Top 5 Holiday Activities around the Bay

I love being home for the holidays. Being back in the Bay means walking my favorite trails, shopping downtown and catching up with old friends. I have many traditions around the holidays with my family and friends. My favorite tradition is meeting up with my friends from high school at our favorite café to grab some warm drinks and walk along Ocean Beach. Spending time with family and friends is a huge part of the holiday season. This year we hope you include the Bay in some of your holiday traditions. These are some of our favorite ways to celebrate the holidays on the Bay in style.

Embarcader in SF_4.8.15_Hai Nguyen_twt

  1. Spend time outside. Celebrate the winter solstice on Wednesday, Dec. 21 by stretching your legs and spending time outdoors. Enjoy a Bay view from the nearly 350 miles of the San Francisco Bay Trail or challenge your friends to hike to the top of Mission Peak in Fremont. Your legs will be burning but you’ll have a beautiful view of the Bay to enjoy while you catch your breath.
  2. See the Bay Lights. Everyone loves to admire the neighborhood Christmas lights, but this year take it a step further and enjoy the beautiful Bay Lights on the Bay Bridge. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and stroll along the Embarcadero to enjoy the amazing view of the lights over the Bay.
  3. River Otter Snow Day. We may not get snow days in the Bay Area but the river otters at the Aquarium by the Bay in San Francisco are getting a fresh snow day every Wednesday this month. Both kids and adults love to watch the cute otters as they slip and slide around in the snow. See the otters play in fresh snow every Wednesday from Dec. 7 to Dec. 28.
  4. Lighted Boat Parade. The lighted boat parade is an annual tradition put on by the Fisherman’s Warf Community Benefit District and the St. Francis Yacht Club. It started in 1994 and is the oldest and largest lighted holiday boat parade on San Francisco Bay. The best viewing spots are at Aquatic Park, Pier 39, Marina Green and Crissy Field in San Francisco. The parade takes place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16.
  5. Water sleigh ride on Lake Merritt. Enjoy a festive light-filled cruise around Lake Merritt in Oakland, complete with caroling and hot cider. Water sleigh rides will start at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from Friday, Dec. 2 to Friday, Dec 23. Rides are $6 per person.

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy the Bay this holiday season and remember to take public transportation or carpool in an effort to help reduce the amount of pollution that flows into our Bay. Happy Holidays!

50 ways to celebrate the Bay on Bay Day

download (1)

Join us on Saturday, October 1 and remember to tag your Bay Day photos with #SFBayDay.

 

