Spring is around the corner and we just can’t wait! Read on for some of the best things to do this March in San Francisco and the Bay Area. You’ve got to put some of these ideas on your calendar ASAP — We’ve got you covered for both indoor and outdoor activities in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
1. Don’t miss these magical classical concerts by Candlelight
The immensely popular Candlelight concert series is putting on some great shows right now in San Francisco! Hear your favorite songs on strings including classics from Frank Sinatra and Queen, recent pop hits, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Experience the magic of these intimate concerts by the light of thousands of flickering candles in venues like St. Ignatius Church, the InterContinental Hotel’s covered rooftop, and the Heron Arts Gallery. Get tickets now!
2. This floating park in SF has free yoga, live music, and more
Did you know that Salesforce Park hosts a ton of free activities every week? They include yoga classes, bootcamps, live music, bird walks, garden tours, drum circles, and much more. If you have yet to visit this fascinating rooftop escape, consider checking the event calendar for a one-of-a-kind experience. Get more details about each event here.
- Mar. 1 – Birding walk
- Mar. 5 – SF Scottish Fiddlers
- Mar. 18 – Drum circle
- Mar. 22 – Garden tour
- Mar. 25 – 5Rythyms
- Tuesdays – Recess cart, HIIT workout
- Wednesdays – Family storytime, recess cart, ZUMBA
- Thursdays – Express bootcamp, recess cart, Toddler Tuesday, Midday Music
- Fridays – Recess cart, Vinyasa Yoga
- Saturdays – Metcon, recess cart
3. Explore the International Space Station in VR on this multisensory voyage in Richmond
Through Apr. 9
Space Explorers: THE INFINITE is currently open at the Craneway Pavilion through April 9! Featuring never-before-seen footage filmed by actual astronauts on the International Space Station, the acclaimed VR journey will transport you to space and back. During 60 magical minutes, discover life in space and witness our blue planet unlike you ever have before.
4. This Oakland observatory hosts free telescope viewings on weekends
Make sure to put Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center on your radar, as they’re hosting free telescope viewings on weekends! Every weekend, visitors may explore the stars through Chabot’s historic telescopes, free of charge. Weather permitting, the viewings happen from 7:30-10:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
You can also catch their all-new after-hours event for adults only on March 11 from 6-10pm.
5. Discover Iñárritu’s award-winning CARNE y ARENA VR experience
Through Mar. 12
Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion has welcomed this poignant VR experience by five-time Academy Award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. CARNE y ARENA explores true stories of refugees, giving guests a unique way to witness their personal journeys on a visceral level. See how virtual reality can blur the lines between subject and bystander for this one-of-a-kind experience.
6. Registration opens March 4 for spring 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 that will kick off this spring, and registration opens at 10am on Saturday, March 4. Activities include tennis, sewing, volleyball, photography, ceramics, kayaking, rock climbing, and much more.
7. Head West Marketplace and more return to the Ferry Building this month
San Francisco’s Ferry Building is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, serving as a hotspot for tourists and locals alike. When’s the last time you explored this beautiful and famous landmark?
- Mar. 1, 8 – All-Levels Vinyasa Yoga
- Mar. 19, 26 – The Art of Sushi Making
- Mar. 5, 12, 19, 26 – Head West Marketplace
- And more
8. See what’s coming up at NightLife 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.
- Mar. 2 – NightLife – no set theme.
- Mar. 9 – NightLife: Unladylike – Celebrate Women’s History Month with storytelling about famous Academy alumni, “unladylike” scientific specimens, and the Museum of Craft & Design’s modern interpretation of pressed seaweed art.
- Mar. 16 – NightLife – no set theme.
- Mar. 23 – NightLife: Level 2 – Beat some noobs at this gaming-themed NightLife event.
- Mar. 30 – NightLife – no set theme.
9. See the Entwined LED light installation one last time before it’s gone
Through Mar. 12
Make sure you pay a visit soon to Charles Gadeken’s Entwined, a sprawling immersive LED light installation in Golden Gate Park open through March 12. The whimsical installation transforms Peacock Meadow into an otherworldly ecosystem of glowing trees, bushes, and other natural elements created from colorful pixel-like LED lights. The trees range from 8-20 feet tall, accompanied by dozens of glowing flower clusters and bushes to create a beautiful meadow landscape.
