100 Fantastic Things To Do This November In San Francisco

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

100 Fantastic Things To Do This November In San Francisco

Another month is upon us, and it’s time to round up even more fun things to do in the Bay Area! Scroll through to get a snapshot of fun events coming up, hidden gems to discover, great restaurants to try, and much more. Don’t forget to take a look at our fall bucket list for more awesome ideas!

1. Get on the waitlist for this unbelievable exhibition of LEGO® art coming to San Francisco

Get ready, San Francisco, because we’re about to be treated to an art exhibition of epic proportions! The Art of the Brick is the world’s most popular display of LEGO® art, and it will make its San Francisco premiere this December. Artist Nathan Sawaya’s collection showcases over 70 unbelievably intricate sculptures made from more than a million of the famous tiny bricks, including a 20-foot T. rex and Michelangelo’s David.

The waitlist for The Art of the Brick is now open. Get front-of-the-line access to tickets on Thursday, November 4 at 9am! 


2. 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! You’ll enjoy works from Beethoven, Mozart 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 and the InterContinental hotel’s covered rooftop. Be sure to grab tickets to these beautiful concerts before it’s too late!


3. 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! Doors have officially opened 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 St. Mary’s Cathedral. See the paintings in a life-size display created through a special printing technique that shows each and every brushstroke. You can still grab tickets to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition through mid-November!


4. Celebrate Día de los Muertos with the Mission Cultural Center

San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts is presenting its 35th annual Day of the Dead exhibition,  ‘Ni Tanto Ni Tan Muertos— Neither So Much, Nor So Dead.’ The popular exhibition will be up through November 19, featuring several beautiful handcrafted altars in honor of Anna Halprin, Jack Hirschman, Yolanda Lopez, and Hung Liu. You can attend the Day of the Dead celebration on November 2 from 6pm-10pm, which will feature Aztec dancers, a poetry reading, a docu-film, and more.

5. Sign up for the 19th annual Turkey Trot

The San Francisco Turkey Trot is back! Kick off Thanksgiving Day with a mostly flat and comfortable race course in Golden Gate Park. You can sign up for the 5-mile Turkey Trail Trot, the 3-mile Pilgrim Promenade, or the 100-meter Kids Gobbler Chase (kids 10 and under only).

6-11. 6 wonderful SF museums and gardens with free admission days

This list shows museums and gardens currently offering free admission days each month. As we roll into November, it’s a good time to see the fresh batch of free days coming up on the calendar! See our full list of free admission days for more details.

  • SFMOMA: Free admission to Bay Area residents on the first Thursday of every month from 4-8pm.
  • de Young Museum and Legion of Honor: Free admission for the general public on the first Tuesday of every month. Free admission for Bay Area residents every Saturday.
  • Asian Art Museum: Free admission for the general public on the first Sunday of every month.
  • SF Botanical Garden: Free admission for the general public every day from 7:30-9am, and all day on the second Tuesday of every month. Free admission for all SF City & County residents daily with proof of residency.
  • Conservatory of Flowers: Free admission for the general public on the first Tuesday of every month.
  • Japanese Tea Garden: Free admission for the general public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays if entered between 9-10am.

12. The 5th annual San Francisco Coffee Festival is coming to SF

Fahmi Fakhrudin via Unsplash

On the weekend of November 13-14, the SF Coffee Festival will take the Fort Mason Center by storm! This exciting festival will feature great food, fun local products, a latte art competition, live music, learning sessions, and of course endless high-quality coffee. Make sure to grab tickets while they’re still available.

13. Explore this immersive glowing alien forest by night and by day

Courtesy of Nocturne X

Prepare to be transported to a mysterious alien planet called Nocturne X, complete with glowing plants, surreal landscapes, crystal caves, awesome music, and more! This unbelievable artistic experience is arriving soon in San Francisco, promising a mystical art exhibition by day and a psychedelic dance floor by night.

The massive 4,000-square-foot ecosystem is completely interactive, meaning you can explore hundreds of hand-sculpted plants and trees. The glowing vegetation is full of surprising stories and puzzles, and the interconnected landscape responds to touch, sound, and movement.

14. Check out the Bloomtown scavenger hunt on Union Street through November 15

Bloomtown is still going on! This scavenger hunt features enormous inflatable dahlia flowers (the official flower of San Francisco) sprouting at businesses on Union Street. It’s an interactive art experience meant to encourage San Franciscans to support local businesses and engage with the community. Participating in the scavenger hunt could win you a prize worth over $500!

15-18. 4 fascinating things to see on your next visit to Alcatraz

Alcatraz Lighthouse. Photo via National Parks Conservancy

Alcatraz is one of San Francisco’s most exciting attractions. In addition to the cell house tour and the main prison, there are some other fascinating things to check out during your visit to the infamous island! Do you know about the history of Alcatraz’s gardens, or the lighthouse built in 1854? What about the nesting seabird population, or the graffiti left behind from the Native American Occupation and civil rights movement? There’s so much more to Alcatraz than meets the eye.

