Somehow, we’re at the beginning of a new month, which means plenty of new things to do in the city. Whether you’re a foodie looking to try out a new spot, or an outdoorsy type with a hankering for fresh air, these ideas will definitely get the ball rolling. Scroll down to start planning your month!
1. Enjoy 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! The Bay Area’s top musicians perform classical covers of everything from Beethoven to Adele surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles. Venues include Grace Cathedral and the SF Mint.
- Candlelight: Women of Pop ft. Songs by Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo
- Candlelight: Mozart’s Best Works
2. Enjoy SF’s circus-style cabaret and aerial show featuring world-class acrobats
Join a cast of world-class acrobats every weekend for a circus-style cabaret and aerial show at the historic Great Star Theater. AirOtic Soiree is a jaw-dropping show with extravagant costumes, seductive choreography, unbelievable stunts, and circus artistry.
3. SF’s The Art of the Brick LEGO® exhibition has added new dates into September
New dates have been added to The Art of the Brick exhibition in San Francisco! Artist Nathan Sawaya celebrates this prolific toy with over 70 of 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.
4. Enjoy a day of wine, food, fashion and fun at the Kendall-Jackson Kentucky Derby party
Dust off your finest hat and shine your best shoes, because Kendall-Jackson, the ‘Preferred Wine of the Kentucky Derby’, is hosting the largest West Coast Kentucky Derby party at their wine estate and gardens on Saturday, May 7.
Enjoy delicious southern cuisine, expertly paired with elegant wines from the award winning Kendall-Jackson collection and other favorites from around Sonoma County. Just be careful not to spill anything on your threads, as every one is sure to be looking their best!
5. This next-level holographic art gallery has added dates through June
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.
6. Enjoy the limited summer run of San Francisco’s tantalizing Star Wars Parody
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. Be prepared for some seriously sexy Stormtroopers, a dangerously seductive Boba Fett, and more.
7. Grab a ticket to San Francisco’s rad Stranger Things Experience
An immersive Stranger Things experience transporting you straight into the world of the suspenseful show is landing in San Francisco in June, and we just found out where it’ll take place! Meet us at Skylight at The Armory (1800 Mission Street), but only if you’re ready to hunt some Demogorgons and Mind Flayers…
8. Reserve a spot at the largest fitness expo on the west coast
A massive health and fitness convention is coming to San Jose this June, descending upon the Santa Clara Convention Center, and we can’t think of a better way to get inspired to meet your fitness goals. FitExpo has been a leader in consumer fitness events for over 20 years, and the event is known as the largest fitness expo on the West Coast. This inspiring weekend has a slew of action-packed activities to thrill and inspire.
9. Free concerts are in full swing at the Bandshell! Here’s the full lineup through July
The San Francisco live music scene is on another level! 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.
10. CA’s largest weekly food truck event takes over Fort Mason Center every Friday
Fort Mason Center will soon welcome back an exciting series of gourmet food truck parties courtesy of Off The Grid. The free events will bring dozens of gourmet food trucks to the Fort Mason Center parking lot on Friday evenings from 5pm-10pm through November 11.
11. Battery Bluff is now open at the Presidio
San Franciscans are eagerly awaiting the arrival of several Presidio projects this year, the first of which to arrive is Battery Bluff. Six acres of restored park land are now open, showcasing four historic military batteries which haven’t been seen by the public since 1936. The opening of Battery Bluff precedes that of the Presidio’s 14-acre Tunnel Tops park project, which will be unveiled in July.
12. SF just opened an amazing new 4.5-acre park in Russian Hill
San Francisco Recreation and Parks debuted its latest project on Wednesday in Russian Hill. Francisco Park covers 4.5 acres, making it the city’s largest public park in its “urban core” since 1983.
The park’s position between Francisco, Larkin, Bay, and Hyde streets means visitors can enjoy epic views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Palace of Fine Arts. It also has a sprawling central lawn, a fenced-in dog run, a children’s playground and nature exploration area, accessible pathways, a community garden, and a sustainable rainwater catchment system.
