With food trucks, live music, and playgrounds nearby, these farmers markets are fun for the whole family
Planning to explore the San Francisco suburbs this weekend? Don’t skip the farmers’ markets! Not only can you pick up fresh, organic produce but you can get a taste for life in the ‘burbs. As you stroll past local vendor booths, just imagine what your future family outings could look like if you settle in one of these towns.
There are tons of excellent markets in the Bay Area, but here are some of our favorites. Farm-fresh fruit and veggies are just the beginning at many of these, you can also enjoy live music, freshly roasted coffee, and grassy picnic spots.
#1. San Rafael
With four farmers’ markets, there’s no shortage of healthy, organic options in town. Huge year-round markets are offered on Thursday and Sunday mornings near the Marin County Civic Center. About 200 farmers and specialty vendors show up for the Sunday market, so it’s no surprise that it’s the third biggest market in California. In addition to booth after booth of colorful produce, expect live music and food trucks. (local tip: don’t miss the waffle truck — it’s always a big hit with the kids!)
During the summer, a seasonal market is also held in downtown San Rafael. Vendors set up on Thursday nights- which conveniently lines up with the Dine Under the Lights program. Families can easily turn a trip to the market into a night on the town. After strolling past the market booths, order dinner at one of the excellent downtown eateries (Amici’s is perfect if your family is in the mood for pizza) and find a table along the pedestrian-only Fourth Street for some al fresco dining.
Petaluma offers three farmers’ markets complete with live music and grab-and-go food. The year-round East Side Market takes place on Tuesday mornings in Lucchesi Park. Here you’ll find 40+ vendors selling everything from handmade soaps to flowers and baked goods.
From May-November, a Saturday morning market is held in Walnut Park, continuing a local tradition that dates back to 1987. The Petaluma Evening Market is held near downtown on Thursday nights from June-August. Pick up some fresh picnic supplies and take your crew to the nearby waterfront to enjoy a relaxed summer night.
Every Saturday morning, the Danville Farmers Market is held downtown. You can bring home freshly-picked berries, leafy greens, and cage-free eggs. Or, grab treats from local vendors like Brittany Crepes and Zolo Coffee Roasters.
Want to make a day out of it? Hop on your bikes and ride on the Iron Horse Trail to the market. After, order lunch downtown (Domenico’s Delicatessen has some great sandwiches) and bring a picnic to the library’s lawn.
#4. San Ramon
The bustling San Ramon Farmers Market is held in the heart of the town each Saturday morning. Organic, seasonal produce is just the beginning — this market also features live music, chef demos, and food trucks serving some of the Bay Area’s best street eats.
After strolling through the market, take the kids to the Alexander Place courtyard where they can play in the splash pad while you relax with a cup of Philz Coffee. And you won’t want to head home until you’ve tried a scoop from the newly opened Salt & Straw ice cream shop.
#5. Mountain View
More than 80 vendors set up every Sunday morning at the Mountain View Caltrain Station. Pick up seasonal produce from one of California’s first organic farms or grab a loaf of gluten-free bread from the Forest & Flour bakery.
Finished shopping? Hop on Stevens Creek Trail on foot or bike and make your way to Creekside Park for a picnic or to let the kids burn some energy on the playground.
#6. Palo Alto
Palo Alto hosts two year-round farmers markets- one on Sunday mornings on California Avenue and one downtown near University Avenue on Saturday mornings. Visit the California Ave market for mushrooms, artisanal baked goods, and tons of fresh produce. Plus, on the first Sunday of each month, bring your cooking knives to be sharpened while you browse.
The downtown market is also a big draw. Enjoy live music while you pick up local honey from Allied Arts Apiaries or some freshly roasted HighNote Coffee. If you need to grab a few additional pantry staples, there’s a Whole Foods not far from the market.
#7. Los Altos
On Thursday nights from May-September, vendors gather in downtown Los Altos for a lively summer market. Locals head here for dinner or to get a head start on shopping for their weekend cookouts — it’s just minutes from nearby Safeway or Draeger’s Market, making it easy to round out your shopping. Ocean Brew Works is a popular first stop in the market because you can pick up a pint to take on your market stroll.
#8. San Carlos
The farmers market is the place to be on Sunday mornings in San Carlos. It’s in the heart of the Industrial Arts District and is surrounded by some of the town’s best breweries and wineries. If you want to ride to the market, there’s free valet bike parking. You’ll also be treated to the tunes of live local music as you browse the booths.
One final note: if you’re aiming to mix a farmers market trip and a winery visit, check schedules. Many wineries are closed Sundays.
Residents can visit a farmers market every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in Berkeley. The Saturday morning outpost is held downtown and is especially popular with locals. After stocking up on farm-fresh finds, grab lunch downtown. The Butcher’s Son is a great vegan spot if you want to stick to healthy bites. You can also head to Ohlone Park which includes plenty of space for kids (and dogs!) to run and play.
#10. San Jose
San Jose hosts a farmers market on Friday mornings from May-December in the artsy SoFA district. Pick up seasonal eats from the 20+ growers or enjoy a hot lunch from a local vendor.
On warm days, bring the littles to cool off in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez fountains after you wrap up at the market. It’s also close to the Children’s Discovery Museum if you are looking for more to fill up a summer day.
Regional farmers head to Alameda on Tuesday and Saturday mornings all year long. Both markets are held in the heart of West Alameda and are a quick walk or bike ride from almost anywhere on the island.
After, take your pup to the dog run at Washington Park or bring a picnic to the local hotspot Crown Beach.
#12. Los Gatos
Locals can visit the certified farmers market each Saturday morning in downtown Los Gatos. Here you’ll find more than 40 vendors selling everything from Asian vegetables to honey and eggs.
But the market isn’t the only spot for delicious eats in downtown Los Gatos. The neighborhood is packed with favorites like Willow Street Wood-Fired Pizza, Loma Brewing Company, and Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company– which often hosts live music on the weekends.
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