Sunny skies, beautiful blooms, and seasonal fruit picking make May an exciting month that’s filled with family-friendly activities. Take advantage of the longer days and warm springtime weather to venture to new playgrounds or revisit beloved activities. Here are our favorite family events for the month – let’s go!
This post of May’s best activities for families is sponsored by Bay Area Children’s Theatre. We’re big fans of their kid-friendly performances, and there are also a number of events that are amazing for families.
Reserve Tickets to Shows & Performances
Contra Costa Ballet presents Sleeping Beauty in a spell-binding performance at the Lesher Center for the Arts. Find more upcoming ticketed performances and events >
All Month: AAPI Heritage Month
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Learn and celebrate cultures with your kids at storytimes, dance performances, and events, like the Asian and Pacific Islander Arts & Culture Festival in Alameda on May 20.
All Spring: Go on a Color Search in the Garden
Springtime flowers are in full bloom. Spot fruit blossoms, roses, wildflowers, and more cheery flowers in local gardens. Our favorite free destinations include Blake Garden (open on weekdays) or Gardens at Lake Merritt. UC Berkeley Botanical Garden and Ruth Bancroft Gardens are top ticketed picks. Explore a garden in our neighborhood; refer to our Parents’ Guide to East Bay Gardens >
📅 Save the Date for These Exciting Community Events
- May 6: Free Comic Book Day
- May 6-7: Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley
- May 8-12: Teacher Appreciation Week
- May 13: Rowell Ranch Rodeo Parade in Castro Valley
- May 18-21: Contra Costa County Fair in Antioch
- May 19-21: Greek Festival in Oakland
- May 20: Tinker Fest in Oakland
- May 20-21: Himalayan Fair in Berkeley
- May 21: EBMUD 100th Birthday Party & Community Fair in Oakland
- May 27-29: Bay Area KidFest in Concord
- May 28-29: Art & Wind Festival in San Ramon
Join an Outdoor Nature Program
Free outdoor nature programming is our jam! There are so many options in the (510), especially in East Bay Regional Parks. We love Hikes for Tykes, Family Nature Hour at Crab Cove, and Tilden Tots at Tilden Nature Area. Sulphur Creek Nature Center and Little Farm are amazing free outdoor venues for animal-loving kiddos.
Mother’s Day Celebrations
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14, 2023. There are so many sweet ways to celebrate the mothers in your life all month long: visit the gardens of Filoli, make afternoon tea reservations, or design a craft together. Check out more ways to thank moms for all they do in our East Bay Mother’s Day Guide >
Visit Swimming Pools and Splash Parks
Get your swimsuits ready! Lake Anza, Lake Temescal, and Cull Canyon are open at the beginning of May. Many other East Bay pools and splash parks turn the water on over Memorial Day weekend. The weather will be nice enough to spend time at many of our favorite Bay Area beaches, too.
May 20: Dance with the Stars – canceled
On May 20 at 4 pm, come out and shake your tail feathers along with the cast of Giraffes Can’t Dance at the Blue Moon Ball. All proceeds directly support Bay Area Children’s Theatre’s ongoing mission to ensure that every child in the Bay Area has access to live theatre through their Student Matinee program.
Turn Up the Fun at Free Storytime
We’re thankful to live in an area that offers so many free storytime programs. Lately, we’ve been loving Musical Story Time with the Berkeley Storytime Band at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. This musical dance party happens every second Thursday through July. Definitely add it to your bucket list!
Go Cherry Picking
May is the prime time for picking cherries. U-Pick farms are located throughout the Bay Area, however, you’ll find the bulk of them in Brentwood. Berries should be available for picking until July, and cherries can be plucked off trees through about early June. Fruit picking guide >>
Take Advantage of Parents’ Night Out
Parents Night Out, also called PNO, is evening childcare that’s essentially a drop-off play date. It’s super convenient for parents who want a date night and really fun for kids! Children usually eat pizza, have dessert (gasp!), watch movies, make art, and play with other kids of a similar age. Reserve a space for your child in advance; see all the providers >
📅 Free Museum Days
Plan an outing to one of the world-class museums in the Bay Area. Several offer free admission on select days. Learn more about ways to get into museums for free >
- May 2: Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco
- May 3: GLBT Historical Society Museum in San Francisco
- May 4: BAMPFA in Berkeley and SFMOMA in San Francisco
- May 5: CuriOdyssey in San Mateo and Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco
- May 7: Asian Art Museum in San Francisco
- May 9: San Francisco Botanical Garden
- May 13: Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco
Root for the Home Team at Sporting Events
Take the kids to a local sporting event this spring. My family enjoys watching Cal Baseball games, especially on Tuesday night games where tickets (and hot dogs) are just $2. If you prefer the big league, catch an Oakland Athletics game. Their family ticket packages are hard to beat! Soccer fans will enjoy cheering for Oakland’s soccer club teams – Roots (men’s) and Soul (women’s). The Oakland Spiders Ultimate Disc team hosts games that are also very family-friendly.
📅 Favorite Free Happenings
- Mondays – Baby Music & Movement Storytime in Richmond
- Tuesdays – Tilden Botanic Garden in Berkeley
- Wednesdays – Fish Feedings at Crab Cove in Alameda
- Thursdays – Blake Gardens in Kensington
- Fridays – Lake Temescal in Oakland
- Saturdays – Telescope Viewing at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland
- Sundays – Drop-In Art Lab at BAMPFA in Berkeley
Go to the Movies
Rialto Cinemas in El Cerritto and Berkeley are showing The Neverending Story on May 6 as part of its free family movie matinees program. Tickets are available the Friday before.
Thanks again to Bay Area Children’s Theatre for sponsoring this May events post.