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San Francisco Events in May 2017

Mother's Day, Memorial Day Weekend, & Other Things to Do this Month

May in San Francisco is warm, sunny, and a lovely time to visit. During the month, you will find dozens of things to do and plenty of events to keep you busy.

Spoil your mom this Mother's Day with several fun activities planned just for her and the family. You will also discover a variety of colorful and memorable events over Memorial Day weekend. In addition, you can sample local wines at the annual Uncorked Wine Festival in Ghirardelli Square, show off your favorite costume during the Bay to Breakers race, and savor a variety of oysters during Oysterfest.

Carnaval Parade in SF

This month, you can step inside the theater to see a performance of Roman Holiday. You'll also get the chance to explore the city on one of the free walking tours offered by SF City Guides & the Public Library, fly high above the city on a helicopter tour, or taste a variety of beers during the spring International Beer Festival.

Read on for more details on the top San Francisco events in May 2017.

For some of the links on this page, I receive a small commission when you purchase. You don't pay more when you buy through me and it gives me the chance to offer you all this great content for free!

Hamilton at the Orpheum Theater

Today's most popular Broadway play is showing in San Francisco! This clever musical based on a biography of founding father Alexander Hamilton is sure to entertain. Enjoy the incredible costumes and scene design, which transport you back in time to 18th century America, and a creative score that combines jazz, blues, pop, and hip-hop. Tickets are in high demand, so act quickly!

Dates: March 10 - August 5

Tickets: On sale for all dates

SF Giants Baseball

Head over to AT&T Park this May to catch the SF Giants in action. This month, they have 13 home games in San Francisco. During May, they play host to the Reds and the Dodgers. Toward the end of the month, both the Braves and the Nationals take on the Giants in SF.

Dates: Several in May

More: Find the full schedule this year

SF Ballet

Catch one of the last performances of the SF Ballet this season. From May 1 - 7, see a performance of Cinderella. All shows are at the War Memorial Opera House near City Hall in the Civic Center neighborhood.

Dates: May 1 - 7

More: Additional details for the SF Ballet in May

Save with the SF CityPASS

If you're going to visit San Francisco for about a week, it's worth getting an SF CityPASS to save money. You'll get free admission to the Cal Academy of Sciences, either the Aquarium of the Bay or the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and either the de Young Fine Arts Museum or the Exploratorium.

You'll also get a free ticket to a cruise on the SF Bay, and many more discounts. In addition, this pass enables you to get around town with a breeze by riding the cable cars, buses, and light rail for free for seven days.

Dates: Any day in May

Tickets: Get free transportation and access to SF's best attractions now!image

Free Walking Tours with SF City Guides

Every day of the year, you will find five to six wonderful tours offered by SF City Guides. Supported by the SF Public Library, all walks offer the history or fun facts about a specific district or attraction. You can stroll over the Golden Gate Bridge, walk the historic alleys of Chinatown, or learn more about the history of the Palace of Fine Arts. All walks are free and last for around two hours.

Dates: Every day of the month

More: Find a full schedule with starting locations

Uncorked Wine Festival

During the Uncorked Wine Festival at Ghirardelli Square, you can sample new local wines, talk to winemakers, and attend a seminar to learn more about the wines on hand. You can also listen to live music, sample local goodies, and watch live cooking demonstrations.

Date: May 13

More: Discover details for this year's event

How Weird Street Faire

One of those unique, only-in-San-Francisco type of festivals, the 17th annual "Weirdest Show on Earth" is fun for everyone. At this street fair, dancers, DJs, artists and other performers come together on 10 music stages to celebrate the eclectic beauty of the community.

Dates: May 7

More: Find out more on the How Weird web page

Free Museum Admission Days

Save money and visit SF's top museums during their free admission days. Each month, several museums offer free entrance to their permanent collection. You can see dozens of artifacts at the Asian Art Museum, enjoy fine arts at the de Young Museum, or discover new plants and flowers at the Conservatory of Flowers.

Dates: Several at the beginning of the month

More: Uncover free museum dates for May

Uncover the Best Hotel Deals for Your Stay

Don't book your room before checking out the great discounts online. There are a variety of deals available including discounts off your room rate, free parking, and more. Click the links below to check out the latest offers on San Francisco hotels during your stay.

Bookings: Save on your Hotel with Booking.com, Planet Earth's #1 Accommodation Site. No booking fees ever!booking.com

TripAdvisor: What's the #1 hotel in San Francisco? Read reviews & find hotel deals on TripAdvisor!tripadvisor.com

Mother's Day

Celebrate your mom on Sunday, May 14 in San Francisco. You will find a wide range of things to do to make the day extra special. You can head out on a Champagne Cruise in the morning, do a little shopping in the afternoon, and enjoy an evening sunset cruise. You can also make your way over to Alcatraz for the day or spend time exploring the Golden Gate Bridge. There are plenty of wonderful places for the entire family to enjoy a lovely brunch or lunch to celebrate.

