Cheap things to do in the Bay Area this winter

When January hits, we are often tired and broke. We can help! Sometimes, a refreshing getaway doesn’t have to be far away or expensive. The Bay Area in winter is beautiful; the hills are green, the tourists are scarce, and you’ll get a bigger bang for your buck than during other times of the year. Here are a few ideas for welcoming the New Year.

Visit a Museum

January is one of the wettest months of the calendar year, which makes it one of the best times of the year to check out the Bay Area’s world-class museums.

Close to home; be sure to visit the Benicia Historical Museum exhibit, Birth of Benicia, and Early California History. Open Wed – Sunday 1-4pm

Oakland Museum of California is featuring Angela Davis-Seize the Time, through June 11, 2023.

San Francisco museums’ exhibits in January include Joan Brown Retrospective at SFMOMA; Ramses the Great at the de Young Museum; Bugs! at the California Academy of Sciences and Glow: Discover the Art of Light at Exploratorium.

The Asian Art Museum is open until 8pm on Thursdays and general admission is just $10 (that’s half-off). Plus Special exhibitions are now included with general admission tickets.

Free days! The de Young offers free admission on the first Tuesday of every month; SFMOMA periodically hosts free family days. Check each institution’s website for details.

Ramses exhibit death mask winter 2022

Shop a Farmers Market

Farmers markets in January are laughable in most parts of the country – but we have the benefit of the Bay Area’s mild weather.  What might you find at a Bay Area farmers market in January? Citrus tops the list, but you’ll also find other fresh produce and an abundance of seafood. The Downtown Berkeley, Martinez, Old Oakland and Fort Mason farmers markets are all worth a visit.

Fresh vegetables from winter farmers market

Take a Hike!

Nature Hike at King Swett Ranches: Come explore the hills between Fairfield, Benicia, and Vallejo. Solano Land Trust docents will guide you through this area, known as the King-Swett Ranches. Docents will share insights about the birds and other wildlife that call this area home, and give you a great workout! January 7, 2023, 9am-1pm. Registration is required.

Solano Land Trust and Solano County Parks present the first Lynch Canyon bird of prey hike of the winter migration season on January 8, 2023, 10am-2pm. Lynch Canyon is home to golden eagles and hawks. It is also a magnet for migrating and over-wintering birds of prey.  Some feathered visitors come from as far away as the Arctic Circle. This hike will be between 4-6 miles. The guided hike is $10 per person. Check website for more info.

winter at King Swett