25 Things to Do in the Bay Area This Summer
The best way to get through the dense fog of summer while everyone else sports sundresses is to stay busy. And by busy, we mean sipping Negroni cocktails for charitable causes or rocking out in a fog-free concert hall (hi, Ed Sheeran) or devouring dumplings in the Design District. Here’s to your super-packed, super-busy summer.
1. A few months ago, we told you about 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 lantern-lit cabanas with views of the sunset and fewer crowds. (And if you pack a couple cans of rosé in your purse, we won’t tell.)
2. Pop-Up Magazine (May 31 and June 1) is one of the first shows to hit the newly revamped Curran Theatre and tickets to both shows are still available. Gasp! Get yours now for the spring issue, featuring talent like Tabitha Soren (yes, of long-ago MTV fame).
3. Starting June 3, you’ll be able to find international food and design mags, hard-to-find titles and far-out printed materials at the new Heath Newsstand…not that you really needed a reason to visit Heath Ceramics and the adjacent Tartine Manufactory. But now you have another excuse to linger.
4. The long-awaited second outpost of Daniel Patterson’s Alta restaurant is now open at the Minnesota Street Project. Go for a Cindy Sherman sparkling-wine cocktail and roast chicken, stay for some art.
5. Find a shoulder to lean on at author Danielle LaPorte’s book event at Grace Cathedral (June 16). The spiritual speaker (who is a member of Oprah’s Super Soul 100 club) will teach you a bit about soul searching. Leave feeling enlightened.
6. Cocktails for charity? Count us in. The fifth annual Negroni Week (June 5 to 11) raises money for various nonprofit partners. That means every drink (or Negroni-inspired bite by top local chefs) you order has a direct impact on donations. So plan ahead and make it a two- or three-drink kind of night.
7. Now you can sample the simple kind of food that Evan and Sarah Rich (yes, of beloved Rich Table) like to cook on trips to Tahoe at RT Rotisserie in Hayes Valley. Think roast chicken sandwiches with avocado ranch dipping sauce and sweet potato fries dusted with porcini powder (a la Rich Table’s famous doughnuts).
8. A Mano is another new addition to Hayes Valley’s burgeoning restaurant scene, and our mouths are watering over the thought of fresh, handmade pastas like agnolotti with roast chicken and pork from chef Freedom Rains (who cut his teeth at Flour + Water).
9. Tuesday nights are about to get interesting. Every week, Top of the Mark will host free movie screenings (June 6 to August 29) in its 19th-floor lounge and there's a wine tasting (yep, also free) before each flick. Think Funny Girl, Easy Rider and La La Land. Mark your calendar now.
10. Gear up for old-fashioned block parties in Oakland’s Jack London Square. We’ve got our eyes on Tacopocalypse (June 24), which will showcase every variety of taco you can dream up. Mmm.
11. As if the Conservatory of Flowers wasn’t beautiful enough, now it’s going to be lit up at night in celebration of the Summer of Love. From sundown to midnight (June 21 to October 21), the building’s exterior will be illuminated with spinning flower mandalas and animated butterflies—courtesy of the same folks behind the Bay Lights and Obscura Digital.
12. Get holiday shopping out of the way early this year (like, way early) at West Coast Craft (June 10 to 11), where top local makers from the best coast will showcase their wares.
13. Here’s a reason to cross the Bay Bridge: the warm flatbreads spread with toppings like cured Armenian sausage, fresh arugula and cherry tomatoes at Reem’s. The chef’s signature dish is served with house-made mezze dips, and you can even sample Palestinian wines.
15. Get lost in an Alice in Wonderland-like world at Fused Space during the three-person exhibit “Curious and Curiouser” (through August 25), where fact is folded into fiction and alternate realities are constructed out of paintings, sculpture, tapestries and found objects.
16. OK, we’ve heard how sold-out this show is, but a little birdie told us it’s actually not impossible to score day-of-show lottery tickets for only $10. The Orpheum Theatre box office offers 44 orchestra seat tickets to each show. Just get to it before the rush of summer tourists hits town.
17. We know British artist Andy Goldsworthy well here in San Francisco (we’ve admired his environmental art in the Presidio for years). Now he’s got a solo show at Haines Gallery (June 1 to July 29), during which you’ll marvel over photos and videos capturing moments of fleeting beauty.
18. The Speakeasy is up to its old tricks, with tickets now on sale for performances through September. Cabaret, casinos and Prohibition-style drinking are all wrapped up in an immersive theater experience. Sold your feather boa and flapper dress in a yard sale? No problem. They also do costume rentals.
19. Foodies, mark your calendars for one of the summer’s can’t-miss events. Tickets for the four-day binge fest Eat Drink SF (August 24 to 27) are on sale now.
20. Shop local and handmade to your heart’s desire—think intricately woven wall hangings and beautifully carved wooden bowls—at the American Craft Show (August 4 to 6).
21. Taste your way through the newest dumplings in town, from gyoza to xiao long bao, at Dumpling Time. And remember to save room for green-tea-and-milk buns or steamed egg custard buns for dessert.
22. Sausalito’s Headlands Center for the Arts will be unveiling The Commons, a new outdoor space designed for programming at the historic campus that will also include three permanent works of art. Check out the opening celebration on September 17.
23. VIP passes are already sold out, but you’re not too late for general-admission tickets to the tenth annual Outside Lands (August 11 to 13). We’ve got our eyes on Solange, Little Dragon and A Tribe Called Quest.
24. Now that baseball season is in full swing, request your company’s corporate seats for a Giants game and then start planning what you’re going to eat.
25. Looking for something indulgent to do over Labor Day weekend? Book a trip to Wine Country for Taste of Sonoma (September 2 and 3). We’re talking 200-plus wineries, 60-plus chefs cooking up food pairings and wine tours with sommeliers.