31 Things To Do in the Bay Area this January

2021 is here! Sure, there are still restrictions in place, but you can still get up, get out and take part in these fun January events happening around Bay Area.

January 1: Free Admission Day at San Francisco Botanical Garden


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The San Francisco Botanical Garden is one of the most diverse gardens in the world. A unique urban oasis, the garden is a living museum within Golden Gate Park, offering 55 acres of both landscaped gardens and open spaces, and showcasing over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. One of the most beautiful spots is the Japanese-design inspired “Moon Viewing Garden,” located in the Mild-Temperate Climate section in the Northwest portion of the gardens. The garden is always free for San Francisco residents, but visitors can also enjoy this treasure for free on the second Tuesday of every month, plus it’s free on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Early bird? Come by any day and get in for free from 7:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. 

January 2: Marin Country Mart Farmers’ Market


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Enjoy the best local and organic produce, flowers, pastured meats, seafood, organic cheeses, yogurt and milk, breads, baked goods, pasta, confections, olive oil, and brunch and lunch offerings. Kids can take a pony ride and visit the petting zoo (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.), try out some arts and crafts (9 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and listen to music (9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.)

January 3: Outer Sunset Farmers Market & Mercantile


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Come check out over 50 farmers, ranchers, producers, food artisans, pop-up eateries, merchants, makers, artists, organizations, children’s activities, outdoor yoga, occasional workshops and live music from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a closed-to-traffic 37th Avenue between Ortega and Quintara. 

January 4: Christmas at Grace Cathedral


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Celebrate the twenty-five days of Christmas with Grace Cathedral! From December 12 through Twelfth Night (January 5) there will be gatherings online to share joyful music in the magnificent space. Three holiday offerings will bring sparkle to the season. Christmas at Grace Cathedral has been a cherished tradition for many — and the tradition is being kept alive this year.

January 5: Free Day: Conservatory of Flowers


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One of the oldest buildings in Golden Gate Park is the Conservatory of Flowers on JFK Drive, which offers five galleries of aquatic plants, lowland and highland tropic specimens, potted plants and special exhibits. Enjoy a free day on the first Tuesday of the month.

January 6: Free Admission Hour to the Japanese Tea Garden


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The Tea Garden, the oldest public Japanese garden in the U.S., closed March 17 due to the shelter in place order. To re-open safely, the Tea Garden will limit guests to 100 and set up one-way pathways to avoid congestion. Free Hour: Monday, Wednesday and Friday only, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. 

January 7: Exploratorium After Dark Online: Fungi


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Foraging for fungi? Discover some fun facts about the beautiful, diverse, and curious fungi kingdom, including mushrooms, yeasts, and molds. Fungi not only play a vital role in our ecosystem by feeding on organic matter; they’ve also fed our species throughout time and over many cultures.

January 8: Mill Valley Farmers Market

Purchase from produce from local farmers every Friday at this year round Mill Valley Farmers Market in the CVS parking lot.

January 9: “Entwined” at Golden Gate Park


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“Entwined,” by San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken, will be up for viewing in Peacock Meadow to honor Golden Gate Park’s 150th Anniversary. The installation will run from Dec. 10 through Feb. 29 with a possible extension to June 1. Peacock Meadow sits in the park’s east end between McLaren Lodge and the Conservatory of Flowers and across from the new pop-up Welcome Center on JFK Drive.

January 10: A Red Carol


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A Red Carol will star SF Mime Troupe regulars, veterans of the Tales of the Resistance series and special new guest artists. Adding to the SFMT’s growing podcast library, A Red Carol will be broadcasting on select public radio stations and available online through January 17, 2021. Presented FREE and available to all. With the limited release of A Red Carol, the SF Mime Troupe hopes it will become an annual alternative holiday tradition for the workers of the world.

January 11: Become The Monuments That Cannot Fall


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Organized by guest curator Astria Suparak with USF’s MA in Museum Studies Curatorial Practicum class, Become The Monuments That Cannot Fall is a two-part hybrid exhibition featuring the art collective Related Tactics. Beginning Nov. 19, 2020, The future now, a site-responsive public art project will be on view in storefronts along the Third Street corridor in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood through February 14, 2021.

January 12: Women’s Online Business Networking

2020 will go down in the books as one of the most tumultuous years in history. Working remotely is our new “norm”, and now more than ever the Feng Shui of your space is crucial. Understanding how to organize your environment and what astrological opportunities (and pitfalls) you will encounter in 2021 (year of the Metal Ox), will be extremely valuable. In this informative talk, Kathleen will give a brief overview of the 12 Animals of the Chinese Zodiac, as well as share a peek into her annual Feng Shui compass dial as we enter this new year. NEWofMarin meets once a month for dinner and networking. Due to the global pandemic, they are currently meeting via Zoom until further notice.

