Going Dancing

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

  • Where to go dancing with kids

    (7 replies)

    My kids are 7 and 9, and they love to dance - in the kitchen, in the car. I'm wondering about local community spots where kids can dance along with adults. I know there are some soul motion/ ecstatic dance type events, but I don't think kids are allowed at most of them. I'm looking for something that would feel inclusive and not too overwhelming. Any advice is appreciated! 

    Soul Sanctuary in Berkeley on Sundays at 11am at Ashkenaz is very sweet and family-friendly.

    Expect families, solo-Berkeleyians, scarves, natural objects, coloring materials - an open dance floor and respectful and playful adults. It’s very “Berkeley.”

    There are different DJ’s and musical themes — every week is different!


    It’s donation-based and run by volunteers. You can pay for someone else’s future dance!


    Ahkenaz is all ages all the time.  A wide variety of music and dancing almost every night of the year (and weekend days, too). You'll want to look over the options on their website calendar, and consider ear protection in some cases, but kids are often seen there.


    I've also heard of - but don't know much about - Luna Dance, which seems to offer parent-child dance opportunities.


    Ashkenaz in Berkeley has some open dance time on Sunday mornings


    Soul Sanctuary at Ashkenaz in Berkeley might fit the bill. I went there with my 6-year-old daughter who loves to dance. There were children and adults dancing, friendly people, relaxed atmosphere. It's every Sunday 11-1.

    Hi - Do you know about Daybreaker? https://www.daybreaker.com/  Sometimes their events are 21+ (based on rules of the venue) but often they are all ages, though I haven't seen many young kids there, it's a very accepting and fun scene where I think kids would be welcome.  I can't remember how loud the music was but you might want ear plugs for them just in case? The only problem might be the timing - occasionally they have an evening or weekend dance party but most are 7-9 am on a Friday...

    Oakland Museum on Friday evenings...check their website..they may be on winter break

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions Related Pages

Dance Club for over 40?

May 2011

I've been wanting to go out dancing at a night club, but I haven't been out for almost 15 years. Any recommendations about where to go? I want to dance to current music, but not feel like I'm the oldest person in the club. wanna be a dancin' mama

Try Askenaz, San Pablo at Gilman. Different music depending on the night, usually there is a lesson first (great time to meet others) and lots of great partners show up so you don't need to bring your own, big range of ages attend. Calendar at http://www.ashkenaz.com/html/calendar.php.

And try the Friday night Zydeco dances at Eagles Hall in Alameda near Park Street...Calendar at http://calendar10.tripod.com/ Local Zydeco bands play here along with bands from Lousiana. Same deal as above with lesson, partners and ages. Going out at 60

Old-school 80's and 90's dancing?

April 2011

OK - who on this list was around the Bay Area in the late 80s and 1990s? I am dying to go out and get my groove on, but I need recommendations for old-school places like Berkeley Square, Nicky's, Blakes, DNA Lounge, Elbo Room - places that aren't around anymore but played good, danceable music and had a 'we're here to dance' vibe. Where you could just go and dance with whoever was there and have a good time. Come on, mamas! Where do you go to relive that feeling: before kids, careers, responsibilities... dancing queen

I LOVE dancing to David Harness - http://djdavidharness.com/ - soulful, with Latin, Blues, Gospel sometimes Arabic infusion. I toss down a drink and let my mind go and my body do all the talking! I love going to Era when David plays 2nd friday of the month; and I often go to the Layover any night and get funky grooves. Both places are in Oakland and are diverse in all senses of the word. (I'm 40 and I don't feel old, I don't feel young. I feel perfect End Up can be fun too. They start early on Sundays so you can start around 8PM and get home by midnight hot and sweaty! Also check out The Mighty. Good luck Dancin' Queen!! Dancin' Queen Too

Dear Dancing queen, I totally get it! I, too, grooved at many of the places you mentioned almost weekly in the early to mid-90s. It was a great time to be out and about in the Bay Area. Unfortunately, I have no real suggestions for recreating that experience now. I'll be curious to see what others recommend. Maybe I'll see you out there on the dancefloor... Nostalgic for Booty Shaking

