If you’re like Danielle Lazier + Partners, as soon as summer hits, all you want to do is go outside and indulge in summer activities. Even though San Francisco doesn’t have the weather for it, we still look for every excuse in the book to get out and shake things up. Since every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own flavor and style, we’ve put together a handy list of the best neighborhoods for San Francisco summer festivals.
1. The Fillmore Summer Festivals
The Fillmore is the best neighborhood for San Francisco summer festivals and is our #1 pick. This area is actually a blend of the Western Addition and Pacific Heights neighborhoods. The Western Addition was the first multicultural neighborhood in San Francisco, which is why it is currently one of the most vibrant, diverse neighborhoods in the city. The Fillmore has a rich black heritage and music history and was known for its bustling jazz scene. The Fillmore is home to several restaurants and entertainment hot spots, with Japantown and Alamo Square Park nearby.
SF Jazz Fest: June 6 – 18
If you like Jazz, this festival gives you two weeks worth of spectacularly curated live music with a wide range of style. All SF Jazz Fest performances take place at the new SF Jazz Center or other Civic Center spaces.
Juneteenth Festival: June 17
The Juneteenth Festival is a big party with a parade celebrating the 155th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. It includes two stages with a variety of entertainment and a kiddy corner for families with children to enjoy.
Fillmore Jazz Festival: July 1-2
The Fillmore Jazz Festival takes place in the Pacific Heights neighborhood and is one of the largest jazz festivals on the west coast. It’s a celebration with non-stop live jazz music and hundreds of unique merchants offering arts, crafts, food, drinks, and other goodies. Follow the music on Fillmore Street and let this festival fill your heart with soul.
Salsa Festival on the Fillmore: July 14-15
Fun for everyone regardless of dance experience, this entertaining San Francisco summer festival won’t disappoint! It’s one of the biggest Latin music dance parties in California. For two days just outside the Fillmore Center Plaza, you can enjoy live music, dance performances, and brush up on your own dancing skills. If that’s not enough for you, there’s three full more blocks of live salsa bands, DJs, and dance programming for you to wander through.
2. SOMA Summer Festivals
SoMA is a large, bustling, industrious neighborhood, offering low-key city living with room to grow. It is home to many of San Francisco’s museums and small theater companies, alongside several company headquarters and older industrial buildings. Even though it’s a large district that has undergone a lot of development in recent years, you’ll find that things seem to be more spread out. This neighborhood is favored by young professionals, techies, and free-spirited city-dwellers.
Yerba Buena Gardens Summer Festival: May 7 – Oct 29
Yerba Buena Gardens is an oasis that offers peace and relaxation all year long, but the park really steps it up a notch when the summertime comes. Every week from May through to October, you can enjoy weekly live performances that include a diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, children’s programs, cultural events, and all around family fun. This festival really has something for everyone and aims to bridge cultures and bring the community together.
SF Beer and Music Festival: June 18
This festival is nothing short of a big celebration of San Francisco culture and community with craft beer, live music, food trucks, dancing, and more! There’s no other time in the city where you can get unlimited samplings of over 50 local brews, so don’t miss your chance. The SF Beer and Music Festival takes place at the SoMa StrEat Food Park. Time to drink, eat, and be merry!
3. Inner Sunset Summer Festivals
Inner Sunset is a classic San Francisco neighborhood with a laid-back small town feel and a lot of spunk. It borders Golden Gate Park and is a quick bike ride to Ocean Beach. Inner Sunset is a great neighborhood to live in because you get a pleasant combination of nature, culture, and city living. With a diverse population of students, young families with children, and working professionals, Inner Sunset offers a unique mix of cultural cuisine, mom-and-pop diners, excellent schools, a wealth of natural attractions, and fun events.
Piano in the Park: July 13-24
Inner Sunset is home to one of the most outside-the-box summer events in San Francisco! Flower Piano 2017 transforms the San Francisco Botanical Garden into an outdoor concert hall. For 12 days you have the opportunity to tour through the gardens where you can find and play 12 pianos scattered throughout the park. You can also come by on the weekends when professional musicians are scheduled to perform.
Inner Sunset Sunday’s Flea Markets
On the second Sunday of every month from May to September, the Inner Sunset Flea Market gathers the community on Irving Street for family fun, food of all kinds, and local merchants with intriguing treasures. This isn’t just any flea market, the Inner Sunset Flea is a bustling market within a block party and street fair.
Oyster Fest: July 1
What better way to celebrate the July 4th weekend than going to the largest oyster festival on the west coast? It`s right here in Golden Gate Park! This festival offers a unique combination of live music, art exhibits, fine food from local restaurants, food trucks, and of course, more oysters than you could ever possibly eat! Treat your taste buds, flex your shucking skills, and don’t miss out on the shuck and suck contest.
