San Francisco Travel Guide


Public Festivities

Third Monday in Feb - Presidents' Day
L ast Monday in May - Memorial Day
T hird Monday in Jan - Martin Luther King Jnr Day
11 Nov - Veterans Day
4 Jul - Independence Day
second Monday in Oct - Columbus Day
25 Dec - Christmas Day
fourth Thursday in Nov - Thanksgiving
first Monday in Sep - Labour Day
1 Jan - New Year's Day
Mar/Apr - Easter


Sea Lion’s Arrival
Bring your family to watch herds of barking sea lions returning to the Bay area. Join the crew at Pier 39 in mid-January for this annual event. Call (415) 705-5500 for more information.
Berlin and Beyond Film Festival
Castro Theater hosts a German language film fest providing highlights of recent European cinema. Call (415) 263-8760 for more information.
Independent Film Festival
Bay area directors are showcased at this annual two-week festival, beginning the last day of January, at the Roxie Cinema and Castro Theatre. Call (415) 227-2603 for more information.
Chinese New Year
Extended Chinese New Year Festivities include a parade, Chinese New Year Flower Fair and a Community Street Fair. Call (415) 982-3000 for more information.
Critical Mass
On the last Friday of every month, cyclists from all over the city take over the financial district’s Justin Herman Plaza at rush hour. What started as a protest over public transportation has now become a regular San Francisco event. Call (415) 227-2603 for more information.


Pacific Orchid Exposition
Don’t miss the annual display of San Francisco Orchid Society’s best collections, at the Fort Mason Center, located along San Francisco Bay between Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge, around the third week in February. Call (415) 546-9608 for more information.
California Antiquarian Book Fair
The world’s largest rare book fair also features manuscripts and related materials including maps and more. Call (415) 551-5190 for more information.
Annual Bon Appetit Wine & Spirits Focus
Crab fare from San Francisco’s top restaurants pair with leading regional wines at this annual gala at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion. Call (888) 343-6287 for more information.
Historic Fisherman’s Wharf Classic Car Exhibit
Cooking exhibitions, wine tasting, art and a parade of historic cars are part of this vehicular extravaganza. Call (415) 647-7078 for more information.
Victorian Valentines
On Valentine’s Day at 11 AM, you can ride the Roaring Camp Railroads, Santa Cruz Big Trees Railroad in Felton, and your valentine can ride for free! Just buy one steam train ticket, and present the love letter you wrote to your valentine. Call (831) 335-4484 for more information.
Ms. Chinatown USA Pageant
As part of the Chinese New Year celebration, the Palace of Fine Arts at 3301 Lyon St. hosts contestants from all over the country, who will compete for a chance at the Miss Asia title in Hong Kong. Call (415) 563-6504 for more information.


San Francisco International Asia American Film Festival
Attend the largest exhibition of Asian and Asian-American films in North America. Entries include works from India, Asia and North America, and will be shown in mid-March at the AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres. Call (415) 255-4299 for more information.
SF Jazz Spring Season
Concerts at various venues from March through June include family matinee performances. Call (415) 398-5655 for more information.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
One of the longest-running parades in the U.S. is celebrated with live music, dance, beverages and traditional Irish cuisine. Call (415) 675-9885 for more information.
San Francisco Flower & Garden Show
Among the nation’s largest spring shows, the Cow Palace event displays gardens, spring plantings, accessories, decorations and more. Call (800) 829-9751 for more information.
Street Performer’s Festival
Jugglers, unicyclists, slack rope walkers and other artistes comprise the famous Bay Area street performers. See this unique show on the last weekend in March, from noon to 5 PM, at the entrance plaza to Pier 39. Call (415) 705-5500 for more information.
Extraordinary Egg Hunt
Roaring Camp Railroads and The Santa Cruz Big Trees Railroads in Felton will be your host on the last weekend in March. Bring your children on a ride to Bear Mountain, and hunt for candy eggs in the redwood forest. Call (831) 335-4484 for more information.