10. Save on a trip to the movies with the AMC Black Ticket
For the cinephile in your life, the AMC Black Ticket grants admission to any 2D movie at any time in participating AMC Theatres®. Take advantage of this discounted price for a movie ticket that never expires, so you can save it for a rainy day or catch the next big blockbuster.
11-12. Spot some local wildlife
Northern elephant seals inhabit the waters from Baja California, Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands. They generally breed from December to March at Point Reyes, Año Nuevo, the Channel Islands and Piedras Blancas.
California’s coastline is the perfect spot to catch several whale migration seasons – gray whales from January through April, orcas between February and May, and humpbacks between April and December. Even from land, you’re likely to see them spouting, slapping their tails (known as “lobtailing”) or even breaching. If you want to see them up close, a whale watching tour will do the trick.
13. 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. Get tickets here.
- Mar. 2 – After Dark: Extended Cinemas – A cinematic celebration by local artists and filmmakers, with topics like “Antique TikTok” and “Chinatown Sports.”
Mar. 9 – After Dark: Integrating Ecologies – An examination of the overlap between the built and natural worlds.
Mar. 16 – After Dark: Conversations About Landscape – A deep-dive into culturally-based restoration efforts with the SF Department of the Environment.
Mar. 23 – After Dark: ¡Plantásticas! Opening night / Noche de apertura – Get a first look at the Exploratorium’s new exhibition ¡Plantásticas! which celebrates plants from every angle including food, science, and gardening.
14. Take advantage of SF Opera’s unprecedented 3 x 1 deal
Deal ends Mar. 22
SF’s arts and culture scene is shaping up to be a good one in 2023, from new museum exhibitions to pop-up light art. Most recently, San Francisco Opera announced that guests can see three shows for the price of one thanks to The Future of Opera Subscription, which runs through March 22nd. Quantities are extremely limited so make sure you hop on this one-of-a-kind deal before it ends.
15. Honor Women’s History Month with a visit to these lesser-known murals around the city
March is Women’s History Month, and we can’t wait to celebrate! The street artists of San Francisco never disappoint, and we rounded up 20 lesser-known murals that celebrate iconic female figures around the city.
16. 40+ museum exhibitions to see right now in San Francisco
As we enter a new month, many museum exhibitions in San Francisco are getting refreshed and replaced. We’re keeping tabs on the best new exhibitions from SFMOMA to the Asian Art Museum, so you’ll never miss an amazing new display! Read on to start planning your next museum visit, and be sure to see our list of free museum days in SF to get the most bang for your buck.
SF museum exhibitions opening soon
- Bearing Witness: Selected Works by Chiura Obata – closing Feb. 27 at the Asian Art Museum
- Richard Diebenkorn in Color at Crown Point Press – closing Mar. 5 at the de Young Museum
- The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion – closing Mar. 5 at the Museum of the African Diaspora
- Ashley Ross – closing Mar. 5 at the Museum of the African Diaspora
- Oz is for Oznowicz: A Puppet Family’s History – closing Mar. 5 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
- Walt Disney’s The Jungle Book: Making a Masterpiece – closing Mar. 5 at the Walt Disney Family Museum
- Joan Brown – closing Mar. 12 at SFMOMA
- Space Explorers: The Infinite – closing Mar. 12 at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond
- Proxistant Vision – closing Mar. 19 at the Museum of Craft and Design
- Spirit of the Season: A Community Art Exhibition – closing Mar. 19 at the Walt Disney Family Museum
- Chris Miller: Kaleidoscope – closing Mar. 19 at the Walt Disney Family Museum
SF museum exhibitions closing soon
- Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence – opening Mar. 18 at the de Young Museum
- We Become [Vessels] – opening Mar. 23 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
- New Work: Anna Sew Hoy – opening Mar. 25 at SFMOMA
- Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art – opening Mar. 31 at the Asian Art Museum
17. Look for free admission days this March at 10 SF museums
We love San Francisco for its vibrant culture, history, and resources, but just about anyone in SF could benefit from finding new free things to do. Whether you’re a college student on a budget, or a bargain hunter wanting to see the sights, this list of free museum days in San Francisco will certainly help you get started.