East Bay
Wetland Restoration with Save The Bay 9am – 12pm
Healthy Parks, Healthy People Walk at MLK Regional Shoreline 10am – 12pm
East Bay Regional Park District: Family Nature Fun at Crab Cove 2pm – 3pm
Group Bike Ride in San Leandro with Bike East Bay 10:30am – 1:30pm
Berkeley Group Bike Ride with Bike East Bay 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Lindsay Wildlife Experience: Meet Bay Animals! 10am – 5pm
Bay Trail Audio Tours Narrated by Doug McConnell All day
$4 Pints at 21st Amendment Brewery 12pm – 10pm
North Richmond Shoreline Open Space Alliance Festival 11am – 4pm
Warning, Warning & Watermark Film Screening at David Brower Center 2pm – 4pm
North Bay
Marine Mammal Center: Tours and Free Admission 10am – 5pm
Sonoma Land Trust: Sears Point Tidal Marsh Docent-Led Walk 10am – 12pm
Walking Tour around the Bay Model 10am – 12:30pm
Discounted Kayaking & SUP at Sea Trek 8:30am – 5pm
Bike the Bay – Ridge Trail’s Carquinez Scenic Loop 9am
Paddle the Benicia Water Trail 9am – 11:30am
Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Bay with Roger Leventhal and Sonoma Land Trust 9am – 10am
Napa Valley Museum’s Oktoberfest Celebration 11am – 4pm
Bay Day at Bay Area Discovery Museum 9am – 5pm
San Francisco
Coastal Cleanup at Heron’s Head Park 1pm – 3pm
No Butts in the Bay Beach Clean Up 1pm – 4pm
Farallon Island Expedition Discount 10:30am – 4:30pm
Discounted Adventure Cat Bay Sail 1pm – 3pm
Bay Day Boat Ride: Loop around the Bay 1:30pm – 2:30pm
Swim Across America with Baykeeper 8am – 12pm
Group Bike Ride with SF Bike Coalition 11am – 1pm
City Kayak Discounted Tours
Discounted Segway Tours of San Francisco 9am – 7:30pm
CUESA and the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market celebrate Bay Day and National Seafood Month 9am – 1:30pm
Bay Day Giveaways at PIER 39 12pm – 2pm
Discounted Admission at Aquarium of the Bay 10am – 7pm
Intimate Marine Life of SF Bay at Exploratorium 12pm – 3pm
Reusable Bag Crafts at the Sea Lion Center 10:30am – 4:30pm
Bean Sprouts Family Day at the San Francisco Botanical Garden 1pm – 4pm
Peninsula & South Bay
Wetland Restoration with Save The Bay 9am – 12pm
Sloughkeepers Paddle and Cleanup of Alviso Slough 11am
Bay Trail Walk 9:30am – 10:45am
Climate Change and the Bay Hike at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve 2pm – 4pm
Wisdom of the Watershed Docent-Led Hike at Picchetti Ranch Open Space Preserve 10am – 12pm
Group Bike Ride with Silicon Valley Bike Coalition 10:30am – 1:30pm
Free Admission at CuriOdyssey 10am – 5pm
Marine Science Institute Boat Tours at PortFest 10:00am – 3:00pm
Learn to Kayak + Tour of Bair Island with REI 9am – 3pm
Inner Bair Island Bay Day Walk 10am – 11am
Tai Chi at the Refuge 9:30am – 10:30am
Bay Day Bike Ride at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge 10:30am – 11:30am
Facebook Farmers Market feat. Save The Bay 2pm – 5pm
PortFest in Redwood City 10am – 3pm
“Walking The Bay 2” Photography Exhibit 12pm – 4pm
Bay Day Litter Poster Making at Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge 10am – 11am
Virtual Reality & Sea Level Rise with Look Ahead-San Mateo 10am – 2pm

Yelp’s Top Bay Area spots to celebrate Bay Day

Bay Day is almost here! Museums, aquariums, parks, community organizations, and small businesses across the Bay Area will host special Bay-themed programs for residents to explore, enjoy, and learn more about our Bay on Saturday, Oct. 1. Whether you’re in San Francisco, the East Bay, South Bay, or North Bay, there’s something for everyone on Bay Day. Find the event that’s right for you at BayDay.org!

And for more ways to celebrate and enjoy the Bay, check out these top spots as curated by our friends at Yelp:

Off the Beaten Path: An Adventure Along the Mokelumne River

Mokelumne River California
Photo by Jackie Richardson

As an avid local day hiker I always longed for a bit more of an adventure. At the end of this summer I had the opportunity to take my very first backpacking trip along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Sierra Nevada mountain range for a real off the beaten path experience.

Little did I know that I was hiking right along the Mokelumne Watershed, which links to the San Francisco Bay! The Mokelumne River begins in the Sierra Nevada, flows through the foothills across the Central Valley and into the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which empties into the San Francisco Bay. Not only does it supply most of the East Bay’s residents their drinking water through the Mokelumne Aqueduct, but it also provides clean water to a thriving San Francisco Bay.

Pictured at the top right was the first stop, Lower Kinney Lake of Mokelumne Watershed. Kinney Lakes are actually a trio of reservoirs along Ebbetts Pass where you can often find PCT hikers camping out for a night. Once I arrived at Lower Kinney Lake I couldn’t believe how serene and clean the glass-like water appeared.

