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The Fun Things to Do in Vallejo, CA

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This article about fun things to do in Vallejo was sponsored by The San Francisco Bay Ferry – The Best Way Back

Fun Things to do in Vallejo, California

We took a day trip to Vallejo from San Francisco to check out all the fun places to eat, drink, and meet people. I had been to Vallejo before to partake in the world’s best Pirate Festival (where there are sword & cannon fights, thousands of costumed pirates, and even a tank full of mermaids).  I’d also been to Vallejo to ride big roller coasters at Six Flags, but I’d never been to hang out downtown and explore, there’s a lot more to see than you may know.

There is a budding artists community in Vallejo, (lot’s of murals and art installations)  a nice, chill, waterfront promenade, a locally famous farmers market, definitely some good eats, and great little watering holes all along the way.   We did all the research for you!  Below is your new day trip itinerary in ‘V-Town’, CA.

1. The SF Bay Ferry Ride

Fun Things to Do in Vallejo riding the SF Bay Ferry

Broke-Ass Stuart, Meaghan Mitchell & Alex Mak take the Ferry from San Francisco. Photography by @hewittvisuals

The best part about going to Vallejo (or anywhere on the Bay) is the ferry ride. The views are world-class, the boat moves at a comfortable +30 knots, and the ships run on time, like clockwork. You won’t get better views of Alcatraz, Angel and East Brothers Islands than on the SF Bay Ferry. Not to mention the SF and Oakland Skylines, you get new views and discover things you never noticed before while your’re cruising on the water.

Half the reason I ride my bike to Sausilito, or checkout the Richmond Ferry Fest (this June 11th), or spend the day at Spirits Alley on Alameda Island, is because taking the ferry there and back is the easiest thing in the world, and makes every excursion feel like, well, and excursion.

Photography by @hewittvisuals

If you’re tired of worrying about gas prices, traffic, bridge tolls, and parking, then the ferry solves literally all those problems. They even have a full bar on their boats, with good local beers and wines, and they’ll make you a cocktail too.  It’s the best way to daytrip in the Bay, there’s no competition.

All SF Bay Ferry Schedules Here

2. Eat at Provisions Downtown

Photography by @hewittvisuals

If you want a sit-down spot with good grub and drinks, then Provisions Downtown Vallejo is definitely the spot. They have fun, inventive things to try from Chef Nicole Hodge, things like,”FANCY BITCH FRIES” with truffle, parmesan, local caviar, & sour cream.  Or the local favorite “Buttermilk Fried Chicken N’ Waffle” too. They’ve got great beers on draft, and lots of good local wines too. We ordered a bunch of things on the menu, and we literally liked all of it.

Fun Things to Do in Vallejo eat at Provisions

VALLEJO, CA, 94590,

3. Bask on The Capitol Stairs Mosaic

Fun Things to Do in Vallejo the Capital Street Stairs Mosaic

Photography by @hewittvisuals

This gorgeous mosaic staircase in Valljo might remind you of the mosaic stairs in San Francisco’s Sunset District…and that’s because artists Aileen Barr and Collette Crutcher created both sets. If you’re curious about the artists and their work, our East Bay Editor Katy Atchison interviewed Barr about the 20 different public art installations they’ve done around the Bay.

The individual tiles all tell a story about the history of Vallejo going back to before World War II.  To read all about it check out this article Capitol Stairs Mosaic article. The top OF mosaic stairs leads you to Vallejo’s famed Heritage District where there are many nice Victorian homes.

Capitol Stairs Mosaic
602 Capitol St, Vallejo

4. Drink and Sing at Townhouse

Townhouse Cocktail Lounge.  Photography by @hewittvisuals

A great little gay bar in downtown Vallejo where they have drag nights, sing-alongs, live music, sports watchin’ and even a drag queen rap cypher from time to time. (it is Vallejo after all).  The owner and bartender is a gentleman and the vibe is super friendly.

Photography by @hewittvisuals

If you’ve got some pipes, it’s worth checking out their events calendar, there are lots of good waterholes in Vallejo.

TownHouse Cocktail Lounge
401 Georgia St, Vallejo, CA 94590.

5. Mare Island Brewing

Fun Things to Do in Vallejo Mare Island Brewing

Mare Island Brewing Co. – Ferry Taproom. Photography by @hewittvisuals

Directly next to the Vallejo Ferry terminal is the Mare Island Brewing Ferry Taproom, where we stopped to watch the Warriors game, taste, some very nice West Coast style Ales, and soak up some waterfront sun on their deck that looks out at the water. It’s easily one of the most fun things to do in Vallejo.

Mare Island Brewing Co. – Ferry Taproom
289 Mare Island Way, Vallejo, CA

6. Mare Island, the Actual Island

Mare Island Brewing Co. – Coal Shed Brewery @ 850 Nimitz Ave, Vallejo, CA

Mare Island is literally a long island on the Vallejo waterfront, just across the channel from the main ferry stop. The island has WWII era museum, and a bunch of cutty great places to try wine, spirits, and beer.   There’s the winery ‘Vino Godfather’ for tastings, the Savage and Cooke distillery, and the Coal Mare Island Brewing Co, which is dubbed the “Coal Shed Brewery” because the sight was once one the nine historic coal sheds along the Mare Island waterfront used to store coal to power navy steamships.

If you haven’t guessed yet, Vallejo has a deep and rich, naval history, as the first United States Naval installation on the west coast, Mare Island has seen every seafaring vessel from canvas to coal to oil to nuclear power, from sailing ships to steamers to nuclear-powered submarines.

If you’re into sailing, definitely check out The Great Vallejo Race, one of the largest inland sailing regattas in the country.

7.  Vallejo Farmer’s Market

Nearly everyone around town recommends the Vallejo Farmer’s Market, it’s open Saturdays, year-round. It’s the best place to shop for seasonal fruits and veggies, as well as other local goods like honey, eggs, or artisan cheese. It’s just a solid farmer’s market with a nice vibe.

Vallejo Farmer’s Market
400 Georgia St Vallejo, CA 94590
Every Saturday 9am-2pm.

8. Empress Theatre

From live music to comedy, to a Ferlinghetti Art & Music Festival this Mayat both the Empress Theatre and the Temple Arts Lofts.  When we were there, Vallejo’s very own symphony orchestra was playing.  The Empress Theatre is a completely renovated classic, originally built in 1911.

Empress Theatre Calendar
330 Virginia St, Vallejo

9.  Alibi Bookstore

Fun Things to Do in Vallejo alibi bookshop

A proudly independent, general interest bookstore, that is simply loved by the community.  They have new & used books, and staff that knows their stuff!  That’s all you need to know.

Alibi Bookstore
624 Marin St Vallejo, CA 94590

Broke-Ass Stuart goes to Downtown Vallejo. Photos by @hewittvisuals

That’s all for now!  We’ll be back with more Bay aArea excursions soon! Meanwhile, get on a boat and checkout all the fun things to do in Vallejo! Find The San Francisco Bay Ferry schedule here.  They will take you almost anywhere on the bay. 

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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  1. Joanne giardello
    May 13, 2022 at 8:12 am — Reply

    Thank you fir your Vallejo tour !! I live in Benicia but Vallejo has a lot more diverse activities !!

  2. Scott
    May 13, 2022 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Love living in Vallejo, but think it’s hilarious that the first recommendation is basically “Go somewhere else.”

  3. May 15, 2022 at 3:51 pm — Reply

    I grew up right across the bay from Vallejo. I’m in my 60’s and I’m 5th generation there. I was always taught that if I don’t have anything good to say to say nothing. I’ll stop there…

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