19-28. 10 outstanding bookstores to browse in San Francisco

Calling all San Francisco bookworms! Not sure where to find your next good read? These famous bookstores around the city are musts for any local bookworm. Here are some of our favorites, but be sure to see our full list of San Francisco bookstores for all the deets.

  • Green Apple Books
  • Kinokuniya
  • City Lights
  • Black Bird Bookstore
  • Omnivore Books on Food

29-33. Here’s where you can get those viral Korean corn dogs in the Bay Area

Surely you’ve seen these absolutely stunning corn dogs at some point in your feed. What we might know as a simple childhood snack has been taken up several notches in the form of the Korean corn dog, which is a popular street food in South Korea. It usually contains a hot dog, mozzarella cheese, or rice cake covered in batter and fun toppings including french fries, ramen, or panko. Fry it up, slather in your favorite sauce, and you’ve got a snack for the ages! Some San Francisco locations include STIX and District Tea, but see our full list for 3 additional Bay Area spots.

34-43. You can still get delicious seasonal treats at these 10 SF eateries

The fall season brings some of the best flavors on the calendar. We’re talking pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and every scent that you want wafting through your kitchen. Well, that fact is certainly not lost on San Francisco’s bakeries, cafes, and ice cream shops, because they are busy churning out an epic lineup of delicious treats! Many of these treats are Halloween-themed, but you can bet that all of these places will still have seasonal flavors on the menu through November. Here are a few that have especially caught our eye:

  • Fall-themed cookies at Fillmore Bakeshop
  • Pumpkin goodies at Noe Valley Bakery
  • Toffee crunch lattes at Home Coffee Roasters

44. This free exhibition displays fascinating photographs of 19th-century Golden Gate Park

Society of California Pioneers. Photo via @sfrecpark on Instagram

What was Golden Gate Park like back in the late 19th century? Take a trip back in time with this new, free exhibition, which boasts sixty previously-unpublished photographs of Golden Gate Park from the Gilded Age. The Society of California Pioneers Museum, located at the Presido’s Main Post, is displaying the collection in celebration of the park’s recent sesquicentennial. Many of the photographs come from private family albums and ancient studio catalogues.

45-49. 5 local bakeries to get San Francisco’s iconic sourdough bread

San Francisco is famous for having extra delicious sourdough bread, made iconic by the City’s naturally-occurring bacteria Lactobacillus sanfranciscensis. Ask any SF resident and they’ll tell you their own favorite spot to pick up this tangy, chewy loaf – but we think we’ve got a solid roundup here to get you started. Some of our favorites are Josey Baker Bread and Rize Up Bakery.

50. This immersive glowing meadow in Paso Robles is totally worth the trip

Copyright © 2021 Bruce Munro. All rights reserved. Photography by Serena Munro. Via CBPR.

A magical otherworldly escape is wowing crowds just a couple hours down the coast, and it’s certainly worth the trip! Sensorio is now hosting Field of Light by Bruce Munro,  a captivating light art installation that recalls some of California’s iconic superblooms. It’s created from an expansive glowing carpet of nearly 60,000 solar-powered light-up spheres, whose colors change and shimmer to a custom musical score.

51-70. 20 lovely things to do on a rainy day in San Francisco

The fall season might have some drizzly days in the forecast, which is great for our climate but not always so great for our plans! If you’re feeling shipwrecked at home, these ideas should spark your imagination for getting back out there. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you stay safe, stay dry, and have fun! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Enjnoy a high tea at one of SF’s fairytale cafes
  • Find your new bottle at a trendy wine bar
  • Skate the night away at the Church of 8 Wheels
  • Create your own succulent arrangement at Succulence
  • Hit the books at a new work/study spot 

71. The Union Square Ice Rink opens November 3 with tons of awesome events

David Yu via Flickr

It’s that time of year! Union Square Ice Rink will soon be available to skaters of all ages and abilities, and opening day is Wednesday, November 3! The beloved ice rink, sponsored by Safeway, will be open daily until January 17, 2022. Special events include 80s music on second Fridays, Drag Queens on Ice, a Silent Skate Party, and more.

72. Check out the lineup of free concerts coming to the Golden Gate Park Bandshell this month

The San Francisco live music scene is truly back in business! The Golden Gate Park Bandshell, which is 120 years old, added new lighting, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a new stage during the pandemic. It’s hosting free, family-friendly concerts through the end of November, with everything from reggae to singer/songwriter nights. Be sure to check out the full lineup of concerts for November.

73. Check out new light art installations at the Exploratorium starting November 18

Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram. Image courtesy of Amy Snyder, Exploratorium. Via the Exploratorium

GLOW: Discover the Art of Light is a visitor favorite coming back to the Exploratorium this November. See brand new and expanded installations, created by 8 local artists. These light art pieces will be up from November 18 until January 30, 2022 at the Exploratorium at Pier 15. Make sure to reserve tickets in advance!

