From classic cars to Greek food to indie rock, there's always a reason to celebrate in the Bay Area. Whether you want to spend $100 bucks or no bucks, you'll have no shortage of excuses to socialize, sweat, or spectate.
1st Wednesdays Street Parties Monthly themed street parties in downtown Pleasanton, featuring live music, vendors, food, and more. First Wednesday of every month, May through September. 6-9 p.m., free. Main Street, Pleasanton.
Oakland Art Murmur Monthly art walk in Oakland. First Fridays of every month. 6-10 p.m., free. At various galleries along Telegraph Avenue between 19th and 48th streets. OaklandArtMurmur.com
Walking Tours of the "Gourmet Ghetto" Go behind the scenes with "Epicurean Concierge" Lisa Rogivin at various restaurants and food shops in North Berkeley, plus conversations with chefs and food purveyors, and tastings and samples. Every Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:15 p.m., $75. Meets near Shattuck Avenue. IntheKitchenwithLisa.com
Chinese New Year Parade A San Francisco tradition since just after the Gold Rush. Typically held in late-January, early-February, Chinatown, San Francisco. ChineseParade.com
Fuck Valentine's Day Show With comedians, films, sex-toy giveaways, stories, contests, and more. Hosted by Jamie DeWolf. Held in February. The Oakland Metro Operahouse, 630 3rd St., Oakland. TourettesWithoutRegrets.com
Lunar New Year Parade and performances. Albany Twin Theater, Albany. Typically held in late-January, early-February. SolanoAvenueAssn.org
Noise Pop The biggest independent music festival of the year brings together the hottest noisemakers for anticipated reunions and rarely seen bills, performed in intimate environments. The festival seems to keep expanding with each year, and now includes a film festival, comedy acts, art, and a crafts fair. February 22-27. Various venues. NoisePop.com
SF Bluegrass & Old Time Festival Typically held in February. Various venues. SFBluegrass.org
Strawberry Hill 5K This conveniently located race starts and finishes at Kennedy Drive and Transverse in Golden Gate Park. Typically held in February, 9 a.m., $3-$5. Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.
Oakland Running Festival Full and half-marathon, 5K, kids' fun run, and four-person relay race, spread out over two days. Mar. 26-27. OaklandMarathon.com
RPM Challenge Listening Party During the month of February, the Express challenges Bay Area musicians to create a new album of work. At the listening party, we play one track from every album completed. The event is broadcasted live. Attendees include the musicians, music industry professionals, and the general public. Saturday, Mar. 26, free. Location TBA. RPMChallenge.com
San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival The annual late-winter/early-spring event has grown into a ten-day feast with two important main courses: films from the old country and films by Asian Americans. Because it comes early in the calendar year, the festival often steals thunder from other fests with its adventurous selections. Mar. 11-21. Various venues. CAAMedia.org
White Elephant Sale Biggest rummage sale in Northern California, with proceeds benefitting the Oakland Museum of California. Mar. 5-6, free. 333 Lancaster St., Oakland, WhiteElephantSale.org
Cal Day Campus open house, with lectures, lab tours, free admission to university museums, music and dance performances, and more. Apr. 16, free. UC Berkeley campus, Berkeley.
Downtown Clean Up Day Apr. 17. Details TBA. Historic Downtown Martinez, MainStreetMartinez.org
Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt Plastic eggs are scattered throughout the park and gatherers are divided into age groups, with prizes to those who gather the most eggs. Sun., Apr. 24, 9 a.m., free. Mountain Village Park, Oakland. MontclairVillage.com
The San Francisco International Film Festival The oldest film fest in the Western Hemisphere is also one of the world's most interesting, because it plays to the Bay Area's film-loving audiences instead of to industry types. Everything under the sun. Filmmakers on parade. Two weeks of movies you'll probably never see anywhere else. Apr. 21-May 5. Various venues. SFFS.org
Alcatraz Challenge Swim 1.5-mile swim begins at Alcatraz and ends at the East Beach of Crissy Field located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Presidio Park. May 22. TriCalifornia.com.
Carnaval San Francisco Parade and street fair celebrating Latin American and Caribbean cultures, with a mobile basketball playground, Niñolandia for kids, food, non-stop music, drumming, dancing, a crowning of the King and Queen, and work by local artists. This year's theme is "Live Your Fantasy." CarnavalSF.com. May 29. Harrison St., bet. 16th and 24th sts., San Francisco.
Himalayan Fair Berkeley's "Little Lhasa" comes alive at the popular annual event, but the "great mountain cultures" of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bhutan also are represented, with a full day's worth of elaborately costumed traditional dance and music performers. And don't forget the spicy, charcoal-grilled food. May 14, 10 a.m.-7 p.m., May 15, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, HimalayanFair.net
Bay to Breakers This year is the centennial iteration of the annual 12K race. May 15. Starts at Howard St. at Beale St., San Francisco, BaytoBreakers.com
JAMfest Youth Concert Local youths show off their musical talent. May 27, 7-8:30 p.m. Lions Wayside Park (First and Neal sts.), Pleasanton. PleasantonDowntown.net/events.php
Jazz on Fourth With food, drink, and other merchants lining Fourth Street, and two stages are filled with homegrown talent, culminating in the finale's big-band pyrotechnics of award-winning, globetrotting Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble. Typically held in May, free, Fourth Street, Berkeley. FourthStreet.com
KBLX Stone Soul Concert With live performances. Typically held in May. Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord, 2000 Kirker Pass Rd., Concord, 925-685-8497.