Charla Messina

Looking for an inexpensive family outing this summer? Or a way to pack some pizazz into a picnic without dropping a lot of coin?

Well, we’ve got just the right tune for you.

Communities across the Bay Area host free outdoor concert series that offer a chance to turn a simple picnic into a more rewarding affair. Most of the events take place in parks and are kid-friendly, and they offer a wide variety of culinary possibilities.

Some outdoor shows practically beg for a traditional picnic lunch, such as the Stern Grove concert series in San Francisco. Performances are held Sunday afternoon in a lovely park, with plenty of room for a blanket and gourmet spread. Keep in mind, though, that the park can be foggy and cool, so a thermos of hot soup might also be a good idea.

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