4. Castro Summer Festivals
The Castro is a neighborhood in the Eureka Valley district of San Francisco known for its vibrant culture, LGBTQ activism and history, and bustling streetscapes. This neighborhood is full of life, pride, and community. As you walk through the streets, you’ll see oodles of bars, good places to eat, and interesting boutiques and store fronts with colorful window displays. There’s always something going on in the Castro!
Pride Weekend: June 23-25
Castro is filled with even more pride every year during Pride Week. During the weekend around The Castro, you can see LGBTQ folks and allies from all walks of life cheerfully roaming the streets in colorful outfits, on their way to various events and parties. There’s no other Pride Parade like the one in San Francisco either! Families with their children and pets are welcome too.
Sing Along Sound of Music: June 30 – July 3
Have you ever wanted to sing along to the Sound of Music at the top of your lungs in a theater full of people? Well this week-long summer series at the Castro Theater even comes with goodie bags and a costume contest. Come dressed as your favorite character from the Sound of Music and sing along! Subtitles included.
5. Japantown Summer Festivals
Walking through Japantown, you will notice a different side to San Francisco right away. The shops and architecture are rich with Japanese culture. The indoor Japan Center Mall is home to several restaurants, specialty shops, bakeries and it even has the largest Japanese bookstore in the United States. The infamous Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring marks the start of the festival season in Japantown.
Soy & Tofu Festival: June 17
Whether or not you still need to be convinced, the Northern California Soy & Tofu Festival aims to spread awareness about the health benefits and deliciousness of soy and tofu products. Head down to the Event Center at Saint Mary’s Cathedral for live music, interactive games, and sample all the amazing food, desserts, and drinks (all vegan and vegetarian-friendly) they have to offer.
Japan Day Festival: June 17
What better way to celebrate Japanese heritage and culture in San Francisco than the Japan Day Festival! Enjoy live music, dance, art, and cultural performances by artists from the Bay Area all the way to Tokyo.
Anime Festival and Cosplay: July 15
There are few opportunities to dress up as your favorite anime character, and this is one of them. The Anime Festival and Cosplay takes place at the Japantown Peace Plaza. Stroll by nearby restaurants and shops, stop by the Senpai booth, learn more about anime, meet local cosplayers, and live through a new character for the day!
Nihonmachi Street Fair: August 5-6
Celebrating the diversity of Asian cultures in San Francisco, this two day festival takes place in the heart of Japantown. The Nihonmachi Street Fair is one of the largest festivals in San Francisco with around 30,000 attendees every year. With two stages of entertainment, you can find a variety of Asian art, music, food, and programming. This festival is great for families and offers fun activities at Children’s World and Doggie World, as well as a Food Fest Area dedicated to satisfy your craving for Asian delights! Other notably fun activities are the Thunder Car Show and co-ed basketball tournament.
Origami Palooza 2017: August 27
Origami Palooza is the most creative and interactive San Francisco summer festival. Dozens of origami experts offer their talents with programming for all skill levels that teaches you to how to make origami. There’s even a totally fun paper airplane contest!
Other San Francisco Summer Festivals 2017
There are so many neighborhoods bustling with life and activity, but there’s no way we could cover every San Francisco summer festival in just one article! We chose the neighborhoods we really believe are hubs for summer fun in the city. However, you don’t want to miss out on all the other festivals and street fairs happening. Here are two more we thought were worth pointing out:
Stern Grove Festival is a magical weekly outdoor festival in the Stern Grove forest, with a stage set up by a big hill underneath eucalyptus trees. It runs from June 25 to August 27 and offers a multitude of live performances that are sure to enchant you!
The Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival is one of the largest outdoor music festivals in San Francisco and takes place in Golden Gate Park August 11-13. Celebrate the summer with live music from every major genre, hundreds of visual artists, good food, and internationally recognized wine! This green-conscious event gives a special annual donation to San Francisco Recreation & Park Department too.
Don’t Miss These San Francisco Summer Festivals
Fog or shine, San Francisco is a great place to be in the summer! Each neighborhood offers their own unique flare and are beaming cultural hubs of activity. Venture outside your routine and spice up your summer plans by checking out one of these neighborhoods for the best San Francisco Summer Festivals.
If you’re interested in buying a home in any of the neighborhoods mentioned in this post, or in a different another area of San Francisco, don’t hesitate to reach out! Danielle Lazier + Partners, in collaboration with Compass San Francisco real estate, has the expertise to get you the best return on investment when selling a home or to help you find your dream home in San Francisco!