Sway, spin and definitely sing along at one of these celebrations of summer! Music festivals all over the Bay are just ramping up so now is a great time to get some of your favorites on the calendar. Bring some bites or buy them on-site, pack the blankets and sunscreen and head out. Let the good vibrations carry you through the warm summer days.

photo: Kidchella/Joel Wade Photography

San Francisco

Union Square Live
Entice the kids to go shopping and then the whole family can boogie down to salsa, swing and more. The people-watching is at its best here, where tourists (wearing shorts) and locals (wearing sweaters) mix. Top off the day with a huge slice of cheesecake.

Date: now through Sept. 26
Time: 6 p.m. on Wednesdays, 2 p.m. on Sundays
Cost: Free

333 Post St.
San Francisco, CA

Flower Piano at the San Francisco Botanical Garden
For twelve days this summer, visitors to the SF Botanical Garden have the opportunity to interact with pianos out in nature. Now in its fifth year, this year’s Flower Piano offers new opportunities for the public to play, more performances by professional musicians, special events for families including the new evening-time Flower Piano at Sunset, a community sing-along, free piano lessons and three evenings of Flower Piano at Night, a special after dark event with food trucks and outdoor bars.

Dates: July 11-22, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

1199 9th Ave.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Online: sfbg.org/flowerpiano

photo: Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
This festival’s green and spacious area just begs for a downtown picnic, whether from your own kitchen or one of the foodie take-out options along the way. Entertainment includes classical and Latin music as well as dance, theater and more. Kids shouldn’t favorites like Caterpillar Puppets, Pi Clowns, Red Panda Acrobats, Circus Bella’s display of trapeze, juggling, contortion and clowning.

Date: Now through Oct. 27
Time: Weekend and weekday lunchtime events
Cost: Free

Mission St, between 3rd and 4th
San Francisco, CA

photo: Stern Grove Festival

Stern Grove Festival
Bundle the kiddos up against the foggy chill, and let their dancing legs loose on perennial favorites like the San Francisco Symphony and Ballet. Moms and dads will love groovin’ to bands like Ziggy Marley and The Revolution. Bop on over early to Stern Grove from noon-1:30 p.m. each Sunday for a special KidStage performance and activity before the main event. Stern Grove also offers “Kid Days” which are free interactive arts education programs for children ages 4-11 at Sigmund Stern Grove (pre-registration is required).

Date: Sundays, June 16-Aug. 18
Time: 2 p.m.
Cost: Free

19th Ave. at Sloat Blvd.
San Francisco, CA

photo: Charity and the JAMBand

JAMBand Family Festival
Unleash your tiny dancers in the mosh pit of free, outdoor family concerts on the lawn at the Park Chalet. Charity and the JamBAND will have everyone—even dads—on their feet. Park Chalet food and beverages are available for a fee or bring your own eats from home.

Date: June 9, Sep. 22, Oct. 27
Time: 3-5 p.m.
Cost: Free

The Park Chalet
1000 Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA

photo: Point Richmond Music Festival

East Bay

Point Richmond Music Festival
Rock the corner of Park Place and Washington Avenue with musicians that’ll get those little legs shaking to blues, samba and more. These family-friendly events each feature two bands as well as other activities, such as face-painting. Good, wholesome family fun!

Date: June 14, July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13
Time: 5:30-7:45 p.m.
Cost: Free

Park Place and Washington Ave.
Point Richmond, CA

Kaiser Center’s Lakeside Roof Garden Series
A hidden musical gem in downtown Oakland, the Kaiser Center’s Lakeside Roof Garden Concerts enliven the Lake Merritt greenspace with lunch hour concerts. The program has a wide variety of artists – enjoy dance hits from The Party Crashers and funk from Kenya B Band, among others.

Date: Fridays, June 14–Sept. 13
Time: noon–1 p.m.
Cost: Free

Kaiser Center Roof Garden (Take any elevator located in the Kaiser garage to the ‘RG’ level to access the Roof Garden)
300 Lakeside Drive
Oakland, CA
Online: kaisercenterroofgarden.com

photo: Kidchella


Music is Everywhere in Redwood City
From their rockin’ Music on the Square (Friday nights, featuring pros playing tribute to Journey, The Eagles and more) to the killer kids music fest Kidchella (Sunday afternoons) to waterside concerts at Marlin Park, Redwood City will have everyone up and dancing all summer. The only groove-buster will be the encroaching bedtime hour.

Date: Sundays, June 23, July 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 9
Time: 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway

Music on the Square
Date: Fridays, through Aug. 30
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway

Sounds of the Shores
Date: Sundays, June 23, July 21 and Aug. 18
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Marlin Park, Corner of Neptune and Cringle

Music in the Park
Date: Wednesdays, June 12-Aug. 14
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free
Where: Stafford Park, Corner of King St. & Hopkins Ave

Classical Series
Date: June 22, July 21, Sept. 8
Time: varies
Cost: Free
Where: Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway


CuriOdyssey’s Summer Music Festival
This summer, relax and have fun as a family at CuriOdyssey’s Summer Music Festival. On June 7, dance to the rhythms of New Orleans with Medicine Ball Music. On July 5, sway to the infectious rhythms of Calypso, Reggae, Zouk and Soca with Shabang. On August 2, rock to rhythm and blues with Sunny & the Black Pack. Enjoy a cash bar and hot dinner for purchase while the kids play with seriously fun, hands-on science exhibits and meet CuriOdyssey’s animals.

