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105 Wonderful Things That Every San Franciscan Should Add To Their Fall Bucket List

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

105 Wonderful Things That Every San Franciscan Should Add To Their Fall Bucket List

Happy fall, San Francisco!

We are diving headfirst into the fall season, and it’s sure to be a good one! Now that summer has come to an end, we’re arriving at the time of year that promises pumpkin carving, seasonal menu items, and amazing house decorations. Of course, this is San Francisco, so this season also means we can expect some warmer days! Not sure what you’ll get up to? Scroll our list to get the ball rolling!

1. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition is now open in San Francisco, and it’s breathtaking

Michelangelo’s most famous work is coming your way! Starting September 24, doors will officially open for a spectacular exhibition of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. These iconic frescoes have decorated the walls in Vatican City for over 500 years, but now you can see them come to life in your own city. Get tickets before it’s too late!

🌟SPONSORED🌟

2. Enjoy Halloween-themed music by candlelight at this magical concert series happening now in SF

The extremely popular concert series known simply as Candlelight is turning heads right now in San Francisco! You’ll enjoy classics such as “Hedwig’s Theme” from Harry Potter,”The Addams Family Theme,” and more played by a talented string quartet, in an intimate environment surrounded by hundreds of luminous candles.  The Bay Area’s top musicians perform classical music in both indoor and outdoor settings including St. Ignatius Church.

🌟SPONSORED🌟

3-4. Get lost in a corn maze!

Nothing screams fall like a corn maze! Check out these ones in the Bay Area:

  • Three Nunns Farm: This farm has 2 different corn mazes, as well as tractor rides, a pumpkin patch, a farm stand, and more.
  • Cool Patch Pumpkins: Cool Patch is worth the drive for its enormous world record-holding corn maze! The maze is unique each and every year, and this year the design pays tribute to the US Military.

5-6. Take a ghost tour around San Francisco

Photo by Jérôme Boursier on Unsplash

Do you know about the spirits that haunt our historic city? Consider taking a tour this month to get in touch with SF’s spooky side:

  • SF Ghost Haunt Walking Tour: Learn about the haunted Victorian homes of Pacific Heights, the haunted trees of abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, the Chambers Mansion poltergeists, and more. This special Halloween version led by Christian Cagigal will take you looking for ghosts yourself! Get $5 off with promo code OCT2021.
  • Haunted SF: Ghosts, Murder, and Mystery: Here’s another SF ghost tour that takes you through Chinatown alleyways and the old Gold Rush district with your own ghost hunting equipment! Learn about forgotten graves, notorious brothels, and the underground “Shanghai” tunnels.

7-16. Pick the perfect pumpkin at these 10 outstanding Bay Area pumpkin patches

Did you know that Half Moon Bay is considered the pumpkin capital of the world? Whether you’re looking for family activities with kids or getting ahead of your Halloween decorating, these excellent Bay Area farms and pumpkin patches have got you covered. Learn more about each one here. 

  • Joan’s Farm & Pumpkin Patch (Livermore)
  • Lemos Farm (Half Moon Bay)
  • Arata’s Pumpkin Farm (Half Moon Bay)
  • Clancy’s Pumpkin Patch (San Francisco)
  • Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch (Alameda)
  • Piedmont Avenue Pumpkin Patch (Oakland)
  • Smith Family Farm’s Pumpkin Harvest (Brentwood)
  • Three Nunns Farm (Brentwood)
  • Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm (Half Moon Bay)
  • Cool Patch Pumpkins (Dixon)

17-24. Test your bravery at a terrifying haunted house

Winchester Mystery House

Autumn is finally here! There are plenty of fun seasonal activities to enjoy during this time, from apple picking to pumpkin carving. But if you’re looking for something a bit more spooky, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up some of the best haunted houses in the Bay (in no particular order) plus some ghost tours for those wanting a tamer experience. Learn more about each spot here.

