san francisco festivals
San Francisco Festivals Guide

Mark that calendar, San Francisco. MetroWize is here with a fresh new load of 2014 festivals and annual events to keep ensure you won't miss a beat, bite or bad ass time. From major players like Outside Lands, Treasure Island and Fillmore Jazz Festival to lesser known fests like Noise Pop, SF Beer Festival and Oyster Fest, 2014 may be the best year yet!

San Francisco Festivals and Annual Events 2014

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JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

January

Breakfast of Champions
Breakfast of Champions gets the distinction of being the first party of the year and for the last 14 years, they have been kicking off the new year with a serious bang. 12 hours of music on multiple stages, indoor and out and 5000 partygoers that weren't satisfied heading home at bar time on New Years Eve. Only the strong survive and we call them all Champions.

Highlights
12 hours of music and mayhem (6a-6p), 50+ DJs on multiple stages, food trucks, indoor/outdoor environments, 5000+ party people in overdrive

Location
Mighty, 119 Utah St.
Date(s)
New Year's Day
Details

Dine About Town
If you are a foodie, San Francisco isn't the worst place to grab a meal. A dinner at hot spots like Anchor and Hope, Chaya or Salt House can break the bank pretty quickly though. Luckily there is Dine About Town. Killer 3 course dinner options at over 50 delicious restaurants for a simple low price.

Highlights
Prix-fixe two- or three-course lunch for $18.95 and three-course dinner for $36.95 at participating restaurants

Location
All Over SF
Date(s)
1/15 - 1/31
Details

February

Valentine's Day Pillow Fight
Feathers fly at this fun, flash-mob type event which takes place each Valentine’s Day just as the Ferry Building clock tower strikes 6pm. Nearly 1,000 San Franciscans descend on Justin Herman Plaza (1 Market St.) with feather-stuffed pillows to lovingly beat the crap out of each other until the whistle blows.

Highlights
Get ready to get rowdy, the party starts at 9pm but goes past 11pm

Location
Justin Herman Plaza
Date(s)
2/14
Details

15th Annual SF IndieFest
Over 60 full length movies and dozens of short films will take place over 14 days for the 14th annual SF Indie Fest. Thousands of people turn out over the 2 weeks to see the freshest in independent film from our own backyard and around the world. Home base is the Roxie Theater in the Mission and there are numerous parties throughout that always get nice and rowdy. Check the site for details and info on this years films and events.

Highlights
On top of an avalanche of movies, IndieFest hosts multiple themed afterparties, including the Big Lebowski Party and the Roller Disco Party, both at CellSpace.

Location
Brava & Roxie Theatres
Date(s)
2/7 - 2/21
Details

SF Beer Week
SF Beer Week is one of those magical times of the year when all the great beer bars of SF pull out all the stops to prove to us why they are the best beer bars in SF. 9 days of hops infused fun await at bars like The Alembic, Magnolia Pub, Amsterdam Cafe and Toronado as each venue hosts a series of events focused on the suds that make us all smile.

Highlights
9 days of beer. Good beer. Really, really good beer.

Location
Varies (schedule)
Date(s)
2/7- 2/19
Details

Noise Pop
San Francisco’s favorite indie music, arts and film festival, Noise Pop, turns 21 this year, and they're doing it with a bang! This six-day, city-wide festival will include big acts playing at history-rich venues like Bottom of the Hill and Cafe du Nord. includes art and film offerings.

Highlights
2013 lineup includes Amon Tobin, Toro Y Moi, Rogue Wave, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, Jason Lytle, DIIV

Location
Various
Date(s)
2/26- 3/3
Details

March

St. Patrick's Day Festival
What better reason to take down cabbage and corned beef sandwiches and listen to bagpipes than San Francisco's annual St. Patrick's Day Festival. Beginning with a parade full of green floats, Irish dancers, and bagpipes, the party continues all day with festivities including live art and music performances, craft workshops, Irish food and beverage stalls, and tons of Irish culture installments. Once the festivities are over, head to your favorite Irish pub or tavern to guzzle green beer and get your fill of authentic Irish whiskey. Whatever you do, don't forget to wear green.

