2010 Diablo Summer Fun Guide
We have one mission this summer: show you the hottest places and events, so your family can have the best summer ever
In case you haven’t noticed, it’s been a long winter in Northern California. But now that we’ve finally said adios to El Niño, it’s time to have some fun. Buckle up, ’cause we’re taking you on a ride from the beaches of Carmel, to the shores of Tahoe, the grapevines of Wine Country, to the streets of San Francisco, (with a stop or two in our East Bay backyard), and we’re not stopping ’til your calendar is packed with summer fun.
For the Family - Keep the Kids Happy
Being stuck at home with the kids all summer can drive even the best parent bonkers. But there are lots of great events to delight the kids—and the parents. The neatest one for your nature-loving kiddies (the title alone should get them pumped up) is Extreme Mammals: the Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time. This special show, open through September 12 at the renovated California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, uses a series of interactive displays to teach you and your youngsters about the coolest of nature's craziest creatures—such as beavers the size of grizzly bears, who wandered North America during the Ice Age. calacademy.org.
Or if your little junior rangers are more interested in life underwater, take them to the newest special exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Hot Pink Flamingos shows off all sorts of colorful creatures—from sea turtles to penguins to anemones—and presents how climate change affects their lives. montereybayaquarium.org. And there's still lots more for the kids to see and do:
More Fun Activities
Contra Costa County Fair, Antioch, June 3–6, contracostafair.com.
Mark Twain's Wild West Weekend Zephyr Cove, Lake Tahoe, June 12–13, zephyrcove.com.
Alameda Sand Castle Contest. June 19, ci.alameda.ca.us.
Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton, June 23–July 11, alamedacountyfair.com.
Walnut Creek Library Reopening July 17, wclibrary.org.
Target Arts and Wonder Free family festival, San Francisco, July 18, ybgf.org.
Chevron Family Theatre Festival Walnut Creek, July 24, lesherartscenter.org.
Berkeley Kite Festival, July 31–August 1, highlinekites.com.
The Hottest Shows
Hot isn’t a fiery enough word to describe Lady Gaga; better terms for the pop star’s current cachet include scorching and blistering. She brings her glam-filled Monster Ball Tour to San Jose’s HP Pavilion (August 16–17, livenation.com). Word to the wise: If you’re just hearing about this now, you may have to pony up for tickets on Craigslist. Other big shows coming our way include:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Oracle Arena, June 5, coliseum.com.
Sting (with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra) Sleep Train Pavilion, June 12, livenation.com.
Court Yard Hounds featuring Emily Robison and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks, Mountain Winery, July 9, mountainwinery.com.
Barenaked Ladies, Wente Vineyards, July 20, wentevineyards.com.
Toby Keith, Shoreline Amphitheatre, August 6, livenation.com.
John Mayer, Shoreline Amphitheatre, August 20, livenation.com.
Dave Matthews Band, Sleep Train Pavilion, August 25, livenation.com
The days of having to drive 10 hours to camp out in the desert for a music festival are over. Northern California has the country’s best rock ’n’ roll fest with San Francisco’s Outside Lands (August 14–15, sfoutsidelands.com). In its first two years, this festival brought tens of thousands of people to Golden Gate Park to see headlining giants such as Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Beck, and the Black Eyed Peas, as well as dozens of up-and-coming bands. For a bunch more days of great music, try:
Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco, July 3–4, fillmorejazzfestival.com.
Robert Mondavi Summer Music Festival, Oakville, July 3–24, robertmondavi.com.
Think Green Music Festival Napa, July 9–10, thinkgreenmusicfestival.com.
Lake Tahoe Music Festival, July 31–August 7, tahoemusic.org.
Music in the Vineyards Chamber Music Festival, Yountville, August 4–22, napavalleymusic.org.
Livermore’s Wente Vineyards and Saratoga’s Mountain Winery have long been among the Bay Area’s best summer concert venues. Both continue to put together great lineups (wentevineyards.com; mountainwinery.com), but this summer, Wente gets even better with its Discover the Wine, Discover the Music series, a triptych of shows (June 25, July 23, August 20) on the vineyard lawn featuring hot new artists, with tickets going for a mere $20. And don’t forget all the free music you can hear close to home:
Blackhawk Summer Concert Series Danville, Fridays at 7 p.m., July 2 to August 27, blackhawkplaza.com.
Broadway Plaza Summer Jazz Series Walnut Creek, 6–8 p.m., July 8, 15, and 22, broadwayplaza.com.
Concerts in the Grove, Clayton, Saturdays at 6 p.m., May to September, ci.clayton.ca.us.
Concerts in the Park, Pleasanton, Fridays at 7 p.m., June 4 to September 3, pleasantondowntown.net.
Music and Market Series, Concord, Tuesdays at noon, Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., May to September, cityofconcord.org.
Stern Grove Festival San Francisco, Sundays at 2 p.m, June 20 to August 22, sterngrove.org.
For the Festive
Art and Wine Festivals
A longtime Diablo favorite is the Walnut Creek Art and Wine Festival (June 5–6, walnut-creek.com), which brings more than 200 artists to Heather Farm Park, and also offers two music stages and a bounty of beer and wine-tasting options. Best of all, admission is free. Need a little more? Check out some of these fantastic festivals:
Carmel Valley Art and Wine Celebration, June 12, carmelvalleychamber.com.
