The San Francisco Bay Area is a region steeped in culture, history, and innovation. Home to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, world-renowned technology companies, and an impressive arts scene, the Bay Area offers a plethora of experiences and attractions for both locals and visitors. With its diverse population and thriving creative community, it’s no wonder the region plays host to an impressive array of annual events. From festive parades to music festivals, and everything in between, the San Francisco Bay Area has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best annual events that showcase the rich tapestry of life in this remarkable region.
With an ever-evolving calendar of festivities, there’s never a dull moment in this dynamic city. From the bright colors of the Chinese New Year Parade to the exhilarating beats of the Outside Lands Music Festival, San Francisco offers something for everyone, no matter the season. Embrace your inner foodie at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, indulge in artistic expression at the Folsom Street Fair, or revel in the holiday spirit during the city’s SantaCon.
San Francisco’s rich tapestry of events attracts visitors from all corners of the globe, eager to immerse themselves in the city’s eclectic atmosphere and diverse offerings. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, the city’s annual events provide endless opportunities to connect, explore, and create unforgettable memories.
So come along and discover the remarkable array of experiences that await you in San Francisco. From the fog-kissed shores of the bay to the busy streets of its unique neighborhoods, there’s always a new adventure to be found. With so many incredible events to choose from, you’ll soon see why San Francisco is a destination that truly has it all. Get ready to embrace the magic of the City by the Bay and create memories that will last a lifetime!
Annual Events in The San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Pub Crawls
St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl (LepraCon)
An annual celebration of Irish heritage and festive spirits, the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, also known as LepraCon, takes participants on a lively journey through some of San Francisco’s most popular bars and pubs. Donning green attire and a love for all things Irish, crawlers enjoy drink specials, themed games, and camaraderie as they explore the city’s vibrant nightlife.
415 Day Pub Crawl
Celebrating San Francisco’s original area code, the 415 Day Pub Crawl is a local tradition that brings together residents and visitors to appreciate the city’s unique culture and history. Participants embark on a spirited expedition through various bars and pubs, enjoying drink specials, music, and the opportunity to make new friends while celebrating their love for the City by the Bay.
Cinco De Mayo Pub Crawl (SanFranCinco)
The Cinco De Mayo Pub Crawl, or SanFranCinco, is a lively annual event that commemorates the Mexican holiday with a festive bar-hopping experience. Participants don their best sombreros and colorful attire as they explore San Francisco’s bustling nightlife, enjoying drink specials, themed games, and a festive atmosphere that embodies the spirit of Cinco De Mayo.
Fourth of July Pub Crawl
A spirited celebration of America’s independence, the Fourth of July Pub Crawl takes participants on a patriotic journey through San Francisco’s popular bars and pubs. With drink specials, themed games, and a festive atmosphere, this annual event is a fun and social way to celebrate the nation’s birthday and enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife.
San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl (Crawloween)
A spooktacular event for those who love Halloween, the San Francisco Halloween Pub Crawl, also known as Crawloween, invites participants to don their scariest, funniest, or most creative costumes and embark on a spirited adventure through the city’s lively bars and pubs. This annual event features drink specials, costume contests, and a festive atmosphere that makes for a wickedly fun night out.
San Francisco Tiki Party Pub Crawl (Crawltiki)
Transporting participants to a tropical paradise, the San Francisco Tiki Party Pub Crawl, or Crawltiki, is an annual event that celebrates Polynesian culture and the city’s vibrant bar scene. Donning Hawaiian shirts and grass skirts, crawlers enjoy exotic cocktails, tiki-themed games, and live music as they explore various bars and pubs, creating a festive island atmosphere in the heart of San Francisco.
San Francisco Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl (Sweatercon)
A playful and cozy celebration of the holiday season, the San Francisco Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl, or Sweatercon, invites participants to don their most outrageous holiday sweaters and embark on a festive journey through the city’s popular bars and pubs. With drink specials, holiday-themed games, and a warm and merry atmosphere, this annual event is the perfect way to spread cheer and enjoy the city’s lively nightlife.
Annual Events by Month
SF Sketchfest is a nationally renowned comedy festival that spans over two weeks, featuring an impressive lineup of comedians, improv troupes, sketch groups, and film screenings. With performances taking place in various venues throughout the city, SF Sketchfest provides a platform for both established and emerging comedic talent.
FOG Design+Art Fair
The FOG Design+Art Fair is a prestigious annual event that brings together art and design enthusiasts, collectors, and professionals. The fair showcases a diverse range of contemporary art, photography, design, and furniture, with exhibits from established and emerging artists and galleries.
Chinese New Year Parade & Festival
An integral part of San Francisco’s cultural heritage, the Chinese New Year Parade and Festival is a vibrant celebration that ushers in the Lunar New Year. Drawing over a million spectators, this colorful event features dragon and lion dances, elaborate floats, marching bands, and the famous 268-foot Golden Dragon. The accompanying festival boasts traditional Chinese music, dance performances, and a wide array of delicious food. Fun fact: San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Parade is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Asia.
