Happy October, San Francisco! Suddenly another month is behind us and we’re rolling right into Halloween season, which means we have a very exciting batch of activities to enjoy. There are plenty of festivals, fairs, and events to check out as we welcome a new month, so read on to start planning.
1. Get tickets to the FRIENDS™ experience coming to San Francisco October 13
On October 13, Superfly X, Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television Group are gifting San Francisco with its own true-to-life adventure replicating key scenes and moments from the 90s sitcom. The experience features interactive activities, collectible merch and 12 realistic rooms replicating the show’s set. Ready to literally step into your favorite FRIENDS™ episodes? Get tickets here.
2. This AR experience brings mythical creatures to life at the Palace of Fine Arts
Have you ever talked to a unicorn? Pet a dragon? You can at The Impossible Zoo, which brings 10 mythical creatures to life at SF’s Palace of Fine Arts, starting August 18th. Using special holographic headsets to interact with this magical world, you’ll embark on a series of quests together. Get tickets here.
3. Immerse yourself in these haunted Halloween concerts by candlelight
The extremely popular concert series known simply as Candlelight is turning heads right now in San Francisco! This month, Candlelight will host some gorgeous Halloween-themed concerts in an intimate environment surrounded by hundreds of luminous candles. Get ready for classical versions of “Thriller,” the Stranger Things theme, the Psycho theme, the Ghostbusters theme, “This is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, and many more.
- October 20, 27 – A Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics at St. Ignatius Church
- October 13, 28 – A Haunted Evening of Halloween Classics at the International Art Museum of America
4. Experience a holographic NFT art gallery
Experience an art gallery like no other at San Francisco’s Verse: Art of the Future. The one-of-a-kind augmented reality experience will transform the space around you into a compelling exhibition of glimmering, shifting, and dynamic NFT artworks. You’ll see spectacular holograms and famous pieces from some of the metaverse’s top-selling artists. Get tickets here.
5. Take a breathtaking voyage through space at THE INFINITE
Space Explorers: THE INFINITE is an awe-inspiring and fully immersive experience that will transport you to the depths of Space and back. You’ll get to feel the sensation of being in Space alongside the astronauts, and admire mind-blowing views of the Earth in the only immersive expedition to take you inside and outside the International Space Station. Ready for liftoff? Get tickets here.
6. Oktoberfest in the Bay Area
Oktoberfest 2022 is here and there are plenty of opportunities in the Bay Area to eat, drink, and party like a German. Here’s what to put on your radar for October:
- Daily through Oct. 2: Oktoberfest at Radhaus (SF)
- Oct. 1-2: Oaktoberfest Craft Beer Festival (Oakland)
- Oct. 7: Oktoberfest at Park Chalet (SF)
- Oct. 15: Oktoberfest By the Beach at the Irish Cultural Center (SF)
7. Oct. 3-11: Fleet Week
It’s official, Fleet Week is back for 2022! We can expect to enjoy this amazing week from October 3-11, and the Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels will happen on October 7, 8, and 9. Other events include the following:
- Veterans Art Exhibit (October 3-11 at Academy of Art University’s Photo Gallery)
- Free concert Series (October 4-10 in Chinatown, Duboce Park, and West Portal)
- Ship Tours (10am-4pm October 5-9, 9am-12pm October 10 at Piers 30, 32, and 35)
- Honor Our Fallen Concert (6pm on October 6 at Herbst Theatre)
- Parade of Ships (11am on October 7 along SF Waterfront)
- K9 Heroes (10am-2pm on October 8 at Duboce Park)
- Humanitarian Assistance Village (10am-4pm October 7-9 at Marina Green)
- STEM Center (10am October 7-9 at Marina Green)
- Wings of Ukraine Ballet (information TBA)
8. Oct. 6: Late Night Party at the de Young Museum
SF’s de Young Museum is hosting a new after-hours party called Late Night on October 6th from 9 pm-12 am. The event will feature musical performances from Madame Gandhi, and DJ sets from Angel + Dren and DJ Christie in addition to an open bar, dancing, and other treats.
A ticket to Late Night gives you full access to all the offerings of the night including an open bar, food, pop-up activations, musical performances, and admission to both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
9. Oct. 7: Oakland’s Hoodslam underground wrestling event
Oakland’s Hoodslam is one of the most entertaining and outrageous underground wrestling events on the West Coast. They host weekly events around the Bay Area with an upcoming show “F**k the Fans 2022” in Old Oakland on October 7th. It’s vulgar, nerdy, wildly entertaining, and definitely not for kids.
