50 Things to Do Now: Your Ultimate Summer Bucket List for 2021

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Summer days and summer sun are here to stay! We’ve gathered up a slew of our favorite summer day activities all over the Bay Area that will get you and the kids out an exploring. Rock out with live music, watch some movies under the stars and scope out all the best spots to camp. Check off your faves below!

photo: Stern Grove

1. The Stern Grove Festival is back for 2021! Outdoor concerts are one of the best things about summer so you'll definitely want to check it out!

2. Dining with views of the Golden Gate Bridge? Yes, please! This list has all the best outdoor dining spots.

3. Skip the produce aisle and head to a local farm to pick your own berries!

4. Gimme s'mores! You don't have to go camping to get these ooey-gooey treats around town.

5. Try out one of these upscale fast food joints where the whole family will be happy.

6. Head to the brand-new LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Milpitas' Great Mall.

7. Play tourist for a day and ride the carousel at Pier 39 and then check out what's new at Fisherman's Wharf. Don’t forget to visit the sea lions!

photo: Kate Loweth

8. Check out Quarry Park in Rocklin where you can zipline over the quarry!

9. Spend the night in a treehouse, literally! You'll love the view!

10. Visit Japan without getting on a plane. You can get all the ramen, taiyaki and Sanrio you want in San Francisco’s Japantown.

11. Plan a wine country weekend and let the kids come along!

12. Spend the afternoon exploring these bike paths and bike parks that are perfect for the tiny two-wheelers.

13. Road trip time! Spend some time exploring these 10 California road trips.

14. Stay up a little past bedtime and watch one of your favorite movies outdoors, under the stars.

15. Check out Bill’s Backyard, the awesome outdoor discovery area at the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose.

16. Cool down in calm waters. Check out one of these swimming beaches perfect for kids!

17. Grab your kids some free grub at these restaurants where the shorties eat free.

photo: Wildhaven

18. Get your glamp on! Book a few nights at a nearby cabin, yurt, lighthouse or safari tent (with real bathrooms and showers!). We are especially looking forward to a return visit to the brand-new Wildhaven in Healdsburg

19. Explore the great outdoors on a hike that is perfect, even for the youngest hikers.

20. Have the kids tried all of these iconic San Francisco desserts? What are you waiting for?

21. Bike rides, kayaking and awesome eats are waiting for you in Healdsburg.

22. See the world from the dinner table: Try a kid-approved exotic dish at a local restaurant to add some spice to your meal routine.

23. Touch a starfish! Head to a nearby tide pool and get up close and personal with local sea life.

24. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! If a day at the SF Zoo is in your future, read our guide so that you don't miss any of the animal magic.

25. Jump in a kayak and explore your city by sea.

26. Talk about fresh eggs: spend the night at a nearby farm!

photo: Kate Loweth

27. There are loads of national parks nearby. Which one will you explore this weekend? 

28. Pint-sized Picassos and mini Monets will love these art centers where you can drop in for a day of inspiration.

29. Get your STEM on at these science centers from SF to Sausalito where the kids can learn about robots, animals, space and more.

30. Head to the Exploratorium. It's finally opening back up to offer science for everyone! 

31. Where’s the only place you can visit an aquarium, planetarium and natural history museum, all under one “living” roof? Our California Academy of Sciences guide is all you need to make the most of your visit.

32. Hop on a cable car and explore all that Market Street has to offer. Get the insider’s scoop here and save some time for a slice at Delarosa.

33. Check out a new museum on a free day or better yet, visit these museums that are ALWAYS free!

34. Ever enjoyed lunch while underwater bowling? Make your next meal out a memorable one (in a good way!) at one of these themed restaurants where there’s more than just burgers and fries.

35. Crane Cove Park is open and you'll want to check it out! 

36. Plan the perfect picnic. We've got a shortlist of the best spots right here.

37. On a hot day, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the place to be. Get our tips on how to maximize your day there.

38. A day in Golden Gate Park doesn't have to break the bank. It is full of free activities and sun shine. Summer is the perfect time for a visit.

39. Eat under the sun by dining at one of the Bay Area's many kid-friendly breweries

40. Make this the summer the kids perfect their kicks. Enroll them in swim lessons at one of these trusted locations.

41. Plan an epic visit to Tahoe in the summer and then head to nearby Reno for even more adventure!

42. Check out this list of all our favorite things to do in the Presidio including some brand-new bike paths. 

photo: Lindsay Wildlife Center

43. Get some up-close-and-personal time with the animals at these wildlife centers.

44. Visit CuriOdyssey, climb the dragon-themed playground at Coyote Point and enjoy the uniquely-delicious waffles at Eggettes when you visit San Mateo.

45. Hop aboard these ships that offer a history lesson on the water.

46. Find out how your favorite foods are made, from jelly beans to fortune cookies, by going on a family-friendly food factory tour.

47. Make your way to the East Bay. There are playgrounds galore and we've shared our favorites with you.

48. Take a trip to the islands without leaving the Bay Area—Alcatraz and Angel Island.

49. Pitch your tent at these campsites where you can hear the crashing waves as you curl up in your sleeping bag.

50. Two words: Ice Cream.

—Kate Loweth

Featured photo: iStock

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