What to do now in San Francisco

Things to Do in San Francisco This Weekend

What to do this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area
(©San Francisco Travel Association) What to do this weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area

Here are our top picks for making the most of the weekend, July 28-30, 2017. 

For more ongoing events and exhibitions check our calendar

 

San Francisco Portal at Crissy Field

San Francisco Portal at Crissy Field

Gold shipping containers allow visitors to interact face-to-face with someone in an identical portal elsewhere in the world. Since launch in December 2014, Portals have connected more than 30,000 people across 20 countries in one-on-one dialogues. FreeJuly 20 - September 24.

pianoSonoma Music Festival

pianoSonoma Music Festival

The festival’s superstar talents from The Juilliard School  and the New England Conservatory . Throughout the Festival, the Artists in Residence will collaborate and mentor adult Festival participants. During the Vino & Vibrato Concert Series, the Artists will be featured in four evenings of public concerts, which blend a wine tasting with a performance. Schroeder Hall at the Green Music Center, July 23-Aug. 5.

Lino Tagliapietra at Montague Gallery

Lino Tagliapietra at Montague Gallery, San Francisco

Montague Gallery, San Francisco’s only contemporary fine art glass gallery, presents the work of Italian glassblower Lino Tagliapietra. Widely considered the best glassblower alive, Tagliapietra has been blowing glass for more than 70 years, and his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world, including San Francisco’s de Young Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum of London and Metropolitan Museum of New York. Through August 12. 

La Cage aux Folles at SF Playhouse

La Cage Aux Folles at SF Playhouse

Winner of six Tony Awards including Best Musical, La Cage aux Folles glimmers with French flair and celebrates love, romance, and being true to who you really are. La Cage was later turned into a popular movie, The Birdcage, starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. July 12-Sept. 16

“WildCard” at Exploratorium

WildCard at Exploratorium in SF

Armed with box cutters and glue guns, the artists of the Cardboard Institute of Technology are at the Exploratorium this summer to bring a cardboard cosmos to life: “Welcome to WildCard.Through Sept. 4. 

Summer with the Symphony

Summer with the San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony’s Summer with the Symphony series (July 4-29) begins with the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. Three concerts celebrate film scores, including a screening of “The Music of John Williams” accompanied by a live orchestral performance (July 6-7), “Jaws” (July 13-14) and “Pixar in Concert” (July 15-16). Other highlights include a Ben Folds concert (July 21) and “A Beethoven Celebration” (July 27). 

SF Mime Troupe Presents “Walls”

SF Mime Troupe Presents “Walls”

SF Mime Troupe opens its 58th year of free Musical Political Theatre in the park with “Walls,” a musical about immigration and fear.  Shows are free in Bay Area Parks. July 1-Sept.10. 

“Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed” at SFMOMA

Edvard Munch at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The Norwegian Expressionist best known for painting “The Scream” was one of the most celebrated and controversial artists of his time. The exhibition features 45 works by Munch (1863-1944) about art, love, mortality and the ravages of time. Six of the paintings on display have never been exhibited in the United States. June 24-Oct. 9.  

Dancing Under the Stars at Jack London Square

Held every Friday this summer at the waterfront property, features a free thirty-minute dance lesson in styles such as the cha cha, rumba, salsa and jitterbug. Immediately following the lessons, guests are invited to participate in a music dance party8:30-10 pm through August 25.

“Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade” at the Legion of Honor

“Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade” at the Legion of Honor  in San Francisco

The exhibit features 60 Impressionist paintings and pastels by Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. June 24-Sept. 24.

Stern Grove Festival

 Stern Grove Festival

This 80 year-old series presents concerts every Sunday at 2 pm, opening with The Big Picnic starring Kool and the Gang. June 25-August 27.

Summer of Love Illumination at Conservatory of Flowers

Summer of Love Illumination at Conservatory of Flowers

A light art installation projected on the landmark Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Summer of Love. Nightly from sundown to midnight. June 21-Oct. 21.

“Flower Power” at Asian Art Museum

“Flower Power” at Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

During the Summer of Love, flowers became a powerful symbol of peace — a concept plucked from Buddhist art. In fact, botanical imagery has been used in Asian art to convey ideas from the refined to the revolutionary for thousands of years. This summer, uncover this hidden language of flowers at the Asian Art Museum. June 23-Oct. 1. 

“Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle”

 The Art of Eyvind Earle”

On view this month at the Walt Disney Family Museum, “Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle” explores the life and work of Earle, best known as the lead stylist for “Sleeping Beauty” and for concept art for both “Lady and the Tramp” and “Peter Pan.” The first-ever Eyvind Earle museum retrospective features more than 250 works, large-scale concept artworks, elaborate landscapes, scratchboards, sculpture, poetry and commercial illustrations. May 18-Jan. 8, 2018. 

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, San Francisco

The annual festival presents more than 100 free performing arts programs from music, poetry and dance to theater, circus and children’s activities. Performances feature artists from around the world, including the Grammy award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, led by Arturo O'Farrill, which will kick off the festival on May 7. Through Oct. 29 

“The Summer of Love Experience” at the de Young Museum

The Summer of Love Experience at the de Young Museum, San Francisco

This exhibition is of iconic rock posters, photographs, interactive music and light shows, costumes and textiles, ephemera, and avant-garde films. A 50th anniversary celebration of the adventurous and colorful counterculture that blossomed in the years surrounding the legendary San Francisco summer of 1967. April 8-Aug. 20.

Off the Grid: Presidio Picnic

 Presidio Picnic, San Francisco

Hosted by The Presidio Trust and Off the Grid, Presidio Picnic is back at the Main Parade Ground Lawn of The Presidio. Open every Sunday from 11 am-4 pm.  Bring a blanket and enjoy food trucks, drinks, games and music. Make it a party picnic with pre-orders. July 30.

Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center

 Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Bay Area’s street food market returns to Fort Mason Center. Off the Grid open its seventh season with a diverse selection of food vendors and live music that distinguishes this Friday night. This expanded weekly event will have a rotating lineup featuring 13 food trucks and 15 open-air kitchen vendors, 2 bars and popular local bands and DJs. July 28 from 5-10 pm.

 

 

 

 

What to Do in the San Francisco Bay Area, July 28-30, 2017.

Big Sur and Highway 1: What Travelers Need to Know About the Landslide

You can still see Big Sur along Highway 1 despite the recent landslide.
Pacific Coast Highway
The Pacific Coast Highway stretches along California's coast. (©Doug Meek/Shutterstock)

The Pacific Coast Highway has a giant kink in it after a major landslide on May 20, 2017, and travelers taking a perfect coastal road trip are being routed around the closed area. 

Planning a road trip through California? Don't cancel the plans just yet. The iconic road stretches more than 600 miles along California's coast: the affected section is a 30-mile stretch between Big Sur and Ragged Point, California; the highway is open north and south of the destruction.

Travelers can avoid the closed section by taking the inland State Route 101, bypassing the closed area. The scenic 17-mile drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Carmel, California—a quaint, seaside town—is a trip beloved by locals. Roadtrippers can continue through Big Sur, as the town itself is also open.

Bixby Bridge in Big Sur, California

What You Need to Know About SF Pride

San Francisco Pride Parade
(©SF Travel/Scott Chernis) San Francisco Pride Parade

The SF Pride Celebration returns to downtown San Francisco June 24-25, attracting hundreds of thousands of revelers for the annual parade and festival. Now in its 47th year, SF Pride is the largest LGBT gathering in the nation, and this year the theme is "A Celebration of Diversity." In addition to the main celebration, dozens of events kick off in neighborhoods around town, including, of course, the city’s historic Castro District, home to SF’s queer community since the 1960s.

San Francisco Pride Parade

Civic Center Plaza Park at the foot of City Hall will host the main festival (noon-6 pm Saturday, 11 am-6 pm Sunday), where you’ll find over 200 exhibitors and more than 20 stages and venues. Sunday’s parade of more than 240 contingents and floats will make its way from the Embarcadero through the heart of downtown San Francisco to the Civic Center festival. Dykes on Bikes, a longtime parade staple, celebrates its 41st anniversary this year with a fleet of nearly 400 riders. This year also features the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus as well as local activists recognized for their contributions to the LGBT community as the parade’s grand marshals.

Rainbow float at the SF Pride Parade

The Castro District, the historic home of San Francisco’s LGBT movement, will be celebrating Pride all month with a variety of special events. The GLBT Museum is the only one of its kind in the U.S., and is home to a must-see collection of posters, photographs and artifacts, including a display of Harvey Milk’s personal belongings. Speaking of Harvey Milk, be sure to stop by the Human Rights Campaign Action Center & Store at 575 Castro St. The building is the former site of Milk’s Castro Camera shop, where he also lived and organized his political campaigns. As you walk the streets of the Castro, you’ll notice the Rainbow Honor Walk, a series of bronze plaques honoring LGBT heroes. You can follow the sidewalk tribute from the heart of the Castro down Market Street, and on the way, rainbow crosswalks adorn the intersection of Castro and 18th streets.

