodguys Summer Get-Together June 2–3. Don’t miss the automotive swap meet, cars for sale corral, live entertainment, model car show, and arts and crafts. Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Ave., Pleasanton, (925) 838-9876, www.good-guys.com.

»Yee-haw! Don’t miss the cowboy-studded Livermore Rodeo June 9–10. Count on an appearance by the Tri-Valley’s favorite horseman, the One-Arm Bandit. Robertson Park, 3200 Robertson Park Rd., Livermore, (925) 443-1669, www.livermorerodeo.org.

»On July 28 and 29, the big, blue sky fills with colorful kites during the Berkeley Kite Festival and West Coast Kite Championships, featuring top competitors from Japan. Cesar Chavez Park, north end of the Marina, Berkeley, (510) 235-5483, www.highlinekites.com.

»Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey whisks through town with the all-new Red Tour, which features stuntman Bello on the Wheel of Steel, August 16–19. Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, (510) 569-2121, www.ringling.com.

What would summer be without a self-indulgent splurge? The options:
$75 | One shot of Don Julio Real tequila at Blue Agave Club, 625 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-1224, www.blueagaveclub.com.
$45 | One tequila-induced tattoo at Zebra, 2467 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley, (510) 649-8002, www.mrzebra.com.
$60 | One Brazilian bikini wax at Tribez, 111 Town and Country Dr., Danville, Ste. G, (925) 362-8600, www.tribezsalon.net.
$80 | One custom-designed Hawaiian shirt from Aloha Island Trading Company, 410 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 417-0560,
$350,000 |
One Azure Bentley convertible to drive around the East Bay, from Bentley San Francisco, 999 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, (415) 351-5102, www.bentleysf.com.

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