- Mar. 1 – GLBT Historical Society Museum
- Mar. 2 – SFMOMA
- For Bay Area residents only, 1:30-8pm
- Mar. 3 – Contemporary Jewish Museum
- Mar. 5 – Asian Art Museum
- Mar. 7 – de Young Museum & Legion of Honor
- Also free every Saturday for Bay Area residents
- Mar. 7 – Conservatory of Flowers
- Also free daily for SF City & County Residents
- Mar. 11 – Museum of the African Diaspora
- Mar. 14 – SF Botanical Garden
- Also free daily for SF City & County Residents
- Also free daily between 7:30-9am for the general public
- Wednesdays – Museum of Craft and Design
- “Pay what you can” Wednesdays
- MWF before 10am – Japanese Tea Garden
- Also free daily for SF City & County Residents
18. Free concerts are back at the Bandshell — here’s the lineup
Yes, they’re back! The Lift Every Voice series is bringing dozens of free concerts courtesy of Illuminate, SF Rec & Parks, and the SF Parks Alliance. All performances are free and family-friendly, with the impressive Golden Gate Bandshell as the backdrop. The Bandshell, which is 120 years old, added new lighting, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a new stage during the pandemic. See the full lineup through May.
19. Enjoy an amazingly festive St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day arrives soon in San Francisco and we’re not about to miss a party. Save the date for SF’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 11, and keep the momentum going with pub crawls, parties, community events, and endless delicious Irish fare. Read on to start planning your St. Paddy’s celebrations in San Francisco.
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade
- United Irish Cultural Center (UICC) events
- St. Patrick’s Day pub crawls
- And more
20-22. Spot some spring flowers around the city
Every year, the San Francisco Botanical Garden explodes into a beautiful spectrum of deep magentas and bright pinks. The “Magnificent Magnolias” event occurs in late January through March, so be sure to find a day soon to see these spectacular blossoms at their best.
Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden is a quaint spot in the northwest corner of the park, next to an authentic Dutch windmill. Early spring is the best time to see it in full bloom.
Cherry will soon start to bloom at the Japanese Tea Garden and other key spots in the city. Catch them from March through the beginning of April.
23. Pick a free tulip bouquet at Flower Bulb Day at Union Square
San Francisco’s wholesome Flower Bulb Day is officially on the city’s calendar for March 5, 2022 from 1-4:30pm. The gorgeous outdoor garden will cover Union Square with 100,000 tulips, all of which are free for visitors to pick and take home!
24. Road trip down to Calla Lily Valley in Big Sur
Big Sur’s Garrapata Beach is taken over by countless white calla lilies every year in early spring. Many of the plants were damaged during the 2023 winter storms, but you can still catch a decent amount starting to bloom.
25. Hit up West Coast Craft and more March events at Fort Mason Center
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.
Festivals and markets
- Sundays – Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market
- Mar. 18 – West Coast Craft (also Apr. 8, June 10-11)
- Through Mar. 13 – Sunny A. Smith: The Compass Rose
- Through Mar. 13 – Kija Lucas at the Guardhouse
- Through Mar. 25 – Mike Henderson: Chicken Fingers, 1976-1980
- Through Mar. 25 – Dismantling Monoliths
- Through Mar. 26 – Museo Italo Americano – ContemporArte
- Through Apr. 16 – Christo Oropeza: Aun así, pienso en ti
- Through Apr. 16 – Alicia Eggert’s This Present Moment
Concerts and performances
- Mar. 3 – Crystalline Resonance
- Mar. 3 – We Players’ 2023 Season Launch Party
- Through Mar. 5 – Magic Theatre Season 2023: The Travelers by Luis Alfaro
- Sundays – St John Will I Am Coltrane African Orthodox Church at Magic Theatre
- Mar. 9 – FOR-SITE Birthday Bash
- Mar. 25 – Howell Mountain Bud Break Celebration
- Through June 24 – Greens Restaurant Prix Fixe and dinner series
26. Enjoy a new chef every month at this Michelin-starred restaurant in Russian Hill
The Michelin-starred Russian Hill restaurant, Lord Stanley, made a bold choice in 2021 – they started hosting traveling chefs. Their concept is called Turntable at Lord Stanley and they host month-long residencies with talented chefs from the Bay Area and across the globe. Each visiting chef develops their own tasting menu and to-go offerings during their 1 month residency. The result is a program that provides both stability and creative freedom, to the delight of everyone who visits.
