Happy September, San Francisco! That’s right, we’re already at the beginning of another month, and there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do with the changing of the seasons. There’s never a dull moment in the city, and we’re sure that these great events and fun plans will keep you busy in your free time. Scroll on to start planning your month.
1. Test your bravery at the Stranger Things Experience
Stranger Things 4 has dominated the internet for months now, 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 a mysterious adventure in Hawkins Lab. After that, you can explore amazing set recreations in the Mixtape Area including Hawkins Lab, the Byers’ living room, and the Palace Arcade. Get tickets here.
2. Dress to the nines at The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience
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 has been fully transformed into an exquisite grand ballroom from Regency-era England. Get tickets here.
3. Don’t miss out on this hilarious Star Wars burlesque parody
Following its successful tour around the United States and Australia, The Empire Strips Back is turning heads in San Francisco. The Star Wars parody features the franchise’s most beloved characters dropped into the world of burlesque, comedy and striptease. Get tickets here.
4. Learn about NFTs at Verse: Art of the Future
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 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.
5. Immerse yourself in a classical concert by Candlelight
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.
6. Grab tickets to the massively popular FRIENDS™ Experience
The highly-anticipated FRIENDS™ Experience finally lands in SF this month! Superfly X, Warner Bros. Themed Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television Group come together to bring a fully interactive experience that will charm superfans of the 90s sitcom. Bring your ‘lobster’ with you and get ready for hilarious activities, alluring merch, and a dozen nostalgia-packed rooms replicated from the cult series. Get tickets here.
7. Flower Piano at SF Botanical Garden
Flower Piano is back at the SF Botanical Garden from September 16-20! A number of public pianos will be placed around the gardens so you can enjoy lovely music in an even lovelier setting.
This year Flower Piano will debut a special new opening event called Fall and Fly on September 14 from 5-6:30pm, in which 12 pianists will play 12 different grand pianos in unison for a special commissioned work by Benjamin Gribble. The experimental work will take place on SF Botanical Garden’s Great Meadow.
8. Public Works Anniversary Celebration
Public Works, a popular nightclub in SF’s Mission District, is celebrating its 12th anniversary with four nights of parties from September 15th-18th. Best known as a hot spot for EDM-fueled dance parties and late-night DJ sets, their anniversary party promises to be a celebration to remember. The event features an impressive lineup of talented international DJs including John Talabot, Axel Bowman, Amon Tobin, Acid Pauli, and Detroit techno legend, Jeff Mills.
9. Join the Bay Day challenge
Bay Day is coming up, and it could be the easiest (and most fun) $500 you’ll ever make! From September 2 through October 1, local nonprofit Save The Bay will run a series of challenges where participants can pledge to do fun outdoor activities throughout the Bay Area. Anyone who completes the challenges will be entered for a chance to win a $500 Sports Basement gift certificate and other prizes – and registration is now open.
10. Autumn Moon Celebration in Union Square
Come celebrate the Autumn Moon Celebration in San Francisco’s Union Square on Saturday, September 10. This free, family-friendly event will feature live music, dancing, a calligraphy demonstration, martial arts, and other exciting performances. The event will also feature food and crafts from a variety of popular vendors.
11. The Presidio’s Chuseok (Korean Harvest) Festival
Save the date for the 4th annual Chuseok (Korean Harvest) Festival, happening at the Presidio’s Main Parade Lawn on September 10 from 11am-5pm. The popular event will have endless Korean food and beverages, as well as live performances from local Korean choirs and dance groups.
12. Battlestar Classic Beerfest and Cornhole Tournament
The 6th Annual Battlestar Classic Beerfest and Cornhole Tournament invites you to drink beer and play the game of cornhole on the deck of a WWII aircraft carrier. The Battlestar Classic will be held on Saturday, September 10th from 10am to 5pm on the USS Hornet, docked in Alameda.
13. TinyFest tiny house expo
Tiny house enthusiasts, mark your calendars because TinyFest is coming to the Alameda Country Fairground in Pleasanton on September 10th and 11th. The festival brings together homeowners, builders, and nomads from around the country to learn, share and connect.
14. Folsom Street Fair in SoMa
San Francisco knows how to throw a party, and there are few parties as legendary as the Folsom Street Fair! Tens of thousands of leather and BDSM lovers gather to celebrate sexual liberation in SoMa, dressed in leather, latex, fishnets, harnesses, body paint, thongs, or… nothing at all.
If this sounds like your cup of tea, then be sure to save the date for Sunday, September 25 from 11am-6pm along Folsom Street.
Critical Mass, the monthly cycling event and social movement, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a massive bike ride across San Francisco on Friday, September 30th. The event started in SF in 1992 and has spread to over 400 cities around the world with the goal of inviting the cycling community to ride together, reclaim the streets, and enjoy a safe evening of cycling. The leaderless ride is free and open to anyone who wants to participate.
16. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park
San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival is officially coming back for 2022! The free festival will happen in Golden Gate Park from September 30 through October 2.