January 13: Words to Live By: Youth Poets on Climate Change

Youth activist Harita Kalvai invites you to join a youth-led climate change poetry event on behalf of The Marin Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby and The School of Environmental Leadership. This inspiring Zoom event will feature live spoken word performances by local youth poets, as well as presentations on a variety of climate change topics. This event is co-hosted by Green Change, Art Works for Change, Marin Poetry Center, and the Mill Valley Library, with promotional support from Marin County Free Library, San Rafael Public Library, and Novato Library.

January 14: Farmers Market at Marin Civic Center (Every Thursday)


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The Thursday Marin Farmers Market is known as the local chef’s market welcoming premier chefs from around the Bay Area seeking out the freshest ingredients of the season. Centrally located at the Civic Center in San Rafael, the Thursday farmers market offers a mid-week shopping opportunity. The Thursday market is also one of the most anticipated lunch destinations of the week.

January 15: Virtual Event: George Saunders and Tobias Wolff


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Part hilarious prophet, part tender interpreter of the human condition, Booker Prize winner George Saunders (Lincoln in the Bardo) has been called “the only writer who predicted 2020.” His tales, which generally are “not like anything anyone has written before” (The Atlantic), mix razor-sharp absurdism with a huge heart. They’re routinely celebrated with headlines like “George Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year” (that was the New York Times on Tenth of December in 2013) or “a luminous feat of generosity and humanism” (Colson Whitehead on Lincoln in the Bardo in 2016). Or, as Khaled Hosseini put it, “Saunders makes you feel like you’re reading fiction for the first time.”

January 16: Laser Cut Workshop: Wall Art & Decor


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This is an online workshop. Follow along with our instructor to design your own customized art. Completed designs can be submitted and we’ll laser engrave them for you to pick up. We do not ship pieces. Materials needed: computer & internet access. Pre-Req: We’ll be designing using Gravit.io, an online cloud-based vector software. No download required; however, you’ll need to create a free account to use it. Upon registration, you’ll be emailed links to two video tutorials we highly suggest you watch before the class.

January 17: Sunday Farmers Market at Marin Civic Center (Every Sunday)


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Come join us, every Sunday, rain or shine, and see why the Sunday Civic Center market is one of the largest local gatherings in the state. The Sunday Marin Farmers Market first opened in 1987, and has grown to become the third largest farmers market in California. Despite gaining recognition throughout the country, the Sunday Civic Center market still maintains its Marin community roots. The majority of patrons are local eaters who visit the market religiously each week to take home the freshest foods of the season. The New York Times listed the Sunday Market as one of the top places to visit in Marin. 

January 18: Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!


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Oakland is celebrating MLK Day in 2021 as 40 Days of Service from January 15 to February 28, 2021.

January 19: Drawdown: Marin Equity Task Force Monthly Meeting

Virtual meeting info provided via email to meeting invitees. If interested in attending, please contact Alex Porteshawver.

January 20: Corte Madera Farmers Market (Every Wednesday)


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The Corte Madera Farmers Market is held every Wednesday, noon to 5 p.m., year-round at The Town Center in Corte Madera, off Highway 101 at Tamalpais. Organic and specialty farmers, food purveyors, bakers and more showcase their bounty along the Mediterranean style courtyard.

January 21: Climate Action Team Online Workshop (Thursday Series)

Experience Resilient Neighborhoods’ unique climate action program along with great people who also care about a healthy planet. Have fun calculating your carbon footprint and taking steps to reduce it. Receive support and access to local resources to personalize your climate action plan and get your household prepared for emergencies, wildfires, and power outages. You will achieve measurable results in five meetings, and it’s fun! More than 1,300 Marin residents have already reduced more than seven million pounds of CO2 pollution through Resilient Neighborhoods. You could be next! All you need to participate is access to your utility bills and a computer.

January 22: Online Literature with Rebecca Fishow and Emily Schultz


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Rebecca Fishow discusses her latest collection, The Trouble with Language, with Emily Schultz on Zoom. Weaving together fabulist invention and gritty realism, Rebecca Fishow’s debut collection, The Trouble with Language, unearths stories of men and women whose traumatic experiences make way for dazzlingly cerebral lives. A young man finds a severed head at his door years after his mother takes her own life. A married couple initiates a bloody jailbreak. A young woman poses nude for strangers in attempts to pay for mental health treatment, while another finds herself rapidly shrinking in a hotel room. No two of these surprising and playful fictions are alike, and each encourages us to peek behind life’s curtains to discover more bizarre, enchanting, and joyful truths. 

