Best Annual Events in the East Bay

Best Annual Events in the East Bay

Across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge lies the East Bay, home to popular towns Oakland, Berkeley and Livermore. With stunning views of the whole Bay Area, the hilltop hiking opportunities are not to be missed.

If you’re looking for things to do in town, there’s a ton of variety: “Oaktown” has a quieter Chinatown, nearby Jack London Square is a vibrant shopping and dining area, and Lake Merritt is an ideal spot for a city walk. RingCentral Coliseum is a huge draw for Oakland Athletics games, live music and more.

Berkeley boasts the University of California Berkeley, whose Campanile is the third tallest bell and clock tower in the world, as well as Chef Alice Waters’ restaurant Chez Panisse, the Greek Theatre, and a multitude of ethnic restaurants, including The Cheese Board Collective, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, Grégoire Restaurant, Cha-Ya, Agrodolce Osteria, Cesar, and many more. If you head further east, you’ll hit Livermore, home to 40 world-class wineries and well worth a day trip.

*Things change, so please check in with the organizers of these events for details.

Featured Photo: Visit Berkeley

January

Brightly illuminated lanterns depict various animals, including elephants, zebras, and cheetahs, against a dark evening sky. The lanterns are intricately designed, with the largest elephant standing prominently in the foreground. Trees and plants add to the vibrant scene of one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of Oakland Zoo Glowfari

Find a perch in the East Bay hills to watch fireworks across the Bay. And if your lightshow appetite lingers after New Years, visit the Oakland Zoo exhibit, Glowfari — a “wildly illuminating lantern festival” featuring hundreds of larger-than-life animal shapes along a mile-long path. Finish off the month at Concord’s Comfort Food Week, where you can taste the gamut of culinary experiences. You won’t regret postponing your January diet to indulge in this East Bay town’s unbeatable offerings.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in January here.

February

A group of women wearing matching purple and white jackets raise their fists in solidarity during one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay. The women look determined as they stand together in an urban setting with trees and buildings in the background.
Photo: Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

During Black History Month, Oakland non-profit Black Joy Parade unites a diverse community by creating a space — its signature parade — to celebrate the Black experience and community’s contribution to history and culture.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in February here.

March

A joyful crowd of people, including adults and children, walk together in an outdoor parade. Most are wearing bright green shirts with a logo on them, and some have festive accessories like headbands and hats. They look happy and engaged in one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.

One of the most colorful St. Patrick’s Day events outside Ireland happens to be in Dublin… California. And Concord’s Spring Brews Festival, hosted by The Brewing Network, is one of the best craft beer festivals in the Bay Area. Enjoy beverages from over 60 craft breweries as well as live music and great food.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in March here.

April

A large, green, moss-covered sculpture of a reclining face lies amidst an assortment of vibrant plants and shrubs. The serene face features closed eyes, a long nose, and full lips, creating a tranquil, nature-inspired scene reminiscent of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay. Black curtains can be seen in the background.
Photo: Courtesy of Bay Area Flower and Garden Show

Usher in springtime with Berkeley Restaurant Week, Earth Day celebrations, and the Bay Area Flower and Garden Show. It’s also a great time of year for the monthly Alameda Point Antiques Faire, the largest antiques show in Northern California.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in April here.

May

A smiling woman in a gray "9 Julio empanadas" T-shirt holds a plate of food at an outdoor food stand. Two people cook behind her under a canopy with a Golden State Warriors flag. A sign reads, "A fresh take on classic Argentine street food," making it one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of @temescaldist

Scintillate your palates with this culinary crawl (like farm-to-table trick or treat), one of Temescal’s most delectable annual events — Taste of Temescal.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in May here.

June

A lively outdoor performance showcasing What to Do in Northern California features a woman singing into a microphone and a man in a hat playing a guiro. A saxophonist performs energetically in the background, with leafy greenery providing the perfect backdrop.
Photo: Courtesy of @lakefestoakland

Nothing says summer like relaxing by Lake Merritt and enjoying Lakefest Oakland‘s activities, food, free music, kids activities, and dancing. The weather is unbeatable this time of year if you’re looking for a little summer sizzle.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in June here.

July

A crowd of people flying colorful kites at a beachside festival on a sunny day. The sky is clear blue, and there are kites of various shapes and sizes, including fish and other whimsical designs. The beach is bustling with tents, spectators, and activities. Truly one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay!
Photo: Courtesy of Visit Berkeley

The good fun and artistry of modern kite flying are on full display as the skies fill with fabulous, soaring kites of all shapes and sizes at the Berkeley Kite Festival. Right on the Berkeley Marina, across from the Golden Gate Bridge, the location cannot be beat. In late July, tens of thousands head for the popular two-day Art + Soul Oakland packed with sensational music, food, fun, dance, art, and family fun in downtown Oakland. Grammy-winner caliber performances from the worlds of blues, R&B, soul, funk, gospel, rock, Latin, turf and urban/world dance take place on four stages. 

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in July here.

August

A colorful chalk drawing on a grey sidewalk depicts a woman with a decorative headpiece and wavy hair holding a steaming cup. Outlined by a blue circle, with "CHOCOLAT" written to the right of her head, this artwork could easily be featured among the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of @chocolateandchalkartfestival

The sidewalks of North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto are the “canvas” of artists young and old, professional and greenhorn during the annual Chocolate and Chalk Art Festival. Artist registration is free and chocolate tasting tickets keep the antioxidant buzz strong.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in August here.

September

A bustling outdoor craft fair with people walking among various vendor booths. Tents are set up under the shade of trees with colorful foliage. The scene includes displays of crafts and art, and visitors are engaging with vendors and exploring items on sale—one of the *Best Things to do in the East Bay this September*.

Celebrate LGBTQ+ communities in the most diverse city in the country, at the most diverse Pride celebration: Oakland Pride. In late September, tuck into food and drink, live music and more at the well-loved, sociable Lafayette Art & Wine Festival. Upcoming dates: Sept. 23-24, 2023.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in September here.

October

Two people clink large beer mugs at an Oktoberfest celebration, one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay. The mugs, filled with amber beer, feature festive designs and text. A tent in the background reveals a lively atmosphere with people dressed in colorful outfits.
Photo: Courtesy of Oaktoberfest

A homey take on Oktoberfest, Oaktoberfest in the Dimond offers traditional, seasonal foods and some of the best Bay Area craft beers. Enjoy performances from cultural artist and entertainers and support mom and pop businesses.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in October here.

November

A woman wearing a large hat and floral dress stands with four children dressed in colorful traditional attire, their faces painted in vibrant “sugar skull” designs, celebrating Day of the Dead amidst a lively crowd at one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of @TheUnityCouncil

The Unity Council Día de Los Muertos Annual Festival is a free, outdoor festival that brings over 100,000 people to the vibrant, culturally-rich Fruitvale neighborhood to enjoy world-class live music, family-friendly games, rides and activities, traditional Latin American artisans.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in November here.

December

A large, brightly-lit Christmas tree decorated with ornaments stands in the center of a festive outdoor gathering at night. A crowd of people surrounds the tree, with a multi-story building adorned with holiday lights in the background. Palm trees line the left side, making it one of the Best Annual Events in the East Bay.
Photo: Courtesy of @jacklondonsquare

Holiday lights, live music and theatre productions are all a part of how the East Bay does December. Bundle up for a stroll through town, peruse local shops for unique gifts, or enjoy family time at one of the many event venues.

Read more about the best things to do in the East Bay in December here.

Looking for more things to do in the area?
Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top