13. This immersive 360° cinema premieres in SF on May 12
Local arts nonprofit Gray Area will soon host the US premiere of Gone, Gone Beyond, a 360° audiovisual cinema experience created by People Like Us (aka Vicki Bennett).
The immersive spatial cinema work seeks to “break the rectangle,” expanding your typical cinema experience through the use of 10 screens and an 8-channel speaker system. The result is a seamless wraparound screen that seemingly shatters into fragments, unravels, and dissolves in a giant patchwork. Viewers will be immersed in a dynamic collage and accompanying soundscape for a truly surreal departure from convention.
14. May at the Ferry Building: Mother’s Day activities, live music, and more
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. Here’s what to check out this month:
- Head West Makers Market (11am-5pm May 1)
- Mother’s Day Floral Cookie Decorating Class(5:30-7pm May 5)
- Ferry Fridays(3-6pm, recurring Fridays starting May 6)
- Mother’s Day Crafts(10am-4pm May 8)
- Gardeneur Plant Market (10am-4pm May 8)
- And more!
15. This month’s ‘After Dark’ events delve into sound, music, and how to die in space
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.
16. May ‘NightLife’ events explore the cosmos, strange plants, and more
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.
17. 10 zesty margaritas to enjoy on Cinco de Mayo in San Francisco
Cinco de Mayo, often mistaken as Mexico’s Independence Day, commemorates Mexico’s underdog victory against France in the Battle of Puebla in 1862. In Mexico, the day’s importance has faded over time, but its significance in the US has grown substantially as a time to celebrate Mexican-American culture. As with many US holidays, commercialization has more or less turned May 5 into another excuse to party. If you like to partake in a margarita or 2 on this special day, we put this list together to help you get started in the city.
18. 50 places to spend a memorable Mother’s Day in San Francisco
Heads up – Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8! Whether you’re looking to celebrate Mother’s Day on a budget, or you want to go all-out with a nice meal, we’ve got 50 exciting ideas to help you get the ball rolling.
- Take a stroll around the city’s unique gardens
- Make a reservation for a sunny outdoor brunch
- Reserve a weekend away at a top-rated NorCal Airbnb
- And more!
19. Check out these 8 local 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! Here are the dates of free admission days this month for the general public. What’s more, the Conservatory of Flowers and Japanese Tea Garden just approved free admission for all SF residents, so if you’re overdue for a visit, now’s the time.
20. The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is the place to be for live music
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, kids’ shows, and more.
21. Walk, run, skate, or ride a bike down car-free JFK Drive
Golden Gate Park’s John F. Kennedy Drive is now permanently car-free after the Board of Supervisors approved Mayor London Breed’s proposal on Tuesday. The popular thoroughfare closed to cars at the beginning of the pandemic to promote social distancing, and quickly became a popular spot for locals.
The plan is to make 1.5 miles of JFK Drive permanently car-free, while simultaneously improving certain one-way segments, bicycle facilities, and accessibility.
22. You can now use your library card to get into over 200 state parks for free
All Californians can now access over 200 state parks for free with a library card thanks to the Outdoors for All Initiative. California State Parks and the California State Library made the announcement that the California State Library Parks Pass is now available at public libraries throughout the state, in an effort to provide safe and equitable access to the outdoors for CA residents.
23. Check out this new exhibition of art painted by endangered animals
The Walt Disney Family Museum has just debuted Creative Conservation: The Art of Endangered Animals. The original exhibition showcases a collection of art created by endangered animal artists, as well as some watercolor wildlife paintings by human artist Andreas Deja. It will be open and free to the public through September 2022.
24. Hearst Castle to reopen May 11 after 2 years and $13.7M renovation
California State Parks has announced that they will reopen Hearst Castle on May 11, after 2 years of closures due to the pandemic and rainstorm damage. The famous estate in San Simeon has been a cornerstone of California history since 1919, and its reopening is sure to bring visitors from far and wide to once again marvel at its stunning landscape, glistening pools, and ornate interior décor.
