San Francisco summer is just around the corner! Yes, that’s right. Anyone who’s lived in this city long enough knows that our real summer happens during the autumn months. After the foggy months of July and August, it’s definitely cause for celebration. Lucky for us, we’re not the only ones who feel this way; when September and October hit, suddenly the whole city erupts in festivals.

The only problem is that there can be too many festivals to choose from! But don’t worry, the team at SFhotlist will help you decide. Check out our six staff favorites below and let the celebrating begin!

Favorite Festivals for September

Architecture and the City

As a real estate collective, how could we not pick a festival that features architecture and design? For the whole month of September, city goers can partake in one of the nation’s largest architectural festivals of its kind. This year’s theme is “Play: Design in Action”, which will explore how play contributes to the creative process of developing design and architecture.

The festival will include walking tours, films, lectures, workshops, and more. If you’re thinking of buying a home in San Francisco, this festival would be a great way to get a behind the scenes look at some of the best architecture and neighborhoods the city has to offer.

Moon Festival (September 19 – 20)

Celebrate the harvest moon this season with Chinatown’s Autumn Moon Festival. This ancient festival celebrates the glories and mysteries of the moon, with special focus on the female principle of yin.

Catch a lion dancing show, watch the colorful opening parade, and sample some delicious moon cakes. Located along historic Grant Avenue between California and Broadway Streets, the festival will showcase vendors, performances, parades, and other celebratory events. Since the festival takes place during San Francisco summer, the nights are most likely to be warm. Explore historic Chinatown and celebrate the autumn (summer) season!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival (September 12 – 13)

A two day festival that revolves entirely around chocolate? Yes, please! Every year, The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival hosts over 50 vendors, culinary demos, and the popular Chocolate and Wine Pavilion. Plus, it’s a little known secret that hundreds of free chocolate samples are given away!

A San Francisco staple, The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival is sure to satisfy the sweetest of sweet tooths. Discover the latest chocolate trends (and some old time favorites), while exploring the history of America’s longest operating chocolate company. Located by the water, it’s a great excuse to get out to Beach Street and enjoy the “summer” weather, too!

Favorite San Francisco Festivals for October

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (October 2 – 4)

One day a generous man named Warren Hellman decided he wanted to share his wealth and love of bluegrass with his fellow San Franciscans, and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival was born. This entirely free music festival boasts 7 stages and over 100 performers. Some of the big names on the line up this year are Emmylou Harris and local darlings The Stone Foxes.

Bask in the warm “mid-summer” weather under the cypress and eucalyptus trees in the heart of Golden Gate Park while noshing on some good eats and listening to some good tunes. Spots fill up quickly, so go early to ensure a good view of your favorite acts. If you show up late and are feeling adventurous, sitting in trees at this festival is not unheard of!

Litquake October (9-17)

Earthquakes aren’t the only things shaking up this city! Litquake has a bunch of exciting things in store for us this year. San Francisco has a reputation for attracting writerly types, and this is clearly evident with the amount of people who show up for the city’s annual nine day festival that celebrates writing and reading.

Like many good ideas that began in San Francisco, Litquake’s origins were hatched in a pub— city favorite, the Edinburgh Castle— in 1999. Today, people come as far away as Europe and Asia to submerse themselves in our literary community. Attendees can enjoy workshops, lectures, readings, book signings, and more throughout the city and the Bay Area. In keeping with its origins, the festival also facilitates a variety of Lit Crawls, that will shuffle writers from one pub to the next while listening to readings and connecting with other writers.

Fiesta On The Hill (October 25)

As San Francisco summer winds to an end, a great way to have a last hurrah is at Fiesta On The Hill in Bernal Heights. This family-friendly festival brings together the Bernal Heights neighborhood and an estimated 10,000 people from around the Bay Area in a daylong party featuring a petting zoo, entertainment, music, vendors, food, and more.

Get in the Halloween spirit with pumpkin carving contests and autumn festivities, or simply throw down a blanket and enjoy a picnic while taking in the entertainment. There’s a little something for everyone at Fiesta On The Hill! And if you’re thinking of moving into this neighborhood (see our listings), this is a perfect time to get to know your neighbors and witness the rich diversity of all Bernal Heights has to offer.

We hope you enjoy the “summer” season. Do you have a favorite festival coming up in September or October? Reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter— we’d love to hear which San Francisco festivals are your favorites and why!

Photo Credit: “San francisco montage asemblage” Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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