Seven simple summer pleasures in Richmond

Seven simple summer pleasures in Richmond
Barbara and Jay Vincent Park, Richmond. (All but one photo by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

When it comes to enjoying the simple pleasures of summer, Richmond offers an abundance of exciting options for anyone up for a little local adventure. The Rich Life has compiled a short list of seven fun ideas to get you started on enjoying our city’s bountiful offerings during the summertime.

Go Fly a Kite

Barbara and Jay Vincent Park

One great way to enjoy an outdoor activity, while also getting in some quality, one-on-one time with nature, is to go kite flying. With 32 miles of glorious shoreline—and bay breezes to boot—Richmond is in a perfectly poised position when it comes to enjoying this thrilling outdoor activity. One of the best spots for kite flying locally is Barbara and Jay Vincent Park, located on Marina Bay Pkwy. at the end of the Peninsula at Richmond’s Marina. Not sure where to set your kite a-flight? Follow the kite boarders setting up on the expansive lawn just past the children’s playground.

Enjoy an Outdoor Movie

City of San Pablo “Movies under the Stars,” San Pablo Community Center. (Photo courtesy of the San Pablo Community Center).

When it comes to summertime’s simple pleasures, what can be better than an outdoor movie? Luckily, the City of San Pablo delivers big in this department throughout the summer with its family-friendly “Movies under the Stars” series. The City invites community members to the San Pablo Community Center, 2450 Road 20 in San Pablo, at 6:30 p.m. on a variety of dates for a pre-party with arts & crafts and activities with the movie theme of the night—and then a movie at dusk. Popcorn and snacks will be available for purchase. Here’s the movie lineup: Fri., July 5: Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse; Fri., July 19: The Incredibles 2; Fri., Aug. 2: Avengers Infinity War; and Fri., Aug. 16: The Lego Movie 2. Remember to bring a blanket! Learn more here.

See the Fireworks

Fourth of July Fireworks viewing from the Craneway Pavilion.

Fireworks are an essential summertime experience, and Independence Day celebrations are the perfect place to enjoy the best of them. Richmond gets so revved up about our country’s birthday, we celebrate it a day early, on July 3! A burgeoning local tradition is to attend the “Annual Independence Eve Celebration” at the Craneway Pavilion. This year marks the 11th incarnation of the event, which is a free, family friendly celebration that not only features fireworks on the bay, but also a concert by the Michael Morgan-conducted Oakland Symphony playing patriotic and other crowd-pleasing tunes. The celebration is slated for Wed., July 3 from 6:30-10 p.m. (fireworks at 9:15 p.m.) at the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond. Note: Yet another location to see the same City of Richmond fireworks July 3 is at the “3rd of July Fireworks & Celebration” from 5-10 p.m. at Marina Bay Park in Richmond.

Eat a Caspar’s ‘Dog’

Caspers Famous Hot Dogs, 2530 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

What summer is complete without a visit to Caspers Famous Hot Dogs in Richmond? A Richmond institution since 1947, the eatery stands out on its little corner across from Richmond’s Senior Center with its bright, orange exterior, mid-century modern décor, built-in cushioned swivel chairs and drop-down circular globe lights. It’s THE go-to spot in Richmond for—as they call them—“dogs” made your way with all the fixings. Succinctly put, Caspers is an experience. Find it at 2530 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond; it’s open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 510.235.6492 or click here for more info.

Dance at Point Richmond Concerts

Point Richmond Music Summer Concert Series.

Now celebrating its 18th year, the Point Richmond Summer Music Festival, hosted by the Point Richmond Music Association (PRMA), is a must-stop for anyone wanting to get their groove on this summer. Situated at the corner of Park Pl. & Washington Ave. in downtown Point Richmond, the beloved summer-long Fest’s free concerts are held on intermittent Fridays throughout the summer months from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Aside from dancing in the streets to a variety of musical artists, it features vendors, local art by The Arts of Point Richmond, face painting for children, nearby restaurants, food trucks and more. The remaining musical lineup this summer includes: Fri., July 12:  Dirty Cello (Blues & Bluegrass) from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., followed by Deep Blue Jam (Americana Roots Rock) from 6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.; Fri., Aug. 9:  Maurice Tani & 77 El Deora (Americana/Country/Folk) from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Pellejo Seco (World, Latin & Cuban) from 6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.; and Fri., Sept. 13:  Matt Jaffe (Rock) from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Extra Large (Funky Fun) from 6:45 p.m. – 7:45 p.m. Learn more here.

Attend the Rosie Rally

Attendees at the annual Rosie Rally dress up as Rosie the Riveter.

If there’s one summertime event that’s quintessentially “Richmond,” it’s got to be the annual “Rosie Rally Home Front Festival.” Set for Sat., Aug., 10, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South, Richmond, the Rosie Rally draws a large crowd of people of all ages and backgrounds dressed up as Rosie the Riveter for the penultimate “girl power” experience of honoring the extraordinary women who worked on the WWII-era home front. The event typically features original WWII Rosies, various speakers, local vendors, costume contests and more for the crowd to enjoy as they show off their Rosie gear. Get the scoop here.

Take the Plunge!
The Richmond Plunge at 1 East Richmond Ave.

What’s summertime without a ton of swimming? Luckily, Richmond has lots of swimming options to explore, both indoors and out. On sunnier days, wade into the shoreline waters along the bay at parks such as Barbara and Jay Vincent Park at Marina Bay or Keller Beach, just off the end of the tunnel on Dornan Dr. in Point Richmond, or dip your toes into Wildcat Creek under a luscious canopy of trees at Alvarado Park on McBryde Ave. in East Richmond Heights. In terms of indoor options, who could forget Richmond’s indoor swimming destinations like The Plunge, a large, historic indoor pool with a vibrant mural and outdoor garden that’s perfect for taking a swim followed up by lunch. Another excellent indoor option is the Richmond Swim Center on Cutting Blvd., just off Kennedy High School’s parking lot. Click the links to check the various schedules before you go!

Do you have a simple summertime pleasure in Richmond that we didn’t mention? Tell us about it in the comments!