Amber grew up in Buffalo before moving to the Bay Area in her 40s. Though she’s been here for more than 35 years, she still can’t get over the winters. That is to say, she can’t get over the fact that there is no winter.
Though we get a few cold days here and there, with temperatures dipping into the 40s at the low end, we have days in the 50s and even 60s from now until March. It’s temperate and pleasant, and we almost never have to shovel. That means that everyone can be outside in the winter. And without the heat, it actually turns out to be ideal for seniors.
Thankfully, the Bay Area recognizes that. There are plenty of winter activities for older adults in the Bay Area, which helps people stay active, meet new people, exercise, explore the cultural offerings of one of America’s great cities, and get plenty of fresh air.
Don’t think winter begins and ends with the holidays. It is a long season filled with possibilities. It’s time for older adults to take advantage of winter activities in the Bay Area and recognize the possibilities of the most wonderful time of the year.
Winter Activities for Seniors Aren’t Just Senior Activities
There’s a decent chance that you looked at the title of this article and assumed you knew what it was about: senior classes and low-stress exercise activities. And all of those are wonderful! We fully support people engaging in activities at whatever level at which they feel comfortable.
Health, in fact, is so important, that we recently told you about the ultimate winter’s health tips for seniors living in the Bay Area. We want to make sure that you stay healthy and active so that you can get the most out of life.
Part of getting the most out of life is finding the unusual, the unexpected, and the exciting in your area. In the Bay Area in the winter, that means exploring San Francisco, Oakland, and everywhere else.
Winter Events for Older Adults
So what does this pleasant winter bring? It brings you to these events:
Oakland Zoo Zoolights (Oakland, now through Jan. 1). With hot cocoa, easy walks, and a beautiful new way to see a world-class zoo, lit up like a holiday fantasy, Oakland Zoo Zoolights is a Bay Area favorite. But there’s something new this year: gondolas. You can soar above the zoo in a lighted gondola and see the Bay Area from a perspective you may never have seen before.
Silicon Valley Auto Show, (San Jose, Jan. 4-7). Love cars, both classic and new? Know someone who always wants to see what’s coming around the curve? People have loved cars for decades, and the Silicon Valley Auto Show is at the forefront of the next generation of cars. Electric, self-driving, robotic—whatever your car girl or guy can imagine, it’s there.
Mavericks at Half Moon Bay, (Half Moon Bay, San Mateo, dates vary). We know a lot of people who have lived in the area their whole life without knowing that the surfing rivals our more famous cousins in Southern California. And nowhere is better than Half Moon Bay in San Mateo, especially in the winter months, when the famous Maverick waves come in. This isn’t a time for amateur or beginner surfers (and it is also dangerous to swim), but we encourage you to go check out some of the most amazing surfers in the world riding the waves.
Napa Truffle Festival, (Napa, Jan. 12-15). Mouth-melting. Decadent. Natural. Beautiful. There are many words to describe truffles, and the truffles in Napa are among the world’s finest. This four-day festival teaches you everything you need to know about truffles, with some of the best food artisans in the area preparing incredible dishes. (And while you’re there, check out Robert Mondavi’s work—he’s an inspiration for older adults).
Bringing the Noise for Martin Luther King Jr., (San Francisco, Jan. 15). A moving, rousing, energetic, and lively tribute to one of the great heroes in American History, this event combines songs and speeches that will have your heart soaring and your feet stomping.
Chinese Flower Fair, (San Francisco, Feb. 10-11). It’s the Year of the Dog, and before the parade, the Flower Market has a fair selling beautiful flowers, oranges, tangerines, and more. Take part in one of the cultures that makes San Francisco the diverse, vibrant city it is.
Mardi Gras, San Francisco Style, (San Francisco, end of February, date undetermined). You know what else makes this area? Blues. And Mardi Gras San Francisco on Fillmore is one of the largest blues gatherings of the year. Wild costumes, outrageous spirits, and a pervasive thrum of fun, don’t miss the beginning of Lent, as only San Francisco can do it.
Robert Rauschenberg Exhibition, (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, now through March 25) One of the more unusual and distinctive artists of the century, Rauschenberg toyed with form and material, creating an amalgamation of our pop culture suffused with the waste it leaves behind. This retrospective, encompassing more than 150 of his works, demonstrates how he “redefined what art could be for the generations of artists who followed.”
See the Sea Lions (all winter). You can see a handful of sea lions year round, but winter is when they really swarm, reminding us that for all the enormity of the city and the triumph of our creations, we’re still just an ocean area, buffeted by waves and rules by the timelessness of the sea. The lions come by Pier 39 in the winter, basking and prancing, and seeing their endless cycles play out again is a beautiful way to spend a winter’s day.
Enjoying the Winter Season
Aging doesn’t mean closing off avenues of excitement and adventure. It can mean opening up new ones. It can mean trying things you never have before. It can mean revisiting old haunts, and seeing them with new eyes, with the weight of experience, with the glimmer of age.
That can be a beautiful thing. You can remember the zoo lights from years past or see how the seals still have the same barking laugh you remember gleefully interrupting your first date. There is permanence and change in a city, much like the rolling tide of the seasons, much like the patterns of a life.
So check out winter activities for older adults in the Bay Area. Remember that, in our area, every season is a chance for growth.
At Institute on Aging, we work to help older adults age at home by providing them with resources for home care, social programs, and more. Contact us today to learn more.