10 Can’t Miss San Francisco Events

a crowd of people at a concert raising their hands
Radiohead performing at Outside Lands Photo by Arnold Gatilao via Flickr
Radiohead performing at Outside Lands Photo by Arnold Gatilao via Flickr

San Francisco is a city known for encouraging self expression and celebrates this throughout the year.  From street fairs, festivals, parades and everything in between, the city takes every opportunity possible to throw a great party.  Although there are outdoor parties and events all year long, many of the local favorites take place April-October.  To help prepare you for the “festival season” we have prepared a list of some of our favorite can’t miss San Francisco festivals and events for the Extranomical Blog. 

Earth Day - Photo via httpwww.earthdaysf.org
Earth Day – Photo via http://www.earthdaysf.org

1. Earth Day – April 19th – U.N. Plaza/Civic Center

From music to workshops, lectures, demonstrations and more, the San Francisco Earth Day celebration will bring forth green ideas and sustainable practices and show people how they can make sustainability a part of their everyday life by encouraging eco-friendly decision making.  For more information on Earth Day Festival SF click here.

How Weird Street Faire - Photo via www.howweird.org
How Weird Street Faire – Photo via www.howweird.org

2. How Weird Street Faire – May 4th, 2014 – Howard & New Montgomery St (SOMA)

How Weird Street Faire is back for the 15th year.  A day full of music, costumes and everything weird, How Weird is a street fair with stages on every block playing every type of electronic music you can imagine.  This year’s theme is How Weird in Outer Space, so grab your best space costume and come get weird!  Entrance is a suggested $10 donation and with the donation you will receive discounts on drinks and after parties.  For more information visit the How Weird website.

Bay to Breaker photo by Kevin Edwards via Flickr
Bay to Breaker photo by Kevin Edwards via Flickr 

3. Bay to Breakers – May 18th – Starting Line Howard and Beale (SOMA)

Bay to Breakers is perhaps the most unique footrace in the world.  This 12k race consists of elaborate costumes, music, and running… or walking literally from the bay to the breakers (the beach).  This 12k begins at 7am for the more serious runners and then becomes a walking party through the entire city at approximately 8am.  This race truly shows the lively nature of San Francisco and is a sight that you won’t soon forget.  For more information or to register to participate in the race click here.

Carnaval photo via Team at Carnaval.com Studios
Carnaval photo via Team at Carnaval.com Studios

4. Carnaval San Francisco – May 24th & May 25th – Harrison Street between 16th & 24th Street (Mission)

This 2 day multi-cultural celebration consists of Latin and Caribbean music on every corner, amazing art, delicious food and some of the most vibrant costumes you will ever see.  Come see the Mission District transformed into a huge Carnaval celebration complete with a parade on May 25th.  For more information click here.

Haigh Street Fair Photo by Chelsea Lynn Young via Flickr
Haigh Street Fair Photo by Chelsea Lynn Young via Flickr

5. Haight Ashbury Street Fair – June 8th – Haight Street (Masonic to Stanyan)

Vendors, music, food and more!  Haight Street will be closed to traffic from Masonic to Stanyan to make room for the Haight Ashbury Street Fair.  Stop by to purchase unique hand crafted items and clothes from local vendors while enjoying great music and company.  More info click here.

Stern Grove Festival Photo by Eugene Kim via Flickr
Stern Grove Festival Photo by Eugene Kim via Flickr

 6. Stern Grove Festival – Every Sunday of Summer starting June 22nd – Stern Grove located at 19th Ave and Sloat Blvd.

Opening with Smokey Robinson and Patti Austin on June 22nd this weekly event brings music and performances of all genres and it is completely free.  From the SF Symphony to rock music, Stern Grove literally has something for everyone.  Although the festival is free it does fill up quickly so be sure to arrive early.  The full festival lineup will be announced May 1st, 2014.  Be sure to check out the Stern Grove website for more details.

San Francisco Pride Parade - Photo by Ingrid Taylar via Flickr
San Francisco Pride Parade – Photo by Ingrid Taylar via Flickr

7. San Francisco Pride – June 28-29 – Civic Center (and throughout San Francisco)

San Francisco Pride is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation.  “The Mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee is to educate the world, commemorate our heritage, celebrate our culture, and liberate our people.”  SF Pride stays true to their mission and so much more providing a can’t miss weekend in San Francisco.  More information here.

Loyd Gregory at Fillmore Jazz Festival - Photo by David McSpadden via Flickr
Loyd Gregory at Fillmore Jazz Festival – Photo by David McSpadden via Flickr

8. Fillmore Jazz Festival 2014 – July 5th– July 6th – Fillmore Street (Between Jackson and Eddy)

One of the largest free jazz events on the West Coast, the Fillmore Jazz Festival celebrates Jazz, Food, Culture and San Francisco.  Stretching from Jackson to Eddy on Fillmore Street with 3 stages of amazing Jazz music, this festival will remind visitors of the true feel of this historic San Francisco neighborhood.  For details click here.

Outside Lands Photo provided by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas via Flickr
Outside Lands Photo provided by The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas via Flickr

9. Outside Lands Music Festival – August 8-10th – (Golden Gate Park)

Outside lands is a three-day festival located in the heart of Golden Gate Park which has hosted musicians such as Paul McCartney, Radiohead, Tom Petty and many more of the top names in music.  Tickets go on-sale soon, but will not last long.  This is definitely an event to attend for music lovers of all ages.  For details click here.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - Photo by Ryan Grimm via Flickr
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Photo by Ryan Grimm via Flickr

10. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – October 3-5th (Golden Gate Park)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is another three day festival in Golden Gate Park, but this one is completely free!  Founded and funded by F. Warren Hellman, this festival provides free fun and great music for hundreds of thousands of people each year with multiple stages throughout the park.  To read some of tips for the festival  visit the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website.

Have any other favorite San Francisco street fairs, festivals or events that we missed?  Let us know by commenting below!

Posted by Josh Webber 4/2/2014

Published on: April 2nd 2014
a little girl wearing brown coat and red tights holding an umbrella

Things To Do in San Francisco On A Rainy Day

San Francisco

Are you experiencing a rainy day in San Francisco? Perhaps you are planning ahead in case…

Read More >
aerial view of San Francisco bridge at night with colorful fireworks in the background

San Francisco Fall & Winter Events: 2023’s Best Holiday Spots

San Francisco

San Francisco is a magical place to spend the holiday season. Whether you are a local…

Read More >
a view of monterey bay

Top 10 Things to do in Monterey, California

Monterey & Carmel

Monterey, CA is one of the top vacation destinations on the California coast, and it is…

Read More >