Best Events in the San Francisco Bay Area
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San Francisco Event Calendar
What are the best things to do each month of the year in San Francisco?
Things to do in San Francisco
There’s a reason why the San Francisco Bay Area is consistently ranked among the top tourist cities in the United States. Attracting millions of Domestic and International travelers every year, the region is full of things to do and things to see. From amazing attractions like The Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, Pier 39 and Coit Tower to tours of Wine Country, Muir Woods and Alcatraz Island, you can find a little bit of everything.
San Francisco is also home to a large number of amazing events all year long including concerts, wine tastings, theater, pub crawls, festivals, street fairs and more. Depending on the time of year, you also may get a chance to experience some of San Francisco flagship events like Outside Lands Music Festival, Bottlerock Music Festival, Oktoberfest By The Bay, Crawloween San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl, Bay to Breakers and more. If you are looking for things to do in San Francisco, check out the Bay Area events Calendar for a list of the best upcoming events, tours and activities.
TOP EVENTS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
While you may hear different opinions on what parts of Northern California make up the Bay Area, it generally includes San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and all the area in between. The large population and the massive influx of visitors all year long brings a lot of huge events to the area from music festivals to pub crawls, so no matter what time of year you plan to visit, you should be able to find some amazing things to do. From concerts at venues like Shoreline Amphitheater, Fox Theater and Chase Center to a large number of music festivals, wine events, pub crawls, theater events and sporting events, there is definitely a little something for everyone. Read about some of the best events in San Francisco below or check out San Francisco event calendars on CrawlSF, Fun Cheap SF, Eventbrite, or SF Travel.
Outside Lands Music Festival: Produced for the first time in 2008, San Francisco’s very own mega-festival has seen some of the biggest artists in the world play on its stages. The event started as a two-day festival with about 50,000 attendees per day, but has grown to be one of the highest grossing festivals in the United States, boasting 3 days of music and more with almost 100,000 attendees each day. Taking place in August each year, the festival features over 100 musicians, over 15 comedians, 6 stages of music and comedy, art installations, amazing food, shuttle buses, wine tasting and even a section dedicated to cannabis. In fact, Outside Lands was the first major music festival to offer cannabis for sale after new laws in San Francisco were passed. If you are looking for a great time to visit San Francisco, Outside Lands weekend should definitely be at the top of your list.
Event Website: sfoutsidelands.com
Bay to Breakers: Once recognized as the “World’s Largest Footrace” by the Guinness Book of World Records, Bay to Breakers is one part athletic race event and one part costume party. While it may not be quite the spectacle that it was after the organizers banned alcohol and floats from the event, it is still a fun experience and a truly unique San Francisco event. The race, appropriately called “Bay to Breakers”, is a 7.46 mile race across San Francisco from the the edge of the San Francisco Bay to the coast of the Pacific Ocean that takes place on the 3rd Sunday in May every year.
Event Website: capstoneraces.com/bay-to-breakers/
Crawloween: While you have probably been on a pub crawl or two in your life, you probably haven’t experienced one like this. The Annual San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl isn’t just a small group of friends drinking at a few bars, it is a massive halloween costume party at over 25 bars with more than 7,000 participants. Pub Crawlers are treated to amazing drink specials, a costume contest and party bus rides as you celebrate at the best Halloween event in San Francisco.
Event Website: crawloween.com
Bottlerock Music Festival: While technically not in the Bay Area, The Bottlerock Music Festival is an amazing event located in Napa Valley, just across the bay from San Francisco. It is a fairly new major festival in the United States, with the first event taking place in 2013 with a huge lineup that featured Kings of Leon, Zac Brown Band, Jane’s Addiction, Cake and more. Despite a few hiccups in the first few years, the festival found its stride and has grown to be one of the best music festivals in the US.
Event Website: www.bottlerocknapavalley.com
San Francisco Street Fairs: Starting with the Union Street Festival on the first weekend in June, San Francisco offers a bunch of fun street fairs that give you a chance to check out the unique San Francisco neighborhoods. Most of the neighborhoods in San Francisco claim one weekend where they block off the street and bring in local vendors, food trucks, stages with live music and more, so there is a fun event almost every weekend in the summer. Popular Fairs include the North Beach Festival, Union Street Festival, Folsom Street Fair, Haight Street Festival, Fillmore Jazz Festival and more.
Lepracon: There are a lot of St. Patrick’s Day events in San Francisco, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, The Irish Times Block Party and more, but if you want to really get crazy, the San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl is the place to be. With your ticket, you can enjoy cheap drinks at over 20 bars, fun contests, live music and party bus rides with the over 5,000 attendees. Just make sure to wear green!
Event Website: lepraconsf.com/
Chinese New Year Parade: San Francisco’s parade and festival, the largest outside of china and one of the only illuminated parades in the US, is definitely something you should see at least once. It takes place sometime between the end of January and the beginning of February (the actual date is linked to the lunar calendar) and offers beautiful pageantry that takes months to prepare for. The parade features beautifully decorated floats, dancers, music, firecrackers and even a 28-foot long dragon.
Event Website: chineseparade.com/
SF Pride: The end of June brings perhaps the largest celebration of the year to San Francisco as people from all over the world travel to the City by the Bay for the Annual Pride Weekend. From humble beginnings as a small march to commemorate the Stonewall Uprising in New York City, the Gay Pride Parade and Festival has grown to a massive celebration of the LGBTQ community. Close to a million people come to San Francisco for the event, which includes a parade down Market Street, live music, food trucks, local vendors and parties every night.
Event Website: sfpride.org/
Oktoberfest By the Bay: If you can’t make it to Munich, then you can still enjoy an authentic celebration of Oktoberfest in San Francisco. Taking place at Pier 35, the festival features authentic German music, dancing, singing, delicious food and, of course, amazing beer!
Event Website: www.oktoberfestbythebay.com/
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