There’s plenty to do this August in and around San Francisco! We’ve got you covered with everything from free movie nights, to nearby county fairs, to fun immersive experiences that will be the highlight of your month. Read on to get inspired!
1. Test your bravery in the Upside Down at San Francisco’s Stranger Things Experience
Stranger Things 4 has dominated the internet for months now, meaning that it’s never been cooler to be an ‘80s kid. Transport to Hawkins right here in San Francisco at the Stranger Things Experience, which is happening now at SF’s Skylight at the Armory. You’ll have the chance to become your own character during an hour-long storyline that takes you through a mysterious adventure in Hawkins Lab. After that, you can explore amazing set recreations in the Mixtape Area including Hawkins Lab, the Byers’ living room, and the Palace Arcade. Get tickets here.
2. Dress to impress at The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Bridgerton, complete with a modiste to complete your outfit, captivating dance performances, countless photo ops, and more. The Queen requests your presence at the 100,000-square-foot SVN West in San Francisco, which has been fully transformed into an exquisite grand ballroom from Regency-era England. Get tickets here.
3. SF’s hit Star Wars burlesque parody The Empire Strips Back has extended dates until October 2
Following its successful tour around the United States and Australia, ‘The Empire Strips Back’ is turning heads in San Francisco. The Star Wars parody features the franchise’s most beloved characters dropped into the world of burlesque, comedy and striptease. Get tickets here.
4. Explore the world’s most popular display of LEGO® art at The Art of the Brick
LEGO Artist Nathan Sawaya celebrates this prolific toy with over 70 mind-blowing sculptures, including some new ones unveiled for the SF show. This is the world’s most popular display of LEGO art, and it’s already wowed 7 million people globally. Don’t miss your chance to see it in San Francisco! Get tickets here.
5. Enjoy captivating classical music by candlelight at this magical concert series
The extremely popular concert series known simply as Candlelight is turning heads right now in San Francisco! You’ll enjoy works from Beethoven, Vivaldi 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 lovely settings including St. Ignatius Church, Grace Cathedral, and Folsom Street Foundry. Learn more here.
6. Step into a holographic art gallery at the Palace of Fine Arts
Imagine stepping into a digital gallery where you can walk around and browse artwork from the most reputable digital artists out there. Verse: The Art of The Future – NFT Exhibit has arrived in San Francisco and it’s here to change your perspective on how we will experience art in the future. See it now at the Palace of Fine Arts – get tickets here.
7. Join the waitlist for SF’s innovative new King Tut exhibition
Beyond King Tut: The Immersive Experience will arrive in San Francisco this fall, transporting visitors to ancient Egypt for a trip like no other. The fascinating storytelling experience is developed in partnership with National Geographic to take you through the world of the legendary Egyptian pharaoh King Tutankhamun.
8-13. Enjoy concerts and live music throughout the Bay
Golden Gate Park’s historic bandshell is back and hosting over 100 free shows in 2022. They feature weekly performances like Reggae Sunday and Singer/Songwriter Wednesdays in addition to special events.
Kapwa Gardens will host Summer Jamz, a series of free R&B parties with local DJs throughout the summer.
- August 13 – Summer Jamz & Massive Selector Present Goodness with DJ Low Key & Friends – A free outdoor party with DJs from across the Bay Area (12-6pm).
- August 20 – Pinayista Summer Jamz Picnic – A free Summer Jamz sesh uplifting Pinay creators and vendors (12-6pm).
- August 27 – Summer Jamz x Fran Boogie – A free outdoor party with DJs from across the Bay Area (12-6pm).
Nestled in a secluded Eucalyptus grove, this annual free concert series is celebrating its 85th year through August 14. Admission is free but tickets are required. Tickets are released at 2pm, 12 days prior to each event.
- August 7: Taj Mahal, Monophonics (tickets released 2pm July 26)
- August 14: The Big Picnic featuring Phil Lesh & Friends, Midnight North (tickets released 2pm August 2)
Stanford University’s summer concert series runs through Aug 6th at their beautiful grassy outdoor amphitheater. Enjoy powerful performances including classical music from SF Symphony, a variety of jazz shows from award-winning artists courtesy of SF JAZZ, and thrilling dance performances including a David Bowie tribute co-presented by Complexions Contemporary Ballet and SF Ballet.