Noise Pop Festival
The Noise Pop Festival is an annual indie music, arts, and film festival that takes place in various venues across the Bay Area. Established in 1993, this week-long event showcases emerging and established artists from a variety of genres, including rock, electronic, and hip-hop. In addition to music, the festival also features art shows, film screenings, and panel discussions, making it a must-attend event for indie culture enthusiasts.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival
An annual celebration of Irish culture, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival brings together the Bay Area’s Irish community and those who appreciate the rich history and traditions of Ireland. The parade features colorful floats, marching bands, and lively performances. The accompanying festival offers live music, dancing, and plenty of Irish food and beverages, making for a fun-filled day for the whole family.
San Francisco International Chocolate Salon
The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon is an annual event that brings together artisan chocolate makers, confectioners, and chocolate enthusiasts for a day of tastings, demonstrations, and discussions. Attendees have the opportunity to taste and purchase a wide variety of chocolates, as well as learn about the latest trends and techniques in the world of chocolate.
Bay to Breakers
A true testament to the Bay Area’s spirit of fun and community, Bay to Breakers is a 12K race that takes participants from the Embarcadero to Ocean Beach. This unique event, which began in 1912, embraces creativity and individuality, with runners often donning elaborate costumes as they traverse the city. Bay to Breakers is not only a celebration of athleticism but also a testament to the city’s camaraderie and inclusivity.
Stern Grove Festival
A beloved San Francisco tradition since 1938, the Stern Grove Festival is an annual summer concert series held in the beautiful Sigmund Stern Grove. This free event showcases a diverse lineup of performers, ranging from local artists to internationally acclaimed acts, spanning various genres like jazz, classical, pop, and world music. The festival also offers interactive arts workshops and pre-concert talks, providing an immersive experience for attendees.
San Francisco Pride Parade & Celebration
One of the largest and most significant LGBTQ+ events in the world, the San Francisco Pride Parade and Celebration is a weekend-long event that commemorates and celebrates diversity, love, and acceptance. With over 200 parade contingents, 20 stages and venues, and an estimated 1 million attendees, San Francisco Pride is an unforgettable experience filled with joy, unity, and activism.
San Francisco Marathon
The San Francisco Marathon is a premier annual running event that attracts thousands of participants from around the world. The race offers a full marathon, two half marathons, a 5K, and an ultramarathon, providing options for runners of all levels. The scenic course takes runners through iconic neighborhoods and landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, and AT&T Park. The event not only challenges athletes but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment among participants.
San Francisco Hot Dog Eating Contest
A fun-filled and stomach-challenging event, the San Francisco Hot Dog Eating Contest pits competitive eaters against each other in a race to consume as many hot dogs as possible in a set amount of time. Participants and spectators alike gather for this entertaining display of gastronomic prowess, cheering on the contestants as they attempt to break records and claim victory.
Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival
Held in the picturesque Golden Gate Park, the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival is a three-day event that showcases some of the biggest names in music, as well as local talents. But it’s not just about the music – this festival also offers a culinary extravaganza, with over 80 Bay Area restaurants, food trucks, and vendors participating. Additionally, the event features art installations, live painting, and even a dedicated area for wine and beer tastings.
San Francisco Fringe Festival
The San Francisco Fringe Festival is an annual independent theater festival showcasing a variety of performances, including drama, comedy, dance, and more. The festival offers an opportunity for emerging and established artists to present their work in an intimate and accessible setting.
Oakland Pride Parade & Festival
The Oakland Pride Parade & Festival is an annual event that celebrates the diversity and inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community in Oakland and the greater San Francisco Bay Area. The event features a colorful parade, live music, food and drink vendors, and various performances, creating a festive atmosphere that welcomes everyone.
Fleet Week San Francisco
A celebration of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, Fleet Week San Francisco is a week-long event that brings together civilians and military personnel. The highlight of Fleet Week is the awe-inspiring air show featuring the famous Blue Angels. Other attractions include ship tours, military band performances, and a parade of ships sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
This free, three-day music festival held in Golden Gate Park showcases a wide range of musical genres, with a focus on bluegrass and Americana. Featuring more than 90 acts on multiple stages, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has become a beloved San Francisco tradition that attracts music lovers from around the world.
Napa Valley Film Festival
The Napa Valley Film Festival is an annual event that showcases independent films and documentaries from around the world. Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Napa Valley wine country, the festival offers film screenings, panel discussions, and special events, as well as opportunities to interact with filmmakers and industry professionals.