Highlights
St. Patrick's Day Parade, Irish food and drink, music, art and crafts.

Location
Civic Center Plaza
Date(s)
3/16
Details

April

San Francisco International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the premier spot to see films from domestic and international directors before they ever reach a "theatre near you." SFIFF features a bonanza of narrative feature films, live action and animated shorts, television and theatrical documentaries, experimental work and a variety of new digital media, as well as a smart lineup of industry panels and seminars

Highlights
15 days of cinematic discovery along with opening and closing parties

Location
Various
Date(s)
4/25 - 5/9
Details

May

How Weird Street Faire
The How Weird Street Faire prides itself on being a bit left of center. It's not quite a music festival and too wild to be a standard street fair. It's a full day of mayhem taking place over 9 stages (and multiple clubs) right in the heart of downtown/SOMA. 2014 will mark the 15th year of the festival.

Highlights
108 artists on 9 different stages, arts and craft vendors and thousands of "weirdos".

Location
Howard St. & 2nd St.
Date(s)
5/4
Details

Bay to Breakers
Legendary by name and awesome in nature, the annual Bay to Breakers is a rite of passage that every true San Franciscan undergoes….and then eagerly anticipates every year henceforth. A 12k marathon in celebration of liberal excess, this beloved local tradition is completely debachaureous in spirit and execution (think nudity, binge drinking, PDA and all-round public indecency). Less a race and more a rowdy street parade, B2B winds from the Embarcadero (bay) up to Ocean Beach (breakers).

Highlights
Thousands of participants get decked out in detailed costumes according to prearranged themes, many with accompanying floats. Click here to check out our top 10 essential B2B survival tips.

Location
Embarcadero to Ocean Beach
Date(s)
5/19
Details

SF Carnaval
As one of the Bay Area’s most beloved two-day events, the free, family-friendly San Francisco Carnaval Festival showcases a diverse array of food, live music and activities for all. Revelers are invited to lose themselves among a multitude of booths offering everything from handmade jewelry and international bites to colorful face painting. Additionally, beer gardens will be available for those who wish to indulge, as well as an exciting lineup of live entertainment to be presented on three different stages.

Highlights
Two-day festival with food trucks and stands, crafts, activities, world music, contests and a grand parade

Location
The Mission
Date(s)
5/25 - 5/26
Details

June

Oyster Fest
If you are a fan of Guiness, Oysters and Rock n' Roll, this is the festival for you. For one glorious day out on the big lawn at Fort Mason, all 3 come together. O'Reilly's San Francisco Oyster Festival (aka - SF Oyster Fest) is going to be celebrating its 13th successful year of the event in 2013 with Young the Giant, Minus the Bear and other up and coming rockers. We're already dreaming about grubbing on a dozen bbq'd oysters and having a big Guiness while we rock out. With the 14th annual Oyster Fest approaching fast, make sure you buy your tickets early and keep on the look out for updates on vendors, after parties and more!

Highlights
2013 performers include Devo, Mutemath, Shiny Toy Guns, and Family of the Year + DJs Bag Raiders, RAC, Classixx (Live), Chris Close (Live), & The Schmidt

Location
Golden Gate Park
Date(s)
6/1
Details

Wine Riot
What's a Wine Riot? We'll put it this way: you'll get four precious hours to taste your way through 250 wines from around the world. Some wines may be mass produced, others may be from just a few barrels - but no matter what you're sipping on, vineyard reps will happily talk you through your tasting. Upgrade your wine wits with a 20 minute "Crash Course" or snap a shot in the photobooth, work it out on the dance floor, and carb yourself up with $5 munchies.

Highlights
A party-rockin' DJ will be on hand to keep you sipping throughout the night along with a photobooth and an official Wine Riot App to keep you level headed.

Location
Concourse Exhibition Center
Date(s)
6/7 - 6/8
Details

Golden Gate Festival
This year San Francisco commemorates the anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge with the annual Golden Gate Festival, spanning from Fort Point to Pier 39. Music performances, art and photo exhibits, guided tours and film screenings are just a few of the attractions took look forward to at this year's Golden Gate Festival.

