Location: Solano Ave, stretching from The Alameda to San Pablo, Berkeley to Albany
Hours: 10a.m. - 6p.m. The second Sunday of September
Description: The second Sundays of September are reserved for the Solano Stroll in our family! I have been going to this event for over 17 years, without missing a single one. Yes my mom has always lived within walking distance of the Stroll which makes it easier to get to but that's not just it- it is a really fun event for the whole family! I went to it as a child and now I take my daughters to it. The entire span of Solano Avenue is closed down from the very top in Berkeley starting at the Alameda stretching down through Albany's San Pablo. It is over a mile of food, kids activities, crafts, music, vendors, and informational booths. Every step you take there is something new and interesting to look at. It is my favorite day out of the year to be glutinous and not feel bad about it! There is literally every type of food you can dream of- not only are there food vendors on the street but most of the restaurants on Solano (which there are a lot of) have their own stands going on too. This year between all three of us we ate crab french fries, corn dog, street tacos, pad thai with veggie rolls, Indian food with naan and samosas, sweet potato pie, agua frescas, and a homemade popsicle (strawberry lemonade, mmm!). If we had this big of an assortment that just the three of us could eat, imagine what you can find there! There are plenty of activities for kids to get in to from big slides, to face painting, to Ferris wheel rides, and big rocking horses. This year they had something new- giant bubbles for the children to strap in to and go around running in to each other. It was all fun and games until our daughter got ganged up on by some older kids and knocked over- I suggest it is not for 6 year old's and under (like our daughter). There are lots of clothes, art, toys, sunglasses, and hat stands. Also my personal favorite- a chance to find unique and beautiful jewelry! For me earrings everywhere is what always gets me!
Highlights: Ever since my husband has been joining me on the stroll, we found a stand that sells crab french fries- and every year that is our first stop on the list. Crab french fries are an amazing combination of crispy fires, mystery sauce, sprinkled with crab meat on the top. We used to split the serving- now we just be honest about the situation and each get our own! While walking up and down Solano you are walking off some of the calories you consumed- you will at least walk two miles. It is an enjoyable event for both children and adults. You can feed your face while watching your child have fun on rides- so everyone wins!
Tips: Parking is crowded because you have to park in residential neighborhoods, but the honest truth is that even if you park a few blocks over from Solano- you are never really that far away from the stroll, you're going to be walking either way you slice it! Needless to say wear comfortable shoes! Also they are offering a free shuttle if you take Bart there and the bus is running down Marin which is one block over and parallel to Solano Ave.