San Francisco Events You Have to Do at Least Once While You Live Here
Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Your 7x7 bucket list
There is always something exciting to do on the weekends in San Francisco. Whether your idea of #entertainment is a beer or wine festival, going to the theater, listening to live music, attending a million food events, or doing something athletic outdoors, the possibilities for entertaining events are endless. However, there are a few events everyone who lives in San Francisco should absolutely do before they die, or, um, move away. And these are those events:
This is the largest parade celebrating the Lunar New Year outside of Asia and been a San Francisco tradition since the 1860s. Thanks to beautiful floats, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, lion dancers, and, the spectacular 268-foot-long Golden Dragon propelled by a team of 180 men and women, it’s considered one of the top ten parades in the world.
This festival celebrating the blooming of the cherry blossoms and Japanese culture and traditions takes place in Japantown over the course of two weekends. The highlight is the Grand Parade on the final Sunday, but there are also ramen-eating contests, martial arts demonstrations, Taiko drumming, Japanese classical dancing, and much more.
This entire event put on by a fabulous order of queer “nuns” is oh-so San Francisco and a good time for all, regardless of religion. There’s an Easter bonnet contest, drag shows, and everyone’s favorite part of the day: The Hunky Jesus contest.
Cinco de Mayo is more than a drinking holiday in San Francisco, as the city has a large Mexican and Latin American community. The festival in the Mission showcases music, dance, artistry, and, of course, tons of delicious food. And when it’s over? That’s when you hit a nearby bar.
This oldest consecutively run footrace in the world goes from the Bay (it starts at the Embarcadero) to the “breakers” (the waves that crash on Ocean Beach) and is part race part drunken costume party. It’s the kind of event people either love or loathe, but everyone should participate at least once to figure out where they stand on the issue.
This free concert series occurs for 10 Sundays starting in June and features world-class performers you’d otherwise have to shell out a pretty penny to see. Half the fun, however, is bringing a picnic with lots of wine.
This was one of the country’s first outdoor festivals, and is one of the largest street fairs in SF. It takes place in the heart of North Beach and there are always a couple of stages of live music, lots of tasty food, and tons of people selling their wares. Bring your pup for the “Blessing of the Animals” ceremony.
San Francisco Pride is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQIA parades in the world and also one of the best parties of the summer.
This two-day festival is the largest free jazz event on the West Coast and turns 12 blocks of Fillmore Street into a huge party. There are multiple stages of live music, gourmet food, and art, jewelry, and more to shop.
For three days every August, the northern part of Golden Gate Park transforms into a huge festival with five stages, food from the best restaurants in SF, delicious cocktails, craft beer, art, and more. This event gets more expensive every year and everyone complains that it's more "mainstream" now but it still brings in some of the most popular artists.
This BSDM and leather street fair is not for those who are uncomfortable with public nudity, but it’s also not just for fetish enthusiasts. Though there is a lot of fetish gear for sale, there’s also live and electronic music, lots of food and booze, and amazing people watching.
Over 100 bands (not all bluegrass) take the stage at this free three-day festival where you can BOYB and your dog. Even if you're not a fan of the genre, this is a beautiful time of the year to be out in the park.
There are definitely people in SF who don’t love Fleet Week because they can’t stand the noise the planes make, they think it glorifies the military, or that it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars, but no matter what, there’s still something very cool about seeing the Bay come alive with magnificent ships and watching the Blue Angels dance through the sky.