School’s out, the weather is AMAZING, and fun in the sun family adventures are just around the corner! Wondering how to keep your budget in check with summer vacations, special activities, and eating out? Breath easy awesome parents! In addition to exploring local parks, beaches and splash pads (seriously, check out all the splash pads), here are fabulous kid friendly summer events in the Bay Area to keep the munchkins delighted all season, WITHOUT breaking the bank!


Friday Nights @ OMCA | Oakland

Every Friday! | 5pm-10pm

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland


The Summer Season of Friday Nights @ OMCA is back! That means the gardens are open for picnics, live music outside is back, gallery hours are open until 10 pm, and the Off the Grid food truck market expands onto Oak Street. Enjoy hands-on activities for kids, and a lineup of live music and dance from local performers that changes weekly—all alongside your favorite food trucks from Off the Grid. Bring friends and family for a taste of local music, food, and culture at the Oakland Museum of California every Friday Night! General admission to the galleries is half-off for adults ($7.95) and free for youth ages 18, with an additional $4 charge for special exhibition, RESPECT (closing August 12th).

Tip: This event can be pretty loud at times! Might want to bring ear protection for baby.


Alameda County Fair | Pleasanton

June 15-July 8, 2018 | 11am-5pm

Alameda County Fairgrounds, 4501 Pleasanton Avenue, Pleasanton

Spend the day or evening at the Alameda County Fair, a traditional fair with carnival rides, games, award-winning pigs (yes, you read that right!), and all the tasty treats you could ever want. Fried pickles, funnel cake, and crab fries? Yes, please! And make sure to catch the pig races, because they are just too adorable! Ticket prices for adults are $12 presale/$15 at the door, and prices for children 6-12 are $8 presale/$10 at the door. The good news is that there are multiple Discount Days this summer so you can save some money! Please note that the fair is not open on Mondays or Tuesdays.

June 15 | Opening Day!

Celebrate opening day with $1 admission and $1 rides until 5pm.

June 20 | FREE Admission with Kids Clothing & $1 Rides

Bring one item of clothing for FREE Fair admission benefiting the Foster Kids Clothing Drive, plus enjoy rides for $1 until 5pm.

June 21, 28 & July 5 | Kids FREE Thursdays

Kids 12 and under receive FREE admission until 5 pm & $2 small bites at the fair.

June 27 | FREE Admission with Cans

Bring 4 non-perishable food items and receive FREE Fair admission benefiting the Alameda County Community Food Bank until 5pm.


Starlight Movies in the Park | Alameda

Friday, June 22, and Friday, July 27, 2018 | 6:30pm-10:30pm

Alameda Point Multipurpose Field, 1101 West Redline Avenue, Alameda

Gather the family, spread out your chairs and blankets, and enjoy a free movie under the moon and stars! Each event starts at 6:30 p.m. with pre-show games and crafts for kids. Featured movie will be shown at approximately 8:15 p.m. Snacks and food are available for purchase, with proceeds supporting the Alameda Recreation and Park Department Teen Program. No barbecue grills, alcoholic beverages and pets allowed.

June 22 | Despicable Me 3

July 27 | SING


Alameda Mayor’s 4th of July Parade | Alameda

Wednesday, July 4, 2018 | 10am-12pm

Park Street & Lincoln Avenue, Alameda

Your kids will love Alameda’s 4th of July Parade! It’s the longest in the nation at over 3 miles, and the largest, with more than 2,500 participants! The parade has a run time of 2 hours, filled with incredible floats, marching bands, 150 equestrians (and a bull), dance troops, bands, and antique cars driving Alameda’s dignitaries. Parade starts at 10am at Park Street and Lincoln Avenue, but can be viewed throughout the island. See route map here.

(Or choose another Independence Day event around the Bay Area!)


$5 First Fridays at Chabot Space & Science Center | Oakland

Friday, July 6, and Friday, August 3, 2018 | 6pm-10pm

Chabot Space & Science Center, 10000 Skyline Boulevard, Oakland

Each $5 First Friday is an exciting and immersive experience for the entire family! Join Chabot for hands-on activities and live demonstrations, with new things to explore each month. Kids can also look forward to a DJ dance party, storytime, and special shows in both the Planetarium and Megadome Theater. $5 admission begins at 6pm, and the museum stays open until 10pm. Free for children under 3 years old. Who’s ready for a party in space!?


“Splash into Summer” Free Lake Merritt Boat Rental Day – Oakland

Saturday, July 21, 2018 | 1pm-3pm

Lake Merritt Boating Center, 568 Bellevue Avenue, Oakland

The Lake Merritt Boating Center invites you to splash into summer with ½ hour FREE boat rentals! Enjoy the afternoon floating around picturesque Lake Merritt with the kids. Sounds pretty perfect, right? Parking inside Lakeside Park on Bellevue Avenue is $5.


Berkeley Kite Festival | Berkeley

Saturday, July 28, and Sunday, July 29, 2018 | 10am-6pm

Cesar E. Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina, 201 University Avenue, Berkeley

The Berkeley Kite Festival is super family friendly with jumpy houses, live music, and a kite “ballet” performance in the sky! Kids will be amazed at giant kites as big as houses (wow!), and love the free kite making, free candy drop and free kite flying lessons. Study the transportation and parking options before embarking on this trip. The Kite Festival is FREE, but parking onsite or at a shuttle stop (Golden Gate Fields) costs $15, with proceeds supporting local charities. Valet parking for bikes is available for free.


Summer Reading Celebration | Oakland

Sunday, August 5, 2018 | 11am-3pm

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak Street, Oakland

Join the Oakland Museum of California and the Oakland Public Library for their 14th annual Summer Reading Celebration in OMCA’s lush gardens. There will be hands-on activities and workshops for kids, plus hip-hop dance performances and demonstrations by TURFinc. in celebration of special exhibition, RESPECT: Hip-Hop Style & Wisdom (closing August 12). If you want to check out the museum exhibits with the kids before or after the reading celebration, you are in luck! First Sundays at OMCA are FREE (with a suggested donation of $5 per person, plus an additional $4 charge for the special exhibition, RESPECT.


Kid Friendly Summer Events in the Bay Area That Won’t Break the Bank

How are you going to spend your summer? Did we miss an awesome kid friendly event happening this summer in the Bay Area that is free or almost free? Share with us in the comments!