Escapes: Hit the ‘beach’ for one of San Francisco’s biggest street fairs

Chalk art is part of San Francisco’s North Beach Festival, which returns June 13-14.
Chalk art is part of San Francisco’s North Beach Festival, which returns June 13-14. SRES Productions

Every summer, thousands charge the charming streets of San Francisco’s North Beach district for its flagship event. It’s a huge party, with two stages of live music, 125 art and craft vendors and 20 food purveyors. June 13 and 14 mark its 61st year.

North Beach is the city’s Little Italy, full of quaint cafes, pasta joints and older men drinking espressos on the sidewalk. It’s the perfect setting for a street fair. Don’t forget the chalk area – for both kids and serious artists – and the animal blessing ceremonies, which take place at the National Shrine of St. Francis of Assisi at 610 Vallejo St. at 2 p.m. both days. Most of the free festivities are on Grant Avenue and Columbus Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit

Tahoe birding

What: Celebrate International Migratory Bird Day at the Lake Tahoe Bird Festival. Learn all about migration and conservation efforts while taking part in family-friendly outdoor activities. Bird walk, anyone? It’s sponsored by Tahoe Institute for Natural Science.

When: 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. June 13

Where: Taylor Creek Visitor Center, South Lake Tahoe

Cost: Free



What: In honor of mountain town Virginia City’s mining heritage, get ready for Muckfest: Mining, Whiskey & Cigars. Sample more than 20 American whiskeys, grab a cigar and observe how single-jack mining was done back in the 1800s.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. June 13

Where: One C St., Virginia City, Nev.

Cost: $25


Beer festival

What: It seems like it’s always Beer Week somewhere. This week, it’s the Monterey Beer Festival, where nearly 20 breweries will be pouring samples – most from California, including Sacramento’s Track 7 Brewing Co. – along with live music and a beer pong tournament.

When: 12:30-5 p.m. June 13

Where: Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey

Cost: $50 general, $80 VIP, $20 designated driver


Flower party

What: Hundreds of day lilies and other plants are in bloom on the 14-acre Amador Flower Farm. Take a free tram tour, enjoy a picnic and taste a variety of gourmet salsas, sauces, jams and dressings. Daily demonstrations offered on Japanese bonsai trees, day lilies, herb gardens and drought-friendly succulents.

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 13-14

Where: Amador Flower Farm, 22001 Shenandoah School Road, Plymouth

Cost: Free



What: Join the Bay Area’s indie culture community for a weekend of films, television, music, comedy and art. All mediums and all genres will be celebrated with lectures, a HellaShort film festival and Q&A sessions with local artists, writers and filmmakers.

When: 11 a.m.-midnight June 13, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. June 14

Where: The New Parkway Theater, 424 24th St., Oakland

Cost: $25-$30 single day, $50 weekend


Bee staff