- HOW WEIRD STREET FAIRE – Howard and Second Streets – Billed as a “street fair for the 21st century,” the event includes nine stages of music over seven city blocks; food and vendors from around the world, and educational booths. Described by the organizers as a place “where weird is normal,” How Weird celebrates technology, creativity and just being your oddball self with interactive art and games, ten stages of music, and free dance lessons. Wearing a costume that ties in with the annual theme (2014 was outer space) is compulsory.
- ASIAN ART MUSEUM FREE ADMISSION DAY – The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian Art, with a collection of over 17,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years of history. Normally $12, the museum offers free admission every first Sunday the month. Special exhibits may require a fee.
DeYOUNG MUSEUM: FREE DAY – The de Young’s collection exceeds 27,000 works of art and is renowned for its holdings in American art of all periods, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and works on paper; the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and costumes and textiles representing a wide variety of Eastern and Western traditions. Learn more.
CONSERVATORY: FREE DAY – The Conservatory of Flowers displays over 1,700 species of rare, exotic, and endangered plants from more than 50 countries. Opened in 1879, the iconic wood and glass greenhouse is the oldest existing conservatory of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. Admission is normally $5 for SF residents ($8 for everyone else), but it’s free to all visitors on the first Tuesday of every month. Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm (last entry is at 4 pm).
- LEGION OF HONOR FREE ADMISSION DAY – The Legion of Honor displays a collection of 4,000 years of ancient and European art in an exquisite Beaux-Arts building in an unforgettable setting overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Normally admission is $10 for adults, but on the first Tuesday of each month admission is free (special exhibition fees still apply). Muni riders with a Fast Pass or transfer receive a $2 discount. This discount is available in person at the time of purchase only, and does not apply to internet sales.
SF ZOO: FREE ADMISSION DAY – The San Francisco Zoo is Northern California’s largest zoological park and conservation center. This urban oasis provides a comfortable climate all year round. There are 250 different animal species in naturalistic surroundings, along with their many zoo activities and events. Located at Great Highway between Skyline and Sloat Boulevards. Admission is free for SF residents only (valid ID required). Free admission ends at 3 pm.
- ANNUAL SPRING PLANT SALE – The SF Botanical Garden shares its legacy of conservation and propagation with the public at the Bay Area’s largest plant sale featuring over 2,500 different kinds of plants with a dazzling variety of drought tolerant choices.
- CINCO DE MAYO – Dolores Park, Dolores Street between 18th and 20th Streets – This is when the Latino community celebrates the victory of the Mexicans over the French at Puebla in 1862; mariachi bands, dancers, food, and revelers fill the streets of the Mission. Bring a picnic basket and enjoy music, kid’s activities, entertainment, food, arts and crafts all day. Family-friendly, alcohol free.
- OYSTERFEST – San Francisco Oysterfest is the largest Oyster festival on the West Coast drawing over 250,000 people to date. Over half a million succulent oysters have willingly sacrificed themselves over the years. The unique combination of oysters and stout is supported by a great cast of talented artists performing live music all day. New additions to this years event are even more oyster vendors and a new wine and oyster pairing tent.
MAY 7, 14, 21
HERON WATCH at Stow Lake, GG Park – Observe the magnificent Great Blue Herons and their newborn chicks using spotting scopes, as naturalists show you these magnificent birds and explain their behavior during the spring nesting season. These magnificent 4-ft tall birds with 6-ft wingspans fly in and out of the nests, brood and feed their chicks, etc. Interns and volunteers from the San Francisco Nature Education will let you peek into the Great Blue Herons’ nests and answer questions.
- INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL – The International Children’s Festival is organized by Pacifca Institute’s Bay Area branches in Golden Gate Park San Francisco. It is an entertaining event that joins together international communities of California. The Children’s Festival includes the famous folk dances of many countries, handcrafts, calligraphy, and music groups and food.
- SFMADEWEEK – Citywide – SFMade presents a week-long celebration of San Francisco’s vibrant manufacturing sector; discover locally made products, the people who make them and where to buy them. SFMade’s mission is to build and support a vibrant manufacturing sector in San Francisco—one that sustains companies producing locally-made products, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, and creates employment opportunities for a diverse local workforce.
- SF BOTANICAL GARDEN: FREE DAY – Escape to a unique 55-acre urban oasis of extraordinary beauty at San Francisco Botanical Garden, showcasing over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world.
TASTE OF POTRERO – This evening of food and drink benefits local education. Organized by Daniel Webster Elementary School PTA. 100% of the proceeds go directly to support educational and enrichment programs for the diverse and passionate community.
SAN FRANCISCO ART INSTITUTE MFA EXHIBIT – See Master of Fine Arts students’ work, from the Bay Area’s famous art school, on display at the Herbst Pavilion. On the Edge of the Bay, 91 artists transform Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture into a sprawling exhibition of new work. Contemporary installations, painting, sound, video, sculpture, photography, printmaking, performance, and hybrid forms come together for an exclusive three-day-only exhibition.
SFMOMA RE-OPENING CELEBRATION – The newly expanded SFMOMA will finally reopen on Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 10 am to 8 pm. An opening ceremony will be held at 9 am and free admission will be offered for the entire day. With nearly triple its previous gallery space, SFMOMA will showcase 260 works from the distinguished Doris and Donald Fisher Collection of postwar and contemporary art; more than 600 works of art exhibited for the first time; cherished favorites from its permanent collection; and recent work commissioned for the new museum.
- CELEBRATING THE MAIN LIBRARY’S 20TH BIRTHDAY – Enjoy an afternoon of music, folk dance, poetry reading, magic and other performances by local artists. In addition, there will be a fun question and answer session with prizes. Plus Trivia questions of the Main Library’s history, collection, eResources, computers, programs, classes, Affinity Centers, special services, etc. The program will be conducted in English and Chinese.
- BAY TO BREAKERS – The Embarcadero to the Great Hwy – Since 1912, tens of thousands of people have gathered in San Francisco to see the world’s largest footrace unfold as more than 70,000 costume-clad runners and walkers make their way from San Francisco Bay, a few blocks from the Embarcadero, to the Great Highway where the breakers crash onto the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach.
MAY 19-JUNE 5
- SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL – Fort Mason Center – Performances by more than 70 theater, dance and music ensembles from the Bay Area and 10 countries unfold in the space of three action packed weeks. The festival features a major arts exhibition as well as multiple educational, residency and outreach activities.
- ASIAN HERITAGE STREET CELEBRATION – Civic Center Plaza and Little Saigon – A celebration of all Asian cultures, the Asian Heritage Street Celebration promotes and fosters Asian Pacific American identity; live entertainment and more than 100 vendors makes this one of the largest pan-Asian events in the U.S. At the Japan Center on Post Street, the day-long Asian Heritage Street Celebration, recognizing Asian Pacific American Heritage month, hosts live entertainment, a variety of multi-lingual booths, food and drink, and special performances. Call (415) 321-5869 for more information.
- SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL BEER FESTIVAL – Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion – Sample more than 300 incredible beers from some of the best craft brewers in the world as well as a variety of offerings from some of San Francisco’s best restaurants. Must be 21 or over to enter.
- CARNAVAL – Mission District – Celebrating its 38th anniversary, this is San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras and one of the largest annual public events in the city. It features exotic Carnaval dancers with a mixture of Latino, jazz, samba, Caribbean influences. Festive parade on Sunday morning draws upon a broad cultural pageantry.
- ALCATRAZ CHALLENGE SWIM – 1.5 mile swim course begins near Alcatraz Island and finishes at the East Beach of Crissy Field located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Presidio Park.