Highlights
Live entertainment at Presidio, Fort Mason Center, Ghiraradelli Square, San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, Fisherman’s Wharf and more.

Location
Ft. Point to Pier 39
Date(s)
6/8
Details

Haight Ashbury Street Festival
Bongo drums and guitar riffs, spontaneous street dance parties, incense fills the air and once again Haight Street becomes the center of Peace, Love and Happiness. The Haight Ashbury Festival offers three stages with live entertainment, a six-block street fair featuring arts & crafts, food and merchandise...and a glimpse back in time to the Summer of Love.

Highlights
These stages have hosted a variety of bands such as the Jefferson Starship/Airplane, The Tubes, Metallica, and Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience) among others.

Location
Haight Ashbury
Date(s)
6/8
Details

North Beach Festival
In its 58th year, The North Beach Festival is considered one of the country's original outdoor Festivals. The event is situated in the historic North Beach District, known to locals and visitors alike as San Francisco's Little Italy and the home of the famed beat generation. The Festival site includes numerous quaint streets in the heart of the district. The event will feature over 125 arts and crafts booths, 20 gourmet food booths, three stages of live entertainment, Italian street painting, beverage gardens, children's activities and the blessing of the animals.

Highlights
Local arts and crafts, street food, beer gardens, specials at local bars, music and more.

Location
North Beach
Date(s)
6/15 - 6/16
Details

Stern Grove Festival
This admission-free music and performing arts series happens over the course of SF's glorious summer months in Sigmund Stern Grove, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater surrounded by giant eucalyptus, redwood, and fir trees. Pack a picnic mat, lunch basket and a bottle of wine and head here for a day's worth of fun in the sun!

Highlights
Check their weekly schedule to catch everyone from the SF Symphony and Ballet to the Jazz Mafia and Afrocubism artists.

Location
Stern Grove Park
Date(s)
6/16 - 8/18
Details

San Francisco Pride Festival
Perhaps SF's most iconic LGBTQ festival, the official Pride parade kicks off on Sunday from Beale St along Market and ends at Civic Center Plaza with over 200 parade contingents, 300 exhibitors, 19 stages and venues. Celebrity performers have included Lady Gaga, Margaret Cho, Kat DeLuna and a whole host of outrageous and costumed revelers.

Highlights
While the parade is the historical highlight of Pride, it's the parties surrounding this weekend that truly capture the SF spirit. Look for our Pride Week party guide for a roundup of the most outrageous events happening all around town!

Location
All Over SF
Date(s)
6/29 - 6/30
Details

July

San Francisco Waterfront Festival
Celebrate Independence day with live entertainment, food, crafts and of course, fireworks at the annual San Francisco Waterfront Festival. The all-day event climaxes with one of the most impressive firework displays in the bay area - beginning around 9 pm commemorate the stars and stripes with a light show over the bay.

Highlights
Live music performances, food trucks and stands, art exhibitions and craft workshops, and an amazing firework show above the bay.

Location
Pier 39
Date(s)
7/4
Details

America's Cup
San Francisco Bay plays host to a variety of America's Cup sailing events all summer long. Head over to the Embarcadero to get a glimpse of the world-class racing sailboats, competing for a spot in the America's Cup Finals. In addition to watching the racing events, enjoy festivities along the pier with food, vendors and more. Plus, catch concerts from the biggest bands in the nation at the newly constructed America's Cup Pavilion!

Highlights
This year's America's Cup Concert Series features shows from Weezer, The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz, Steely Dan and more

Location
America's Cup Park & Village
Date(s)
7/4 - 8/21
Details

Fillmore Jazz Festival
Every summer, over Independence Day weekend, the Fillmore Jazz Festival welcomes close to 90,000 music lovers in celebration of jazz, culture and cuisine, all set against the picturesque backdrop of the Fillmore District.

Highlights
Performers who have graced Fillmore Street stages include Dr. Lonnie Smith, Denise Perrier, Lady Memphis, Kim Nalley, Pete Escovedo, Jules Broussard, Big Belly Blues Band, Brenda Boykin and Paula West.