25. There’s a fantastic new music festival coming to Mill Valley on May 7
There’s a new musical festival coming to the Bay Area in May! The Mill Valley Musical Festival will celebrate music and arts at the base of Mount Tam on May 7. The one-day, family-friendly festival will showcase a variety of genres from both local and national touring musicians.
26. See this breathtaking lupine flower superbloom at Folsom Lake
Who’s up for a roadtrip?! The lupine flowers are exploding across Folsom Lake in areas that are normally underwater, and thousands of visitors have overwhelmed the area in order to catch the bloom before it ends. The park’s busiest entrance is the Granite Bay one, but you may find other ones through Salmon Falls, Folsom Point or Shadow Glen. See the park website for a full list of entrances and updated regulations.
27. 7 marvelous rooftop bars to check out in San Francisco
Everyone knows that rooftops in San Francisco are few and far between, but we managed to round up some stellar spots to try out when you’re looking to grab dinner or drinks with a view. Whether you prefer a swanky environment with craft cocktails, or a laid-back terrace to enjoy a cold beer, we’re sure you’ll find something on this list that caters to your sensibility.
28. 30 most underrated places in SF, according to San Franciscans
Many San Franciscans are vocal about overrated spots in the city. But what about the most underrated places? We took to Instagram and Facebook to ask our followers this question: In your opinion, what’s the most underrated place in San Francisco? After reading through these fantastic responses, we can’t wait to go try some new spots.
29. Get close to nature at these 10 beautiful spots in the City, recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans
We wanted to hear your favorite spots to get close to nature, so we asked our Instagram followers for their best local outdoor escapes. They certainly didn’t disappoint, and these places inside of the City come highly recommended.
- Land’s End
- Ocean Beach
- The Presidio
- And more!
30. Take a slippery ride down these awesome neighborhood slides
For decades, thrill-seeking adults and children alike have enjoyed these legendary slides hidden near the Castro. The Seward Street Slides were designed by a 14-year old girl named Kim Clark, who grew up nearby.
The slides are located in Seward Mini Park, which is tucked away at 70 Corwin St in Noe Valley. Park hours are from 6am-10pm, and slide hours are from 10am-5pm. The park and slides are closed on Mondays.
31. Enjoy a picnic at these 15 charming spots in the City
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 socially distanced 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
- Garden of Shakespeare’s Flowers
- Bernal Heights Park
- Palace of Fine Arts lawn
- And more!
32. Visit this historical country estate and its gorgeous gardens
If you haven’t heard of Filoli, you have got to add this spectacular historical estate to your list. According to its website, the Filoli property covers 654 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The house and garden themselves cover 16 immaculate acres, having been beautifully maintained for over a century.
Filoli’s gardens are unique in that they bloom all year round, thanks to seasonal planting and carefully planned maintenance by the estate’s 14 full-time horticulturalists. Over 75,000 spring bulbs are planted each year.
You may visit Filoli at 86 Cañada Road in Woodside, CA with prior reservation from 10am-5pm daily. General admission costs $25 and there are reduced prices available for children, seniors and students.
33. Find these breathtaking cliff views just an hour out of the City
Wilder Ranch State Park, just a few minutes south of Davenport, is a 7,000 acre ranch from the late 1800s converted into a museum and nature preserve. This historic site sits along the Santa Cruz County coastline and is home to spectacular views, hikes, and wildlife.
There are several hiking trails you can take at Wilder Ranch. The Old Landing Cove Trail, Pacific to Redwoods Loop, and Wilder Ridge trails will give you up-close views of the breaking waves and access to some of the hidden beaches. The Englesman, Long Meadow, Eucalyptus and Enchanted Loop trails will give you more views of the green countryside, with a dazzling ocean backdrop. Be sure to visit Wilder Ranch State Park for an amazing weekend getaway from the city!
[Featured Image: @hiker.hustle via Instagram]