27. Explore over 50 vendors at this gigantic crystal fair
The Crystal Fair Marketplace will soon touch down in San Francisco! This giant event brings over 50 vendors to San Francisco and Walnut Creek on select weekends through November. Peruse thousands of crystals, minerals, geodes, beads, and gems while learning about their properties from the best local and international curators. Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet with healers, psychics, aura readers, and masseuses.
Additional marketplaces will take place at the SF County Fair Building on June 10-11 and November 25-26. The fair travels to Walnut Creek’s Civic Park Community Center on April 22-23, August 12-13, and October 7-8.
28. Try out these Bay Area restaurants and chefs in the running for James Beard Awards
The James Beard Foundation has released its semifinalists for the coveted 2023 chef and restaurant awards. Bay Area foodies rejoice, because there’s a local restaurant in the running for every single category! The final James Beard Award nominees will be announced on March 29th and winners will be revealed on June 5th. But for now, we have plenty of time to peruse the Bay Area semifinalists and try them out for ourselves. Read on to learn more about the restaurants and chefs that made the cut.
- Outstanding Restaurateur: Yuka Ioroi and Kris Toliao, Cassava
- Outstanding Chef: David Nayfeld, Che Fico
- Outstanding Restaurant: Mourad
- And more
29. Look out for this mobile light art pop-up in SF and Oakland
Keep your eyes peeled in March and April for Immersive Arts Alliance’s Mobile Light Art Station, a giant light art pop-up outfitted with speakers and projectors to create ambitious light installations on street corners in SF and Oakland.
The first event is on Mar. 3 from 7-9pm at “The Great Wall of Oakland” (415 West Grand, Oakland). See performances by Ayodele Nzinga, Oakland Poet Laureate; and Roberto Bedoya, author and Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager. Oakland School of the Arts will bring performances from its music and spoken word programs and a Hyphy-inspired hip hop dance.
30. Check out this naughty new wine bar in SoMa
The hotly anticipated natural wine bar Sluts finally opened its doors in SoMa at the beginning of the year. The bar is the creation of Hi Felicia founder, Imana, who is taking a radically different approach to the space, creating a place that’s playful, provocative, and unlike any other bar in SF. The purple-drenched space features a stripper pole, nude statues, plush seating, and even a disco ball in the bathroom.
31. Take a trip down to the newly-opened Super Nintendo World
One of the most hotly-anticipated openings in California this year was America’s first Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood. Gamers of all ages and expertise can now experience an immersive world created around what may arguably be the most recognized video games on the planet! And yes, there’s a Mario Kart ride…
32. Skip the vineyards and taste outstanding wine right in Berkeley
Berkeley’s Gilman District, packed with historic warehouses, quaint residences, and innovative makers, is also home to several of the region’s best wineries. If you’re willing to forgo the vineyard views, this neighborhood offers an outstanding day of wine tasting without the long drive to Napa.
Several of the wineries mentioned below participate in the First Friday Block Party, which takes place on the first Friday of every month and includes delicious wine, food, live music, and more.
33. Snap the perfect shot at these gorgeous Instagrammable cafes
It’s not so hard to inject a dose of luxury into your coffee routine! These cafes around the Bay Area are great for delicious drinks and breakfast/brunch fare, but they especially stand out for their unique, eye-catching design elements.
34. Chill out at a fun local dive bar
We wanted to discover the best dive bars in San Francisco, so naturally we asked our followers for their tried-and-true haunts. As usual, y’all delivered! Read on to discover 10 excellent dive bars in San Francisco, recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans.
35. Stock up at a weekend farmers’ market
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.
36. Find your next plant children at an SF nursery
Are you an avid gardener with dozens of thriving plants? Or a college student trying to revive your only succulent? No matter who you are, you can surely appreciate the life and energy that these little green friends bring into your home.
37. Have a lovely outdoor brunch at these essential 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.