Location
Fillmore St.
Date(s)
7/6 - 7/7
Details

August

San Francisco Street Food Festival
This day-long foodie frenzy, curated by kitchen incubators La Cocina, features over 70 food vendors comprised of local restaurants, food trucks and bars. Come early, and embrace the utter chaos and pure, gluttonous bliss that is this Mission street fair.

Highlights
You'll lose your head with all the choices, so check Eater SF, SFoodie, Grubstreet & Appetite beforehand for their mapped must-eats at the fair.

Location
The Mission
Date(s)
8/17
Details

Outside Lands
In just 4 short years, this 3 day annual festival in SF's Golden Gate Park has proven that it deserves to be in the same league as the Coachella's and Bonnaroo's. Consistently drawing 60k plus attendees, the major headliners of the year, themed arenas, gourmet food booths and an entire Winelands tent, be on the lookout for another big event.

Highlights
2013 headliners include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paul McCartney, Nine Inch Nails, Kaskade, Pretty Lights and Phoenix

Location
Golden Gate Park
Date(s)
8/9 - 8/11
Details

September

Oktoberfest by the Bay
Tasty food, cold beer and sizzling oompah music abound at Oktoberfest By The Bay, voted one of the Top 10 places to celebrate Oktoberfest in America. It boasts two alternating bands, a Schuhplattler dance group performing traditional Bavarian and Austrian folk dance; typical German dainties like sausages and pork cutlets, and enough Spaten to convince even the most skeptical that the Chicken Dance is genius.

Highlights
Pull on your dirndle and celebrate Germany's favorite holiday with sloshing beer steins, live oompah music, and tasty sausage platters.

Location
Pier 48
Date(s)
9/20 - 9/22
Details

Polk Street Blues Festival
San Francisco’s only free blues festival, the annual Polk Street Blues Festival, tranforms Polk St into a pedestrian festival with two main stages, a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, gourmet food booths, a large family area, cafe seating areas, and much more. The event is produced by the same people behind the Fillmore Jazz Festival.

Highlights
One word, three letters - BBQ. Oh yeah, there is also lots of Blues, Jazz and beer.

Location
Polk Street
Date(s)
9/21 - 9/22
Details

Folsom Street Fair
If exhibitionism is your thing, then the annual Folsom Street Fair and dance pre-party is the festival for you. Dedicated to the celebration of all things leather, the Folsom Street Fair brings together the city's bondage enthusiasts for one day and two nights of wild product exhibitions and art installments. The fair officially runs from 11am - 6pm, but the party starts the night before at the fair's official Magnitude dance party and continues on Sunday night at bars and restaurants in SoMa, which stay bustling with leather clad voyeurs long into the night.

Highlights
Official Magnitude dance pre-party, bondage products and fashion exhibits, after-party bar crawl at bars and restaurants around SoMa.

Location
Folsom St.
Date(s)
9/29
Details

October

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
This free music festival, funded by a rich philanthropist, takes place over three days in gorgeous Golden Gate Park. No longer just "strictly" bluegrass, the festival offers a stacked lineup of talent and a folksy, fun crowd that comes out to revel in the fall sunshine.

Highlights
2012 Lineup included Elvis Costello, Boz Scaggs, Dwight Yoakam, Patti Smith, Les Claypool, Emmylou Harris

Location
Golden Gate Park
Date(s)
10/4 - 10/6
Details

Burning Man Decompression
A yearly celebration of being whoever you want to be, Decompression brings a bit of the playa back to SF for a day. Relive some of your favorite Burning Man art cars, costumes and DJs for an epic Black Rock blowout.

Highlights
Art cars, sound camps, lots of costumes and 3 blocks of burner good times make this one to mark on your calendar.

Location
Potrero Hill
Date(s)
TBD
Details

Castro Street Fair
Hundreds of local artists, vendors, craftspeople, and organizations line the streets of the Castro district to celebrate the diversity of the neighborhood during the annual Castro Street Fair. Stages with live music and dance as well as food and drink stalls can be found throughout the fairgrounds. The party continues into the night at bars and restaurants throughout the Castro neighborhood.

Highlights
Live music, dance and comedy performances, over 60 exhibition booths and special entertainment for the kids.