Illuminate SF Festival of Light
Running from November to December, the Illuminate SF Festival of Light transforms San Francisco into a citywide gallery of light art installations. This annual event features various light-based artworks created by local and international artists, displayed in public spaces throughout the city.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Step back in time and experience the magic of Victorian London at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. This annual event transports visitors to the world of Charles Dickens, complete with costumed characters, festive decorations, and a variety of entertainment options. The fair offers shopping, dining, and performances, making it a unique holiday experience for the whole family.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks
One of the city’s most anticipated annual events, the New Year’s Eve Fireworks show lights up the sky over the Embarcadero waterfront. Thousands of people gather along the shoreline, at nearby parks, and on boats to witness the dazzling display, ushering in the new year with a festive atmosphere.
San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
A holiday tradition, the San Francisco Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is a must-see event. This enchanting ballet performance features stunning sets, costumes, and choreography, creating a magical experience for audiences of all ages.
San Francisco SantaCon
San Francisco SantaCon is an annual gathering of people dressed as Santa Claus and other holiday characters. This festive and spirited event involves participants visiting various bars and pubs throughout the city, spreading holiday cheer, and enjoying drink specials. SantaCon has become a popular tradition in San Francisco and other cities around the world, bringing together people who want to celebrate the season in a fun and unconventional way.
San Francisco Street Fairs
The Bay Area hosts numerous street fairs throughout the year, celebrating the city’s diverse neighborhoods and communities. Some popular street fairs include the Union Street Festival, North Beach Festival, and the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair. These events typically feature live music, local artisans, food vendors, and family-friendly activities, providing an enjoyable day out for all ages.
Annual Street Fairs:
Union Street Festival
Taking place in June, the Union Street Festival is a celebration of the Union Street neighborhood. The fair features food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, and more. Admission is free.
Union Street Festival
Where: Marina District
Highlights: Local artists, crafts vendors, gourmet food booths, wine and beer gardens, and live entertainment.
Address: Union St between Gough St and Steiner St, San Francisco, CA 94123
North Beach Festival
Taking place in June, the North Beach Festival is one of the oldest street fairs in San Francisco. The fair features live music, Italian food vendors, arts and crafts, and more. The festival is located in the North Beach neighborhood and admission is free.
North Beach Festival
Where: North Beach District
Highlights: Over 100 arts and crafts booths, 20 gourmet food booths, two stages with live entertainment, Italian street painting, a kids’ chalk art area, and a blessing of the animals ceremony.
Address: Grant Ave & Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133
Haight-Ashbury Street Fair
Taking place in June, the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair is a celebration of the hippie culture that once defined the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. The fair features live music, arts and crafts vendors, food, and more. Admission is free.
Haight-Ashbury Street Fair
Where: Haight-Ashbury District
Highlights: Live music, arts and crafts vendors, food booths, and a focus on celebrating the neighborhood’s historic roots in the counterculture movement.
Address: Haight St between Masonic Ave and Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Fillmore Jazz Festival
Taking place in July, the Fillmore Jazz Festival is a celebration of jazz music in San Francisco. The festival features live music on multiple stages, food vendors, arts and crafts, and more. Admission is free.
Fillmore Jazz Festival
Where: Fillmore District
Highlights: Free live jazz performances on multiple stages, art, craft and food vendors, and a dedicated kids’ zone with games and activities.
Address: Fillmore St between Jackson St and Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94115
Castro Street Fair
Taking place in October, the Castro Street Fair is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco. The fair features live music, dance performances, food vendors, and more. The fair is located in the heart of the Castro District and is free to attend.
Castro Street Fair
Where: Castro District
Highlights: Live entertainment on multiple stages, street vendors, food and drinks, and a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and Castro neighborhood’s history.
Address: Castro St & Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
How Weird Street Faire
Taking place in May, the How Weird Street Faire is an eclectic celebration of art, music, and creativity. The fair is held in the SoMa neighborhood and features live music, performance art, food vendors, and more. Admission is $20.
How Weird Street Faire
Where: South of Market (SoMa) District
Highlights: A colorful and eclectic gathering celebrating art, music, and creativity, featuring multiple stages of electronic music, live performances, interactive art installations, and unique vendor booths.
Address: Howard St & 2nd St, San Francisco, CA 94105
Folsom Street Fair
Taking place in September, the Folsom Street Fair is a celebration of the BDSM and leather community in San Francisco. The fair features live music, performance art, and more. The festival is located in the SoMa neighborhood and admission is free.
Folsom Street Fair
Where: South of Market (SoMa) District
Highlights: A celebration of alternative lifestyles and the leather, kink, and fetish communities, featuring live music, DJs, performance artists, vendor booths, and public play stations. This event is for adults only (18+).