10. Oct. 8: Yerba Buena Night
Yerba Buena Night is back on October 8 from 6-10pm, promising dozens of free performances all across Downtown SoMa. The event’s 10th edition will be bigger than ever before with singers, musicians, local theater troupes, dance troupes, light sculptures, and even a sound garden at both indoor and outdoor venues.
11. Oct. 7-9: Italian Heritage Festival and Parade
It’s that time of year! San Francisco’s vibrant Italian community will come out in droves this weekend to celebrate the Italian Heritage Festival. Festivities include a bazaar all weekend long, and of course the Italian Heritage Parade with Fernet pit stops along the route on Sunday. You don’t want to miss this giant party lifting up the contributions of Italian-Americans in San Francisco. Read on to discover the schedule of events.
12. Oct. 11: Jagged Little Pill musical arrives in SF
Alanis Morissette fans, there’s something that you oughta know. The Tony and Grammy Award-winning hit musical, Jagged Little Pill, is coming to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Theatre October 11-November 6. The show is inspired by the groundbreaking rock album of the same name and features beloved hits like “You Oughta Know,” “Head Over Feet,” “Hand In My Pocket,” and “Ironic,” in addition to brand new songs written for the show.
13. Oct. 13-15: Autumn Lights Festival in Oakland
Oakland’s Autumn Lights Festival is back this year from October 13-15 at the Gardens at Lake Merritt! Take a trip across the Bay to a glimmering oasis of light installations distributed throughout these lovely lakeside gardens, which have been a beloved feature of the city for over 50 years. The festival is a major fundraiser for the Gardens that helps to keep them thriving all year round so that the public may continue to enjoy them for free.
14. Oct. 14-15: Breakaway Music Festival at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
The Breakaway Festival is coming to the Bay Area on October 14-15, and bringing exciting artists Gryffin, Louis The Child, Big Wild, Said The Sky, Tycho, and many more to Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. SF will be the festival’s fifth stop on the Breakaway Festival’s genre-blending multi-city tour.
15. Oct. 15: 20th Street Block Party
The immensely popular 20th Street Block Party will return for its 8th year on Saturday, October 15 from 12pm-6pm! You’ll get to enjoy awesome music with everything from garage rock to Latinx R&B, as well as delicious street food and shopping from the city’s favorite vendors.
16. Oct. 15: How Weird Street Faire
Get ready to get weird at the 23rd annual How Weird Street Faire in downtown SF on Saturday, October 15th. How Weird includes a daytime dance party, a vibrant marketplace, and an outdoor gallery of cutting-edge visionary art. All guests are requested to wear costumes, which can range from “the best version of yourself,” to something you’d expect to see at Halloween. This year’s theme is “Close Encounters of the Weird Kind,” so an alien-adjacent costume is a safe bet if you can’t decide.
17. Oct. 15-16: Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival
The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival is back, and it’s a big one! This year is its 50th annual event, taking place on October 15-16, 2022 from 9am-5pm on historic Main Street in Half Moon Bay. Get ready for a day of picturesque coastal views, live music and dancing, masterful pumpkin carvers, harvest-inspired crafts, endless pumpkin pie and other festive food, and of course thousands and thousands of pumpkins.
18. Oct. 15-16: Day to Night Festival on Treasure Island
The Day To Night Festival is gearing up for an epic weekend on Treasure Island with headliners Dom Dolla and Artbat! Be sure to snag tickets for the weekend of October 15-16 to enjoy a small-scale festival with large-scale Bay views and the top DJs in the game. The festival turned out 5,000 people last year, so you’d better believe that this year will be even more of a hit. Heads up: Secret San Francisco readers can get a $10 discount using code AUDIO at checkout.
19. Oct. 15, 22, 23: Circus Bella pop-up performances
When’s the last time you went to the circus? Well, Circus Bella has added new fall performance dates following their popular summer act. This year’s show is Flip * Flop * Fly, an exciting series of pop-up performances for children happening at Bay Area parks. The one-ring outdoor show did the rounds this summer and has now added additional shows on October 15, 22, and 23 in San Francisco and Alameda. The captivating performance is great for kids, and will surely add some excitement to any afternoon in the Bay Area!
