Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday celebrated widely both within Mexico and in other countries by people with Mexican heritage. At the end of October and beginning of November, San Francisco will celebrate with multiple events, processions, and activities to honor this special holiday.
The multi-day holiday usually takes place on November 1-2 as a way to honor friends and family members who have passed away. Families generally create a home altar bearing pictures and favorite foods of the departed, along with calaveras (decorative sculptures of the human skull) and bright golden Aztec marigold flowers. Some popular holiday foods include candy sugar skulls and a traditional sweet bread called pan de muerto.
San Francisco’s celebrations range from a special themed food truck night at Fort Mason to a lively performance by SF Symphony. Read on for all of the details.
1. Fiesta de Arte del Día de los Muertos at Presidio Tunnel Tops – Nov. 1-2
The brand-new Presidio Tunnel Tops will host a series of free family-friendly activities including face painting, skull painting and decorating, paper flower making, and more. There will be two interactive altars on display as well: one at the Presidio Visitor Center honoring people from the Presidio’s past, and one at the base of the Presidio Steps honoring endangered and extinct park species.
2. Día de los Muertos ritual procession in the Mission District – Nov. 2
According to Funcheap and this Instagram flyer, SF’s Mission District will host a Day of the Dead ritual procession at 6pm on November 2 produced by El Colectivo del Rescate Cultural. The procession will begin at 22nd and Bryant Streets, running through Bryant, 24th, Mission, and then 22nd Street before ending back where it began. The procession follows the vision of El Colectivo del Rescate Cultural founder Juan Pablo Gutierrez, who passed away last year.
3. Festival of Altars in Potrero Del Sol Park – Nov. 2
Marigold Project will host the 30th annual Festival of Altars and Ritual Circle in SF’s Potrero Del Sol Park from 2pm-11pm on November 2nd. Guests can build their own personal altars or come and observe the community altars on display from 2pm-11pm, and are recommended to bring flowers, 8-inch glass prayer candles, and other mementos to honor their loved ones. The Ritual Circle ceremony will happen from 5-6pm.
4. Día de los Muertos at La Cocina Municipal Marketplace – through Nov. 2
SF’s La Cocina Municipal Marketplace is currently hosting eight days of celebrations through November 2, with different activities every day including altar building, Halloween trick-or-treating, calavera making, paper flower and papel picado crafts, story time, and a Danza blessing. The events will culminate in a large Día de los Muertos celebration on November 2 from 5-8pm.
5. Día de los Muertos in the Outer Sunset – Nov. 1
Sunset Mercantile and Molcaxitl are bringing the party to the Outer Sunset from 6-9pm on November 1 at 37th Ave and Ortega St. Enjoy food, music, dance, face painting, Folklorico dancing, and much more, or sign up to set up an ofrenda.
6. Día de los Muertos with SF Symphony – Nov. 5
SF Symphony celebrates this vibrant holiday with a lively concert courtesy of conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto, trumpet soloist Pacho Flores, and performers from Casa Círculo Cultural and Canción de Obsidiana. There will also be Aztec dancers, altars, and folk art in the lobby beforehand.