25 Awesome SF Events to Add to Your Summer Calendar
Sunbathing on the beach and taking a dip in the Pacific probably aren’t on your summer to-do list, but there are plenty of other ways to pack your calendar this season. Whether you prefer piling on the layers for a film night in the park or soaking up the sun at a wine-country music festival, there’s something for everyone to enjoy over the next few months.
1. We all know about the Presidio Trust and Off the Grid’s Presidio Picnic, but now we’re going to let you in on another gem. Presidio Twilight is back, and that means food trucks, fire pits and cozy covered lawn domes offering views of the sunset minus the chilly ocean breeze.
2. It’s not too late to score one-day tickets to this weekend’s BottleRock festival, Napa’s blowout celebration of food, wine and music from May 24 to 26, with headliners Neil Young, Pharrell Williams and Imagine Dragons. If big festivals aren’t your thing, head to Sonoma instead for the much more low-key but equally awesome Huichica music festival (June 7 to 8) with Real Estate, Quinn DeVeaux and Lee Fields & the Expressions.
3. You have two more days to catch local artist Zai Divecha’s first solo exhibit, White Noise (through May 25), at Marrow Gallery. She’s done custom commissions of her geometric paper sculptures for Square and Box, and is showing a whole new body of work at the Inner Sunset gallery. Trust us when we say you don’t want to miss this. Now’s your chance to buy a piece (or two or three) of her work before she becomes a household name.
4. Check out La Cocina’s live storytelling event, F&B Voices from the Kitchen, with Margo True (formerly of Sunset), Chris Ying (formerly of Lucky Peach), Gustavo Arellano (author of Taco USA) and more for a conversation about recipes on June 6.
5. Time your SFMOMA visit to catch this summer’s big blockbuster show: the Andy Warhol retrospective From A to B and Back Again (through September 2), which delves beyond the glamour of his celebrity pop art and ubiquitous Campbell’s soup can silkscreens to explore the artist’s deep engagement with social issues that continues to resonate today. Pencil in a whole day—this show spans three floors of the museum.
6. Show your true colors at this year’s SF Pride celebration (June 29 and 30). Brazil’s most famous drag queen, Pabllo Vittar, and breakout star of Love & Hip Hop: Miami Amara La Negra are headlining the main stage.
7. The annual Stern Grove Festival is back, with Grammy-winning ’90s jazz-rap group Digable Planets kicking off the outdoor concert series on June 16. You can even enter a lottery (or make a donation) to score reserved picnic-table seating so you don’t have to fight for a patch of grass.
8. Celebrate two local artists at the Bolinas Museum this summer. Windy Chien and Serena Mitnik-Miller join forces for In Parallel (June 15 to August 11), an exhibit showcasing Chien’s gorgeous knot sculptures and Mitnik-Miller’s geometric watercolors. There will even be a knot-tying station where you can learn Chien’s techniques.
9. Dandelion Chocolate’s 30,000-square-foot mega factory is now open for business in the Mission. Stop by to see the factory and sip hot chocolate, or book a guided tour or class to learn more about the chocolate-making operation. We suggest popping into the gorgeous Bloom chocolate salon for a decadent multi-course tasting-menu experience like no other.
10. Pack a picnic dinner and the warmest blankets you have for this year’s Film Night in the Park. (A flask of whiskey will keep you extra toasty.) Screenings will kick off later this summer, and the schedule will be announced soon.
11. Nothing gets you in the summer spirit quite like a bonfire at Ocean Beach with s’mores and hot chocolate. Fire rings are open through October 31, but since there are only 16 of them, get there early to nab your spot.
13. It’s gonna be a jazzy summer: First, there’s the SF Jazz Festival (June 11 to 23) with Roy Ayers and Jazzmeia Horn, followed by the Fillmore Jazz Festival (July 6 and 7)—two days of free music on multiple stages, plus 12 blocks of local vendors selling their arts and crafts. It’s the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast.
14. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Flower Piano, 12 days in July when the SF Botanical Garden transforms into an outdoor concert hall. It’s free to play or listen (and SF residents get into the garden gratis), and on select days, professional musicians will perform for the public.
15. Need a quick root touch-up? Make an appointment at eSalon’s SF Color Studio before you go to the office (it opens at 7:30 a.m.). The beauty-tech company emphasizes at-home color, but you’ll want to hit up the brick-and-mortar to see Polly Chrome, the proprietary hair dye printer, in person.
16. Wait for the fog to pass through SF this summer and then go to Shakespeare in the Park (August 31 to September 22), with free performances of As You Like It in the Presidio and McLaren Park.
17. The weekly closed-to-cars block parties known as Sunday Streets run through October in SF, which means summer and fall are your chances to skate, bike and play on the pavement, just like you did when you were a kid. Next up, on June 9, is the festival’s longest route, from the Outer Sunset to Golden Gate Park and down the scenic Great Highway on the city’s western edge.
18. Gorjana, the SoCal-based jewelry brand with a cult following, has finally planted roots in SF with a light-filled boutique on Fillmore Street. Stop by to peruse the simply chic and affordable necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets in person. We bet you can’t buy just one piece.
19. A summer roundup wouldn’t be complete without a mention of SF’s most beloved music festival, Outside Lands (August 9 to 11). This year’s lineup includes Childish Gambino, Paul Simon and Kacey Musgraves. Plus, it includes the second annual Grass Lands, a curated cannabis experience right inside the festival grounds.
20. Satisfy your sweet tooth at ONE65 Patisserie & Boutique, now open in Union Square. Michelin-starred chef Claude Le Tohic is serving up freshly baked French pastries, breads, chocolates and macarons, bien sûr.
21. True Laurel, the upscale cocktail bar from the folks behind Lazy Bear, just launched a more casual, laid-back affair: weekend brunch. Think patty melts with fried eggs, plus spritzes and shandies to wash it all down.
22. Schedule a happy hour at the glam-rock FiDi bar Hotel San Francisco to taste its brand-new, custom-curated bottled cocktails and see its new subterranean space Downunder.
23. Stop by SF’s Hero Shop and ask about California textile artist Stevie Howell, who just debuted her first home collection. Always committed to sustainability and ethical production practices, the designer recently introduced fabric by the yard, wall coverings and custom mural paintings (now available on her website), all of which will seriously upgrade your decor game.
24. Catch arias alfresco on September 8 when the SF Opera puts on a free performance in Golden Gate Park.
25. Hold on to your wings: Book Passage and Curran will host acclaimed Handmaid’s Tale novelist Margaret Atwood for a special conversation with author Kelly Corrigan on September 24.