San Francisco’s LGBT movement

The Castro is home to some of the city’s top eateries and bars. Twin Peaks Tavern, known as the “gateway to the Castro,” was the first gay bar in the country to feature huge glass windows, an important first step in bringing the gay community out of the closet. The Lookout is the Castro’s most popular bar and features an almost always packed balcony overlooking the intersection of 16th and Market streets. Perhaps the most acclaimed Castro restaurant, Frances is a neighborhood gem serving up modern California cuisine that changes with the seasons. Another neighborhood gem, the Michelin-recommended Anchor Oyster Bar has been a top seafood destination since 1977.

The Lookout balcony crowd

DATEBOOK

-Frameline, The SF International LGBT Film Festival

The historic Castro Theatre and other Bay Area venues host the longest-running and largest LGBTQ film event in the world. June 15-25

-SF Gay Men’s Chorus Presents “The Gay Kitchen Sink”

The SF Gay Men’s Chorus performs LGBT anthems from across generations, including Holly Near's "Singing for Our Lives" and Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" at the Nourse Theater. June 16-17.

-Annual Pink Triangle Installation and Commemoration

Volunteers install a giant pink triangle on top of Twin Peaks starting at 7 am, followed by a commemoration ceremony at 10:30 am. June 24.

-LGBT Night at AT&T Park

Tickets to the game include a special LGBT-themed Giants scarf and admission to a pre-game party from 5-7 pm. June 26.

 

How to navigate the largest LGBT celebration in the nation.

How to Have Your Own Summer of Love in San Francisco

"Jim Marshall's 1967" at San Francisco City Hall.
(©Jim Marshall Photography LLC) The Grateful Dead perform in San Francisco in the summer of 1967.

In 1967, over 100,000 people from all over the United States gathered in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and Golden Gate Park for concerts by the likes of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, in addition to social experimentation and revelry. Called the Summer of Love, the period went on to become synonymous with hippie culture.

San Francisco is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love all year long with concerts, exhibitions and a variety of special events. Here are a few of the happenings that we're most looking forward to. 

Concerts

American Conservatory Th eater presents “A Night with Janis  Joplin” (through July 16), a Broadway musical celebrating Joplin’s career and influences, which include Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Nina Simone and more. The performance features many of Joplin’s hits, from “

Beach Blanket Babylon, San Francisco’s pop-culture musical revue, is also celebrating the anniversary. The cast now includes the Beatles, Hippie Gal and other groovy characters, while 1960s anthems “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” round out the set list.

July 21, San Francisco Botanical Garden hosts a sing-along featuring hits from 1967, including “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane, “Respect” by Aretha Franklin and “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. The following day (July 22), a multi-media musical history tour called “The San Francisco Sound” kicks off in the Nourse Theater, featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Joan Baez accompanied by rising young Bay Area singers. 

August 6 brings Jerry Day, the annual celebration of Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, which is located in Garcia’s childhood neighborhood. 

Beach Blanket Babylon performs a Summer of Love segment in San Francisco

Exhibits

“Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia” at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive showcases a mix of art, architecture and design from the 1960s counterculture movement.

In San Francisco, the de Young Museum presents “The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll.” The exhibition features more than 300 cultural artifacts of the time, including rock posters, photographs, costumes, ephemera, films and more.

Curated by Grateful Dead biographer Dennis McNally, “On the Road to the Summer of Love” at the California Historical Society explores the historical context of the Summer of Love, largely through a variety of rarely seen photographs by photographers including Gene Anthony, Jerry Burchard, Lisa Law and more (all month).

“The Summer of Love Experience” at the de Young Museum, San Francisco

Tours

Learn about the art, music and fashion of the hippie movement as you stroll through the neighborhood where it all began on the Haight Ashbury Flower Power Walking Tour. Relive the '60s on wheels with the Summer of Love 50th Anniversary Magic Bus Experience, a two-hour journey featuring a blend of theater, film, music and sightseeing. Wild SF Walking Tours offers The Free Love Tour, which is also free of charge. Your guitar-toting guide will take you to the former home of the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin’s pink apartment.

Piedmont Boutique costume shop

Concerts, exhibitions and special events celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love.

