Next month, Maker Faire Bay Area returns to San Mateo for their annual celebration of technology, creativity, and invention. The quirky and homegrown local festival, that organizers describe as "part science fair and part county fair," invites tech enthusiasts, crafters, builders, engineers, and amateur inventors to show off their work. While intended to showcase ideas in new and emerging technologies, anyone with a creative hobby can bring their creations to share with the world. The event organizes demonstrations, lectures, and hands-on workshops that let attendees play and learn something new.
Maker Faire started as a small local event here in Silicon Valley back in 2006 and has inspired offshoot events in dozens of countries. In 2015, the global network hosted 150 Maker Faire events around the world. The original (and still largest) flagship Bay Area event had 1,200 "Makers" sharing their work and 145,000 attendees.
Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 will be held May 20-22 at the San Mateo County Events Center. Click through the slides to learn more about this local festival and get tips for planning your trip.
About Maker Faire & the Maker Movement
The Maker Faire Bay Area brings creative and curious people together to share their inspiration. The three-day festival highlights every type of invention from digital technology, electronics, robotics, woodworking, metalwork, fabric art, and performance art. No matter what crafty interest or hobby you have, these maker meetups will inspire you to try something new.
The Maker Faire events are popular with parents and educators -- the family-friendly activities and demonstrations encourage creativity and spark students' interest in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts.
Since 2005, the Maker Faire events have attracted over 1.2 million makers around the world. What started with backyard tinkerers and hobbyists has grown into a global resurgence in do-it-yourself (DIY) and handmade technologies. Event organizers call the growing commercial influence of these craftspeople, the "Maker Movement," and point to examples of small businesses, startups, and innovative technology that grew out of these communities.
Visiting Maker Faire Bay Area
Address: San Mateo County Events Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA
Date/Time: Saturday, May 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Sunday, May 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Schedule of Events:
How to Get Tickets:
To save on admission, buy your tickets online prior to the event. Tickets will also be available at the door.
Single day passes or weekend passes are available. Discount tickets are available as follows:
- Students: Students 17 and up will be allowed to purchase the "Youth/Student (ages 4-17)" rate ticket if they have a current student photo ID. Current student photo ID will be required at the gate.
- Military: $10 off for active duty U.S. Military. Military ID will be required at the gate.
- Groups of 15 or more: Must be purchased by May 19. Tickets MUST be purchased at the same time by one person in your group. Please click this link and fill out this application form for group ticketing.
- Sunday-Only Family Pass: $125 for 5 people. Online purchase only by May 19. The group must arrive together at the same entrance between 10-1pm on Sunday, May 22.
Where to Stay:
Looking for a hotel near Maker Fair Bay Area? Check TripAdvisor for the lowest rates & reviews in San Mateo, California.
How to Get to Maker Faire Bay Area:
The Maker Faire Bay Area draws large crowds and traffic can be difficult to navigate. Here are some tips for driving, parking, and public transportation.
Driving & Parking:
There is no on-site parking at the San Mateo Events center, and limited street parking in the nearby neighborhoods. Parking information will be available on the event website closer to the event.
Event organizers strongly advise you take public transportation, ride your bike, use a taxi, ridesharing app like Lyft or Uber, or (as last resort) carpool.
Taking Public Transportation:
Here are some ways to get to Maker Faire Bay Area using public transportation:
- BART: Take BART to the Millbrae BART station and take a free Maker Faire shuttle from bus bay #6 on the side closest the station next to the parking structure.
- Caltrain: Take Caltrain to the Hillsdale station. Cross the platform and go down the steps to the parking lot, on the east side. Walk left (north) along the fenced-off bike/pedestrian path, continuing north to the Event Center. It’s a 10-15 minute walk.
- SamTrans: Take the bus from various locations around San Mateo County.
Follow the event's traffic and transportation @FaireTraffic Twitter feed the day of the event to get traffic updates and travel tips.
- Food will be available for purchase at the event. No outside food or beverages are allowed unless you have special medical, dietary, or religious requirements.
- Strollers, backpacks, and a bottle of water are allowed.
- No pets are allowed unless they are service animals.
Not in the Bay Area? Find a Maker Faire Event Near You
In 2015, there were 150 Maker Faire events around the world. Check out this map of all the official, recognized Maker Faires.
Beyond the flagship Bay Area Maker Fair (1,200 makers, 145,000 attendees), there was the World Maker Faire in New York City (900 makers, 95,000 attendees), several mid-size featured events (200+ makers) in Detroit, Kansas City, Rome, Paris, Oslo, Trondheim, Newcastle (UK), Orlando, Silver Spring, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Tokyo and Shenzhen. There are also smaller, independently organized Mini Maker Faires events in communities around the world. The U.S. White House even started hosting their own Maker Faire back in 2014.