As an ex clubber of the 80's and 90's, my advice, skip the clubs! Ecstatic Dance in Oakland www.ecstaticdance.org/ is a wonderful and safe place for a woman to show up and dance on her own. Wed nights are a bit more lively, Sunday morning, a bit more calm. Dance to a DJ, mostly barefoot, no drugs or alcohol, no talking on dance floor. Another safe and wonderful space is Dance Journey in Berkeley on Fri nights. And then it's on to Marin or San Rafael for 5 Rhythms/Sweat your Prayers for Wed nt, Sat morn, and Sun morn dances.I believe their website is listed under Moving Center in Marin. Such choices! All are safe and amazing places to move! I started going nearly 10 years ago, often showing up by myself. This type of movement and amazing the community has kept me sane, fit and happy through my Parenting. The ages range from early 20's to 60's. I still go twice a week. Love it!!!! Gotta keep movin', onika

NIghtclubs to go dancing

Oct 2008

I am a middle-aged married mom, but still love to go out dancing with my girlfriends when I can find the right place. The club in SF that I used to go to semi-regularly changed their DJ recently, and it's just not the same. I tend to like a pretty mixed crowd as far as ages, ethnicity, gay/straight. I like the energy of a place where people love to dance, and where it does not feel too much like a pick up scene. A little of this is OK, but not overly sleezy. I love soul/house music best. It could be a club in the Berkeley/Oakland area or SF. Anything that starts earlier--9ish would be great. It could be a weeknight or weekend. I'm not really into the contact improv, no alcoholic drinks scene. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Mama That Still Likes To Get Her Groove On

Not really a night club, but Ashkenaz on San Pablo at GIlman is the best dancing place, for the sake of dancing, I've ever been to. still dancing

I'm 35 and love to DANCE! I can recommend a web site http://www.alfandalf.com/ they have really great parties, they always have house, salsa, Brazilian and middle eastern music. I'm a big fan of house so spun-day on Sunday, you can go to ruby Skye for great house on Friday and Saturdays. unfortunately all the great party promoters have retired. Keep on dancingkeeps the soul young! rebeca

A friend told me about Air Lounge in downtown Oakland on 9th and Washington. Check out their website: http://www.airoakland.com/home.php I heard that the crowd is thirty-something +, diverse and the DJs play deep soul. Also, I hear that Kitty's is a fun place to eat and dance in Emeryville: http://www.barkittys.com/home.html Jennifer

Dancing in the Bay Area for the ''Older Set''

Feb 2007

My husband and I have always enjoyed dancing together, but have rare opportunities these days to ''go out dancing'' like we once did. We have the date set for a babysitter, but now the question is WHERE??? We'd prefer something where we wouldn't be ''the old folks'' (we're 38 and 43) and where we'd actually know some of the music. We are willing to go to SF. Please include details, eg. what time to get there, etc. Thank you!

We are so lucky to be living in the Bay Area where there are lots of great places for us 'older folks' to get our groove on. Ashkenaz on San Pablo & Gilman has different kinds of dance music 6 nights a week and welcomes all ages: www.ashkenaz.com. La Pe C 1a on Shattuck near Ashby tends to present Latin and World music. San Francisco's Metronome Ballroom offers Friday Night Parties as well as classes: www.metronomedancecenter.com. Since you didn't specify your musical preferences, it's hard to be more specific, but feel free to contact me for more ideas. Dancing is my passion/therapy, and I really encourage other parents to keep doing it -- for life! sandina

You are not THAT old!! I also like to dance and don't go out enough to know ALL the spots, but here are a few. Not knowing what kind of music you like... East Bay: La Pena has latin bands on occassion check their calendar Ashkenaz has dance bands and ALL ages are welcome and it's usually not that young. Montero's has salsa on Saturday night-also all ages The Caribe is being revived on Webster and 14th (I think) in Oakland. There is salsa, and hopefully carribbean music on some nights. I haven't been there lately, but if it is a latin and carribbean crowd all ages are also welcome. I hope that helps! Still dancing at 44

Ashkenaz is fun for ethnic variety. I'm hoping others will suggest some places for 70's/80's style ''popular'' dancing, too. wanna dance!

Dance Clubs?

March 2005

I've been thinking recently about what to do for upcoming birthday and it came to me in a flash when I was dancing around the living room with the vacuum cleaner...this body needs to dance! But I have no idea what kind of clubs are out there. Are there any that play music other than hip hop? And also are there places that you don't have to buy tons of drinks?