Date: Sunday, May 14

More: Find a list of all of the things to do this year for Mother's Day in SF

Roman Holiday: SF Theater

This month, you will find several performances on the theater calendar. The biggest show is Roman Holiday at the Golden Gate Theater (5/24 - 6/18). Other San Francisco events in May include Noises Off at the SF Playhouse, Battlefield at ACT's Geary Theater, and The Roommate at the SF Playhouse.

Dates: Several shows this month

More: Discover additional details about these shows & other theater performances in May

Tickets at Up to 50% Off on Goldstar

Save money on these popular tours in Goldstar. They offer hundreds of tickets to SF tours, events, and more. Below are a few of their most popular options in May.

  • 60-Minute Bay Cruise: Cruises around the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, several cruises a day, Full price $31, Goldstar price $15.50*

  • Twilight Cruise: 2-hour evening cruise with heavy appetizers included with every ticket, leaves once a day from Fisherman's Wharf, Full price $64, Goldstar price $32*

  • 7D Experience: Enjoy a thrilling ride at Pier 39's 7D Experience, step into this 20-person theater, strap yourself into your seat, and get ready to fight off the bad guys, this 3D movie and video game activity is perfect for the entire family and one you will not forget, Full price $14.99, Goldstar $8.25*

*Small service fee at checkout.

Maker Faire Bay Area

Come join thousands of people who love to tinker with, discover, and make things. Try out their inventions—everything from handmade teas to open sourced digital pianos—and find out what they've learned in the process. If you are not already one of these innovators, you will surely be inspired to become one!

Dates: May 19 - 21

More: Discover what Maker Faire is all about

A Three Day Self-Guided Tour of SF

Are you short on time for your stay in SF? Do you want to see as much as possible during your visit? If so, then check out my self-guided three-day tour of SF. It offers you the chance to visit as many attractions and see as much as you can in just three days. You will visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Coit Tower. You will also get a chance to explore top districts such as Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and North Beach.

Dates: Any day in May

More: See what's included in the entire self-guided tour here

Museum Exhibits

All year round, San Francisco's world-renowned museums host excellent exhibits that you won't want to miss. May is the last month to enjoy In That Case at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Frank Stella at the de Young, and The Future of the Past at the Legion of Honor.

Dates: All throughout the month

More: Check out the full list of exhibits this month at SF's top museums

Union Square Live

Enjoy free live performances in Union Square throughout the spring and summer. They offer a variety of dance, music, circus, and theater performances, as well as movies and more. The 2017 season of Union Square Live continues every week through September.

Dates: Several from April - September

More: Find out who will be performing next in Union Square

SF Comedy Shows

Each month, SF offers a variety of laugh-out-loud performances, including standup at the Punch Line and Cobb's comedy clubs, improv by companies like BATS, and musical comedies like Beach Blanket Babylon and Foodies, the Musical. Check the schedule for upcoming performances of your favorite visiting and local comedians.

Dates: All month long

More: Check out the full list of upcoming comedy shows

Zappos Bay to Breakers Run

Race through the city in your most comfortable, yet colorful costume. The Bay to Breakers run is a unique experience with more than 100,000 people running in costume from the Bay, on the eastern side, to the Breakers out on the western coast of the city. This 12k run is not for the faint of heart, however, as many people are challenged by the number of hills on this course. It's fun to run, but also fun to watch along the sidelines.

Date: Sunday, May 21

More: Find a full list of details + information on how to register

SF International Arts Festival

This festival aims to foster a global community of artists who together present a variety of top quality collaborative projects in music, dance, theater, and more. Catch the performances at the Fort Mason Center and enjoy the contributions of artists from France, Japan, Lithuania, Ireland, Serbia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the US.

Dates: May 25 - June 4

More: Click here for event details

SF Helicopter & Alcatraz Tour

Make the most of your visit to San Francisco on the Helicopter & Alcatraz Combo Tour. Your day starts with an amazing 15- to 20-minute helicopter ride of SF and the Bay. You will see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the SF Skyline from above.

Once you land, you will be taken over to Pier 33 to pick up your ferry to Alcatraz. You will get the chance to spend 2 to 3 hours on this interesting island. Your visit includes a self-guided audio tour and plenty of time to explore on your own.

Dates: Every day in May

Tickets: Discover more details & grab your seats today on Viator.com!

Carnaval Celebration

One of the most colorful celebrations each year is Carnaval in the Mission District. Every year, it's held the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day. This two-day event celebrates the Latin and South American cultures. Sample traditional foods, dance salsa on the streets of the Mission, and meet new friends. The popular parade is on Sunday morning and features traditional dress and music from places such as Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, and more.

Dates: May 27 - 28

More: Find a list of events during this year's Carnaval celebration

Memorial Day Weekend

Spend Memorial Weekend with us and enjoy dozens of fun activities. This weekend, you can head out on the water on a special holiday cruise, attend the Carnaval Festival in the Mission, or attend a theater, symphony, or other cultural performance. You can also honor those who have died for our country at one of the Memorial Day events. Click the link below for a full list of activities for this weekend.

