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, April 20-22, 2018.

For more ongoing events and exhibitions check our calendar


Unbound: A Festival of New Works

 A Festival of New Works at SF Ballet

San Francisco Ballet invited 12 of the world’s most groundbreaking choreographers to create new pieces for the company’s fearless, virtuosic dancers. The dozen world premieres are packed into four programs over 16 days. War Memorial Opera House, April 20-May 6.

Earth Day  

Earth Day in San Francisco

Held at the Civic Center Plaza, Earth Day features live entertainment, a climate rally, vegan food courts and a celebrity chef showcase. April 21.

Opening Day on the Bay  

Hop aboard the classic schooner Freda B and join a parade of hundreds of vessels for this celebration of the beginning of the Northern California boating season. April 22. 

Smuin Ballet’s Dance Series 02

Smuin Ballet’s Dance Series 02

This performance includes the world premiere of the cutting-edge piece “If I Were A Sushi Roll.” April 20-29.

Cherry Blossom Festival

 Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco

One of the largest celebrations of Asian culture on the West Coast, the 51st annual Cherry Blossom Festival brings dancing, singing, martial arts and traditional and non-traditional Japanese delicacies to one of the country’s three remaining Japantowns. April 21-22.

The Effect at SF Playhouse

The Effect at SF Playhouse

Two volunteers in a clinical trial for a super-antidepressant fall for each other and end up questioning their feelings in this clever play. Through April 28. 

“The Beautiful World of Carlos Rolón/Dzine” Exhibition at Meyerovich Gallery

“The Beautiful World of Carlos Rolón/Dzine” Exhibition at  Meyerovich Gallery, SF

This exhibition features paintings and works on paper by Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón/Dzine whose distinctive style explores beauty, desire, spirituality, faith, folklore and identity. Open through May 15.

“Divine Bodies” at Asian Art Museum

“Divine Bodies” at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

At the Asian Art Museum, the exhibit “Divine Bodies” shows Hindu and Buddhist sculptures and paintings alongside contemporary photography, inviting viewers to consider “the relationship of the body to the cosmos.” Look for connections and overlapping details in the beautiful portraits of modern humans and the historical paintings and sculptures of gods and goddesses displayed throughout three thematic galleries. Through July 29.  

“Expedition Reef” Planetarium Show at California Academy of Sciences

Dive into the breathtaking beauty of coral reefs in the Academy's newest original planetarium show. Narrated by Tony Award® winner Lea Salonga, the all-digital “Expedition Reef” takes full advantage of the Morrison Planetarium’s fulldome screen to immerse you in the undersea adventure. Along the way, discover how corals grow, feed, reproduce, and support over 25% of all marine life on Earth—while facing unprecedented threats from climate change, habitat destruction, and overfishing. On-going.

Off the Grid: Presidio Picnic

 Presidio Picnic for a fun Sunday

Presidio Picnic, co-sponsored by Off the Grid and The Presidio Trust, 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. New this year, the picnic will feature cultural dance performances on the fourth Sunday of every month.  Sundays. 

“Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane” at Walt Disney Family Museum

 The World of Glen Keane” at Walt Disney Family Museum in SF

This newest original exhibition showcases the work of this influential Disney animator and artist. Keane’s dynamic artistic talent brings to life some of the most unforgettable characters of our time, from the imposing Beast and fearless Tarzan, to the daring heroines Ariel, Pocahontas, and Rapunzel. March 8-Sept. 3. 

Off the Grid: Fort Mason

 Off the Grid at Fort Mason San Francisco

At this year Off the Grid’s flagship event, guests experience a new layout from California¹s largest recurring night market that features a rotating lineup of 13 food trucks, 15 open-air kitchen vendors, and food from Off the Grid¹s culinary development program known as Instrucktional. Live music, DJs, and a kids area contribute to the communal atmosphere in one of San Francisco¹s historic locations on the Bay. Fridays, 5-10 pm. March 2-October 20.  

 “Sublime Seas: John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner” at SFMOMA

This exhibition presents the U.S. premiere of Ghana-born British artist John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea. This captivating, three-channel video installation encompasses fictional narrative, natural history documentary, and film essay, referencing Ralph Waldo Emerson, Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) and Heathcote Williams’s poem Whale Nation (1988), among others. “Vertigo Sea” will be paired with The Deluge, a dramatic depiction of the Biblical flood by the celebrated painter J.M.W. Turner (British, 1775–1851), which was selected by Akomfrah for this exhibition. March 3-Sept. 16. 