Address: Folsom St between 8th St and 13th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Professional Sports in the San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area is a sports lover’s paradise, with a huge array of professional and college teams providing thrilling action and endless excitement throughout the year. From the roar of the crowd at a football game to the nail-biting tension of a basketball playoff, the Bay Area offers sporting spectacles that cater to fans of all ages and interests. In this article, we’ll explore the annual professional sports scene in the San Francisco Bay Area, highlighting the region’s most beloved teams, their iconic venues, and the schedules that define their seasons.
Major League Baseball (MLB):
The Bay Area is home to two Major League Baseball teams, the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. The Giants, playing at the beautiful Oracle Park, have a rich history that includes multiple World Series titles. Their season typically begins in April and concludes in October. Across the bay, the Oakland Athletics showcase their talent at the Oakland Coliseum. Baseball fans can enjoy thrilling action and intense rivalries between these two teams throughout the summer months.
National Football League (NFL):
When it comes to football, the Bay Area is represented by the San Francisco 49ers, who play their home games at the state-of-the-art Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. With a storied history that includes multiple Super Bowl championships, the 49ers’ season kicks off in September and runs through January, with the potential for playoff appearances extending into February.
National Basketball Association (NBA):
The Golden State Warriors, the Bay Area’s NBA team, have garnered a loyal fan base thanks to their recent success and multiple championships. Playing at the Chase Center in San Francisco, the Warriors’ season begins in October and concludes in April, with playoffs potentially extending into June.
National Hockey League (NHL):
For ice hockey enthusiasts, the San Jose Sharks represent the Bay Area in the NHL. Playing at the SAP Center in San Jose, the Sharks’ season typically starts in October and runs through April, with playoff games potentially extending into June. The Sharks have a passionate fan base and have made multiple appearances in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Major League Soccer (MLS):
Soccer fans can enjoy the beautiful game with the San Jose Earthquakes, the Bay Area’s MLS team. The Earthquakes play at the purpose-built PayPal Park in San Jose, with a season that usually spans from February to October. The team has a dedicated following and competes against top-tier soccer clubs from across the United States and Canada.
The San Francisco Bay Area is also home to several prominent college sports programs, with the Stanford Cardinal and California Golden Bears being the most notable. Both universities compete in the NCAA Division I and are part of the Pac-12 Conference. Football, basketball, and baseball are just a few of the sports in which these universities excel, offering fans a chance to witness the development of future professional athletes.
Annual Activities and Unique Adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area
The Bay Area’s natural beauty provides a stunning backdrop for an array of outdoor activities throughout the year. Experience the thrill of sailing on the picturesque San Francisco Bay, where you can take sailing lessons or join a sunset cruise. Alternatively, explore the region’s numerous parks and hiking trails, such as the majestic Muir Woods or the breathtaking Mount Tamalpais. For adrenaline seekers, the annual Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon offers a challenging test of endurance with a swim, bike ride, and run through the scenic landscape.
Art and Culture:
San Francisco boasts a rich artistic and cultural heritage, with annual events that celebrate creative expression in all its forms. The San Francisco International Arts Festival showcases an eclectic mix of performances, from dance to theater, while the Sausalito Art Festival features works from talented local and national artists. The annual SF Sketchfest brings together the best of comedy, from stand-up to improv, offering a hearty dose of laughter.
Food and Wine Festivals:
The Bay Area is a food lover’s paradise, with annual events that celebrate the region’s culinary diversity and world-class wine offerings. The Eat Drink SF festival highlights the city’s vibrant food scene, featuring tastings, demonstrations, and workshops led by renowned local chefs. Wine enthusiasts can indulge in the Napa Valley Wine Auction or the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, where they can sample the region’s finest vintages.
Music and Entertainment:
From intimate venues to large-scale festivals, the Bay Area’s music scene offers something for everyone. The annual Outside Lands Music Festival, held in the picturesque Golden Gate Park, brings together a stellar lineup of international acts and local talent. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival offers a more laid-back atmosphere, featuring a diverse range of bluegrass and Americana artists.
San Francisco is renowned for its LGBTQ+ community and its vibrant, inclusive celebrations. The annual San Francisco Pride Parade and Festival is a must-attend event, with a colorful parade, live music, and community engagement. The Folsom Street Fair, which focuses on alternative lifestyles and the leather and fetish scenes, is another popular event that showcases the city’s diversity and inclusivity.
The Bay Area comes alive with holiday cheer each year, offering a variety of festive events for all ages. The Great Dickens Christmas Fair transports visitors to Victorian London, complete with costumed characters and festive decorations. For those looking for a more unconventional celebration, the San Francisco SantaCon brings together participants dressed as Santa Claus and other holiday characters for a lively pub crawl.
Upcoming San Francisco Events
Depeche Mode: Memento Mori Tour at the Chase Center
Bruce Springsteen at Chase Center
Santacon San Francisco
49ers Shuttle Bus to Levi’s Stadium (Niners vs. Seahawks)
San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco Events
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