Celebrate All Things Chinese in San Francisco

The 268-foot golden dragon at the Chinese New Year Parade
(©Knight Lights Photography) The 268-foot golden dragon at the Chinese New Year Parade

It's 2017, the Year of the Rooster and the perfect time to visit San Francisco—home to one of the world's largest Chinese New Year celebrations. The festivities culminate in February with the annual Grand Parade, starting at the corner of Market and 2nd streets. The streets sparkle with glittering floats, red lanterns, colorful flags and giant dragons stretching for blocks. 

Chinese New Year Parade

Whenever you visit, don't forget to pass through North America's only authentic Chinatown Gate—the giant green guardian of Grant and Bush adorned with dragons and lions. And that's just for starters. From downtown to the Mission District, the treasures and curiosities of Chinese culture await explorers. But you'd better start practicing using those chop sticks now.

Sweet Start

Golden Gate Bakery

No trip to Chinatown is complete without a taste of Golden Gate's world-famous $2 egg tarts. The only problem with this local landmark is you never know when it will actually be open.

Fancy Wheat Field Bakery

Fancy Wheat Field is unquestionably the most pristine bakery in Chinatown and decidedly less authentic, offering classic Chinese pastries like pineapple buns and pork sung buns. Check out the additional locations if you're around Excelsior or the Outer Sunset.

Mister Jiu's

Chow Down

House of Nanking

Situated at the cusp of North Beach, House of Nanking is one of the most popular and appetizing spots in San Francisco, featuring complex flavors, affordable prices and no frills service. You can't miss the sesame chicken, chili eggplant and the stunning wild blossoming tea.

Mission Chinese Food

Many locals swear this is the best Chinese-inspired food in town despite being in the heart of the Mission. The sign on outside says Lung Shan Restaurant, but nobody calls it that, so it’s easy to miss. The tea smoked eel, thrice cooked bacon and kung pao pastrami are crowd favorites.

Lai Hong Lounge

This expansive dining room is as authentic as it gets. In addition to the heavy rotation of dim sum, other popular dishes include the baked pork buns, shrimp noodle rolls and crispy duck buns.

Chef Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu's

Mister Jiu's

Mister Jiu's sets the bar for elevated Cantonese cuisine. Every dish is a work of art with inventive twists on Chinese classics. The impeccable service lends to the romance and helps justify the sizable check.

Truck Stop

The Chairman
This cult favorite originated as a food truck and expanded into a brick and mortar location in the Tenderloin. The Chairman is renowned for their signature bao. Imagine exotic proteins like Coca Cola braised pork and miso cured tofu stuffed in a chewy bun—available baked (more substantial) or steamed (cheaper).

Steamed bao bun at The Chairman

Lounging

Li Po Cocktail Lounge

Li Po is a hot spot among hipsters and locals alike. It's known for having funky decor, a relaxed vibe and arguably the city's best Chinese Mai Tai. This quirky dive bar is endorsed by Anthony Bourdain, which just about sums it up.

Buddha Lounge

Just across the street from Li Po is Chinatown's second coolest bar, complete with a signature beer that comes in a green Buddha-shaped bottle. The service is consistently solid with knowledgeable, friendly bartenders.

Right Up Your Alley

Ross Alley

Recognized as the oldest alley in San Francisco, Ross Alley was once notorious for brothels and gambling houses. Check out the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and get a free sample fresh off the press.

Chinatown Gate

Waverley Place

Stroll down this picturesque alley into another era, seemingly another country. Waverley Place is lined with temples and brightly painted balconies adorned with ornamental iron railings. It's most notably featured in the Amy Tan novel “The Joy Luck Club.”

See the Sights

Chinese Cultural Center

This extensive visual arts and community center offers an evolving array of modern art exhibitions. They also offer a popular two-hour democracy walking tour through Chinatown.

Chinatown tea house

All About Chinatown Tours

Get an insight into the city's rich Chinese heritage on this two-three hour excursion with an optional dim sum lunch. The tour departs from Old St. Mary's Cathedral, which was the first Asian church constructed in North America.

Down to an Art

Chinese Historical Society of America

For a deep and intimate perspective on American Chinese culture, check out the extensive historical archives and impressive art museum.

Asian Art Museum Entrance

Asian Art Museum

Located in the heart of the Civic Center, the Asian Art Museum boasts a wealth of Chinese art in its permanent collection. A new exhibition called “Tomb Treasures” opens on Feb. 17, showcasing recently unearthed artwork from the Han Dynasty.

Travel Tip

Invest $21 in a one-day Muni Pass to hop on the cable cars and buses all day. Otherwise, it's $7 per cable car ride—no transfers. 

Exploring San Francisco's deep Chinese heritage