20. Oct. 20: Kind of Blue Revue burlesque show
The Kind of Blue Revue is bringing its exciting hybrid performance and dance party to Oakland on October 20th. The show features an energetic mix of performances from burlesque to lindy hop, with group dances where you’ll be able to hit the dance floor with the cast and crew.
21. Oct. 22: Leap Sandcastle Classic at Ocean Beach
The Leap Sandcastle Classic is back at Ocean Beach on October 22 from 11am-3:30pm! The free event brings out thousands of people for the ultimate sandcastle contest. You can watch teams build absolutely enormous sand sculptures while enjoying live music, performances, and local food trucks. The event is hosted by Leap Arts in Education as their main fundraising effort to support arts education in Bay Area schools.
22. Oct. 22: UNDSCVRD Culture Crawl
The UNDSCVRD SF Market and Culture Crawl is officially coming back on October 22, 2022. The event will happen from 12pm-6pm with dozens of vendors, performers, and venues. Not to mention two stages and an expected 8,000 attendees for a theme park-themed Filipino culture crawl.
23. Oct. 22 – Nov. 13: SF Open Studios
SF Open Studios gives the public a rare opportunity to visit over 400 local artists in their personal studios. The annual event started in 1975 as a way for local artists to increase the accessibility of their work by collectively opening their studios to the public. This event takes place across SF from October 22th through November 13th.
24. Oct. 28: Halloween Haunt at JFK Promenade
SF Rec & Parks has announced Promenade Play Days, a series of exciting events and public art along JFK Promenade during the fall months. They’ll host Halloween Haunt on October 28, w free family-friendly Halloween event with decorations and seasonal attractions.
25. Oct. 28, 29, 31: Halloween pub crawl
Who’s stoked for Halloween in San Francisco?! CrawlSF’s highly-anticipated Crawloween is here, and it’s sure to be an absolutely unforgettable spooky time. Put together your best costume and get ready to join over 10,000 crawlers at over 25 participating bars on October 28, 29, and 31. Tickets start at $10 and are on sale now, so grab them while they’re still cheap!
26. Oct. 30: Great Hauntway
The Great Highway’s massive Halloween block party, affectionately called the Great HauntWay, is gearing up for the ultimate trick-or-treating experience for kids and families on Sunday, October 30 from 1-4pm. An entire 10-block stretch of the Great Highway between Judah and Taraval Streets will be blocked off during the afternoon for a safe and car-free spooky festival. Kids can enjoy trick-or-treating at countless candy booths, arts and crafts, pumpkin decorating, and big bubbles.
27. Bay Area haunted houses
Pumpkin spice lattes are all good and well, but if you’re looking for something a bit more spooky, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up some of the best haunted houses in the Bay, plus some ghost tours for those wanting a tamer experience.
- The Summoning at SF Mint (San Francisco)
- Unhinged: Nightshade’s Curse at Winchester Mystery House (San Jose)
- Tricks and Treats at Great America (Santa Clara)
- And more!
28. Bay Area pumpkin patches
We’re lucky to live right near Half Moon Bay, the pumpkin capital of the world! Whether you’re looking for family activities with kids or getting ahead of your Halloween decorating, these excellent Bay Area farms and pumpkin patches have got you covered.
- Lemos Farm (Half Moon Bay)
- Farmer John’s Pumpkin Farm (Half Moon Bay)
- Alameda Point Pumpkin Patch (Alameda)
- And more!
29. Local apple orchards offering U-Pick
Apple season peaks in the Bay Area in September and October, so many local orchards will soon open their doors for “U Pick,” when people can visit and pick their own apples.
- Apple-A-Day Ratzlaff Ranch (Sebastapol)
- Gizdich Ranch (Watsonville)
- Luz del Valle (Corralitos)
- And more!
30. Spooky Halloween treats to try in San Francisco
It’s hard to deny that 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.
- Harvest Festival ice cream series from Salt & Straw
- Pumpkin everything at Noe Valley Bakery
- Gourmet Halloween candy at Miette Patisserie
- And more!
31. Where to get your Halloween costume in SF
SF residents love any excuse to throw on a costume and hit the streets, so it’s no surprise that we also have a treasure trove of vintage, thrift, and costume shops where you can find the perfect Halloween look. The list ranges from high-quality rentals to affordable vintage looks and even some DIY options if you’re feeling crafty. Whatever you have planned for Halloween, these spots will help you look your best.
