There’s plenty to do this July in and around San Francisco! Keep an eye out for the highly-anticipated Presidio Tunnel Tops park, new museum exhibitions including Diego Rivera’s America at SFMOMA, CA Craft Beer Week, and more. Not to mention some dazzling Bay Area fireworks shows this July 4th! Read on to discover dozens of activities that will make for a fantastic July in SF and beyond.
1. Test your bravery in the Upside Down at San Francisco’s Stranger Things Experience
Stranger Things 4 has dominated the internet over the last month, 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 set recreations including Hawkins Lab, the Byers’ living room, the Palace Arcade, and more. Get tickets here.
2. Dress to impress at The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience in SF this July
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 will be fully transformed into an exquisite grand ballroom from Regency-era England. Get tickets here.
3. SF’s hit Star Wars parody The Empire Strips Back kicks off in July
Following its successful tour around the United States and Australia, ‘The Empire Strips Back’ is heading to San Francisco this July. The Star Wars parody will feature 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. Immerse yourself in a 360º audiovisual experience at The Fluffy Cloud
Buckle up as you may experience some slight turbulence when you approach the Fluffy Cloud! Take part in this new house and techno music festival with 360º light & sound systems, live performances, interactive activities & more. Following its massive success in Miami, Los Angeles and Austin, The Fluffy Cloud Experience will make its next stop in San Francisco this July. Get tickets here.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Enjoy one of these stunning Bay Area fireworks shows
The Fourth of July is back in full swing for 2022. After pared-down celebrations the past two years, Bay Area cities and counties are returning to the parades, markets, live music, and fireworks displays that we know and love, from the famous show at Pier 39 a massive celebration in Antioch. See the list here, and check out this July 3 drone show in Benicia while you’re at it.
9. Have a blast at the grand opening of Presidio Tunnel Tops Park
For years now, San Franciscans have heard tell of Presidio Tunnel Tops, a massive new 14-acre public park connecting the Presidio’s Main Post with Crissy Field through a series of bluff landscapes, pathways, and gathering places. Lucky for us, it’s finally set to open on July 17, 2022 with events from 10am-6pm!
Opening day will bring a series of exciting events including the following:
- Outdoor art installation by Favianna Rodriguez
- Community stage with performances by local talent including Afro-Latin dance, Cuban and salsa music, drum and dance performances, and bilingual poetry readings
- Presidio Pop Up food trucks and carts with grab-and-go sandwiches, pizza, wine, beer, and cocktails
- NPS Ranger Talks at the Campfire Circle
10. Here’s the July lineup for free concerts at Golden Gate Park’s Bandshell
The Lift Every Voice series is bringing dozens of free concerts to Golden Gate Park’s beautiful Bandshell. All performances are free and family-friendly, with everything from singer/songwriter nights to the ever-popular Reggae Sundays.
11. July at the Ferry Building brings outdoor yoga and live music
San Francisco’s Ferry Building is a center for events, pop-ups, a farmers’ market, and countless excellent merchants who sell their wares daily in the building’s many stalls. Here’s what’s on the calendar for July:
- Head West Maker’s Market – July 3
- Ferry Fridays – live music recurring Fridays 3-6pm
- Outdoor Yoga – recurring Wednesday mornings, 7/6 class is free
- Fog City Flea Outdoor Market – July 24
- And more!
12. Party it up at Kapwa Gardens this month with free DJ shows and SoFar Sounds
Have you paid a visit to the Filipino-inspired oasis that is Kapwa Gardens? This vibrant outdoor garden space hosts dozens of events for the community, and this month is shaping up to be a good one.
Here’s what you should put on your July calendar:
- July 2 – SoFar Sounds
- July 16 – Summer Jamz and Cuffin’ BBQ
- July 17 – Pangalay with Jae Tioseco
- July 23 – Summer Jamz & Mirage Medicinal Present LES SF
13. Check out another round of NightLife events at the Academy of Sciences
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.
Here’s what’s on the docket this month:
- July 7 – NightLife: Islas – A night dedicated to Filipino arts, culture, and science.
- July 14 – NightLife – no set theme.
- July 21 – Nightlife: Inked – Explore different uses of ink from cephalopods to tattooing.
14. 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.
Here’s what’s currently on the calendar:
- July 7 – After Dark: See For Yourself – with a DJ from Hip Hop for Change.
- July 14 – After Dark: See For Yourself – with talks from artist Lia Halloran and writer Maria Popova
- July 21 – After Dark: Build – Discover the potential of everyday materials as you tinker, build, and invent.
- July 28 – After Dark: Shine – Play with shadow and light in a series of interactive exhibits.
15. Fort Mason Center’s massive food truck parties are the place to be on Friday evenings
Off The Grid: Fort Mason Center (OTG:FMC) is California’s largest weekly food truck event, and this year marks its 12th season. The event took a 2-year pandemic hiatus, but has long been known as a great launching point for local businesses.