Dates: May 27 - 29

More: Find a full list of activities this Memorial Day weekend

Live Music in SF

SF's beloved and unique concert venues, including the Fillmore and the Warfield, host great performances all year long. You'll also find large concerts by the best bands in rock and pop at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Masonic. In addition, local talent is always making this city ring at a variety of smaller cafes and live music venues all around town.

Dates: All throughout the month

More: Visit the live music calendar to find out who else in town this May

SF Symphony

Head over to Davies Symphony Hall for some amazing performances this month. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra performs on May 14. Other highlights include Berlioz's Requiem (5/4 - 5/6), Emanuel Ax plays Mozart (5/10 - 5/13), and Shostakovich with Matthias Goerne and Tchaikovsky's Fifth (5/25 - 5/27).

Dates: Several in May

More: Full SF Symphony calendar for May

National Cemetery Memorial Day Events

The largest Memorial Day event in San Francisco is at the National Cemetery in the Presidio. The event starts at 10:30am with a parade. It's followed by a formal ceremony that starts at around 11am. Many local politicians and military personnel will speak. At the end, the U.S. Army's 75th Pacific Division will honor those we lost with a 21-gun salute.

Date: Monday, May 29

More: Find details on this event in the Presidio

More Things To Do in San Francisco in May

In addition to the special events that take place in May, check out my tips for what to wear and other fun things to do at this time of year, including the best day trips, guided tours, nighttime events, and free events in May.

More: More on how to make the most of your May vacation in SF

Weather in May

Are you unsure what you need to pack for your stay? If so, then check out my page that will give you advice about the weather and tips on what to wear while you are here.

Info: What to pack for a trip to SF in May

2016 Dates

The following events that took place in May 2016 have not yet been confirmed for 2017. I'll update them as soon as details are ready for this year.

Sunday Streets

May 1 in the Bayview/Dogpatch neighborhood marks the second edition of Sunday Streets this year, a monthly festival that rotates among districts. Each of these free events features activities for the whole family, live music, and streets closed to traffic so you can run, bike, and play in the area.

Dates: TBD

More: Find out which weekends to visit which neighborhoods

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Kicking off May 1, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is an ongoing event that offers free programming every week through October. Live outdoor performances include music, dance, and theater, and feature both well-known and emerging artists.

Dates: TBD

More: Discover what the 2016 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival has to offer

San Francisco International Film Festival

The 59th edition of the longest-running film festival in the Americas—the SF International Film Festival— features an excellent selection of marquee premiers, international winners, documentaries, musical performances, and more. Filmmakers from nearly 50 countries around the world are screening hundreds of films.

Dates: TBD

More: Find out more about the festival and its featured films

Cinco de Mayo Festival

It is a tradition for SF's Latino community in the Mission District to hold a large, festive Cinco de Mayo celebration every year. The event is usually held on Valencia Street between 21st and 24th Streets on the Sunday closest to May 5, but I will update this year's information as soon as the date is confirmed. Enjoy Mexican and Latin American cuisine, music, dance, and art, as well as activities for the kids and the whole family. Don't miss out on this colorful cultural experience!

Date: TBD

More: Get the details about this year's Cinco de Mayo Festival

Oysterfest

Enjoy a full day of music and food at Oysterfest. For one day, you can sample a variety of oysters from top local locations. There will also be a large selection of premium beer and wine for sale. In addition, all day long, this festival offers live music on their main stage. All activities are at Sharon Meadows in Golden Gate Park.

Date: TBD

Tickets: Buy your tickets today on LivingSocial!

More: Find a list of performers & more info for this year's event

Taste of Potrero

Enjoy an evening of high-class food and drink at Pier 70, brought to you by SF's best bars and restaurants, including Almanac beer, Layer Cake, Piccino, Souvla, The Homestead, and many more. All proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary School.

Date: TBD

More: Discover more details and buy tickets on the event website

Himalayan Film Festival

Going into its fifth year, this is one of the Bay Area's newer film festivals, but it is invaluably rich with cultural, natural, and human lessons. Discover a variety of films "from the roof of the world" as well as guest speakers and a delicious Nepali dinner.

Dates: TBD

More: Find out specifics about the films

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival

Now in its 24th year, the Bay Area's biggest Taiwanese American celebration is expecting over 10,000 people to come and enjoy delicious traditional food, music, art, and other vibrant parts of Taiwanese culture. Head over to Union Square on Saturday, May 14 from 10am to 6pm for this family-friendly event and connect with this beautiful ethnic group.

Dates: TBD

More: Get festival details from the event website

Asian Heritage Festival

This annual festival is free to the public and offers live entertainment, specialty foods, arts & crafts, and more. The event brings the community together and represents a diverse group of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures.

Date: TBD

More: Read more about the activities planned for this year's festival

Google I/O Conference

This two-day conference aimed at developers features highly technical and in-depth presentations focused on building web and mobile apps. "I/O" stands for "input/output" but also "Innovation in the Open." Google has usually held this event at the Moscone Center in SF since 2008.

Date: TBD

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