Where’s Waldo? A First Timer Recap of Bay to Breakers

This past weekend I celebrated Bay to Breakers with a group of friends.  Bay to Breakers is a marathon, race thing in the city where… actually to be honest I’m not sure what the purpose is.  Regardless, over the years the event has turned into a drunk debacle where people around the city come together, dress up in costumes (although some opted to go nude) and drink from 7am onwards.

My friends and I had planned our costume theme weeks in advance.  We were going to go as a safari with an animal hunter because animal costumes are easy and I really just wanted to dress up like a safari hunter.  But the day before and after a long visit to Target, we couldn’t get our act together to pull off animal costumes.  So while standing on the street corner somewhere in Berkeley, we decided the easiest costume to put together last minute was “Where’s Waldo?” or “Where’s Wally?” for my UK readers.

The event started way early Sunday morning but we decided that 6am was just a little wee to early to start dressing up and drinking.  The Waldo crew decided to meet at 10am instead.  By the time we arrived at Hayes and Lyon, everyone around us was intoxicated and openly drinking on the streets.  There were various other Waldo groups roaming around, lots of Party Rock-inspired outfits, a few smurfs, several blind mice, and numerous cops grabbing open drinks out of party people’s hands.  This reminded me of my college’s homecoming but with costumes, nudity, and san tear gas (erhmmm… my school became unfortunately infamous for street parties).  At one point, my group of friends and I got caught in several rounds of flip cup on Fell St.  My favourite story of the day was when my poor roommate got sandwiched in the crowd and ended up getting too close for comfort with a hairy, nude man… her recap of the story and where her hands at one point unfortunately ended up near made for a good story Sunday night as we tried to recover from the events of the day.

Bay to Breakers-ers enjoying the view of the race from their fire escape.

I’ve had my fair share of weird city events but Bay to Breakers definitely takes the cake.  If you are ever visiting the Bay area when this is going on, I would highly recommend checking it out.  Here’s are some tips from a first-timer:

  • Dress up… normally-dressed individuals stood out like a sore thumb.
  • If you’re visiting the city with your kids, might not be the best idea to bring them if they are of talking age.  I saw some parents walking around with their strollers which was fun but I wouldn’t bring round 5 to 11 year old unless you want to get into an (un)fun conversation about the birds and the bees.
  • Definitely pregame before this or have a little flask with you.  Liquor stores are crazy during this time and why would you want to waste time in line?  #queuehater

Are there any cool city-wide events in your area?  Let me know, I would love to check them out while I’m living in the states.


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  1. We moved to Colorado from Vallejo. One time we got caught in Bay to Breakers traffic…ugh! A trip to Colorado before you leave the states is a must. There is always something going on..plus the beauty of the state is magical! Have a great week.

    • I most definitely will make it to Colorado! Any suggestions on when the best time of the year to visit is?

      • Spring is nice and so is the end of summer beginning of fall. The Aspen trees in the fall are so gorgeous.

    • Leigh Anne
    • May 22nd, 2012

    Based on the wikipedia description of this event there sure seem to be a lot of kenyans in this race….

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