Yerba Buena Gardens is hosting a summer festival packed with free music and entertainment. The independent nonprofit organization is dedicated to presenting accessible cultural events during 6 months of the year, including world-class music, theater, dance, and more.
After a two-year hiatus, the Due South concert series is returning to the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park on 8/27, 9/17, and 10/8. This free public concert series hosted by SF Parks Alliance and Noise Pop will feature live music, local food, and free bike valet courtesy of the SF Bicycle Coalition. On August 27, catch post-metal band Deafhaven, along with Oakland post-punk band Marbled Eyes.
Outside Lands is the city’s largest music festival and is back for 3 days of music, Aug 5-7 in Golden Gate Park. 2022 headliners include Green Day, Post Malone, and SZA with performances by Phoebe Bridgers, Weezer, Jack Harlow and many more. This annual festival draws music lovers from across the country and is famous for its misty forested setting.
14. Chinatown’s beloved Autumn Moon Festival will happen August 27-28
The Autumn Moon Festival is here! Chinatown’s beloved event celebrating the moon and summer harvest goes back to 1991. The 2022 festival will happen on August 27 and 28 from 11am-5pm. This spectacular festival will take Chinatown by storm, with countless food vendors, nonstop entertainment, lion dancing, mooncakes, kids’ activities, and more. The event is free to attend and will happen all along Grant Avenue between Broadway and California Street.
15. Take a spin at the Ferry Building’s roller skate pop-up
San Francisco’s Ferry Building is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, serving as a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. It’s a center for events, pop-ups, a farmers’ market, and countless excellent merchants who sell their wares daily in the building’s many stalls.
- Saturday Night Skate – 7-10pm August 13
- Head West Makers Market – 11am-5pm August 7
- Ferry Fridays – 3-6pm every Friday
- Fog City Flea outdoor market – 10am-5pm August 14 and 28
- Gardeneur Plant Market – 10am-4pm August 14
- Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market – 10am-2pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 8am-2pm Saturdays
16. Unplug at the Academy of Science’s phone-free NightLife event
NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences is one of our favorite ongoing events, and we’re thrilled to see more of these awesome themed soirees on the calendar! The popular Thursday night festivities feature live DJs, outdoor bars, ambience lighting, and more alongside the Academy’s nearly 40,000 animal residents.
- August 4: NightLife – No set theme.
- August 11: NightLife: IRL – A phone-free NightLife dedicated to life offline.
- August 18: Art Lab – An interactive evening dedicated to the intersection of science and art.
17. Enjoy science with a cocktail at the Exploratorium’s After Dark events
The Exploratorium at Pier 15 in San Francisco is an exciting place for discovery any time of the day, but these 18+ After Dark events are a must for some epic kid-free fun at their exhibits. After Dark happens each Thursday from 6-10pm with a different theme every week, featuring guest speakers, films, great music, and more.
- August 11 – After Dark: Move – Play with whimsical Rube Goldberg contraptions and toys, and watch a puppet show by Emmy-award-winning Manual Cinema.
- August 18 – After Dark: Fly – An exploration of wind-powered machines, wind tunnels, and more.
- August 25 – After Dark: See For Yourself – Build your own cellphone miniscope to take home.
18. Don’t miss Fort Mason Center’s Aerial Arts Festival and new exhibitions this August
When’s the last time you paid a visit to San Francisco’s amazing Fort Mason Center? The popular art center hosts numerous exhibitions and events throughout the year, and there are some special ones coming up. Here’s what to watch out for this summer.
- Off the Grid Friday night food truck parties – 5pm-10pm recurring Fridays
- Aerial Arts Festival – August 19-21
- Christo Oropeza: Aun así, pienso en ti – through January 23
- And more!
19. SF’s floating Salesforce Park has a ton of free activities like yoga and ukulele lessons
Did you know that Salesforce Park hosts a huge collection of free events every week? You can join yoga classes, bootcamps, live music, bird walks, garden tours, drum circles, and much more. Here are a few that have caught our eye:
- ZUMBA (cardio dance workout by Fitness SF), 5pm-6pm Wednesdays at Main Plaza
- Vinyasa Yoga (beginner-friendly Vinyasa yoga by Fitness SF), 12:30pm-1:30pm Fridays at Amphitheater
- Saturday Sounds (local folk music performances), 11:30am-1:30pm Saturdays at Central Lawn
- Guitar and Ukulele lessons (bring your own instrument to this workshop by San Francisco Rock Project), 11am-12pm Sundays
- And more!
20. 6 museum exhibitions ending this August, and dozens more to look out for
As we enter a new season in San Francisco, many local museums are refreshing and replacing their temporary exhibitions. Now’s a great time to take stock and plan ahead to see some of these wonderful displays before they’re gone. Here’s what’s ending soon:
- Hung Liu: Golden Gate (金門) at the de Young through August 7
- The Obama Portraits Tour at the de Young through August 14
- The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited at the Contemporary Jewish Museum through August 14
- Elegies: Still Lifes in Contemporary Art at the Museum of the African Diaspora through August 21
- Constellations: Photographs in Dialogue at SFMOMA through August 21
- VERSE: Art of the Future – Holographic Art Gallery at the Palace of Fine Arts through August 31
- And more!
21. Catch Sundown Cinema’s free sing-along screening of Encanto on August 19
Who’s ready for an epic summer?! San Francisco Parks Alliance and Do The Bay have brought back the popular Sundown Cinema series, which presents awesome FREE movies on a giant screen in various parks around the city. On August 19 they’ll host a sing-along screening of Encanto at India Basin Shoreline Park – doors open at 6:00pm and the screening starts around 8:00pm.
22. Thrive City brings the party with free movie nights, concerts, and fitness classes
Head up, bargain hunters of San Francisco: Thrive City at Chase Center is the place to be all summer long! Take advantage of FREE activities including outdoor concerts and movie nights, fun fitness classes, health and wellness workshops, and comedy shows.
- Screening of Spider-Man: No Way Home from 3-7pm on Saturday, August 20.
- Live at Thrive City from 6-9pm on Friday, August 12
- Weekly fitness classes from 10am-12pm on Wednesdays and 5:30-7:30pm on Sundays
- Health and Wellness Sunday on August 28
23. Nerd out at SiliCon with Adam Savage – Silicon Valley’s premier Comic Con
Explore the best in pop culture, technology, science, makers, cosplay, gaming, and more at SIliCon on August 27 and 28 at San Jose McEnery Convention Center. You can meet featured guests including Karen Gillan, George Takei, Christopher Lloyd, and Simone Giertz.
24. General registration opens August 20 for fall activities with SF Rec & Parks
San Francisco is full of amazing activities and resources for just about any hobby you can think of – and SF Rec & Parks knows it! If you’re looking to try a new sport or learn a new skill, they’ve lined up some excellent programming for children and adults this fall. Registration opens at 10am on August 13 for OSAS & Randall Museum class members, 10am on August 17 for active scholarship recipients, and 10am on August 20 for the general public
25. August is Trans History Month in San Francisco – celebrate at the Riot Party!
Last year, San Francisco declared August Trans History Month, becoming the first U.S. city to do so. August marks the 55th anniversary of the Compton’s Cafeteria riots, in which a large group of transgender women and drag queens resisted arrest in the Tenderloin. They fought back with handbags and high heels to protest violent abuse and harassment they suffered at the hands of the police. On Sunday, August 28, the District will host The Riot Party to remember this essential day in trans history.
26. Immerse yourself in a sound bath at SF Botanical Garden
SF Botanical Garden hosts plenty of engaging and informative events every month, and this August brings some fun ones. Consider paying a visit to their book readings, guided forest therapy activities, sketching workshops, and meditation retreat. They will also host 2 of their popular sound baths – one on August 4 and one on August 21.
27. Find your inner piece on the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral’s Tuesday yoga practices
Every Tuesday spiritual worlds unite in a darkened cathedral, illuminated with colorful light trickling in from the stained glass windows. Multicolored mats cover the floors of the vast cathedral as a yoga session begins, accompanied by beautiful live instrumentals. It’s fair to say that yoga sessions at Grace Cathedral are simply divine. Classes take place every Tuesday evening from 6:15pm to 7:30pm, and cost $15.
28. 8 wonderful museums and gardens offering free admission days
We love San Francisco for its vibrant culture, history, and resources, but it’s no secret that living here costs a pretty penny. Whether you’re a college student on a budget, or a bargain hunter wanting to see the sights, this list will certainly help you get started.
- SFMOMA – August 4, 1-8pm (Bay Area residents)
- De Young Museum and Legion of Honor – Saturdays (Bay Area residents) and August 2 (general public)
- Asian Art Museum – August 7 (general public)
- And more!
29. Filoli is open late on Thursdays for their lovely Summer Nights series
Filoli is currently putting on a special Summer Nights series, happening every Thursday evening from 5-8pm through September 22. The estate typically closes at 5pm so these after-hours events are great for exploring the gardens just before dusk with a cocktail in hand. Sip on a margarita or a refreshing mint limeade while listening to lively Irish session music at the Pool Pavilion. You can also indulge in flavorful tacos, burritos, and fried plantains from the Cochinita food truck. Keep an eye out for summer flowers including dahlias, roses, water lilies, fuchsia, salvia, hydrangeas, lavender, and rhododendrons.
30. Break in the newly-opened Presidio Tunnel Tops with ongoing activities and events
For years now, San Franciscans have heard tell of Presidio Tunnel Tops, a massive new 14-acre public park that connects the Presidio’s Main Post with Crissy Field through a series of bluff landscapes, pathways, and gathering places. Lucky for us, it is now officially open! Following its exciting grand opening, Presidio Tunnel Tops will continue to celebrate with events during the coming months:
- First Sunday afternoons: Performances, pop-up food vendors, live music, activities and more at Presidio Visitor Center (1-4pm on 8/7, 9/4, 10/2, 11/6)
- Outdoor art installation by Favianna Rodriguez (ongoing)
- Drop-in nature and history explorations at Presidio Field Station (Wed-Fri 11am-4pm; Sat-Sun 10am-5pm)
- NPS Ranger talks at the Campfire Circle (4-4:30pm Fri-Mon through September 5)
31. Have some good old-fashioned fun at a local county fair
If you’re craving a funnel cake, hoping to blow off steam on a carnival ride, or seeking some quality animal time at a petting zoo, be sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming local fairs and festivals.
- Santa Clara County Fair – through August 7 in San Jose
- Sonoma County Fair – August 4-14 in Santa Rosa
- Napa Town & Country Fair – August 11-14 in Calistoga
- Yolo County Fair – August 17-21 in Woodland
- And more!
32. Check out this made-to-order gourmet popcorn store in Hayes Valley
San Francisco just welcomed Fluff Nugget, the city’s first made-to-order popcorn store, on Thursday in Hayes Valley. The gorgeous new shop has taken over Smitten’s old storefront at 432 Octavia Street with next-level popcorn treats in sweet and savory flavors like Chorizo & Cheddar, Strawberry Meringue, Chocolate Aztec Chili, and limited-edition Pistachio Pesto.
33. 10 outstanding places to work or study in San Francisco
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.
34. 14 vintage clothing shops in SF where you can find the perfect retro look
Vintage clothing is always in. Whether you’re trying to channel the bright ’80s vibe of Stranger Things, nail that ’60s Summer of Love look, or want to step into a hip speakeasy in your best ’20s flapper dress, San Francisco has a vintage clothing store for that.
35. 10 beautiful restaurants in San Francisco to try at least once
These 10 restaurants in San Francisco didn’t skimp when it came to the design of their dining rooms, and the results are absolutely phenomenal. Here’s a list of some of the most beautiful restaurants in the city, compiled with a little help from our Instagram followers.
36. 10 exceptional dog-friendly restaurants in San Francisco
San Francisco is a city of dog lovers, there’s no doubt about it. Luckily for us, many SF businesses are more than welcoming to our four-legged friends. Whether you’re looking for a nice outdoor patio brunch or a laid-back dive bar atmosphere, we’ve got you covered.
37. 5 unique ice cream shops doing something a little different in San Francisco
It’s never a bad time to expand your ice cream repertoire! If you’re looking to step a little out of the box, here are 5 ice cream shops in San Francisco that bring something new to the table.
38. 20 charming picnic spots in San Francisco
San Francisco is home to some of the best parks and gardens in the world, so there’s no shortage of awesome picnic spots for you to enjoy a meal with friends. Whether you want to support a local cafe and get some amazing food to go, or you prefer to pack your own delicious recipe to enjoy out in the sunshine, you’ll love all of these great options. Some are SF staples, and some are a little less well-known.
- Old Speedway Meadow
- Pine Lake Park
- Salesforce Park
- And more!
39. Take a day trip to one of these 11 spectacular destinations
We love San Francisco for its countless activities to enjoy everywhere you go. But anytime there’s a long weekend or a free day, we’re quite well-located to check out some neighboring California gems. Here are 11 spots to put on your list!