Dates: June 7, July 5  and August 2
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Cost: included with admission

1651 Coyote Point Dr.
San Mateo

Online: curiodyssey.org

Music is Magic
This playground that welcomes kids of all abilities just got even cooler by hosting a slew of family-friendly music performances on Fridays this summer. Enjoy the sounds of Andy Z, Tim Cain, Noise Lab and more at the community theater in the park. Then swing over the playground for some fun in the sun.

Date: Fridays, through Aug. 30
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Cost: Free

Mitchell Park
600 East Meadow Road
Palo Alto, CA

photo: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

South Bay

San Jose Jazz Summerfest
This festival brings artists with chops—more than 120 Grammy winners, powerhouse jazz players and acclaimed folk drummers—to the Plaza de Cesar Chavez, fronting the Fairmont. In addition to 10 stages (!!) kids can scat-a-tat-tat over to the family fun zone while listening to traditional jazz, funk, Bombay jazz and more. Check out the “Big Easy Parade” on Saturday.

Date: Aug. 9-11
Cost: Varies by package; click below.

Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park
170 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA

Santana Row Summer Music Series
Every Tuesday in July you can set up your blanket or chair in Santana Row’s Park Valencia and enjoy the tunes under the palm trees. Cover bands bring the generations together. Grab some fresh eats at Poke Bar and then line up for some made-to-order ice cream from Smitten to complete the summer dream.

Date: Tuesdays in July
6-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

Santana Row – Park Valencia, San Jose

photo: Vasona Vibrations

Vasona Vibrations
It’s the 16th year of this music festival that takes place during June and July in Vasona Lake County Park. Bring your blanket and some dinner or purchase some tasty eats from one of the food trucks on-site. Parking is free on nearby University Ave. or pay $6 to grab a spot inside the park. There’s a playground nearby if the kids get antsy.

Date: Saturdays in June and July
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Cost: Free, $6 to park inside Vasona

Vasona Lake County Park
333 Blossom Hill Road
Los Gatos, CA

Jazz on the Plazz
Every Wednesday evening Jazz on the Plazz presents free concerts on the Los Gatos Town Plaza. This series focusing mostly on vocal talent, giving the plaza the feel of an intimate night club. Singers such as Paula West and The Funky Godfather will croon to the moon.

Date: Wednesdays, June 19–Aug. 21
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cost: Free, but there is the option to reserve prime seating for a cost

Los Gatos Town Plaza

Friday Night Bands on the Beach
What could be better than sunset, surf and song? The Santa Cruz Boardwalk continues its annual classic beach concerts with shows from Taylor Dayne, Smash Mouth and 10,000 Maniacs and so many more. Stretch out your blanket and watch the kiddos rave. Your tiny dancers are guaranteed to sleep during the car ride home.

Date: Friday nights, June 14-Aug. 30
Time: Two shows: 6:30 and 8:30p.m.
Cost: Free

400 Beach St.
Santa Cruz, CA

Marin and Further North

Napa City Nights
Kids can run the promenade while parents enjoy the river view in this multi-sensual experience. Concerts feature surf rock, blues, funk, classical and more. Families can share cheesesticks, pretzels and yogurt squeezes on their blankets, or dine upscale at the walkable, amazing restaurants with breakable glasses. There’s public transportation via Napa Vine.

Dates: Friday nights, through Aug. 23
Time: 6:30-10 p.m.
Cost: Free

Veterans Memorial Park Amphitheater
Main Street, Napa, CA

Cotati Accordion Festival
This festival gives many kids their first glimpse of the beloved squeezebox. The dancing is not just for grandparents, either. Little polka-ers can work up a sweat in the mayhem of dance sessions from Squeezy Peezy, The Wild Catahoulas, and MotorDude Zydeco to name a few.

Date: Aug. 17-18
Time: 9:30 a.m.–8 p.m.

La Plaza Park
Cotati, CA

Photo: Funky Fridays

Funky Fridays
Dance the night away with Sonoma’s Funky Friday outdoor concert series on the lawn of the historic Hood Mansion. This being Sonoma, you can expect plenty of great food and drink from vendors including Henhouse Brewing Company, Kenwood Vinyards, TIPS Tri Tip Trolley and much more. With a new group playing each week you’ll need to swing by more than once this summer.

Date: Every Friday through Aug. 30
Time: 7-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/adult; free for kids 18 and under

Hood Mansion
N Pythian Road off Hwy 12
Santa Rosa, CA

—Kate Loweth, Erin Feher, Shelly Hausman and Christal Yuen

Featured photo: Joel Wade Photography


County Fairs Near the Bay Area

Seeing Stars: Outdoor Movie Mania

50 Things To Do Now: Your Ultimate Summer Bucket List

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