Cherry Blossom Festival
Japantown turns the streets into a walking mall and street fair with vendor booths and parades, for this annual event. Spend a weekend enjoying Japanese food, origami and culture, in an annual celebration of the cherry blossom, mid-April. Call (415) 563-2313 for more information.
Bustamante Antiques Show and Sale
More than 140 prestigious dealers showcase a variety of fine art, furniture, jewelry, vintage timepieces and more at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion. Call (209) 358-3134 for more information.
Cambodian New Year Festival
Staged at the Scottish Rite Center, evening cultural programs feature performances of Khmer classical ballet and folk dance, plus social dance with a live band and a popular Cambodian vocalist. Call (408) 239-6296 for more information.
Opening Day on the Bay
San Francisco Bay kicks off each sailing season with a festive boat parade and blessing of the fleet, sponsored by Boat U.S. and nearly 100 northern California yacht clubs. Call (415) 823-6633 for more information.
Spring BBQ and Wine Tasting
New York steak barbecue, pasta con pesto, fresh Salinas Valley salad, and sweet treats are part of this tasting, featuring 13 wineries including Hecker Pass, Fortino, Kruse, Zanger, and Savannah Channelle. Festivities include live music, dancing and wine barrel rolling races, and designated drivers are recommended. Call (800) 842-6162 for more information.
Great Train Robbery
See wild west gun fights and a train robbery on the Roaring Camp Railroads, Santa Cruz Big Trees Railroads in Felton, mid-April. Call (831) 335-4484 for more information.
San Francisco International Film Festival
See over 200 hundred films and videos from more than 50 countries in this oldest annual American film festival, beginning mid-April. Films will be screened at the AMC Kabuki 8 Cinemas, near the corner of Fillmore and Post. Call (415) 931-FILM for more information.
San Francisco Wine Auction
For some three decades, the San Francisco Wine Auction presented by The Guardsmen has reigned as a spirited fundraiser for Bay area disadvantaged children. Pouring vintners include world-class entities such as Silver Oak, Heitz, Caymus and Nickel & Nickel. More than 50 live auction and 100 silent auction lots include extraordinary cult wines, vacations and more. Call (415) 561-2700 for more information.


Anatriptic Arts Expo
Attend the annual convention of healing arts and sciences, at Herbst Pavilion and the Cowell Theater, the first week in May. Practitioners of massage and other physical therapies will share the latest knowledge in their fields. Call (888) 925-HAND for more information.
Sea Music Festival
San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park at Hyde Street Pier presents local artists and performers from across the U.S to bring seafaring heritage alive on assorted stages. Call (415) 561-7000 for more information.
Asian Heritage Street Celebration
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.
PIER 39 May Music Mix
Music reigns at the PIER 39 Entrance Plaza on weekend afternoons all month with sounds of country, rock n’ roll, classic and oldies during the free concert series adding to the excitement of San Francisco Bay. Call (510 ) 588-5100 or (415) 705-5500 for more information.
Evergreen Fine Arts Festival
In San Jose, the Evergreen Fine Arts Festival at Evergreen Village Square over the Memorial Day holiday includes watercolors, photographs, ceramics, woodwork and other fine art presented by California’s finest artisans. Call (209) 296-1195 for more information.
Mural Awareness Month Festival
Celebrating muralism, muralists and Bay area community art, this annual festival at Precita Park includes live bands, children’s art activities and booths exhibiting art and merchandise. Free admission. Call (415) 285-2287 for more information.
San Francsico Bay to Breakers Footrace
The world’s largest footrace takes place as more than 70,000 runners in costume push off from the Embarcadero, heading to the Great Highway. Call (415) 359-2800 for more information.
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, mid-May. Call (415) 771-7020 for more information.
Art Bark Fest
Art Bark Fest, an animal art, wine and music festival showcasing more than 40 fine arts booths, attracts canine enthusiasts from throughout the Reno, Tahoe and Bay areas. Proceeds benefit the Tahoe-Truckee Humane Society Pet Network. Call (530) 583-9247 for more information.
Civil War Battles and Encampment
Santa Cruz Big Trees Railroads in Felton is sponsoring the annual reenactment of Civil War battles. Visit Union and Confederate camps, late May. Call (831) 335-4484 for more information.