American Conservatory Theater's Production of Qui Nguyen's Vietgone”

American Conservatory Theater's Production of Qui Nguyen's “Vietgone” in SF
“Vietgone” is a modern twist on the classic story of boy meets girl. In this irreverent new comedy, three young Vietnamese immigrants leave a war-torn country for an eye- opening road trip across the bewildering and foreign landscape of 1970s America. Through April 22. 

“Casanova: The Seduction of Europe” at Legion of Honor

 The Seduction of Europe” at Legion of Honor in San Francisco

Explore the notoriously amorous Giacomo Casanova’s 18th century Europe, from France and Italy to the Ottoman Empire and St. Petersburg, through paintings, sculpture, works on paper, furnishings, porcelain, silver and period costumes. Feb 10-May 28.

“Tom Loeser: Please Please Please” at the Museum of Craft and Design

 Please Please Please” at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco

Madison, Wisconsin-based designer/maker Tom Loeser re-imagines the ways that the body, furniture and space can interact. Featuring approximately 20 works, primarily new, the exhibition showcases Loeser’s investigation of unconventional, invitational furniture forms. Jan. 20-May 20.







What to Do in the San Francisco Bay Area, April 20-22, 2018.

Transport Yourself to Central Europe This Winter in San Francisco

"Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park" painting by Gustav Klimt, 1912
(©2017 National Gallery in Prague) "Avenue of Schloss Kammer Park" painting by Gustav Klimt, 1912

San Francisco and Vienna are a world apart but for winter 2017-2018, the two beautiful, bustling cosmopolitan cities seem to be showcasing similar midcentury style. With the Legion of Honor Museum’s opening of a historic new exhibition, a master class in Austrian art history arrives in California for the first time. “Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter” (on view through Jan. 28, 2018) celebrates the inspired relationship between the Vienna Secession painter and the French sculptor, who influenced each other’s work but met just once, in 1902.

"The Virgin" by Gustav Klimt, 1913

A century after their respective deaths, this expansive exhibit brings some of their most groundbreaking endeavors to the West Coast, curated by Gustav Klimt scholar and the former director of Vienna’s Leopold Museum, Dr. Tobias Natter. Don’t miss the reproduction panels of Klimt’s celebrated “Beethoven Frieze,” the piece inspired and eventually led to the meeting of these two visionary Modernist minds.

Afterwards, we suggest that you head to one of the handful of Central Europe-style eateries in San Francisco for a fully immersive experience.

20th Century Cafe

Where to Get a Taste of Central Europe

Leopold’s: Known for hearty Bavarian-Austrian schnitzel and boots of German beer, this convivial Russian Hill gasthaus also features a selection of Austrian wines by the glass.

20th Century Cafe: California meets Central Europe at this charming cafe serving wines from Austria and Slovenia, Russian honey cake—and some lucky days, the owner-pastry chef’s take on Viennese specialty, sacher torte

Paprika: This inviting Hungarian-style Mission District bistro serves salty soft pretzels and savory goulash and keeps Czech lagers and pilsners on tap.

Paprika restaurant in San Francisco

Get a master class in Austrian art history at the "Klimt & Rodin" exhibition at the Legion of Honor Museum and then warm up at one of the city's cozy Central-European restaurants.

The San Francisco Concerts and Shows Guaranteed to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

"The Christmas Carol" at the American Conservatory Theater
(©Kevin Berne) "The Christmas Carol" at the American Conservatory Theater

In San Francisco, the holiday season doesn’t bring snowfall or smoking chimneys, but we make our own traditions. Here are some of locals' favorite seasonal rituals.

Beach Blanket Babylon's Candle Girls

Beach Blanket Babylon Holiday Performances (all month)

The nation’s longest-running musical revue celebrates the holiday season with its ongoing satire of the biggest names in pop culture and politics in these playful presentations of holiday song and dance. Club Fugazi, 678 Green St., 415.421.4222

 The Christmas Episodes”

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes (Dec. 1-23)

Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sofia from the popular 1980s television show return to San Francisco's Victoria Theater this month, but this time they’re played by four comic drag performers. This annual tradition brings plenty of laughs and over-the-top costumes. Victoria Theatre, 2961 16th St.

The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus' holiday performance

Elfstravaganza: Making the North Pole Gay Again (Dec. 8-9)

This seasonal performance by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus at the Nourse Theater and Castro Theatre features 250 elves in holiday drag, fabulous reindeer, Mr. and Mrs. Claus singing opera and more. 275 Hayes St. and 429 Castro St., 415.865.3650

The San Francisco Symphony's lobby decked out for holiday performances

San Francisco Symphony presents A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live (Dec. 21-24)

The symphony performs Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music as live actors portraying Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy and the whole Peanuts gang take the stage. The concert begins with a family-friendly reception in the lobby that features festive decorations and activities, including a giant Christmas tree and special Peanuts decor. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., 415.864.6000

"A Christmas Carol" at A.C.T.

