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San Francisco Bay Area Events The Best Upcoming Events in September 2021

September is a month of transition, with the official end of summer and students heading back to school and college you begin to see tourism slow down a bit. In many parts of the country, the warm summer weather is slowly cooling as Fall approaches. In the Northeast, the leaves begin to change, offering a colorful landscape that adds a beautiful backdrop to long drives. As people travel less, they begin to spend more time enjoying where they live. Fashion Week takes over New York City, Oktoberfest draws massive crowds in Munich, whiskey drinkers take part in the Kentucky Bourbon Festival and watching College Football becomes a standard Saturday activity. While the rest of the country begins to get a much needed drop in temperatures after the scorching summer heat, San Francisco heats up for 2 months of warm weather that will make you want to get outside and enjoy the Bay Area and all that it has to offer. 

Another great thing about September…California Wine Month! While probably, technically not “part” of the San Francisco Bay Area, Wine Country is just a short drive from San Francisco, so visiting Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley is easy. Late August to Early October is Harvest Season, so it is a great time to visit wine country. Other great September events in San Francisco are the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, Oktoberfest by the Bay, Folsom Street Fair and The Fringe Festival as well as opening nights for both the Opera and the San Francisco Symphony. If you are looking for fun events in September, you will find tons of concerts, festivals, wine events, tours, cruises and more. Check out the Bay Area Event Calendar for a list of the best events. 

Best September Events in the San Francisco Bay Area

Whether you live in the Bay Area or are visiting the area, you will find lots of fun things to do during the month of September. The warmest weather of the year happens during September and October so it is the perfect time for outdoor activities, music festivals, outdoor concerts, winery tours and more. It is the end of Street Fair season, but one of the last events, The Folsom Street Fair, takes place in September and is definitely worth checking out. It is also a great month to visit wine country since it is harvest season and a lot of wineries have special events. It is the end of the San Francisco Giants Season, so depending on how they are doing, you may get to see some great late season games that may have playoff implications. It’s also the beginning of the NFL and NCAA Football seasons, so you can check out the Niners at Levi’s Stadium or cruise over to Cal or Stanford to see some great Pac 12 action. 

(1) Oktoberfest by the Bay: One of the best Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Munich, Oktoberfest by the Bay is a fun event at the end of September every year. It takes place at the massive Pier 35 where the producers turn the blank space into a bavarian wonderland, complete with long, communal tables, amazing German music (including a 21-piece Bavarian Band), great German food and, of course, a wide variety of traditional beers. 

Event Details: oktoberfestbythebay.com/

(2) Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival: San Francisco has a long history when it comes to chocolate. In fact, Ghirardelli is the oldest continuously running chocolate company in the United States. It was founded in 1852, while Hershey’s didn’t start making chocolate until 1894. While Ghirardelli may be the most well know chocolate company, there are many other popular brands like Sharffen Berger, Tcho, Recchiuti and more that were founded in SF. If you are a chocolate lover, then do yourself a favor and grab a ticket to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival. This annual event has been going strong for over 20 years and brings about 40,000 people to enjoy unique chocolate creations, live music and even an ice cream sundae eating contest. 

Event Details: ghirardelli.com/chocolate-festival

(3) Folsom Street Fair: One of the final street fairs of the season, The Folsom Street Fair is an event dedicated to leather culture and BDSM. It is a clothing-optional experience with lots of things you may not have seen before, but that is the beauty of it. You will see lots of nudity, bondage, sex toys, people walking around on leashes and even some bloody backs from some consensual leather lashings. Even if you aren’t into BDSM or don’t really know what it is (and you have an open mind), everyone is welcome. The fair takes place on Folsom Street between 8th Street and 13th Street and draws almost 400,000 people each year. 

Event Website: folsomstreet.org/folsom-street-fair

(4) Comedy Day: It was back in 1975 when Jose Simon originally conceptualized the idea for a free comedy festival in San Francisco and after years of hard work, his dream became a reality as the first Comedy Day was produced in 1981. Since the inaugural event, over 500,000 people have attended the festival, where over 1,000 comedians have performed. The event takes place at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park and holds the title for the longest running outdoor, free comedy event in the world. Many top comedians have performed at this great event including Dave Chappell, Will Durst, Robin Williams, George Lopez, Gary Shandling, Dave Attell and more. The event takes place every September in San Francisco. 

Event Website: comedyday.org/index.html

(5) Fringe Festival: One of the oldest festival in the US, SF Fringe is a festival that celebrates theater and offers a chance to see over 20 different theater companies perform live. The event takes place over 2 weeks every September at the EXIT Theater. 

Event Details: fringefestivals.com/festival/san-francisco-fringe-festival/

(6) The Giant Race: This race is so big that it takes place in 4 different cities. The Giant Race consists of a 5K, 10K or half-marathon and strives to raise money for youth programs in each city. Events take place on different days in San Francisco, Scottsdale, Sacramento and San Jose where runners not only compete in the raise, but also compete to meet fundraising goals, which benefit the Junior Achievement K-12 student programs. In cooperation with the San Francisco Giants baseball team, participants who compete will receive a limited edition bobblehead, limited edition hat, race bib, finisher’s medal and more. 

Event Details: race-sfgiants.com/race_event/san-francisco/

(7) San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala: Whether its the symphony, ballet or opera, San Francisco loves to celebrate the Arts and what better way to start off the season than with a massive party. The Opening Night Gala for the San Francisco Symphony is one of the fanciest events of the year, so grab that tux out of the back of your closet or start looking for a new dress and get ready for an amazing night. There are several levels of ticket pricing that can include pre-show dinners, wine receptions and a seat to the concert, however the big ticket for the night is the tented afterparty filled with delicious cocktails, live music and dancing. 

Event Details: sfsymphony.org/

(8) Autumn Moon Festival: A tradition dating back more than 1,000 years, the Autumn Moon Festival is a celebration of family and takes place on the fifteenth day of the 8th month (according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar), which is the day where the moon is at its fullest. It is celebrated around the world with fireworks, lantern lighting, dragon dances, visiting with friends & family and, of course, making mooncakes. The San Francisco Autumn Moon Festival takes place every September along Grant Avenue (between Broadway and California).

Event Details: moonfestival.org/index.html