Best Annual Events in the North Bay

Best Annual Events in the North Bay

Home to about 250,000 folks, diverse landscapes, and activities galore, the North Bay stretches from the north tower of the Golden Gate Bridge all the way up the coast to Mendocino.

With nature at the forefront of everyone’s mind here, a trip to the North Bay cannot be complete without a visit to the Marin Headlands for the view of SF behind the bridge, Muir Woods National Monument (an old-growth coastal redwood forest), or the 45-minute scenic ride over Mt. Tamalpais to spacious Stinson Beach and Bolinas and charming towns in West Marin.

Bring your appetite, this rural coast is foodie heaven. With locally-sourced cheese, bread, wine and oysters that are available year round. Have a taste for design? Marvel at Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1957 futuristic architecture at the Marin County Civic Center, in the same area where the vibrant Marin Farmers Market, California’s third-largest, is held every Sunday.
Be sure to check out the best places to stay in the North Bay and the best places to eat while you’re in the area.

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

Featured Photo: Marin County Fair


Photo: Courtesy of @shopatnorthgate

Apart from fireworks of New Years, Chinese New Years celebrations, and the plentiful natural landscapes for starting the year off with some movement and fresh air, traditional winter activities are still going strong here. Grab some piping-hot cocoa and of course all-day, family-centered skating at Marin on Ice in San Rafael.

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


Photo: Courtesy of Russian River Brewing Company

Love is in the beer. Oops, in the air. Well, also in the beer: the infamous Pliny the Younger from Russian River Brewing Company is released the first Friday of February. If you’ve never tried it, you might just fall in love.

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


"Sonomawood" sign at Sonoma International Film Festival.
Photo: Courtesy of Sonoma International Film Festival

One of the premiere Bay Area festivals, this is an entirely walkable five-day annual event. The annual Sonoma International Film Festival represents the best in film, food, wine and fun.” Hear panel discussions, meet the filmmakers, vote for your favorite films, join after-parties. And drive up the coast for the Mendocino Coast Whale Festivals, which take place on concurrent weekends in the villages of Mendocino, Little River and Fort Bragg. They are timed to coincide with the annual grey whale migration to maximize your chances of a successful sighting. 

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


Photo: Courtesy of @Rodney.Strong.Vineyards

Spring is in full swing. What better way to enjoy then by attending Pick of the Vine, one of the fun one-day Santa Rosa events in April where you can sample the best of Sonoma’s wine and beer. More than 30 wineries and craft breweries tend to participate.

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


Neon lights at BottleRock Napa Valley

Over the past few years, BottleRock has evolved into a major music festival with a stellar artist lineup and an equally impressive culinary stage. Held outdoors over three days in late May at Napa Valley Expo, its a short walk from Downtown Napa. And you can’t forget about Anderson Valley, one of the most beautiful places in California. More than 50 wineries participate in the annual Pinot Noir Festival, including two dozen prestige labels from Napa and Sonoma that covet the fabulous fruit.

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


Photo: Courtesy of The Dipsea Race

First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It is run every year on the second Sunday in June. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

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


Festival Napa Valley
Photo: Courtesy of Festival Napa Valley

Fairs aren’t just corndogs and funnel cake! Celebrated as the Healthiest and Greenest County Fair on Earth since 2008, the Marin County Fair proudly features a solar powered carousel, solar powered stage, and a 92% waste diversion rate. Head north a bit and hit the 10-day Festival Napa Valley, where world-class performances are staged in iconic Napa Valley settings, featuring renowned artists and emerging talent. More than 200 artists, wineries, resorts, theaters, restaurants, chefs, and vintners participate each year. Gala fundraiser events benefit arts education for youth.

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


Photo: Courtesy of Petaluma Music Festival

End of summer calls for an intimate, relaxed, and upbeat celebration. The Cotati Accordion Festival and Petaluma Music Festival deliver. Also offering an exceptional variety of music for people of all ages, fine beers, premium wine tasting, and specialty food vendors, this is the place to be.

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


Photo: Courtesy of Sausalito Art Festival

For more than 65 years, Labor Day Weekend has meant the Sausalito Art Festival, largest of its kind in the U.S. More than 30,000 art, music, and food lovers gather outdoors on the waterfront at this premier event where juried artists show quality artwork for sale. Music from more than 20 local and nationally recognized bands includes everything from rock to pop to blues. September also has a free entrance to national parks day — the perfect excuse to visit Muir Woods, not that you needed one.

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


Photo: Courtesy of Mill Valley Film Festival

Founded in 1977, the internationally renowned Mill Valley Film Festival typically takes place over 10 days in early to mid-October. Californias oldest film festival attracts Oscar contenders and indie films for a mix of high-profile screenings, often with filmmakers in attendance.

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


Photo: Courtesy of @PetalumaCA

Petaluma proudly hosts the largest Veteran’s Day Parade north of the Golden Gate. The event is dedicated to the men and women who set aside their civilian pursuits to serve our nation’s cause, defending our freedom and preserving American heritage.

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


Photo: Courtesy of Nick's Cove

Whether you’re looking for holiday cheer, theatrical entertainment, ways to stay warm during the winter or last minute gifts for loved ones, there’s much to do here. And it isn’t Christmastime without a visit to the amazing Rombeiro Christmas House in Novato — it’s the ultimate holiday experience in Marin.

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

Event Venues

Looking to see what’s happening right now in the North Bay? Our comprehensive list of venues below will help you find what you need to know what’s going on.

1 thought on “Best Annual Events in the North Bay”

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