Mokelumne River
Photo by Jackie Richardson

While both preparing and hiking along the watershed I learned a few do’s and don’ts of backpacking (from a first timer’s perspective) highlighted below:

Do:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to prepare. I was surprised to find out how long it took to prepare my pack due to the limited amount of space.
  • Research! Be sure you have an idea of exactly what you need for your trip from tents and sleeping bags to freeze dried food.
  • Get fitted for your pack. This is one of the most important things I learned while getting ready for my trip. Have a professional fit you for your pack so you can be as comfortable as possible while hauling 40+ pounds up a mountain. Be sure they fill your pack with a realistic weight so you have an idea of how it would feel full. Make sure the majority from the weight of your pack is resting comfortably on your hips and not entirely on your back or shoulders. I was adjusting the straps on my pack for the first two miles of the trek until I found a comfortable fit. Everyone is different; make sure you find a pack that fits you right.
  • Take everything out that you brought in. A sign of a good backpacker is leaving no sign that you were ever there.

Don’t:

  • Don’t pack more than you can carry. This is very common for first time backpackers. Take the essentials and nothing more. Conserve weight by purchasing a water purifier, freeze-dried food and keep the electronics at home.
  • Don’t be an over-achiever. Do what you can. Carrying a 40+ pound pack is a lot more difficult than it sounds. Don’t out-do yourself on the first day.
  • Don’t skimp on the essentials, including rain gear, shelter and good hiking boots.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of nature. Be aware and know what’s around you.

While hiking along the Mokelumne Watershed I learned first-hand the satisfaction and challenges of backpacking, I also took on a whole new perspective about how water travels from the Sierra to the Bay. Backpacking in such an isolated area, knowing that the environment surrounding me supports the health of our Bay reminded me how important it is to take care of our environment, no matter where the trail takes you.

 

3 Island Getaways in the Bay

Angel Island
You don’t need a plane ticket for an island getaway. Angel Island offers one of the island adventures you could have in San Francisco Bay. Photo: Jerry Ting

If you’ve been dreaming of a summer escape to an island paradise, but your piggy bank has other ideas, take heart. We’ve got our own islands right here in San Francisco Bay. You may even catch a balmy breeze, watch palm trees sway, and enjoy a stunning sunset. Now is a great time to visit some of the Bay’s best attractions. No plane ticket needed.

Angel Island State Park

Angel Island offers sweeping views of the Bay, terrific hikes, and campsites from which you can see the twinkling urban skylines that surround it. Pack your satchel with sleeping bag and supplies, and take the Blue and Gold ferry over. Recommended hikes include the five-mile perimeter trail and the trek up to Mt. Livermore, where hikers are treated to a panoramic view of the Bay and Golden Gate. Reserve a campsite online at Reserve America. Bring a gas stove or charcoal for cooking, as no fires are allowed.

Alameda

From its palm-tree lined boulevards, to its sleepy, small town atmosphere, Alameda offers a surprisingly different experience than the rest of the bustling Bay Area. Hipsters with children, who have fled SF for easier living and better schools, rub shoulders with retirees and Bay Area natives, giving the place a Mayberry-meets-Brooklyn vibe.  Yet it’s just minutes from downtown Oakland by car, and accessible by Ferry from SF.  Start at Crown Memorial State Beach and soak up some sunshine. It’s the largest, most stunning beach on the Bay, and a great place to walk and bike. Head over to St. George Spirits for one of the best tours (and tastings) in the Bay Area.  To get a real feel of the Alameda vibe, check out Speisekammer Restaurant, a homey spot with a great wine and beer selection.

Treasure Island

Come for the wine. Stay for the sunset. Since the Navy decommissioned Treasure Island in 1996, it’s exploded with housing, becoming a bedroom community to San Francisco. Surprisingly, it’s also become quite a wine destination, with several urban wineries setting up shop. Napa it’s not, but hey, you can get there on Muni! Take the Muni 108 from San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal and visit Treasure Island Wines, The Winery SF, Erista, and Bravium, and Fat Grape Wineries, most of which are clustered along 9th Street near Avenue of the Palms, and are open on weekends until 5 pm.