  • Immortal Reckoning at the SF Mint
  • Fear Overload Scream Park
  • Piedmont Pumpkin Patch
  • All Hallows’ Eve at Winchester Mystery House
  • Dead Time Dreams
  • Scotts Valley Haunted House
  • Blind Scream
  • Halloween Haunt at Great America

25. Zanze’s beloved cheesecakes are now on the menu at a handful of local restaurants

Rachel Y. via Yelp

If you’ve been in San Francisco long enough, you’re probably familiar with the legendary bakery Zanze’s Cheesecakes. It’s owned by 88-year-old Sam Zanze, who has helmed the popular spot for over 40 years! After he paused operations in 2020 due to Covid while trying to go wholesale, he is once again producing the amazing cheesecakes alongside his wife Joyce, according to the Chronicle. Below is where you can get them now! Learn more here.

  • Mollie Stone’s Tower Market
  • Pacific Cafe
  • Firenze by Night
  • Spiazzo Ristorante

26-50. Test your knowledge of these 25 lesser-known public art pieces in SF

San Francisco is a cornucopia of iconic public art pieces, from glowing light art installations to the beautiful murals of Balmy Alley. But have you seen these lesser-known works around the city? Take a look at our list of hidden gems including sculptures, statues, paintings, murals, staircases, and more. Learn more about each spot here.

  • Yoda Fountain
  • Wave Organ
  • Venus Statue
  • Chinese Foo Dogs
  • Drawn Stone
  • Chamber of Secrets door
  • John McLaren statue
  • The Box Shop
  • Queeroes
  • Street Hearts
  • Amanda Gorman mural
  • Fanny Lee Chaney mural
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • I Did A No. 2 On The Street
  • Todd Young’s front gate art
  • 16th Ave Tiled Steps
  • Hidden Garden Steps
  • Avalon Greenspace Steps
  • Musical stairs
  • White Light
  • Love Over Rules
  • Point Cloud
  • The Ladder
  • W.F.T.
  • The Seed

51-59. Enjoy a pint at one of these 9 lively beer gardens

The Bay Area is home to some of the best craft beer in the country, meaning that it’s cultivated an entire generation of beer lovers and aficionados. When it comes to breweries, we’re hard to beat, but SF’s beer gardens are also excellent places to kick back and try out a flight or sip on your favorite pils and watch the game.

  • SPARK Social SF
  • Zeitgeist
  • Southern Pacific Brewing
  • Finnegans Wake
  • Harmonic Brewing Thrive City
  • Anchor Brewing Public Taps
  • Speakeasy Ales & Lagers
  • Old Devil Moon
  • Black Hammer Brewing

60-69. Make a reservation at one of these awesome outdoor brunch spots

Some would argue that brunch is the most important meal of the day. Be sure to get your recommended daily allowance of crispy bacon, fluffy pancakes, mimosas, and egg scrambles at these 10 spectacular brunch spots around the city.

  • Palette Tea House
  • Fable
  • Magic Flute Ristorante
  • Rose’s Cafe
  • Kitchen Story
  • Sweet Maple
  • Derm
  • Eats
  • Lokma
  • Plain Jane

70-79. Go on a date at these romantic city spots recommended by San Franciscans

As we start coming out of our quarantine bubbles post-vaccination, some of us might be trying to get back into the dating scene. Whether you decided to take another crack at Tinder, or just want to have a lovely evening in the city, we’re here to help!  Lucky for you, our followers know plenty of beautiful outdoor spots to check out. Here are their responses to our Instagram poll asking for the most romantic places in the city. Learn more about each spot here!

  • Foreign Cinema’s outdoor patio
  • Dolores Park at night
  • Pier 7
  • Baker Beach
  • The Embarcadero
  • Fort Point
  • Coit Tower
  • Palace of Fine Arts
  • Painted Ladies
  • Ina Coolbrith Park at night

80-81. Catch a movie under the stars!

