Best Things to Do in the East Bay This January

January is filled with events and activities in Oakland, Berkeley, Pleasanton and more East Bay cities. We’ve done the deep research for you on the best things to do in the East Bay this month including museums, cultural events and more. If you’re looking for food, we also have an extensive list of our best restaurants in the East Bay. Staying for a weekend? We also know the best places to stay
January is cold in the Bay Area, with temperatures in the 40s-50s and eight days of rain on average.
Berkeley Art Museum Exhibits January Local Getaways
Photo by Iwan Baan. Courtesy of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and EHDD

Free First Thursdays at Berkeley Art Museum

January 4

Get FREE admission every first Thursday of the month to the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive! See the BAMPFA’s stellar exhibitions which showcase contemporary and centuries-old art. If you go in January, you can catch their exhibit “What Has Been and What Could Be,” a presentation of diverse holdings from the museum’s collections. 

More info:


Glowfari at Oakland Zoo

January 1–7, 10-14, 17-21, 24-28

Not ready to give up the bright lights of the holiday season? Oakland Zoo’s massively popular Glowfari is back with a new group of its giant, glow-in-the-dark animals. A lantern show like no other, you and the family can walk among towering animals in fantastic glowing worlds.

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Bearded Dragon Lizard Reptile Expo
Photo: Courtesy of Pierre Bamin via Unsplash

NorCal Reptile Expo

January 13 & 14

Whether reptiles fascinate or scare you, you’re bound to have a memorable experience seeing these lizards, snakes, chameleons and more at the Alameda Fairgrounds. At $15 a ticket for adults and $7 for kids 12 and under, this expo can be a unique way to spend an afternoon with the family. Maybe you’ll even come home with a new pet! 

More info:

Peoples faces light up in a crowded movie theater — not specifically the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland
Photo by Jake Hills on Unsplash

NOIR CITY Film Festival

January 19–28

Cinephiles unite! The 21st annual film noir festival will host ten days of double-features at Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland. Each night will feature an English-language film followed by an international noir pick. A whole-festival pass is available for $200, or you can buy tickets per screening. Proceeds will go toward the continued preservation and restoration of classic film. 

More info:

red envelope
Photo: Courtesy of Jason Leung via Unsplash

Lunar New Year Bazaar

January 27–28

Every year, the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce puts on a bazaar to celebrate the new year. Join us in the year of the dragon and enjoy all the food and shopping that Oakland Chinatown has to offer!

More info:

Ring in the Year of the Dragon at Fairyland

January 26–28

Gung Hey Fat Choy! Celebrate Lunar New Year with traditional Lion Dancers and listen to the folk stories of Clara Yen at Fairyland! Bring the kids and celebrate the Year of the Dragon, free with admission.

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Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

January 27–28

The Trockaderos are a comedic ballet troupe made up entirely of men. In their drag parody of ballet conventions, the “Trocks” are both technically skilled and hilarious. 

More info:

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

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