The Fifth Annual Eat Real Festival in Oakland, California
Why go: Oakland has slowly been making headway on the culinary map, giving both San Francisco’s haute restaurant scene and Berkeley, home of Alice Waters, a run for their money.
What to do: The best time to go is September 27-29, when you can check out the Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square. It’s basically an energetic block party that meshes the city's street-food scene with a state fair. It’s free to get in, none of the eats costs more than $5, and all the food is regionally sourced and sustainably produced. That includes beer, wine and bites like handcrafted fruit popsicles from Fat Face, Argentinean empanadas by El Sur and a stand that specializes in bacon. The festival also features a whole-hog butchery competition on Sunday, plus demonstrations by chefs including Charlie Holowell of Pizzaiolo, Kyle Itani of Hopscotch and Russ Moore of Camino.
Where to stay: Luckily, the nautical-themed Waterfront Hotel in Oakland is right in Jack London Square, so it makes getting to the festival easy. They also offer special packages with Savor Oakland Food Tours, so you can get in as much eating as possible. Rates start at $199