32-35. Spooky movie screenings
October means scary movie season! These local cinema experiences will continue to host their popular movies screenings this month, some of which are Halloween-themed.
- Thursday, Oct. 6: The Birdcage – Ticket proceeds to benefit Larkin Street Youth Services
- Thursday, Oct. 20: Little Shop of Horrors – Ticket proceeds to benefit YBCA
Sundown Cinema (free!)
- Friday, October 21 – Addams Family Values (with costume contest) – Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, doors open at 5:00pm, screening starts at 6:30pm.
The Cut Outdoor Cinema
- Saturday, October 1 – Coraline, Edward Scissorhands, Scream
- Sunday, October 2 – Monsters, Inc., Hocus Pocus, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Saturday, October 8 – The Addams Family, E.T. the Extraterrestrial, Candyman
- Sunday, October 9 – Paranorman, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- More screenings TBA
New Parkway Theater (Oakland)
Oakland’s iconic New Parkway Theater might fly under the radar for most San Franciscans, but it makes quite the statement. Their 2 large screening rooms are filled with big squashy couches, bean bags, and vintage chairs This October, they have a great lineup of horror and Halloween-themed movies to enjoy in a one-of-a-kind, intimate theater environment. Scary movies coming up include Night of the Living Dead, The Shining, Scary Movie, The Lost Boys, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ringu, The Exorcist, and Fright Night.
36: Thursdays: Skybridge on Stevenson
SF Parks Alliance has outdone themselves with Skybridge on Stevenson, a popular outdoor music and dance festival taking SoMa Pilipinas by storm! The beloved event kicks off this Thursday September 15, so be sure to get out and enjoy it on Thursdays through November 17. Each event takes place from 6-9:30pm on the 500 block of Stevenson Street.
37. Thursdays: NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences
NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences is one of our favorite ongoing events. The popular Thursday night festivities feature live DJs, outdoor bars, ambience lighting, and more alongside the Academy’s nearly 40,000 animal residents.
- October 6 – NightLife: Flocktoberfest – An evening of birds and beers. Enjoy beer trivia hosted by Hella Coastal Brewery, plus talks with Academy ornithologists and local bird rescue organizations.
- October 13 – NightLife: Makes Sense – Explore the museum through each of your five senses.
- October 20 – NightLife (no set theme)
- October 27 – NightLife of the Living Dead – The Academy’s annual Halloween bash dead-icated to science.
38. Thursdays: After Dark at the Exploratorium
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.
- October 6 – After Dark: Risk – Explore the science of risk with probability-based challenges.
- October 13 – After Dark: Conversations About Landscape – Learn about contemporary landscapes with writer and activist Gregg Castro, Presidio Trust Chief Park Officer Michael Boland, and Edward (Redbird) Willie of the Cultural Conservancy.
- October 20 – After Dark: Revealing Landscapes – Delve into Gold Rush history and watersheds from the Greenland Ice Sheet.
- October 27 – After Dark: Death and Life – Learn about the seasonal transition and cultural significance of death.
39. Fridays: Off the Grid food trucks at Fort Mason Center
Off The Grid: Fort Mason Center (OTG:FMC) is California’s largest weekly food truck event, and this year marks its 12th season. The free events bring dozens of gourmet food trucks to the Fort Mason Center parking lot on Friday evenings from 5pm-10pm, now through November 11.
40. More 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.
- San Francisco Fall Show (October 12-16) – An exhibition of precious art objects in room-like settings designed by 50 U.S. and international dealers.
- Social Abstraction (through October 29) – A group exhibition in Haines Gallery by Angelo Filomeno, Won Ju Lim, Aili Schmeltz, David Simpson, Robert Stone and Lena Wolff.
- Whoop Dee Doo: Halloween Performances (October 29-30): A live TV production in front of a live studio audience featuring performances riffing on TV variety shows.
- Fort Mason Center Farmers’ Market (recurring Sundays, 9:30am-1:30pm) – The Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture (FMCAC) Farmer’s Market with over 35 vendors.
- And more!
41. October events at The Crossing
Meet The Crossing at East Cut, a giant new community space located in SF’s Transbay neighborhood. It kicked off last year with a beer garden, food truck park, soccer fields, and a giant ground mural on the block between Howard, Main, Folsom, and Beale Streets.
- October 7 (7pm) – Comedy at the Crossing – watch stand-up comedy in The Crossing’s outdoor beer garden.
