Seize the Day… Summer Fun on a Budget

Fireflies, barbecues, ice cream trucks, and late-night bedtimes – summer is finally here, and it’s time to enjoy all the things that go along with it. While your summer bucket list might be filled with ideas a mile long, there are plenty of things to do that are low-cost (or even free) so you’ll still have money left over for ice cream or other treats! Here are some ideas to get you started that are ideal for families on a budget.


Unplugging is more critical than ever these days. Often, one of the biggest challenges parents face is reducing their family’s screen time. Visiting a park is a nostalgic and simple past time that requires very little in terms of expense. Luckily, you don’t need to drive to a national park to be without WiFi to take part in this activity. There are many Richmond parks to enjoy. If you go a little further, and you can also check out the Berkeley Rose Garden. This local destination has 1500 rose bushes and 250 varieties of roses as well as awe-inspiring views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Outdoor Music Concerts

Take advantage of the fantastic weather by attending a concert or outdoor production. Grab your lawn chairs, and don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch or early evening snack! Point Richmond Music Festival has just revealed its free summer concert series. Held on the second Friday of each month, June through September, concerts run from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm in historic downtown Point Richmond at the corner of Park Place and Washington Avenue.

Free/Low-Cost Museums

Are you hearing “I’m bored” all day? There is no shortage of free or low-cost museums to take your kids to as a spur-of-the-moment trip:

  • The Golden State Model Railroad Museum: trains run on Sundays, and admission is $5 for adults and children ages 12+ and $3 for children under 12. Admission is free on Wednesdays and Saturdays with layouts open for viewing, but no trains are running. There is a sizeable collection of small trains and railroads meant to replicate a variety of places like Sacramento and Oakland with a full backdrop of tiny trees and mountains.
  • Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt: complete with a breathtaking view of Bonsai trees and gardens, BGLM “is home to some of the finest Bonsai on the west coast.” Volunteer docents take you around the free gardens. This is great for children as they can learn about Bonsai and botany, but it’s also fun to tour and explore.
  • Rosie the Riveter Museum: learn about the war efforts and Richmond history at this small but educational location. Get a view into how American civilians on the World War II Home Front lived, worked, and came together. Your children won’t realize how much fun they’re having while they’re learning, watching, and reading about important parts of history.

Summer can be filled with plenty of fun activities, none of which need to break the bank. For those looking to learn more about “basic” financial habits to last all season long, Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services offers programs that are designed to support and assist individuals in budgeting and money management. For additional information on what we offer, reach out to us at, call (510) 237-6459, or visit our programs page.

Rose Garden

Richmond Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. (510) 237-6459