Walnut Creek Spring Wine Walk, June 23, walnutcreekdowntown.com.
Pleasanton Summer Wine Stroll, July 15, pleasantondowntown.net.
Benicia Fine Art and Jazz Festival. July 24–25, beniciamainstreet.org.
Scene on the Strait, Martinez, August 14, sceneonthestrait.org.
A Bard Day’s Night
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!” exclaims Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The mischievous sprite would have to rethink things if he saw all the theatergoers enjoying the summer evenings at Northern California’s outdoor Shakespeare festivals. One of the best is the California Shakespeare Theater, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary in Orinda and its 10th season with Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, with performances of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven (June 2–27), George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession (July 7–August 1), Macbeth (August 18–September 12), and Much Ado About Nothing (September 22–October 17). calshakes.org. Or, get the Shakes at one of these other great festivals:
Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) July 9–August 22, laketahoeshakespeare.com.
Livermore Shakespeare Festival, Romeo and Juliet, July 8–August 7, The Real Thing, July 15–31, livermoreshakes.org.
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival Two Gentlemen of Verona, Pleasanton, July 24–August 8; Cupertino, August 14–29; San Francisco, September 4–19, sfshakes.org.
Shakespeare Santa Cruz, The Lion in Winter, July 20–August 29, Love’s Labor’s Lost, July 21–August 29, Othello. August 3–29, shakespearesantacruz.org.
Escape to Wine Country
The highlight of every Wine Country summer is the Napa Valley Festival del Sole (July 16–25, festivaldelsole.com), which offers incredible food and wine events to complement a range of opera, symphony, and solo performances. For a further taste of Wine Country, head to one of these gourmet galas:
Taste Alexander Valley, June 4–6, alexandervalley.org.
Taste of Terroir, Pleasanton, July 22, lvwine.org.
V Foundation Wine Celebration, Yountville, August 6–7, winecelebration.org.
Grape to Glass, Russian River Valley, August 20–22, rrvw.org.
Napa Valley Grapegrowers Harvest Stomp, August 28, napagrowers.org.
Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, September 3–5, sonomawinecountryweekend.com.
Livermore Valley Harvest Wine Celebration, September 5–6, lvwine.org.
Northern California is a leader in the sustainable food movement. Enjoy the region’s bounty and get to know the people who produce our wonderful food at Oakland’s Eat Real Festival (August 27–29, eatrealfest.com). Last year’s event included street food, ranging from tacos to barbecue to Vietnamese sandwiches; Northern California microbrews; a farmers market; and a tremendous variety of cooking demos. Still hungry? Savor one of these other great events:
San Francisco Dine About Town, June 1–15, onlyinsanfrancisco.com.
SF Chefs 2010, San Francisco, August 13–15, sfchefsfoodwine.com.
Oakland Chinatown Streetfest, August 28–29, oaklandchinatownchamber.org.
Lake Tahoe Restaurant Week, September 5–12, tahoerestaurantweek.com.
Pictures Worth a Thousand Words
It’s summer; you want to be outside, enjoying the sun and the surf. But you’ll have to stow the sunblock for at least a couple of afternoons because this season, the Bay Area hosts its best series of modern art shows. Ever. The de Young museum in Golden Gate Park brings Birth of Impressionism: Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay. The exhibit, on loan from Paris’ great 19th century art museum, features nearly 100 works, including paintings by Monet, Manet, Renoir, and Degas. The show runs through September 6 and will be followed by a companion show, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne and Beyond: Post-Impressionist Masterpieces From the Musée d’Orsay.
And, don’t forget about Impressionist Paris: City of Light, exploring life in and around Paris during the Impressionist period, to be exhibited concurrently with Birth of Impressionism at the de Young’s sister museum, the Legion of Honor. famsf.org.
If that’s not enough, SFMOMA offers an awesome show of its own: Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection opens June 25. For those not in the know, Doris and Donald Fisher, the founders of Gap, gave their entire 1,100-piece collection—including works by Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein—to SFMOMA last year. That’s so much art, the museum is planning an entire new building to house it. sfmoma.org.
If you don’t feel like braving the ever-under-construction bridge, or you’re just looking for some art your kids are sure to love, the Oakland Museum of California has its own high-end exhibit: Pixar: 25 Years of Animation opens July 31. museumca.org.
More Spectacular Shows
It’s Alive! An Exhibit of Kinetic and Interactive Art, The Crucible, Oakland, May 20–July 2, thecrucible.org.
East Bay Open Studios, More than 400 open studios, June 5–6 and 12–13, proartsgallery.org.
Here and Now, historic Oakland architecture photography Mills College, June 5–26, mills.edu/campus_life/art_museum.
Dutch Impressionism and Beyond, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, through June 27, bedfordgallery.org.
The Purse and the Person: A Century of Women’s Purses, The California Museum, Sacramento, July 3–September 26, californiamuseum.org.
Unbound, a National Exhibit of Book Art, July 11–August 29; Walnut Creek, bedfordgallery.org.
Delicate Strength: Early Western Women Artists, July 24–September 12, Hearst Art Gallery, Moraga, stmarys-ca.edu/arts/hearst-art-gallery.
Flowers of the Four Seasons: Ten Centuries of Art from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture UC Berkeley Art Museum, August 25–December 12, bampfa.berkeley.edu.
What's that? You want more? Then click on over to our web-exclusive expanded summer fun guide! www.diablomag.com/summerfun