Summer is usually the time of year when people take a step back from their usual routines and look for ways to recharge their batteries. Also, having the kids home for their summer vacation makes it the ideal time for family fun. That’s certainly the case if you live in and around Oakland, California, as summer provides many opportunities to relax, have fun, and reconnect with loved ones. To help you decide where to go, we’ve compiled this list of some of the most interesting and exciting events near Oakland this late summer and early fall.
Laurel StreetFair World Music Festival
We kick things off with a music festival. Now at its 22nd edition, the annual Laurel StreetFair World Music Festival takes place on August 12 and brings the Oakland community together to enjoy local and international music, dance, art, and cuisine. It takes place on Macarthur Boulevard in Oakland’s Laurel District, and it’s free to attend for people of all ages. The 15,000 people who are expected to visit this year will enjoy a diverse lineup of talented musicians from different genres plus a wide variety of delicious street food dishes.
Besides boosting the area’s popularity and connecting local vendors with large audiences, the festival helps the local community in many other ways. All the funds generated through sponsorships and other contributions are then used to make life better for Laurel County residents. These funds help beautify the areas by improving building facades, removing trash, and cleaning graffiti off walls. They also help multiple local art projects, paving the way for future editions of the festival.
San Francisco Pizza, Bagel, and Beer Festival
World-renowned restaurateur Tony Gemignani is the owner of San Francisco’s famous Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. Having studied many pizza festivals throughout the country over the past few years, he finally decided to launch his own. The San Francisco Pizza, Bagel, and Beer Festival will have its first edition on August 19 in the North Beach neighborhood, only a short drive from Oakland. As the name suggests, this will be the perfect occasion for beer, pizza, and bagel enthusiasts to indulge themselves and have a fun day out with other members of the local community.
This family-friendly festival is not only a great opportunity to go out and have fun but also an effective way of supporting worthy causes. Proceeds will go to local organizations, such as the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, Saints Peter and Paul School, and Slice Out Hunger. Other pizzerias besides Tony’s that will serve festivalgoers include Women in Pizza, Much Ado About Pizza, Pizza Da Laura, Montesacro, and many more. You’ll be able to get bagels from a number of businesses, including Daily Driver and BagelMacher, while beer will be provided by breweries such as Fort Point and Lagunitas.
Zach Bryan’s Burn, Burn, Burn Tour
Zach Bryan is a young Oklahoma-born singer and songwriter who’s taken the country by storm over the past few years. He’ll be entertaining local residents at Oakland Arena on August 21. The venue doors open at 6:30 p.m. Zach will take the stage around 8 p.m. He’ll be performing songs from his latest album, American Heartbreak, plus hits from his previous two albums.
Vegan Street Fair Oakland 2023
If you’re a healthy and cruelty-free cuisine fan, you can enjoy culinary delights by attending the world’s largest vegan festival. The ninth edition of Oakland’s Vegan Street Fair takes place on August 26 and will be bigger than ever. Entry is free of charge, and you’ll be treated to a wonderful variety of vegan food vendors from all over California and beyond. Each vendor will have at least one food item that costs $4 or less, making sure that everyone can afford to try their vegan dishes.
The exact location is yet to be decided, but it will definitely be in Oakland. Besides being treated to delicious dishes, you’ll also be able to socialize and make new friends while enjoying various live musical performances. Although the event is free of charge, you can purchase a fast pass that puts you in front of the line at any food and beverage vendor.
Hiero Day Hip-Hop Festival
Hip-hop music is a major part of Oakland’s art and culture scene. Hiero Day is the perfect occasion for hip-hop fans to meet and listen to great music while enjoying local food. It takes place on September 4 this year, but it began on September 3, 2012, with the date being a nod to the album “93 ’til Infinity” by legendary Oakland-based hip-hop group Souls of Mischief. The name is also an homage to a local hip-hop group, Hieroglyphics Crew, who will be performing live. It’s also a family-friendly event, with kids up to five years old receiving free admission.
Art and Soul Festival
The 21st edition of this annual festival takes place in Oakland’s Frank Ogawa Plaza on September 17. Entry is free of charge, and it will feature an eclectic mixture of musical styles, including blues, jazz, gospel, hip-hop, and dance, on three separate stages. It’s not only a music festival, as attendees will also be able to enjoy delicious food and various artisan displays. As this is a family-friendly event, there will also be plenty of children’s activities for the little ones to enjoy.
As an added bonus, this year’s Art and Soul festival is merging with AfroComicCon, which is a comic convention that celebrates contributions by people of color in various fields, such as art, technology, fashion, writing, and film. Even if you’re not a big comic buff, it’s worth attending just for the opportunity to experience visual events and spectacular performances.
Summer Is Wonderful in Oakland
Summer is the time to make memories and remember what life is all about. Living in such a lively cultural hub definitely has its rewards, and Oakland residents have many opportunities to make the most out of these months. By attending any of the events on this list, you’re likely to have a great time, make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and make sure this will be a summer to remember. If you have any more ideas on fun summer activities in Oakland, contact us and we’ll add them to the list.