September is San Francisco summer, meaning the weather is perfect for outdoor movie nights! Here’s where you can catch some great films:

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  • Sundown Cinema: San Francisco Parks Alliance and Do The Bay have partnered to bring back the popular Sundown Cinema series, which presents awesome FREE movies on a giant screen in various parks around the city. Here’s what’s next:
    • Thursday, October 7: A League of Their Own at Golden Gate Park Big Rec
    • Friday, October 22: E.T. at Jerry Garcia Ampitheatre
  • Dirty Habit: The “Second Summer Outdoor Movie Series” has some awesome screenings coming to their 5th-floor outdoor patio in October:
    • Sunday, October 10: To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything. Ticket proceeds to benefit The Trevor Project
    • Sunday, October 17: Sister Act. Ticket proceeds to benefit Glide

82. Check out the Transbay neighborhood’s new beer garden and food truck park

Meet The Crossing, a giant new community space located in SF’s Transbay neighborhood. At the moment they have revealed a beer garden, food truck park, soccer fields, and ground mural on the block between Howard, Main, Folsom, and Beale Streets. The plan is to eventually add an outdoor cinema, fitness space, food and retail kiosks, marketplace, event spaces, and more.

83. The Ferry Building hosts a beautifully curated flea market every Sunday

Courtesy of Fog City Flea

Every San Franciscan knows that the iconic Ferry Building is home to dozens of exciting vendors and events. But did you know that Fog City Flea is back in action? This popular flea market comes to the Ferry Building every Sunday from 10am-5pm, hosting truly excellent vendors and artisans.

84-91. Go shopping at one of these excellent Bay Area thrift shops recommended by locals.

Any real Bay Area resident perks up when it comes to sustainable living. The secondhand industry is influencing even the most forward-thinking of fashionistas and home decorators. Do you know where the best thrift shops are in the Bay Area? We asked our Instagram followers for their recommendations, and they didn’t disappoint! Learn more about each spot here.

  • Crossroads Trading Co. 
  • Out of the Closet
  • Community Thrift Store
  • Buffalo Exchange
  • ReLove
  • Wasteland
  • 2nd STREET
  • Goodwill Boutique

92. Skate the night away at this 19th-century church turned roller rink

Have you heard of this amazing roller disco near the Painted Ladies? The Church of 8 Wheels is the ultimate hidden gem, hosting San Francisco’s most avid skaters within a 120-year-old abandoned church. You can zoom around the rink before a backdrop of stained-glass windows featuring Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Disco music and neon lights bring the party to this unconventional skating experience! Learn more here.

93. Take a look at the full lineup of free concerts coming to the Golden Gate Park Bandshell

Michael Urmann via Shutterstock

Did you know there are dozens of amazing free concerts happening multiple days a week at the Bandshell? The Bandshell, which is 120 years old, added new lighting, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a new stage during the pandemic. The lineup is seriously impressive, with everything from singer/songwriters to R&B. See the full lineup here!

94-103. Hit the books at these 10 outstanding places to work or study in SF

As we head into back-to-school season, it’s a good time to scout out your favorite study spots so you can hit the ground running! Whether you’re a student looking for somewhere to crank out an essay, or you work from home and want a change of scenery, here are some great spots to visit and focus up. Learn more about each place here.

Libraries:

  • SF Public Library (SFPL) Main Branch
  • SFPL Sunset Branch
  • SFPL Bernal Heights Branch
  • SFPL Presidio Branch

Cafes/bars:

  • Zeitgeist
  • Daily Driver
  • Progressive Grounds

Places with a catch:

  • Salesforce Tower WeWork (here’s the catch: must purchase a day pass or monthly subscription)
  • SFSU J. Paul Leonard Library (here’s the catch: the building is public, but WiFi is only available with student login)
  • Mechanic’s Institute Library & Chess Room (here’s the catch: must be a member or purchase a pass)

104. Visit Chinatown for Walkway Weekends, back through the end of the year

When’s the last time you spent a weekend in Chinatown? The famous hub for San Francisco’s AAPI community is an essential stop on any trip around the City, but you might have missed its awesome Walkway Weekends programming.

This event in Chinatown  consists of a car-free Grant Avenue, from California to Washington Streets. Every Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm, you can stroll through this historic neighborhood for some shopping, a refreshing cup of boba, delicious dumplings, and much more. Learn more here.

105. This psychedelic mirror maze is the trippiest (legal) experience in SF

Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze is the ultimate fun house, outfitted with 77 mirrors and dozens of black lights so as to really step up the difficulty of escaping the labyrinth. Not only do the lights flash through different neon colors, but the whole experience is accompanied by blasting ’80s music! Learn all about it here.

 

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