- October 16 (4pm) – Glassy Arts Festival & Marketplace – watch live glass blowing and art demos, and pick up a gift while you’re at it.
- October 21 (6-9pm) – Azucar Fridays – Learn bachata dance moves and then enjoy Latin beats in the beer garden.
- October 29 (11am) – Outdoor Yoga Under the Palms – An energizing yoga-based workout plus one non-alcoholic drink from the bar ($5 tickets).
42. October events at the Ferry Building
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.
- October 2 – Head West Makers Market – An artisan market with free entry spotlighting local businesses, happening on the Ferry Building Back Plaza.
- October 9 – Daybreaker SF – An all-ages community yoga and dance party event by HAUM Studio.
- October 18 – The Big Quiet – A mass meditation event set to music with a sound bath, live string instrumentalists, an open non-alcoholic bar, an AR photo op, and special guests.
- October 28-30 – Harvest Festival – A family-friendly harvest festival with kids’ activities, cooking demos, trick-or-treating, and a movie night.
- And more
43. October events at Kapwa Gardens
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.
- October 2 (5:30-8:30pm) – Club XOXO Presents ASWANG – A variety pop show featuring drag queens, a fashion show, and more.
- October 8 (12-6pm) – Mahal Market – A curated market of high-quality thrifted clothing.
- October 15 (2-6pm) – THRIVE: APAture 2022 – A multidisciplinary arts festival by Kearny Street Workshop.
- October 22 (12-6pm) – UNDSCVRD Culture Crawl – Large annual street market throughout SOMA Pilipinas.
44. Promenade Play Days on JFK Drive
SF Rec & Parks has announced Promenade Play Days, a series of exciting events and public art along JFK Promenade during the fall months. The activations are part of an effort to capitalize on the promenade’s newly car-free state in a safe and equitable way. You can expect to see a series of large ground murals, Doggie Diner head sculptures, public pianos, over a hundred tables and chairs, live music, the SF Public Library’s bookmobile, food trucks, and more.
45. Historic Klamath ferry at Pier 9
The San Francisco waterfront recently welcomed back the Klamath, an out-of-commission Bay Area ferry from 1925. The Bay Area Council moored it permanently at Pier 9 to serve as their new headquarters, and the historic vessel will soon be open for the public to visit for free on weekdays and on the first Saturday of each month. The ship has been restored and made accessible with the additions of an elevator and large roof deck and garden.
46. Free concerts at Golden Gate Park Bandshell
The Lift Every Voice series is still cranking out 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 October here.
47. Current and upcoming museum exhibitions in San Francisco
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.
- Creative Conservation: The Art of Endangered Animals at the Walt Disney Family Museum (through October 16)
- Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision at the Asian Art Museum (through October 24)
- American Trip, 1975 at the Tenderloin Museum (through October 29)
- Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail at the Museum of Craft and Design (through October 30)
- Robyn Horn: Material Illusions at the Museum of Craft and Design (through October 30)
- Acción Latina: The ’80s Matter in the Mission at SFMOMA (opening October 6)
- Into View: Bernice Bing at the Asian Art Museum (opening October 7)
- Excavation: Past, Present, and Future at the Museum of the African Diaspora (opening October 5)
- The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion at the Museum of the African Diaspora (opening October 5)
- Gillian Laub: Family Matters at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (opening October 13)
48. Famous graves 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. Whether you’re feeling spooky for October or just want to explore local history, these are worth looking for. Learn about the history of San Francisco’s relocated cemeteries here.
- Charles de Young
- Joe DiMaggio
- Wyatt Earp
- And more
49. Test your bravery at these haunted places in San Francisco
Whether or not you believe in ghosts, these haunted places around the city are undeniably creepy. Over the years, many have reported cold chills, voices, shadowy figures, and unexplained noises… are you brave enough to see for yourself?
- Curran Theatre
- SF Columbarium
- And more
50. Lose yourself on the Exploratorium’s mysterious fog bridge
There’s a 100% chance of fog all year round at San Francisco’s Exploratorium. Fog Bridge is a 150-foot pedestrian bridge between Piers 15 and 17 where an immense cloud of water vapor intermittently shrouds passersby. The bridge is lined with over 800 nozzles that spray clouds of desalinated water vapor from the Bay to create temporary fog banks that are so thick you can truly get lost in them.