Escapes: Oroville, San Francisco, Kenwood and more


Volcanic hills alive with wildflowers

Take note, nature lovers. Guided hikes through lovely vistas with wildflowers and vernal pools are on the horizon, and they’re free.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering tours of the North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve every Saturday in March and April.

The site is home to more than 100 plant species on rolling, volcanic hills. Wildflowers should start blooming toward the end of the month, and the season will peak in April.

Two tours will be offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. They are expected to last about two hours and cover 2.5 miles. Each tour can take only 25 people; advance registration is required. Call the department at (916) 358-2869 or email interpretiveservices@ for more information, or register directly at


Russian Festival

What: Three-day festival includes traditional food, music, dance, art, and a vodka tasting.

When: 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Friday, noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 23

Where: Russian Center of San Francisco, 2460 Sutter St., San Francisco

Cost: $10 adults, $6 seniors and students, free children 12 and under

Information: (415) 921-7631;


Sun and stars

What: Come to the observatory in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park for two sky-gazing events. In the afternoon, solar telescopes allow you to safely view the sun. At dusk, three telescopes will be used in a star presentation.

When: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6 p.m.-midnight Saturday

Where: Robert Ferguson Observatory, 2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood

Cost: Free for daytime viewing, $3 for nighttime viewing



Clam chowder festival

What: Chefs from up and down the West Coast will descend on the boardwalk for the 33rd annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off and Festival. Observers can purchase tasting kits to sample five chowders.

When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St., Santa Cruz

Cost: Free, $9 for tasting

Information: clamchowder


Chinese New Year

What: San Jose is still celebrating Chinese New Year. The city’s upscale, outdoor shopping complex will be buzzing all afternoon; martial arts performances and lion dances are among activities.

When: 1-4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Santana Row, San Jose

Cost: Free



Networking for artists

What: If you’re a creative professional, you’re invited to a new networking event: Mixed Media Mixer. On the last Sunday of every month, artists across many platforms gather with the intent to collaborate.

When: 3-8 p.m. next Sunday

Where: Firehouse Arts Collective, 3192 Adeline St., Berkeley

Cost: Free

Information: MixedMediaMixer

— Bee staff