January 23: Limitless with Nicolai Friedrich


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Get ready to witness a virtual, magical mentalist spectacle for the entire family. From mystery kits to predictions this will be a roller coaster ride for the audience as Nicolai will perform and engage his audience right from the get go! Nicolai has performed over 3,000 shows all over the world in Germany, USA, Dubai, India, and Hong Kong. To humor his fans, he has unveiled the winning team of the World Cup Soccer in advance and even created illusions for renowned personalities like David Copperfield.

January 24: Ives Collective

The Ives Collective presents powerful live music experiences through fresh and informed interpretations of established masterworks and under-appreciated gems. With core members and Artistic Co-Directors Susan Freier and Stephen Harrison, the Collective wants to share their joy in bringing together old friends and new in a variety of combinations to perform the widest possible spectrum of chamber music.

January 25: Tackle Home Organizing For Real This Year


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As we leave 2020 in the dust, it’s time to make note of the things we want to change. The things we can control. One of these is, of course, our clutter. Wherever your home falls on the continuum — whether it feels like a total disaster all the time or it could just use some Covid-related maintenance — there are actionable steps that will help you cultivate a space that brings you peace, calm and joy. Three professional organizers have shared their insights so that you can get started on your “get organized” goal. Shira Gill of Shira Gill Home, Holly Blakey of Breathing Room Organization, and Cary Fortin, co-founder of New Minimalism, all weigh in on common decluttering myths, and give their best tips and advice for tackling projects on your own.

January 26: Land & People: A Conversation w/ Dolores Huerta & Luis Valdez


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Join Peninsula Open Space Trust and our partners the Dolores Huerta Foundation, Puente and Latino Outdoors in welcoming American civil rights leader and United Farmworkers cofounder Dolores Huerta for a conversation with founder of El Teatro Campesino and renowned American playwright Luis Valdez. In this special talk, Dolores and Luis will reflect on their long history in the Santa Clara Valley, their work in the struggles for social and environmental justice, and perspectives on relationships between history, land and people in California. The conversation will be moderated by Jose Gonzalez, Founder of Latino Outdoors

January 27: Conversations About Landscape

Please join poet Tess Taylor and photographer Lewis Watts in considering ways our contemporary landscape holds traces of the past and glimmers of the future. Through a lens, or a poem, Tess and Lewis offer perspectives on the complexities of cultural and ecological change. Taylor will read excerpts from her two new books, Last West, For Dorothea Lange and Rift Zone. Watts will present images from his 30 years of observations of African American life and transformation in California.

January 28: Exploratorium After Dark Online: House Plants


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The popularity of houseplants has grown steadily since shelter-in-place began. Learn more about the science of tending your own, the wide diversity and origin of indoor greenery, and meet some fellow fans of photosynthesizers.

January 29: Ensemble 1828

Ensemble 1828 — violinist Nicole Oswald, cellist Isaac Pastor-Chermak, and pianist Alison Lee — debuted in June 2019 with a seven-concert tour of Northern California cities, performing an all-Schubert program to packed houses and critical acclaim. Honoring Schubert’s last and most productive year with their name, Ensemble 1828’s debut was praised for its “thoroughly engaging energy” and “rhetorical uniqueness.” In March 2020, the trio was back on tour in the Bay Area celebrating Beethoven’s 250th birthday with performances of his Archduke trio, squeezing in a weekend of concerts only hours before the Covid-19 Shelter-in-Place order. With live performances canceled for the foreseeable future, Ensemble 1828 brought their June 2020 program to a national audience with two live-stream concerts, as well as a recording date at 25th Street Recording Studios in Oakland. The trio is excited to announce upcoming dates in 2021, bringing an all-French program to venues including Old First Concerts in San Francisco, Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, and online broadcasts available worldwide.

January 30: Coach, Author and Advocate Barbara Waxman on Being Your Best Self in 2021


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On January 30th, 2021, Barbara Waxman will be conducting a Covid-style TEDx talk at Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School. In other words, no crowds, besides the camera crew, and the expected thousands of people at home. She will be debunking the myth of the midlife crisis. Much like the widely held belief, that MSG causes headaches and bloating, the concept of the midlife crisis, was invented by a white male psychoanalyst, who happened to hit a nerve at time when our culture was beginning to seriously idealize youth. Tune into her talk to learn more about why this idea flourished — and has been used as an excuse for many a Porsche purchase — or more importantly if you are feeling a bit of anxiety yourself around the question, “what now?

January 30-31: Festpocalypse! (48 hour online rental)


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SF Sketchfest is pleased to announce Festpocalypse!, the virtual comedy event of the year. Join us for an epic smorgasbord of all-star SF Sketchfest alumni coming together for one live-streamed show to celebrate 20 years of the festival. With comedy sketches, improvised scenes, game shows, ridiculous debates, musical performances and chats with entertainment icons, the show will feature all new performances and appearances from an ever-growing roster of some of the most beloved names in comedy, film and television.