A Christmas Carol (Dec. 1-24)

Now in its 41st year, this San Francisco holiday classic returns with legendary Bay Area actors James Carpenter as Ebenezer Scrooge and Ken Ruta as the Ghost of Jacob Marley. This version of the Dickens classic—originally adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff—features a cast of dozens, live music and elaborate costumes. Since it began 41 years ago, the American Conservatory Theater’s “A Christmas Carol” has been performed more than 1,200 times to a collective audience of well over a million. A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary St., 415.749.2228

Maceo Parker

New Year's With SFJazz (Dec. 28-31)

Hailed as the “king of the funky saxophone and one of the primary architects of modern R&B,” Maceo Parker and company take over SFJazz Center for this funky New Year’s week celebration. The altoist has contributed classic funk solos to James Brown hits, played alongside George Clinton in Parliament/Funkadelic and has toured with artists including Keith Richards, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Prince. Bay Area blues legend Sugar Pie DeSanto opens the show. 201 Franklin St., 866.920.5299

New Year's Eve with the San Francisco Symphony

A New Year’s Event with Seth MacFarlane and the San Francisco Symphony (Dec. 31)

Seth MacFarlane is best known as a television producer, but he’s also an Academy and Grammy-Award nominated singer and songwriter. In the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, MacFarlane performs Broadway and jazz hits accompanied by the symphony. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., 415.864.6000

Norm Lewis at Feinstein’s at the Nikko (Dec. 10)

Tony-Award nominee Norm Lewis sings his interpretation of holiday favorites as well as the songs that made him one of the leading men on Broadway.

Norm Lewis

Join the locals for one of these beloved holiday traditions.

An Insider's Guide to Outside Lands, San Francisco's Major Summer Music Festival

Outside Lands takes over Golden Gate Park every August.
(©Tom Tomkinson/Outside Lands) Outside Lands takes over Golden Gate Park every August.

The foodie music festival Outside Lands returns to Golden Gate Park in 2017 (Aug. 11-13) with a packed lineup of performers and about as many local food and drink vendors. Headliners include Metallica, The Who, Gorillaz and Lorde, who will share the stage with countless other big-name acts, local bands, comedians and artists. Now in its tenth year, Outside Lands attracts more than 200,000 fans and has become one of the most popular and successful festivals in the country. Here’s what to expect this year.  

Nighttime crowd at Outside Lands in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park


The festival is known for its diverse lineup of established and emerging acts spanning a variety of genres. Beyond headliners, other top draws include A Tribe Called Quest, Solange and Cage the Elephant. Catch local artists including Kamaiyah, The She's and Oliver Tree. If electronic dance music is your thing, head to the giant white igloo known as the House by Heineken. In addition to four main stages, there’s a dedicated comedy and improv tent, The Barbary, featuring Nick Kroll and Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra. And if you’re on a budget or can’t get enough live music, catch one of the Outside Lands Night Shows at venues around town.  

Food at Outside Lands in San Francisco

Food + Drink

Featuring 78 local restaurants, 40 wineries and 30 breweries, Outside Lands is as much a destination for foodies as it is for music fans. Bourbon Cake floats, donut cheeseburgers, crab rolls and pork belly burgers are just a few of the more than 200 menu options served up at six separate venues: A Taste of the Bay Area, Wine Lands, Beer Lands, Choco Lands, Cheese Lands and GastroMagic—a stage dedicated to food and drink themed performances. Food trucks like Curry Up Now and The Chairman along with a host of popular eateries like Namu, 4505 Meats and Proposition Chicken are joined by upscale restaurants like Marlowe, Rich Table and Stones Throw.

Crowd at Outside Lands in San Francisco


Navigating Outside Lands isn’t easy, so here are a few tips and resources to help you prepare. First, rent a bike. Buses are packed, taxis are scarce, rideshares are overpriced and parking is nonexistent. There’s even a bike valet at the festival where they’ll wash your ride gratis 10 am-8 pm. Past years have been notoriously chilly, windy and sometimes wet, so be sure to bring layers. And be sure to claim a locker early to stash those layers once the sun comes out. The Outside Lands app has you covered with features like personalized schedule sharing, a friend finder, maps, showtimes and news. If your phone dies, there’s a charging station and convenience store selling essentials like lip balm, blankets, ear plugs and more.  

What to expect at the three-day celebration of music, food and art.

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


-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.