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Best Upcoming Events In Bay Area To Bring The Family This Spring

Janelle Monae headlines Stern Grove (credit: Mychal Watts/Getty Images)

The Bay Area is uniquely gifted to host a variety of spring events that every family member will enjoy. With no shortage of springtime events, from cultural icons, like Japantown's Annual Cherry Blossom Festival and Dutch King's Day, to kid-focused parades and top named free concerts at Stern Grove, the season's events have a lot to offer.

49th Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
San Francisco Japantown
between Post and Buchanan St.
San Francisco, CA 94115
Dates: April 9 -10, April 16 – 17, 2016, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Come join in the always-fun celebration that showcases the rich traditional heritage of Japanese and Japanese-American culture. This event makes for a perfect family friendly outing, with truly something for everyone over two weekends. Each day, there will be cultural performances, live bands, musical performances, martial arts, food booths, community informational kiosks and special events such as the annual Cherry Blossom Queen program. Plus the Grand Parade will occur on Sunday April 19, beginning at San Francisco City Hall and ending in Japantown.

Dutch "King's Day" Windmill Festival
Murphy Windmill, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94121
Date: April 23, 2016, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

King's Day is the biggest national celebration in the Netherlands and will return once again to San Francisco for a Dutch King's Day San Francisco celebration day filled with music, food, Heineken beer (of course!) and a variety of fun activities just right for a family day, plus food is available for purchase. The event celebrates not just King Willem-Alexander's birthday, but also Dutch culture and the nation's way of life. Previously, festival visitors got the rare chance to see the Murphy Windmill in action, but there is no confirmation yet that the windmill will be operating in 2016.

94th Annual May Fete Parade
Downtown Palo Alto
University Ave.
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Date: May 7, 2016, 10 a.m.

Palo Alto's May Fete Parade has been a long time tradition, giving local children a chance to join in a parade in a number of categories, such as kids with pets, kids with flags, kids with wheels and more. This year's parade theme is "Healthy Lifestyles -- Happy Healthy Habits," with a variety of children's activities, kid-centered floats, center stage performances featuring local groups, picnic areas and lots of yummy food for purchase! The Museum of American Heritage, across from the park, will host its Annual Vintage Vehicle and Family Festival with a lot of activities from 9:30 a.m.- 2 p.m. on the same day

Exploratorium Free Day
Exploratorium, Pier 15
San Francisco, CA 941
Date: May 8, 2016, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

The Exploratorium is more than a science museum; it is well known throughout the Bay Area as a premier family friendly day spot, with a ton of educational activities covering different topics, including the arts, astronomy, earth, ocean and atmosphere, engineering, food & cooking, anatomy, motion & matter, optical illusions, sound, sport science and so much more. Visit the website to view everything the Exploratorium offers.

Stern Grove Festival
Sunday Concerts
2750 19th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 252-6252
Dates: June 19 – August 21, 2 p.m.

Summer 2016 will be the 79th season of admission-free concerts at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. This well-loved venue has been host to a huge variety of musical performances in varied genres, highlighting excellent artists in the Grove's beautiful setting. The setting's natural acoustics have made the Stern Grove Festival a premier spot for music, dance and theater performances. Locals, friends and families from around the Bay Area enjoy the event annually and look forward to the exciting array of talent that performs. A complete festival program with artist lineups and performance dates will be available May 1 on the festival website.

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She writes on adult education, art and culture, business, and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a part of the Bay Area independent film community. Her work can be found at


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