The Great San Francisco Crystal Fair
Come to the Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St., for the annual exposition of crystals, gems, and people who know the healing and other properties of these stones, in early June. Call (415) 441-3400 for more information.
Assorted Film Festivals
At the largest, oldest event of its kind in the world, the San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival has more than 250 films. Call (415) 703-8650 for more information. The San Francisco Black Film Festival showcases a diverse collection from emerging and established filmmakers about African and African-American experiences. Call (415) 771-9271 for more information.
Fiesta Filipina
The biggest Filipino Festival in America celebrates independence with Filipino food, traditional dance and music with entertainment for all. Call (650) 871-6647 for more information.
Haight Street Fair
On the 2nd Sunday of every June, the Summer of Love is recreated in the Haight-Ashbury area, as thousands of people fill the streets. Call (415) 661-8025 for more information.
Ethnic Dance Festival
Various ethnic dance associations, from the Chinese Hui Tama Nui to the Samba de Coracao, showcase the city’s cultural diversity at the Palace of Fine Arts, 3301 Lyon St., starting the 2nd Saturday of every June. Call (415) 563-6504 for more information.


Red Bull Streets of San Francisco
Watch street luge champions compete for the title of Red Bull and a $10,000. prize as they plunge down the steepest and fastest streets of San Francisco, at Deharo Street, between Southern Heights and Mariposa, the last week of July. Call (310) 393-4647 for more information.
Fourth of July Celebrations
You will want to leave your car and take public transportation to these events along the Bay, which begin with a music festival at 2 PM, and end with fireworks beginning at 9:30 PM. The main event is sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle. Call (415) 227-2603 for more information.
Fourth of July at the Cannery, on Leavenworth Street at the foot of Columbus Street, has music all day leading up to fireworks. Call (415) 771-3112 for more information.
Fourth of July at Ghirardelli Square features live music and free children’s festivities. Call ( 415) 775-5500 for more information
Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
Between Jackson and Eddy streets, three stages have continuous jazz performances, along with more than 300 artist booths and international food courts. Call (510) 232-5030 for more information.
San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
Castro Theater and other venues within the Bay area showcase diversity and vitality of the Jewish Culture with works from American and international filmmakers. Call (415) 621-0556 for more information.
Mime Troupe in the Park
Every weekend, especially in mid-July, Washington Square Park at Columbus and Union Sts. hosts various members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe in satirical political sketches. This is a San Francisco tradition that should not be missed. Call (415) 227-2603 for more information.


AfroSolo Arts Festival
Bay Area artists of dance, theater, music, the spoken word and the visual arts are showcased throughout August at the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, 201 3rd St. Call (415) 227-2603 for more information.
San Francisco Aloha Festival
This arts event celebrates Pacific Isle culture, Polynesian dance, island food, music, ethnic arts and crafts. Call (415) 281-0221 for more information.
Golden Gateway to Gems
Sponsored for a half century by the San Francisco Gem and Mineral Society, this annual show and sale in Golden Gate Park sparkles with minerals, crystals and jewelry. Call (415) 564-4230 for more information.
Nihonmachi Street Fair
Lion dancers, taiko drummers, arts and crafts, musical entertainment, food and children’s events are part of this Japanese festival. Call (415) 771-9861 for more information.
ACC Craft Show
Arts and crafts of all kinds are displayed in the largest fair of its kind on the West Coast, at the Fort Mason Center, early to mid-August. Call (415) 896-5060 for more information.
Comedy Celebration Day
The city’s comic talent comes to Golden Gate Park on the 3rd Sunday in August to celebrate their art. Free food, and sometimes Margueritas, are supplied. Call (415) 386-5035 for more information.


Chocolate Festival
Celebrate chocolate in all its forms at Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St., around the second week in September. Compete in the sundae-eating contest and win your weight in chocolate. Call (415) 775-5500 for more information.
San Francisco Shakespeare Festival
Shakespearean classics unfold throughout the month on weekend afternoons in a tranquil environment near Golden Gate Park’s Conservatory of Flowers. Call (415) 865-4434 for more information.
Absolut a la Carte, a la Park
Over Labor Day weekend, come to Golden Gate Park and sample many of the city’s best restaurants at this outdoor festival of food, wine and beer. Call (510) 762-2277 for more information.
Fringe Festival
Theater companies from all over the world perform their favorite but lesser known works at the Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy St., in mid-September. Call (415) 931-1094 for more information.