Special events include Family Fridays with fun kid-friendly activities on the first Friday of every month and Fido Fridays for dogs and their owners on the third Friday of every month. Keep an eye out for “Fog Appreciation Day” on July 22.
16. SF’s floating Salesforce Park has a ton of free activities like yoga and bird walks
San Francisco’s Salesforce Park is an amazing modern marvel in the Financial District. The verdant oasis rests 70 feet above the street atop the Salesforce Transit Center, and it’s completely free and open for the public to visit at any time.
It also hosts a collection of free events every week, including yoga classes, bootcamps, live music, bird walks, garden tours, drum circles, and much more.
17. Here are the current and upcoming museum exhibitions to look out for in July
As we enter a new month 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.
Ending in July:
- Punk/Performance in the ‘Loin at the Tenderloin Museum – through July 2
- Memento: Jayashree Chakravarty and Lam Tung Pang at the Asian Art Museum – through July 4
- Alice Neel: People Come First at the de Young Museum – through July 10
- A Living for Us All at SFMOMA – through July 24
Opening in July:
- Mythic Constructions: Carlos Mérida and Paul Klee at SFMOMA – opening July 2
- Benoit Éditeur at the Legion of Honor – opening July 9
- Diego Rivera’s America at SFMOMA – opening July 16
- (a)way station at SFMOMA – opening July 16
- Faith Ringgold: American People at the de Young Museum – opening July 16
18. Snag free tickets to one of Stern Grove’s amazing outdoor concerts
Who’s ready to see some live music?! Stern Grove Festival, a FREE outdoor concert series featuring a wide variety of genres, is in the middle of an epic summer. Guests must register online beforehand to reserve a spot, and tickets are released at 2pm exactly 12 days prior to each event, offering first-come, first-served free passes.
- July 3: Cold War Kids, Geographer, HGMNY (tickets released 2pm June 21)
- July 10: Old Crow Medicine Show, Molly Tuttle (tickets released 2pm June 28)
- July 17: Cat Power, Spellling (tickets released 2pm July 5)
- July 24: LeAnn Rimes, Amythyst Kiah (tickets released 2pm July 12)
- July 31: San Francisco Symphony (tickets released 2pm July 19)
- 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)
19. Watch Star Trek and Harry Potter at Sundown Cinema’s free outdoor film screenings
SF 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. Here’s what to watch out for in July:
- Friday, July 8 @ Union Square – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home– doors open at 6:30pm, screening starts at 8:30pm.
- Friday, July 29 @ Marina Green –Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part II – doors open at 6:30pm, screening starts at 8:20pm.
20. Party it up with concerts, trivia and more at CA Craft Beer Week July 15-24
Heads up, beer fans! California Craft Beer Week (CCBW) is set to take over hundreds of tap rooms and breweries from July 15-24. The Bay Area is coming out in full force with plenty of fun and interesting activities, specials, and events. This is your chance to support local breweries and enjoy the best beers California has to offer.
21. Stanford’s historic amphitheater will present a month of outdoor concerts this summer
A fantastic series of outdoor concerts will come to Stanford’s historic Frost Amphitheater this summer! The Stanford Live Arts Festival is a month-long series from July 8 through August 6 with a wonderful lineup of local performers from SF Symphony, SF Ballet, SF JAZZ, and more.
22. Don’t miss out on free performances and community programs at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is now hosting fantastic free programming multiple days a week, and their upcoming schedule is worth putting on your calendar. 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.
23. Look for giant water lilies in bloom this summer at the Conservatory of Flowers
These enormous water lilies are a prominent fixture in the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers‘ Aquatic Plants Gallery. These impressive plants produce massive white and pink flowers that typically stick around for just 2 days. The gigantic leaves float on top of the water, growing to be between 4 and 6 feet across!
24. You can see exciting kite surfing races at Crissy Field Beach every other Thursday
The St. Francis Yacht Club organizes fun kite surfing races on the waves, which can bring out dozens of competitors for an exciting spectacle. You can catch it every other Thursday evening around 5:00pm at Crissy Field Beach through September 1. Keep an eye out for competitors wearing bright orange jerseys.
25. SF SPCA is offering free adoption for adult dogs and cats
If you’re looking for a furry new friend, now may be the time to pay a visit the shelter. All adult dogs and adult cats over 5 months old are now FREE to adopt at the San Francisco SPCA.
26. Pay a visit to SF bar ABV, which recently ranked in the top 50 bars in North America
Cheers to one of the best bars on the continent! San Francisco’s own ABV, a popular bar in the Mission with great drinks and late-night eats, recently ranked #39 in the top 50 bars across North America.