- Pinnacles National Park
- Alamere Falls
- Mount Tamalpais
- And more!
40. This big crack in the de Young’s courtyard is a work of art hidden in plain sight
At first glance, it might look like a simple break in the stone. The result of a California earthquake, perhaps. But in fact, this curious crack in the ground at the de Young Museum is actually a meticulously planned, symbolic art piece by legendary English artist Andy Goldsworthy.
41. This abandoned highway is now a hiking trail with breathtaking views
Devil’s Slide is the name given to a small area of coastline between Pacifica and Montara, which once held a landslide-prone section of Highway 1. After its construction in 1935, the road was frequently damaged during winter storms and had to be closed and repaired multiple times. Eventually in 2013, CalTrans diverted the highway into the Tom Lantos Tunnels and converted the decommissioned roadway into a pedestrian- and bike-only zone.
42. 10 famous graves that you can visit in Colma
Bay Area history is replete with famous figures whose contributions have echoed throughout the decades. A great deal of those individuals came to rest in local cemeteries, where you can still go pay your respects to this day.
- Lillie Hitchcock Coit
- Joe DiMaggio
- Wyatt Earp
- And more!
43. Oakland’s charming bonsai garden is free to visit and completely volunteer-run
Oakland’s Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is an absolute must for plant lovers. Not only is it the only major all-volunteer-run bonsai garden in the country, but it’s also completely free to visit. The garden’s collection comprises nearly 200 meticulously-maintained bonsai, of which about half are on display to the public at any given time.
44. 4 delightful Bay Area observatories for your inner astronomer
When’s the last time you turned your attention skyward? The Bay Area has several public observatories where you can take a break from your earthly qualms and get lost in a galaxy far, far away. Whether you seek to gain some distance from this giant blue marble, or you want to get into a conversation about aliens, these four local observatories have you covered with public telescope viewings and more.
45. Sip your way through these 10 superb wine bars
An excellent glass of wine can turn a bad day into a good day, or a good day into a better day! We’re lucky to live right near wine country, meaning that Bay Area wine bars have their pick of some of the best wineries in the world. Whether you’re looking for a classy ambience with a highly curated selection, or a laid-back environment where you can find a perfect bottle to take home, we’ve got you covered! Here are 10 wine bars you’ve got to visit, listed in no particular order.
46. Visit one of these bountiful weekend farmers’ markets
If you live in the Bay Area, you know that we have access to some of the best produce in the country. That’s why farmer’s markets are a must for countless SF residents who enjoy getting their food from local sources. Be sure to stop by these 10 fantastic farmer’s markets, located all around the city and bringing new, fresh produce to you every weekend.
47. This self-guided tour takes you through 11 glowing light art installations in SF
San Francisco is absolutely stunning day and night, but some truly incredible art lights up as soon as the sun goes down. SF Travel put together a great map marking 11 of the best light art installations in the city, reaching from the Bay Bridge to the Castro. It will take a few hours to get through the whole thing on foot, but it’s not a bad bike or car ride if you want to hit all 11 stops in one night. You can also scoot around fairly well on public transportation. Learn more here!
48. Catch a lovely Bay Area sunset at these 10 essential viewing spots
There’s truly no shortage of excellent places to see a sunset in the Bay, but we wanted to get to the bottom of where locals love to watch the sky light up. That’s why we posted an Instagram poll asking for our followers’ best recommendations! They didn’t disappoint, and we have almost 30 different places to tell you about.
- Mori Point
- Lands End
- Palace of Fine Arts
- And more!
49. This lesser-known street in San Francisco is actually more crooked than Lombard Street
We all know Lombard Street. It’s that beautifully landscaped, crooked red-brick street that receives 2 million tourists a year (or per day, it seems!) But did you know that it’s not actually the so-called “crookedest street in the world,” or even in San Francisco? Vermont Street in Potrero Hill is a little rougher around the edges, but yes, it is still in fact “crookeder!” It’s also the site of the annual Bring Your Own Big Wheel (BYOBW) race, a neighborhood favorite!
50. Party it up at these 10 bottomless brunches
Any weekend can be massively improved by a good old bottomless brunch. We’ve rounded up the best bottomless mimosas or mimosa deals in the city, which will surely spruce up your next daytime outing with friends. Read on to discover your next favorite spot!
Featured image: DTM Media on Shutterstock