Guests can enjoy over 50 on-site food and drink vendors or bring their own picnics. Alcohol is not sold at the festival but you are allowed to bring your own. The free event brings up to 750,000 people over the course of 3 days, so be sure to arrive early and follow all park safety precautions.
17. BART’s month-long 50th anniversary celebration
Heads up, BART riders! BART’s 50th anniversary is September 11, and the transit service is pulling out all the stops for a month-long celebration in honor of their loyal ridership. Clipper fares will be 50% off during the month of September, and there will be arcade games, an outdoor festival, and several live concerts happening around different stations.
18. Golden Gate Park’s Dahlia Garden
The Dahlia Garden, located in Golden Gate Park right near the Conservatory of Flowers, has reached peak bloom–and these colorful, unique flowers are not to be missed. Dahlias generally start to bloom there in June, reaching peak bloom in August and September. You can still catch them all the way into October, but the Conservatory of Flowers estimates this year’s peak bloom to last until around Labor Day (September 5).
19. Apple picking in the Bay Area
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.
- Chileno Valley Ranch (Petaluma)
- EARTHseed Farm (Sebastopol)
- Clearview Orchards (Watsonville)
- And more!
20. Bay Area pumpkin patches
Happy fall, San Francisco! Spooky season is here, and there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do… especially when we 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.
21. Free admission days in San Francisco
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 – September 1, 1-8pm (Bay Area residents)
- De Young Museum and Legion of Honor – Saturdays (Bay Area residents) and September 6 (general public)
- Asian Art Museum – September 4 (general public)
- GLBT Historical Society Museum – September 7 (general public)
- Museum of Craft and Design – “Pay what you can” Wednesday every Wednesday
- SF Botanical Garden – Free daily admission (SF residents only) and September 13 (general public)
- Conservatory of Flowers – Free daily admission (SF residents only) and September 6 (general public)
- Japanese Tea Garden – Free daily admission (SF residents only) and MWF before 10am (general public)
22. Current and upcoming museum exhibitions
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.
- Conversation Pieces at SFMOMA
- Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy at the Legion of Honor
- Ramses the Great at the de Young Museum
23. Outdoor cinemas
Sundown Cinema (free)
- Friday, September 9 at Alamo Square – Indiana Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Ark – doors open at 5:30pm, screening starts at 7:30pm.
- Friday, September 30 at Crane Cove Park – Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – doors open at 5:00pm, screening starts at 6:45pm.
Thrive City (free)
- Saturday, September 10: Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 3-7pm
The Cut Outdoor Cinema ($18.75-$28.75 + fees)
- Numerous weekend screenings through September, with bean bag chairs, deck lounge chairs, and big comfy blankets.
- Thursday, September 15 – A League of Their Own – Tickets start at $19.95 with proceeds benefitting The Women’s Building. Doors open at 7 and movie starts at 8.
- Thursday, September 29 – Black Panther – Tickets start at $19.95 with proceeds benefitting the Museum of the African Diaspora. Doors open at 7 and movie starts at 8.
24. Outdoor concerts
- Saturday, September 17 at Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in McLaren Park – SF singer-songwriter Thao will perform alongside local rapper and spoken word artist Ruby Ibarra.
- Free concerts on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at the Bandshell in Golden Gate Park.
- Free concerts, dance performances, and cultural events all month long.
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.
- Sept 4 – Head West Makers Market
- Sept 11 – Gardeneur Plant Market
- Sept 11 and 25 – Fog City Flea Outdoor Market
- Sept 17 – Saturday Night Skate
- Fridays 3-6pm – Ferry Fridays
- Wednesdays 11:30am – Outdoor Yoga SF classes
- Wednesdays 4-7pm – Wednesday Flight Nights
- And more!
26. 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.
- Sept 1 – After Dark: See For Yourself – Last chance to see The Art of Tinkering after dark!
- Sept 8 – After Dark: Seaworthy – Watch marine scientists and technicians pull a 1-ton carbon dioxide buoy out of the ocean.
- Sept 15 – After Dark: See For Yourself – Wander the galleries while jamming out to music from a DJ from Hip Hop for Change.
- Sept 22 – After Dark: Evidence – Explore the temporary exhibition Einstein Was Right.
27. NightLife at the California 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:
- Sept 1 – NightLife (no set theme)
- Sept 8 – NightLife: Smoke & Mirrors – explore the power of illusion with both humans and animals.
- Sept 15 – Nighty NightLife – Learn about dreams, sleep, and more.
- Sept 22 – NightLife (no set theme)
28. 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.
Here’s what you should put on your calendar:
- Sept 4 (12-6pm) – Summer Jamz x Mahal Thrift – Free DJ sets and party with curated secondhand and vintage items for sale courtesy of Mahal Thrift.
- Sept 10 (12:30-6:30pm) – DIVINE IN I: The Divine Coloring Book Cultural Arts Experience – Official Divine coloring book launch festival.
- Sept 18 (11:30am-3:30pm) – Kuntau-Sug with Jacob Ira – Beginner-friendly Pangalay dance circle.
- Sept 24 (12-6pm) – Yum Yams: A Celebration of All Things Ube – Enjoy delicious ube treats from local vendors.