Location
Castro at Market
Date(s)
10/6
Details

Treasure Island Music Festival
Going into its sixth year, this island-located boutique festival is one of NorCal's most beloved music events. An eclectic and cutting edge (but manageable) lineup attracts out-of-towners and locals alike, who need not scramble to catch all their favorites -- just two stages that alternate guarantees you can catch every act, complete with an intimate vibe, gorgeous, panoramic views of the San Francisco Bay, Silent Disco, costumed revelers and bites from gourmet local restaurants.

Highlights
2013 Lineup includes Atoms for Peace, Beck, Major Lazer, James Blake, Phantogram, Disclosure

Location
Treasure Island
Date(s)
10/19 - 10/20
Details

Masquerotica
Masquerotica combines a "Eyes Wide Shut" vibe with a Burner slant and great music in a giant warehouse like space that has plenty of room for you to let it all go (well almost... lets keep it legal) and cut loose. After its innaugural in 2011, 2012 has a green light and we expect it to be bigger and better.

Highlights
Try not to blush at the sight of half-naked performers and partiers as costumes tend to be quite scandalous.

Location
Concourse Exhibition Center
Date(s)
TBD
Details

Ghostship
What do you get when the biggest and most creative camps from Burning Man throw a halloween party in an airplane hanger larger than 2 football stadiums? A tripped out, over the top, kick ass time. For the truly wild, there is no halloween substitute to Ghostship.

Highlights
Expect monumental art installments, glowing live performers, multiple stages and some of the wildest costumes you've ever seen.

Location
Treasure Island
Date(s)
TBD
Details

November

Day of the Dead / Dia de los Muertos
Dia de los Muertos is a traditional Meso-American holiday dedicated to the ancestors; it honors both death and the cycle of life. In San Francisco, the Mission district comes alive with art, music, performances and a walking candlelit procession.

Highlights
Locals paint their faces in intricate skull designs and don costumes, adding to the overall ethereal vibe of this respectful celebration.

Location
Garfield Park
Date(s)
11/2
Details

Snow Bomb: Ski and board Fest
The ski season officially kicks off every year with the Ski and Snowboard festival over at Fort Mason. Not only can you get killer deals on everything that will make your winter shreddin' more tubular, you can also get snockered in the beer gardens, taste fancy Napa wines and watch videos of people doing tricks you will break your neck trying to copy this winter. Awesome.

Highlights
Free lift tickets with admission, beer garden, wine expo, sick ski and snowboard deals.

Location
Fort Mason
Date(s)
TBD
Details

December

Santacon
Santacon is an annual, now worldwide celebration of Santa Claus wherein hundreds of revelers dress up like Kris Kringle and commit wanton acts of intoxicated debauchery in bars and on street corners across the city.

Highlights
SF pioneered SantaCon back in the 90's! Need we say more? Oh yeah, last year's SF edition took it up a notch with a Guinness Record for the Largest Group of Naked Santas

Location
Various
Date(s)
TBD
Details

Wintersalt
WinterSalt at Fort Mason will embody the culture, music, arts, and attitude that is the City by the Bay, offering EVERYONE a truly unique San Francisco experience. With Eye Heart SF’s 4th Annual award winning NYE event “Streets of San Francisco” to follow only two nights later on December 31st, Fort Mason is sure to be one of the most buzzworthy destinations on the planet to bring in 2013. Keep your eyes peeled for lineup additions as we get closer to NYE.

Highlights
2012 Lineup included Travis Barker & Mix Master Mike, Zedd, Dillon Francis, Paper Diamond

Location
Fort Mason
Date(s)
TBD
Details

Sea of Dreams
New Years Eve can be a bit of a shit show in major cities and just about every place in the city is throwing a party. If you are in the mood for something different, something bigger, something more over the top, the annual Sea of Dreams event is your ticket. This is a quality production with a quality lineup and is the only "festival" style NYE event in SF. Lineups are typically announced just after Halloween.

Highlights
2012 Lineup included Gogol Bordello, Shpongle, The Glitch Mob, Trentemoller

Location
Concourse Exhibition Center
Date(s)
12/31
Details

 






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