Fleet Week
Pier 39, at Beach St. and The Embarcadero, celebrate the Navy’s birthday with live bands and an air show by the Blue Angels, during the second week in October. Call (415) 705-5500 for more information.
San Francisco Fall Antiques Show
As the West Coast’s oldest, continuously operating international antiques show, more than 70 dealers from America and Europe display and sell a broad range of collectibles at the Fort Mason Center. Call (415) 546-6661 for more information.
Octoberfest By The Bay
San Francisco’s annual event at the Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion features German music, dancing, culinary delights, beer, wine, and more. Call (888) 746-7522 for more information.
Castro Street Fair
Arts and crafts, street vendors and performers of all kinds highlight this colorful annual celebration in San Francisco’s gay district, during the first week in October. Call 415-467-3354 for more information.
International Vintage Poster Fair
Remember that poster you saw 20 years ago, and have not seen since then? It is probably here at the Fort Mason Center, mid-October, along with over 10,000 others dating back to the 1890s, at the oldest and largest poster fair anywhere. Call (415) 546-9608 for more information.


Dias de los Muertos
At the beginning of November, the Mission Cultural Center at 2868 Mission St. sponsors this Mexican celebration of ancestral spirits, with a colorful parade of costumes and plenty of food. Call (415) 821-1155 for more information.
Home Entertainment
This multi-day event showcases exclusive home theater, home audio and video of all levels with live music performances from jazz to classical. Call (212) 886-3681 for more information.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Ghirardelli Square
Caroling performances and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus precede the annual ceremonial lighting of the 50-foot holiday tree trimmed with ribbons, ornaments and oversized Ghirardelli chocolate bars. Call (415) 775-5500 for more information.
Jazz Festival
The best, and some of the newest, jazz musicians in the world are playing in the city’s restaurants and cafes through the first week in November. Call (800) 850-7353 for more information.


Craft Showcase
Take care of some of your Christmas shopping at the Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St., throughout December, as metal, clay, wood and glass sculptors display their works. Call (415) 775-0990 for more information.
Alcatraz Island
Guided and self-guided tours, maps and walking guides will be offered from mid-December. Exhibit and program themes include the history of Alcatraz, American prisons, and current trends in corrections. Evening tours also are available. Tickets are $22.00, discounted for seniors and children, and include round trip ferry, which departs from Pier 51 every half-hour between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Call (415) 705-1042 for more information.
Alcatraz Kidz Tourz
Nocturnal Alcatraz unfolds year-around on this award-winning tour departing Pier 41 via ferry for a family-oriented tour about Alcatraz history with great lighted Bay area views. Proceeds benefit preservation/restoration projects on Alcatraz and Golden Gate National Parks. In December, the Slime and Spine Tour for ages 5-12 hunts creatures of Alcatraz, and Holidays on the Rock shows how inmates spent their holidays. Call (415) 705-5555 for more information.
Old First Concerts
Founded in 1970, Old First Concerts, supported by several arts organizations, presents a series of choral events exploring musical influence of other cultures. Call (415) 474-1608 for more information.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
The Great Dickens event at the Cow Palace revives traditions of an old English Victorian Christmas with theaters, a music hall, dance parties, taverns, shops, stalls, food, street vendor and period costumes. Call (415) 897-4555 for more information.
San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
Experience Tchaikovsky’s traditional holiday ballet performed by the oldest and arguably one of the best ballet companies in the country, beginning mid-December, at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. Call (415) 865-2000 for more information.
Matzo Ball
From a humble start in a Boston bar, Matzo Ball bashes in more than a dozen cities including Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia have arrived in San Francisco at Ruby Skye as a holiday party for Jewish singles on the night before Christmas. Call (415) 693-0777 for more information.

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