Ashkenaz. See website at http://www.ashkenaz.com/. Letitia

My wife and I started a circle dance group in Berkeley 20 years ago, and it's still going strong. Simple folk dances from Israel, Scotland, Greece, Russia, the US (Hopi, Zydeco, Shaker, etc.), many other places, done in a circle. Each dance is taught just before doing it. We put out an inconspicuous donation basket and appreciate a few dollars, entirely optional. Details at http://www.circledancing.com. Typically 15 to 20 people each Friday evening. Not many children, due to late hour (8 to 10), but they come to special events such as our Maypole dance in the park, and the wonderful San Francisco Free Folk Festival (June 18-19 this year). John Bear

Ashkenaz on San Pablo ave off of Gilman street in Berkeley (across from REI) has dancing every night. A different theme. Swing, Salsa, Cajun, World Beat, etc. They have a 1/2 hour lesson before the ''real dancing'' starts. Very low key Berkeley type of place. Safe, you don't have to buy drinks....in fact, I'm not sure that they serve alcohol. You can park in the REI parking lot. You can probably find their schedule on line, or stop by and pick one up. Great place to go dancing, with people or alone. anon

For ballroom dancing and maybe a lesson beforehand, try: Alegro Ballroom in Emeryville Metronome Ballroom near Potrero Hill in SF Different days of the week they have different types of music If Caesar's Latin Palace is still open (at Mission and Caesar Chavez in SF), it's a hoot. Great Salsa with a class in the early evening to get one started. enjoy! JM

Ashkenaz! (San Pablo at Gilman) Check out the Nigerian Brothers when they are playing. .Great fun , great dancing and the drinks are optional (there is also water after you work up a sweat) The crowd is really ecclectic and the band has quite a fan club so it gets crowded. Love to dance

Berkeley Folk Dancers meet five nights a week at Live Oak Park. The beginners night is Thursday. Officially, the new beginners classes start in the fall, but they teach a few new dances, and review some, each week so don't be worried about starting now. For more information, you can try their web site http://host18.hrwebservices.net/~myjackp/bdindex.html or send me a note. Deborah

Barn Dance

June 2004

I am looking for a barn or barn-like structure to hold a party (small wedding actually). We plan to cater it, and have music/dancing, so the barn would have to be animal free and empty. Any suggestions would be helpful, I am not having much luck with this. Thanks! Kirsten

You might want to check out ''The Barn'' in Livermore. maybe a little far? but I grew up in Livermore and recall many a country and/or polka dance night there with my folks as a fun evening out. It's a city-owned huge sheet metal barn with cement floor and great huge wooden beams near the (old) main Library.. I think it's on Pacific Ave - if a quick search doesn't yield anything, call the reference desk at the Livermore Public Library and the reference librarian should be able to point you to the right resource! wanted to be country girl

Try contacting Smith Family Farm in Brentwood. www.smithfamilyfarm.com --Liz

Although a little different, there is the Camel Barn in Benecia. Best wishes, Karen

Kid-friendly dance places

October 2002

Hello. My two kids, ages three and seven, both love to dance at weddings and parties with other kids and adults. Does anyone know a good place to dance with kids that is not dependent on others' parties? I would love to get some dance into my own life - folk dancing, circle dancing, contra dancing, cajun dancing, whatever is joyous and fun - but would like to find a place that is very kid friendly. We have experianced this in other contries/cultures but haven't yet found it in east bay. Thanks. LT


  • Ashkenaz (2 reviews)

    Other advice:

    There are weekly cajun/zydeco dances in Alameda on Friday nights at the Eagle's Hall. There is a free lesson from 8-9 pm and a live band starting at 9 pm.

    There are also occasional Sunday afternoon dances there.

    It is a very family-friendly place, although one can also get a drink there if one wants. The kids will especially like the free cookies! The Eagles are apparently similar to the Knights of Columbus.

    The man who runs the dances and teaches the free dance lessons is very nice and very knowledgeable. His website, with all of the information about the dances at Eagle's Hall and other upcoming cajun/zydeco events, is http://ddesimone.home.mindspring.com Katy