27. 8 wonderful SF 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 – free admission to Bay Area residents on the first Thursday of every month from 4-8pm.
- Legion of Honor and de Young Museum – Free admission for Bay Area residents every Saturday. Free admission for the general public on the first Tuesday of every month.
- SF Botanical Garden – Free admission daily for SF City & County residents. Free admission for the general public every day from 7:30-9am and on the second Tuesday of every month.
- And more!
28. 6 fascinating tide pools to explore around the Bay Area
If you’re a California native lucky enough to live on the coast, then you know that tide pooling is an awesome way to enjoy the beach. We’ve put together a list of great tide pools to visit around the Bay Area, so put on your best waterproof shoes and get ready to explore. Tidepooling is a fun activity for kids and adults alike, but remember: you’re a guest in these critters’ habitat, so try not to disturb whatever you find and always watch your step. Be sure to visit at low tide, and watch out for sneaker waves.
- Duxbury Reef in Bolinas
- Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park in Pescadero
- Davenport Beach in Davenport
- And more!
29. 10 of the most unique gardens in San Francisco
San Francisco is home to plenty of memorable gardens, but the most unique ones can take some digging to find. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of interesting and unforgettable spots for you to get a breath of fresh air.
30. This eclectic cocktail bar is also a museum and library dedicated to long-term thinking
The Interval at Long Now is the ultimate cocktail bar for those who wouldn’t say no to a splash of existentialism in their cup. The gorgeous space stocks a floor-to-ceiling collection of books dedicated to long-term thinking and rebuilding civilization, and hosts thought-provoking talks by guest speakers. The space itself is meant to foster community and conversation about these topics.
31. 9 lively SF beer gardens where you can enjoy your next pint
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.
32. SF’s ‘Four Seasons’ Victorians give the Painted Ladies a run for their money
San Francisco’s Painted Ladies are one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, made famous for their appearance in the “Full House” opening credits. But few people know about the equally stunning “Four Seasons” houses in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, a row of stunning Queen Anne Victorian homes painted and styled to represent the winter, spring, summer, and fall seasons. The gorgeous homes are lined up at 1315 Waller Street between Masonic Ave and Delmar.
33. 5 gorgeous Bay Area saunas and spas where you can sweat it out this summer
San Francisco is known for our famously chilly summer days, but is luckily also home to some world-class saunas and spas. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spa day by yourself or to sweat it out with the whole squad, there’s a sauna for every occasion.
34. 10 stunning SF public library branches for your inner bookworm
Summer is here, and the SF Public Library system is gearing up for some all-ages fun including Summer Stride to help you stay on track with your reading goals, and an SFPL Explorer Map where you can collect stickers for each branch you visit. To help you get started, take a scroll through our list of the most visually stunning public library branches in San Francisco.
35. This medieval Tuscan-style castle hosts the ultimate wine tasting experience in Calistoga
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga is one of Napa’s most unique wineries, in that it’s styled to emulate a Tuscan castle from the 13th century. The structure took 15 years to build, employing various medieval designs and construction techniques. It includes 5 defensive towers with battlements, 107 rooms, handmade antique bricks from Europe, hand-painted frescoes, and more. You’ll feel entirely transported to the Italian countryside, with a little help from their spectacular hand-crafted Italian-style wines.
36. 10 excellent late-night food spots recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans
Do you know where to find an open kitchen after midnight in San Francisco? We asked our Instagram followers for their favorite late-night haunts and they did not disappoint.
37. 20 free things to do in the Bay Area that aren’t hiking
San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and sometimes we need a refresher on how to have some good ol’ free fun! If you’re looking for a way to leave the house without pulling out your wallet, read on for some inspiration.
- Free telescope viewings at Chabot Space and Science Center
- Play with coin-operated games at Musée Mécanique
- Discover SF’s octagon houses
- And more!
38. 10 fascinating hidden gems you won’t believe are in San Francisco
Here, we’ve rounded up some of the most interesting spots that look totally out of place in the city. Some of these places are more well-known than others, but even the most seasoned San Franciscans still get a kick out of them.
39. 10 gorgeous waterfront restaurants in SF with amazing views
San Francisco has a fantastic collection of restaurants, bars, and cafes with ocean views. It’s hard not to enjoy a weekend brunch on the water or a cocktail with an ocean sunset background, and that’s why we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite waterfront eateries around the city. Read on to discover your new favorite spot.
40. Discover these enchanting fairy tale cottages in Carmel-by-the-Sea
One of California’s most whimsical hidden gems is the small beach city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its collection of quaint fairy tale cottages. Peek into these neighborhoods for a world that’s not quite our own, where storybook illustrations are rendered into reality among breezy seaside surroundings.
Featured image: Rendering of finished Presidio Tunnel Tops park, opening July 17. Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations.