The fall season brings another round of awesome things to do in the Bay!
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 now that the city is 80% vaccinated and a “new normal” is in reach. 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. Enjoy classical music by candlelight at this magical concert series happening now in SF
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 both indoor and outdoor settings including St. Ignatius Church.
2. Catch an awesome free concert at the Golden Gate Park Bandshell.
The San Francisco live music scene is truly back in business! In addition to free Sunday concerts from the Golden Gate Park Band, another concert lineup will happen 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.
The weekly schedule is as follows: Singers & Songwriters on Wednesdays from 4-7pm; Soul, Jazz, R&B and Funk on Fridays from 4:30-7:30pm; Community & Cultural performances on Saturdays; and World, Reggae and Caribbean performances on Sundays from 4:30-7:30pm. The Golden Gate Park Band will continue their Sunday concert series until October 3. See the full lineup here.
3. This free pop-up circus is now performing in SF and Oakland
When’s the last time you went to the circus? Well, the circus is coming to you with Humorous, an exciting new series of pop-up performances due to happen at parks around San Francisco and Oakland. This one-ring outdoor show is popping up from August 26 to October 3, and will feature acrobatic performances, jugglers, clowns, and more accompanied by live music. The captivating performance is great for all ages, and will surely add some excitement to any afternoon in the Bay Area! See the performance schedule here.
4. Check out Fort Mason’s historic waterfront park, open to the public for the first time ever
Last month, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy revealed that work was underway to restore a “historic vision of San Francisco.” Black Point Historic Gardens, which is a patch of hillside behind the General’s Residence, has been restored in memory of San Francisco’s early residents. The park finally reopened on August 25, after 4 years of hard work from volunteers, the National Park Service, and the Parks Conservancy. Learn all about it here!
5. Watch Soul or Princess Diaries at these free outdoor movie screenings happening around the city
San Francisco Parks Alliance and Do The Bay have partnered to bring back the popular Sundown Cinema series, which presents awesome FREE movies on a giant screen in various parks around the city. Each screening will be accompanied by live performances from local musical groups, many of which are yet to be announced. The schedule is the following:
- Friday, September 10: Soul at Alamo Square (featuring performance from SF Jazz)
- Thursday, September 23: Princess Diaries at Washington Square Park
- Thursday, October 7: A League of Their Own at Golden Gate Park Big Rec
- Friday, October 22: E.T. at Jerry Garcia Ampitheatre
6. This free museum has over 300 vintage arcade games and coin-operated machines
Musée Mécanique is one of the world’s largest private collections of coin-operated mechanical instruments, and one of the most unique museums in San Francisco! The collection was started by SF native Edward Galland Zelinskey, who bought his first coin-operated game when he was just 11 years old in 1933. Since then, it’s grown to include over 300 antique arcade artifacts, coin-operated pianos, slot machines, animations, and more! Zelinskey passed away in 2004, but his magnificent collection is still free for the public to enjoy at Pier 45 in San Francisco. Learn all about it here.
7. Immerse yourself in the Asian Art Museum’s unforgettable new exhibition.
There’s a new exhibition happening at the Asian Art Museum that you don’t want to miss! Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion created teamLab: Continuity, a lush nature landscape complete with flying crows, hovering butterflies, colorful flowers and darting fish. The interactive ecosystem grows and expands around you, allowing you to observe changing imagery and details in real time.
The beautiful immersive experience has been extended into the fall, and tickets are nearly sold out. Grab a spot at the teamLab: Continuity exhibition here!
8. Don’t miss SF Botanical Garden’s gorgeous Flower Piano event
A number of public pianos will be placed around the gardens, so you can enjoy lovely music in an even lovelier setting. Tickets are now on sale for the event happening Friday, September 17 through Tuesday, September 21.
Listen to every type of music while surrounded by a stunning flowery backdrop. See the full performance lineup here.
9. A free community photo show is coming to the Presidio on September 1
San Francisco’s famous Presidio has opened up an exciting, wholesome photo show called “My Park Moment,” where community members contribute their favorite photo of a special park memory. They received 7,000 entries for the photo contest, and ended up selecting 400 of the best shots by professional photographers, park lovers, and kids. You can enjoy them at a free, family-friendly outdoor installation starting Wednesday, September 1! Learn more here.
10. Chinatown’s popular ‘Walkway Weekends’ event is back through the end of the year
When’s the last time you spent a weekend in Chinatown? The famous hub for San Francisco’s AAPI community is an essential stop on any trip around the City, but you might have missed its awesome Walkway Weekends programming.
This event in Chinatown consists of a car-free Grant Avenue, from California to Washington Streets. Every Saturday and Sunday from 11am-5pm, you can stroll through this historic neighborhood for some shopping, a refreshing cup of boba, delicious dumplings, and much more. Learn more here.
11. Have you been to the steepest street in SF? Hint: it’s not where you think it is.
San Francisco is considered by many to be the hilliest city in the US, and perhaps the world. Some of the angles are downright comical, making for wild photos and somewhat sketchy parking, especially by tourists (TURN those tires, people!). But where exactly is the steepest street in the city?
According to software engineer, computer scientist, and artist Stephen Von Worley, the actual steepest street in San Francisco is Bradford Street in Bernal Heights. It clocks in at a whopping 41% grade at the steepest bit, which is a 15-foot section above Tompkins Avenue. Learn more here!
12. Check out live music, sales, and activities on September 11 in Rockridge.
If you’ve never been to Oakland’s charming Rockridge neighborhood, it is a lovely place to spend the day any weekend, but they have just started a new series that will take it up a notch! Rockridge Rock-N-Stroll is now happening on second Saturdays, so the next one is on September 11. Rock-N-Stroll will happen all day from 11am until 8pm, with live music the entire time from a variety of acts up and down the street!
This exciting event will feature live music, giveaways, family activities, special pop-ups, raffles, and sales at almost 30 local businesses along College Avenue. You can score everything from free plants to discounted furniture! Learn more here.
13. This psychedelic mirror maze is the trippiest (legal) experience in SF
Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze is the ultimate fun house, outfitted with 77 mirrors and dozens of black lights so as to really step up the difficulty of escaping the labyrinth. Not only do the lights flash through different neon colors, but the whole experience is accompanied by blasting ’80s music! Learn all about it here.
14-23. 10 epic arcade bars to check out in the Bay Area
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. See full details about each spot here.
- Emporium (SF, Oakland)
- Outer Orbit (SF)
- The Detour (SF)
- State of Mind Public House and Pizzeria (Los Altos)
- Plank (Oakland)
- LVL Up (San Jose, Campbell)
- Round 1 (San Jose, Hayward, Concord)
- Retro Junkie (Walnut Creek)
- Miniboss (San Jose)
- Dave & Busters (Daly City, Concord, Milpitas)
24. There’s a vintage “Base Ball” league in the Bay that plays according to 1886 rules
What do you get when you cross sports with a Civil War reenactment? This vintage “base ball” league in the Bay Area seems like a good bet! Bay Area Vintage Base Ball (BAVBB) is a non-profit organization consisting of ten 12-member clubs from across the Bay who strive for the utmost historical accuracy when playing vintage base ball. Players wear reproduction 1880s uniforms, and the game is played with reproduction balls, bases, gloves, and more to create a fun and credible educational experience. You can catch a game now, as they’re in the middle of their 15th season! Learn more here.
25-29. Try these fun new games and experiences at Pier 39
Pier 39 has recently welcomed a group of fun new activities courtesy of game room design company Family Entertainment Group. You’ll find new escape rooms, VR experiences, a LaZer challenge, a 7D virtual roller coaster, and “The Flyer,” which gives you the sensation of flying over SF landmarks! Learn all about these new activities here.
30. You can still sign up for fall activities including yoga, volleyball, photography, and more
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 fall. Registration opened in mid-August, but there are still some spots available. Check the catalog here.
31-45. 15 B-Corp organizations in SF that are doing the most for the environment
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.
The following is an incomplete list of fantastic B corporations in San Francisco. Learn more details about each spot here.
- The FruitGuys
- Bi-Rite Family of Businesses
- Alter Eco
- Creative Action Network
- Cora (Lyv Life Inc.)
- Grove Collaborative
- Yellow Leaf Hammocks
- P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You
46. A beer garden, outdoor movies, and more are coming to the Transbay Neighborhood in September
Several months ago, Mayor London Breed announced that the former Temporary Transbay Terminal site has some new plans in the works. Previously planned to kick off in July, the opening is now slated for the beginning of September.
ECLP’s plans include a wide spectrum of family-friendly activities including local food trucks, a beer garden, rotating food and retail stalls, soccer fields, a fitness space, an outdoor cinema with audio provided by headphones, and a children’s play area. They also propose additional plans such as pickleball courts, public art, a dog run, and a versatile event space for the community.
47-52. 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 September, it’s a good time to see the fresh batch of free days coming up on the calendar! See more detailed descriptions of each museum’s free days here.
- 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.
53-62. The 10 best pancake spots in the city, according to San Franciscans
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. They didn’t disappoint, and below we’ve rounded up the 10 most popular responses. Learn more about each spot here.
- Kitchen Story
- Gram Cafe
- Dottie’s True Blue Cafe
- Early to Rise
- Tyger’s Coffee Shop
63-72. 10 weird and wonderful menu items to try at least once in San Francisco
Who’s hungry?! With all the creative people living in this amazing city, San Francisco has an enormous amount of unique and delicious food to offer. Read on to learn all about the weird, wacky, and wonderful menu items in San Francisco that you have got to try at least once! Learn more about each dish here.
- Watermelon beer from 21st Amendment Brewery
- Gourmet quail dishes from State Bird Provisions
- Doomsday Sandwich from Ike’s Sandwiches
- Grasshopper tacos at La Oaxaqueña
- Any sushirrito from Sushirrito
- Wacky ice cream flavors from Humphry Slocombe
- Fancy toast at The Mill
- Cotton candy cocktail from Son & Garden
- Ube sourdough from Rize Up Sourdough
- Matcha soft serve with edible gold from Matcha Cafe Maiko
73. This new “subterranean party hideout” is serving up exotic cocktails in Nob Hill
San Francisco is really starting to look alive again, and many of us are overdue for a nice, quality cocktail! Lucky for us, a new, swanky bar has just opened its doors in Nob Hill. Persona has made quite an entrance as an exotic cocktail bar, social club, and event venue. It boasts unique drinks in a grungy yet luxurious setting, and is sure to be one of the hottest new happy hour spots in San Francisco. Learn all about it here.
74. Pay a visit to trans-owned Fluid Cooperative Cafe, the newest member of La Cocina Marketplace
La Cocina Municipal Marketplace is an enormous new food market that opened a few months ago with the idea of centering business owners that are women, immigrants, and people of color. This week, they added a new business to the La Cocina family: Fluid Cooperative Cafe.
This exciting cooperative cafe and event space is owned by Shannon Amitin, Santana Tapia and JoJo Ty, 3 trans San Franciscans who want to foster an inclusive place for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming customers and staff. At the moment they serve both brewed and iced coffee options, such as a Japanese sweet cream cold brew, to be enjoyed with a variety of milks and sweeteners. You can also buy roasted whole beans to take home. Learn more here!
75-77. Here’s everything you never knew about SF’s funky octagon houses
The octagon craze was a wild Victorian trend resulting from the 1848 book The Octagon House: A Home For All, written by amateur architect Orson Squire Fowler. The octagonal design was meant to let in sunlight on all sides of the building throughout the day, and use fewer materials to approximate a circular shape. Do you know where to find SF’s 3 remaining octagon houses? Find out about each of them here!
- McElroy Octagon House
- Feusier Octagon House
- Lands End Octagon House
78. Cliff House to display dozens of historical artifacts at pop-up museum
San Franciscans everywhere were heartbroken when the historic Cliff House restaurant, which has been around for over 150 years, closed its doors in December due to the pandemic. Plans were in the works to open another restaurant there, but it appears that for now we can expect a pop-up museum to go up either in September or October, and run through April 2022! It will feature dozens of artifacts from various points in SF history.
79-88. 10 outstanding places to work or study in San Francisco
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. Learn more about each spot here.
- SF Public Library (SFPL) Main Branch
- SFPL Sunset Branch
- SFPL Bernal Heights Branch
- SFPL Presidio Branch
- Daily Driver
- Progressive Grounds
Places with a catch:
- Salesforce Tower WeWork (here’s the catch: must purchase a day pass or monthly subscription)
- SFSU J. Paul Leonard Library (here’s the catch: the building is public, but WiFi is only available with student login)
- Mechanic’s Institute Library & Chess Room (here’s the catch: must be a member or purchase a pass)
89-93. 4 colorful mural collections to explore in San Francisco
We love San Francisco for its vibrant, eclectic art scene. It seems that there is a new hidden mural around every corner! But if you’re looking to explore some famous mural collections around the city, it’s absolutely worth taking a stroll through these beautiful alleys and projects. Each one houses a vibrant, diverse display of murals by mostly local artists. Learn about each spot here.
- Balmy Alley
- Umbrella Alley
- Clarion Alley Mural Project
- The Box Shop
94-104. Take a day trip to one of these 11 spectacular destinations
- Pinnacles National Park
- Alamere Falls
- Sonoma wine tour
- Filoli Estate and gardens
- Muir Woods
- Mount Tamalpais
- Inverness Shipwreck
- McWay Falls
- Gerbode Valley
- Cataract Falls
- Wilder Ranch
105. Skate the night away at this groovy 19th-century church turned roller rink
Have you heard of this amazing roller disco near the Painted Ladies? The Church of 8 Wheels is the ultimate hidden gem, hosting San Francisco’s most avid skaters within a 120-year-old abandoned church. You can zoom around the rink before a backdrop of stained-glass windows featuring Jesus and the Virgin Mary. Disco music and neon lights bring the party to this unconventional skating experience! Learn all about it here.
Featured image: @spiralworksproductions via Instagram