Summer is the season for street festivals in San Francisco, which means that visitors to the Bay Area are in for a taste of the city’s charming eccentricities. In addition to the many cultural and “just for fun” celebrations that flow into the streets, San Francisco attractions play host to numerous outdoor activities and indoor exhibitions. Summer is a great time to visit because the weather is actually cooler than in many parts of the country—while still warm enough to enjoy the beautiful landscape of Northern California.
Get your summer started this June on Saturday June 7th with the Union Street Festival, the first street fest of the season, in its 38th year. The free festival is one of the largest arts festivals in the country, and this year’s event features themed “worlds” (like “Technology” or “Crafts”) on every block.
The June festivities continue with the San Francisco Jazz Festival, a 44-show event spread over 12 days on June 21st. The West Coast’s famous Latin dance big band (a 2014 GRAMMY winner) is set to be the festival’s headlining act. The following week, on June 28th, the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration commandeers Civic Center Plaza for a fun and colorful jamboree.
Fourth of July celebrations fill up the first part of summer’s middle month. This includes the Fourth of July Waterfront Festival, multiple cruises, and a number of parties featuring live music.
The following day, on Saturday, July 5th, the Fillmore Jazz Festival kicks off its two-day extravaganza, celebrating jazz, culture, and cuisine on Fillmore Street. The largest free jazz festival on the West Coast boasts an inspiring theme, “Celebrating Women in Jazz and Beyond,” featuring a few of the many talented female artists in the Bay Area.
Film festivals are also big summer events in San Fran, with July playing host to both the SF Jewish Film Festival and the Silent Film Festival. The former honors independent films made by Jewish filmmakers, while the latter celebrates both the art of the silent film and its relevance to historical documentation and analysis.
On to August, a delicious and melodious month to be in the Bay. If you’re a fan of street fare (or food in general), the SF Street Food Fest which takes place in early August will have you licking your lips. Well-known chefs and food artisans and entrepreneurs come together to celebrate the diverse foodscape of San Francisco. Visitors are guaranteed to walk away with bellies full.
The Outside Lands Music Festival is another highlight of August, and this year’s killer line-up will take to the stage on August 8th through 10th. Headliners include Kanye West, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the Killers. You’ll also see local bands and up-and-comers playing throughout the weekend.
San Francisco Summer Hot Spots
In addition to the lively festival scene that takes place during the summer, San Francisco attractions boast a number of special events and exhibits that will delight both locals and tourists.
The California Academy of Sciences supports an array of summer events for visitors and members. Thursday’s NightLife at the Academy provides science excursions with cocktail in hand to the 21+ crowd, while explorers of all ages can trace our species’ fascinating history with the new exhibit Human Odyssey in the Tusher African Hall.
If you’re a sports fan, make sure to catch a Giants game at AT&T Park, plus get a get a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark! Sightseers and ocean lovers: The Golden Gate Bridge is a sight to behold in the summer, especially from the deck of a the Golden Gate Bay Cruise. If you’re in for an adventure, take the Escape from the Rock Boat Cruise out to infamous Alcaraz Island, the mysterious landmark where notorious criminals like Al Capone spent their days behind bars.
There are so many San Francisco attractions to visit in the summer, so start planning now. Use a San Francisco attractions pass to get ahead of the crowd when it comes to savings, convenience, and even the lines!