74. This Crime and Punishment-themed murder mystery has returned to the Napa Valley wine train

Have you ever wanted to *literally* disappear into the pages of a book? Fyodor Dostoevsky’s famous novel, Crime and Punishment, has been recreated on the Napa Valley Wine Train. On November 13, put your detective skills to the test as you try to solve a 1920s-era murder mystery! 1920s-era garb is encouraged, and you’ll be treated to a 2-hour journey, a multiple-course gourmet meal, and a mysterious dinner theatre performance.

75. Dear San Francisco Is An Epic Acrobatic Love Letter To The City

@dyannaluna via Instagram

Club Fugazi is a beloved SF social club with a long history of excellent performances. Their latest endeavor, Dear San Francisco, is absolutely not to be missed! Embark on an exhilarating acrobatic journey through the city’s history, told through acrobatics, hoop diving, choreography, hand-balancing, spoken word, and more.

The world-class, international cast of acrobats will perform hoop diving, Chinese pole, Korean plank, hand-balancing, juggling, and “hand-to-trap.” These incredible stunts are made even more captivating alongside an original soundtrack, spoken word performances, shadow play, and video projections.

76. SF Symphony’s Film Series performs live soundtracks alongside cult classics

© 1990 Twentieth Century Fox. Courtesy of SF Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony has just begun live, in-person performances again, and they have an absolutely stellar lineup of concerts on the docket. One beloved series that has caught our eye is the Film Series, which will screen classic movies to the music of a live orchestra! Hear your favorite soundtracks from films including Home AloneSkyfall, Toy StoryThe Matrix, and more. Tickets are going fast for concerts beginning in December, so make sure to reserve ASAP!

77. The Museum of the African Diaspora has just reopened with new exhibitions

Amoako Boafo, courtesy of MoAD

San Francisco’s extraordinary Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) has served as a vital Bay Area institution since 2005. It’s one of the world’s few museums focusing solely on African Diaspora culture, and we are very lucky to enjoy it right here in San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood. The museum is looking its best after undergoing renovations to the lobby, theater, and gallery spaces during the pandemic. It’s now offering an exciting lineup of original exhibitions that are not to be missed, most of which last through February!

78-87. 10 superb bakeries recommended by San Franciscans, for San Franciscans

Who’s hungry? San Franciscans with a sweet tooth have it easy in this glorious city, because SF bakeries absolutely do not mess around. We’re talking enormous flaky croissants, meticulously decorated cakes, buttery danishes, sweet and simple tarts, savory empanadas, SF-style sourdough bread, and basically anything else you can imagine. We wanted to get to the bottom of where San Franciscans get their baked goods, so we posted an Instagram poll asking for recommendations and got some great answers. Here are a few that especially caught our eye:

  • B. Patisserie
  • Jane the Bakery
  • Neighbor Bakehouse
  • Les Gourmands Bakery
  • Thorough Bread and Pastry

88-97. 10 absolutely essential sushi restaurants to try in San Francisco

San Francisco never disappoints when it comes to delicious, delightful, and diverse restaurants. It’s high time we did a roundup of the best sushi spots in San Francisco, because the freshly-prepared, colorful dishes never disappoint in this city! Here are a handful of our favorites, but be sure to see the full list.

  • Saru Sushi Bar
  • Omakase
  • Ju-Ni
  • Robin

98. Check out the extremely rare albino redwood at SF Botanical Garden

Courtesy of SF Botanical Garden

Did you know that there’s an extremely rare albino redwood, or “ghost tree,” in the SF Botanical Garden? The tree has a mutation that creates albino (technically “achlorophyllis”) shoots and leaves at the base of the trunk. The lack of chlorophyll means they are unable to photosynthesize and must rely on the tree’s shared root system for sugar. Only about 60-100 albino redwoods are known to exist, and we’re so lucky to have one right here in SF!

99. You have to visit this historical country estate and its breathtaking gardens

Filoli is a gorgeous country estate just 30 miles south of San Francisco. The house and garden themselves cover 16 immaculate acres, having been beautifully maintained for over a century. These 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.

100. This eccentric SF store is home to taxidermy animals, exotic insects, and carnivorous plants

@paxtongate via Instagram

Have you been to this fascinating witchy store in the Mission? Paxton Gate aims to collect “treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and natural sciences.” That may include things as benign as gardening coffee table books – but it also includes skulls, bones, skeletons, fossils, crystals, minerals, and glass taxidermy eyes. Oh, and human molars. And turkey feet. And dried toads. And racoon penis bones. And a taxidermy blind mouse in a top hat walking a guide snail.


Featured image: Candlelight Concerts at St. Ignatius Church

Secret Guides Things To Do