San Francisco is the birthplace of Burning Man and an ideal place to get a taste of the festival’s fun and creativity year-round. Even if you’d rather be riding a dust-covered bike through Black Rock City, here are a couple of places to get those good Burning Man vibes in SF
1. Baker Beach
Baker Beach is where Burning Man was born and has a special place in Burning Man history. In 1986, Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey committed an act of “radical self-expression” at Baker Beach by constructing and burning a driftwood effigy at a friend’s summer solstice celebration.
The first “burns” were held at the beach but after a few years, the festival outgrew the space and eventually moved to its current location in Nevada. We can’t recommend lighting any driftwood ablaze, but Baker is a nice clothing-optional beach where you can take a swim or just enjoy the sandy shores with friends.
2. Ocean Beach
The closest thing that SF has to the vastness of the Playa is Ocean Beach. At 3.5 miles long, it’s a big open space surrounded by the raw beauty of nature. It’s also an easy place to gather friends, play some music and build a bonfire in one of the beaches’ many firepits. There’s only enough room to burn a very small “man,” but it’s better than nothing. It’s no substitute for Black Rock City, but we think you’ll feel right at home here.
Location: Ocean Beach
3. Public Works
Public Works is best known as a hot spot for EDM-fueled dance parties and late-night DJ sets. Their upcoming 4-day anniversary party, is a great opportunity to drop by and hear some incredible music. Its massive performance space is also used to host a diverse assortment of events like comedy shows, storytelling nights, and art exhibits. It’s a great place to wear a fun outfit and dance your heart out until 3am.
Location: 161 Erie Street
The Center is hosting a dust-free dance party to honor Burning Man on Saturday, September 3rd. You’re invited to bring your favorite playa wear and enjoy a little community dance from 6:30-10pm. The Center is a community tea house and events space that hosts yoga, dance, and energy work classes in addition to all sorts of other events worth checking out.
Location: 548 Fillmore Street
5. 1015 Folsom
For over 30 years, 1015 Folsom has been SFs go-to club for electronic music. The 20,000-square-foot nightclub is SF’s largest 21+ venue and features 5 rooms of music on 3 levels. With so much music to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect vibe here.
Location: 1015 Folsom Street
6. The Midway
The Midway is a massive art, music, and event space that includes several indoor and outdoor performance spaces, an immersive sound bath room called Envelop, and a rotating art gallery with impressive shows. Keep an eye out for their energetic DJ nights and block parties.
Location: 900 Marin Street
The Great Northern is a bar and nightclub in Potrero Hill that hosts frequent DJ nights, bands, aerialist performances, and visually dazzling spectacles of all kinds. They’re even been known to host a few Burning Man art cars during their outdoor events.
Location: 119 Utah Street
Ecstatic Dance is a worldwide phenomenon dedicated to self-expression through dance. This morning dance party is a non-judgmental and inclusive space where you can dance like nobody’s watching. The event is hosted every Sunday at the Church of 8 Wheels. No drugs, alcohol, or talking is allowed, just pure uninhibited dance.
Location: Church of 8 Wheels, 554 Filmore Street
If you miss the extreme heat and normalized co-ed nudity of the playa, Archimedes Banya has you covered. Wear a swimsuit or nothing at all as you move between the 190F Russian sauna and 35F cold plunge. Talk about a land of extremes! The multi-story spa offers a full restaurant and bar in addition to breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and downtown.
Location: 748 Innes Avenue
Featured Image: Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash