10 awesome Bay Area adventures for that mid-summer bucket list – California

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Summer is in full swing, Bay Area. How are you going to spend it? Between the swim meets and family vacations, make some time for these quintessential Bay Area summer experiences, whether it’s hitting the beach with your pup, watching a movie under the stars or totally freaking yourself out on a roller coaster — and then celebrating your survival with funnel cake. Here are 10 of our favorite summer adventures, from San Jose to San Francisco, Berkeley and beyond.

Hit a dog-friendly beach

Pack a picnic and make a day of constant wags — yes, you and Fido —at one of the Bay Area’s popular off-leash beaches. The cliffside Fort Funston is dreamy for its network of trails and 200-foot high sandy bluffs on San Francisco’s coast (did we mention the free parking?); but we’re also partial to Esplanade Beach in Pacifica, which is known for its peaceful, secluded vibe and occasional whale sightings.

Details: Esplanade Beach is located at 360 Esplanade Ave., Pacifica; Fort Funston is on Fort Funston Road in San Francisco; www.parksconservancy.org/parks/fort-funston. 

Watch a movie under the stars

Sure, when temperatures hit triple digits, we retreat to the AC of the cineplex. But on warm summer nights, there’s nothing like kicking back outdoors and taking in a free show. Nearly every night through September, you can find a free movie screening in a city park or town square somewhere in the Bay Area, including San Jose’s In the Park After Dark Movie Nights and Cupertino’s Movies in the Park, which are both offered select Fridays and Saturdays through Sept. 7 — and Oakland’s Jack London Square on select Thursdays. Details: www.cupertino.org;  www.sccgov.org

Santa Cruz’s Movies on the Beach takes the outdoor movie trend to the next level.  (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk) Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Dance on a rooftop (bar)

Been to the swanky new Virgin Hotel in San Francisco? Here’s your chance. Sip a cocktail and take advantage of sweeping views from downtown to Twin Peaks at the city’s newest rooftop bar, Everdene. It’s 4,000-square feet of summer love, complete with shareable cocktails, like the Pisco-based Midsummer Revelry. Better yet, get your funk on and cut a rug during Daylight Disco, a music series with DJs on select Saturdays through October.

On select Saturdays this summer, you can dance on the roof at Everdene, the rooftop bar at the new Virgin Hotels San Francisco. (Everdene) 

Details: Everdene is open from 5:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday at 250 Fourth St. in San Francisco. Disco Saturdays are for ages 21 and older and start at 2 p.m. on Aug. 3, Sept. 21 and Oct. 5; https://virginhotels.com/san-francisco

Eat Hawaiian shave ice

Few treats capture the essence of summer as perfectly as fluffy, sweet, snow-like ice. And the good stuff is surprisingly hard to find in the Bay Area, unless you head to Auntie Viv’s Shave Ice at the Dublin Farmer’s Market. Vivian Brandt, aka Auntie Viv, uses a Swan shaver and housemade fruit syrups in flavors like guava and passion fruit, with snow cap and li hing mui powder add-ons, just like on the islands. Did we mention the Kona cold-brew syrup?

Details: 4 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 26 (except 7/25, 8/1 and 9/19) at Emerald Glen Park, 4201 Central Pkwy., Dublin. Also at the Norcal Night Market, July 26-28 and Sept. 20-22, in Pleasanton, and FoodieLand Night Market, Aug. 2-4, in Berkeley; www.facebook.com/AuntieVivs

Manny Chavarria adds a “snow cap” to a shave ice at Auntie Viv’s Shave Ice. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

Fly a kite

Sunshine and steady breezes make the Berkeley Marina’s Cesar Chavez Park ideal for kite-flying and family-friendly frolicking, which is why the park has hosted the free Berkeley Kite Festival every July for the past 30 years. So grab that giant, rippling dragon, Pokemon or butterfly and head to the end of University Avenue to feel the summer vibes. Look for free lessons in kite flying and kite making, too.

Details: July 27 and 28 at Cesar Chavez Park, 11 Spinnaker Way, Berkeley. Free shuttles from Golden Gate Fields. Find more information at www.highlinekites.com/kite-fest

Large kites fly high during the 31st annual Berkeley Kite Festival & West Coast Kite Championships at Cesar E. Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Witness a light show

On Tuesdays at sunset, plant your chairs in Redwood City’s Courthouse Square and get ready for Magic Lantern, a free light show by artist Bart Kresa. The projection-mapping spectacle transforms and illuminates the facade of the San Mateo County Historical Museum, taking viewers on Redwood City’s 150-year journey with a time-traveling robot and water-inspired show.

Details: The 15-minute shows run on Tuesday nights at dusk through Nov. 26 at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City. (Shows may be cancelled unexpectedly due to weather.) Find details at https://visitrwc.org.

The Magic Lantern 3D Light Show will be projected onto the San Mateo County History Museum building every Tuesday evening through fall. (Redwood City Improvement Association) 

Sail the Bay

You don’t have to be a zillionaire to go yachting on the San Francisco Bay. Well, unless you want an actual yacht, of course. If you just want to go sailing, you can do that for free at the Berkeley Marina, at the Cal Sailing Club’s monthly open houses. Board a boat from the club’s fleet for a half-hour sail with a club member, including boating safety lessons, plenty of sunshine and views of the Campanile, the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate.

Details: The club’s open houses run from 1 to 4 p.m. on select Sundays from March through November, including July 21 and Aug. 18. It’s first-come, first-aboard so plan on getting there at the beginning, not the end. 124 University Ave. at the Berkeley Marina; www.cal-sailing.org

The Cal Sailing Club’s monthly open house offers guests a chance to go sailing on the bay — for free. Bay Area News Group file

Kayak to a beer garden

Rent a single or double kayak at Jack London Square, then paddle down the Oakland Estuary paddle to Brotzeit Lokal, a waterside beer garden where you can tie up your watercraft, indulge in bratwurst, kasespaetzle (mac and cheese’s chic German cousin) and beer by the glass, the mas or the boot. (And convince yourself that the 2-mile round-trip paddle burned all those calories away.)

Details: California Canoe and Kayak rentals run $25 to $50. The Jack London Square shop opens at 10 a.m. daily at 409 Water St., Oakland; www.calkayak.com. Brotzeit Lokal Boathaus and Biergarten is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday at 1000 Embarcadero, Oakland; https://brotzeitbiergarten.com.

Play bocce, sip wine

Is there a more delightful pairing? Yes — add in sweeping ocean views on Treasure Island. On weekends, Sol Rouge Winery offers reservations for its bocce ball courts and group tastings (up to two hours of bocce for up to 12 people). That way, you and your friends can sip luscious, highly-acclaimed Southern Rhone and Bordeaux-style wines while perfecting your underhand toss.

Details: Reservations accepted for noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 400 California Ave., Building 141, San Francisco; www.solrouge.com

Ride the Giant Dipper (before eating funnel cake)

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is synonymous with summer. You can’t pass the season without smelling that salty air and hearing the squeals of kids high on sugar and centrifugal force. When it comes to rides, there’s a reason the Giant Dipper is a fan favorite: More than 66 million people have ridden the wooden coaster’s red and white curves since it opened in 1924, and it’s been featured in many movies, including “The Lost Boys” and “Dangerous Minds.”

Details: Open daily at 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz. Check for ride details at https://beachboardwalk.com

The Giant Dipper is a fan favorite at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. (Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk) 

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