29. 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.
- Off the Grid Friday night food truck parties (recurring Fridays): These 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.
- West Coast Craft (September 17) – Free outdoor market with over 100 vendors selling hand-crafted items.
- Rhapsody (through September 11) – paintings by Serena Bocchino and Kara Maria and sculpture by Nola Pardi Proll at the Museo Italo Americano.
- The Farallonites (September 16-18) – A multidisciplinary performance centered on lighthouse keepers at the Farallon Islands.
30. Free activities at Salesforce Park
San Francisco’s Salesforce Park is an amazing modern marvel 70 feet above the street atop the Salesforce Transit Center. 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.
The Filoli estate in Woodside is currently putting on a special Summer Nights series, happening every Thursday evening from 5-8pm through September 22. The estate typically closes at 5pm so these after-hours events are great for exploring the gardens just before dusk with a cocktail in hand. Sip on a margarita or a refreshing mint limeade while listening to lively Irish session music at the Pool Pavilion. You can also indulge in flavorful tacos, burritos, and fried plantains from the Cochinita food truck.
32. Upcoming county fairs
- Sept 1-5 in Monterey
- This year’s theme is “Wool Meet Ewe at the Fair” with carnival rides, daily concerts and entertainment, livestock shows and auctions. Stay tuned as we await more details about the day-to-day itinerary.
- Sept 14-18 in Watsonville
- The Santa Cruz County Fair will showcase special contests for apple pies, veggie judging, amateur winemaking, photography, art, and more. Not to mention a “Diaper Derby” toddler contest, horse shows, LEGO® sculptures, model trains, and plenty of fantastic food.
33. Presidio Theatre performances
San Francisco’s Presidio Theatre is a charming hidden gem that you’ll want to put on your radar this fall.
- Sept 18 – New Century Chamber Orchestra
- Sept 25 – Dancing Earth
- Sept 30-Oct 1 – Not a Genuine Black Man
- And more!
34. Get a dose of Burning Man in San Francisco
San Francisco is the birthplace of Burning Man and an ideal place to get a taste of the festival’s fun and creativity year-round. Even if you’d rather be riding a dust-covered bike through Black Rock City, here are a couple of places to get those good Burning Man vibes in SF.
35. Unique sports and activities at Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park contains a multitude of areas that cater to unique sports, activities, and hobbies. Here are a few of the most unique ones to try out for yourself.
36. Kid-friendly activities in and around SF
We’re lucky to live in a city with countless activities and attractions for both kids and adults. Whether you’re a parent looking for a fun new kid-friendly event on weekends, or a babysitter hoping to switch up your shift, these activities are fail-safe ways to keep the young’uns entertained.
37. Eating and drinking around Union Square
Union Square is packed with overpriced and underwhelming restaurants, but there are a few spots that we think are worth a visit. Here are a few places to grab a delicious meal or refreshing drink downtown.
38. Eclectic tiki bars around SF
Tiki bars take us out of our foggy city, to a far-flung tropical paradise–for the simple cost of a Mai Tai or Piña Colada. The Bay Area was home to some of the earliest tiki bars in the US, and the genre has both evolved and endured in SF. Here are a few terrific spots to check out.
39. Famous SF filming locations
San Francisco’s fame as an eclectic and recognizable city has gained it some well-deserved cameos in countless movies. If you’re a film buff looking for the lowdown on famous SF locations captured on screen, here are some essential places to try and see for yourself.
- San Francisco City Hall
- Palace of Fine Arts
- And more!
40. Unique buildings in the Bay Area
Take a drive around the Bay Area and you’ll surely pass by some breathtaking buildings, whether they’re mainstays of the San Francisco skyline or hidden gems that you can’t quite find your way back to. We’ve rounded up some of the most iconic and interesting buildings in San Francisco and beyond, including both well-known skyscrapers and discreet homes that are off the beaten path.
41. Hit the books at these SF study spots
As we head into back-to-school season, it’s a good time to scout out your favorite study spots so you can hit the ground running! Whether you’re a student looking for somewhere to crank out an essay, or you work from home and want a change of scenery, here are some great spots to visit and focus up.
42. Stock up on fall produce at these farmers’ markets
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. Be sure to stop by these 10 fantastic farmer’s markets, located all around the city and bringing new, fresh produce to you every weekend.
43. Stuff your face at these essential pancake spots
Everyone knows that San Franciscans are total foodies, so they really know their stuff when it comes to choosing a place to eat out! We asked our Instagram followers for their best pancake recommendations in the city.
44. Beat some noobs at these Bay Area arcade bars
Looking to shake up your weekend plans? It could be as simple as finding a great pinball machine! No matter how you want to keep yourself entertained, there’s something for everyone at these awesome arcade bars in the Bay Area.
45. Support these innovative B-Corp organizations
The Bay Area prides itself on championing sustainability, buying locally, and finding innovative solutions to keep our planet healthy and safe. If you’re looking to educate yourself on ways to help the planet, be sure to look into the B Corporation website. They certify businesses all over the world for having ethical practices and sustainably sourced products.
Featured image: Travis Lange