Sign up for email & receive your FREE copy of our 

2017 Planning Guide!

We respect your email privacy

San Francisco Events in October 2016

Fleet Week, Halloween & More this Month in SF

San Francisco events in October 2016 include Fleet Week, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and the SF Wharf Fest. Other top events include Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Orpheum Theater, Open Studios, and dozens of fun Halloween events.

october fleet week

October in San Francisco offers blue skies, sunshine, and fun events every weekend. You'll find the city's best weather during this season, so take some time to play outside.

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!

SF Opera: Don Pasquale

Going to the San Francisco Opera is an unforgettable experience. This month, you can catch a performance of Don Pasquale, a comedy that pits a miserly old man against his nephew and his nephew's sweetheart. This opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles and lasts about two and a half hours.

Dates: September 28 - October 15

Learn More: Find more information about this and other operas this season

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Don't miss the 16th year of this huge free bluegrass festival. For three days, several stages in Golden Gate Park will feature the biggest names in the genre. Pack your own refreshments for a picnic in the park, or check out the more than 50 gourmet food and beverage vendors, in addition to the great music. Headliners this year include the Infamous Stringdusters, the California Honeydrops, Mavis Staples, the Mother Hips, and many more.

Dates: September 30, October 1 & 2

Learn More: Find out who's playing this year and how to get there

SF Giants Baseball

Well, we've come to the end of regular season baseball. Help the SF Giants cap off another great run by joining them for the last two regular season games at AT&T Park this month, where they host the LA Dodgers.

Dates: October 1 & 2

Learn More: Get more SF Giants information

49ers Football

Get in on the action at Levi's Stadium, as the San Francisco 49ers play their third season in Santa Clara, just an hour south of the city. This month, the 49ers will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. Go Niners!

Dates: October 2, 6 & 23

Learn More: Click here for the full 2016 schedule, how to get to the stadium, and more

Top Half-Priced Tickets for October

Goldstar offers great deals on tickets to San Francisco tours, events, and theater performances. You can pick up most of them at almost 50% off the full retail cost. The list below are just some of their top offers this month. Click the links to learn more and find additional details for your visit!

  • Bay Cruise Adventure: Most popular bay cruise that includes a 60 minute cruise around the bay, ride under the Golden Gate Bridge, leaves from Pier 39 several times a day, Full price $30, Goldstar price $15*

  • California Sunset Cruise: 2-hours cruise around the bay at sunset, cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, includes heavy appetizers, Full price $64, Goldstar price $32*

  • Rocketboat: 30-minute thrill ride on the SF Bay, twists and turns on the water as you listen to rock and roll music, Full price $27, Goldstar price $13.50*

*Small service fee will apply at checkout

Castro Street Fair

This year is the 43rd anniversary of the Castro Street Fair, which was started by Harvey Milk to celebrate the LGBT community and their supporters. The all-day (11am-6pm) fair features gourmet food, live music on two stages, lots of dancing in the streets, and "Kink Karnival Way." Join in on the fun at Market and Castro Streets, in the heart of this colorful, lively district.

Dates: Sunday, October 2

Learn More: Read more details about this festival

Shark Diving Adventure

Have you ever wanted to see sharks up close? Just off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon Islands are world-famous for being the winter home and feeding ground to some of the largest (15- to 20-foot) great whites. Get in a cage to see this underwater world in all its glory, or watch from the deck as sharks come up to feed on seals. No dive experience is necessary to enjoy this tour.

Dates: Any day this month

Learn More: Get all the tour details on their webpage

Fleet Week

Join the crowds that come out to the waterfront every year for SF's Fleet Week to be wowed by the Blue Angels roaring by in formation just overhead. Festivities will kick off with the Parade of Ships and throughout the week you can watch airshow practices and tour military ships as well.

Dates: October 3 - 10

Learn More: Get the full Fleet Week schedule and photos of what to expect

SF Theater: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The biggest theater performance this month is the Tony Award-winning musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, about a transgender lead singer of a rock band whose botched operation has left her with an "angry inch." Both funny and heartbreaking, this show is not to be missed.

Dates: October 4 - 30

Discounted Tickets: Select performances at up to 50% off on Goldstar

Tickets: Buy your tickets today for all performances in October

Learn More: Get theater performance details

Free Museum Admission Days

SF boasts a number of world-renowned museums, but visiting all of them can be pricey. Luckily, each month there are several free admission days! See the Asian Art Museum, the Conservatory of Flowers, the de Young, Legion of Honor, and more.

Dates: Various dates in October

Learn More: Find out which dates are offered at which museums


If you are always striving to embark on new visions for your company, this may be the event for you. Deemed to be a transformational week of idea sharing among entrepreneurs and pioneers of every industry, this year's Dreamforce event is sure to drive inspiration, imagination, and innovation in all its participants.

Dates: October 4 - 7

Learn More: Visit the Dreamforce website for more information and registration

Hotel Deals in SF

Before you book your room, make sure to check out the current deals on and TripAdvisor. Save on your Hotel with, Planet Earth's #1 Accommodation Site. No booking fees ever!

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


Every year, SF's longest running literary festival brings light to great reads and the world of literature through a variety of venues, including churches, bookstores, and even popular bars. For over a week, you get to engage with authors, participate in workshops, attend panel discussions and groups readings, and more.

Dates: October 7 - 15

Learn More: Check out the full schedule of events and locations

SF Comedy

If you're looking for a lighthearted night of comedy, you'll find plenty of shows in San Francisco almost every night of the week. These shows include famous standup comedians, local stars, improv troupes, and comic musicals like the SF favorite Beach Blanket Babylon. This month, watch Ryan Stiles and Greg Proops in "Whose Live Anyway?", Mark Normand live at the Punchline Comedy Club, and many more.

Dates: Several

Learn More: Get more info about comedy performances this month

SF Symphony

The world renowned San Francisco Symphony offers more than one hundred events each year, and people from all over come to the elegant Davies Symphony Hall to see their shows. This month, you can enjoy--among many other performaces--Yuja Wang and Stravinsky's Firebird, the feature film 2001: A Space Odyssey with live orchestra, and Brahms Symphony No. 2 conducted by revered Michael Tilson Thomas.

Dates: Several

Learn More: See the complete schedule of performances

Arab Film Festival

This year's Bay Area Arab Film Festival will host screenings in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto. For over a week, you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Arab culture not often seen on mainstream TV, movies, or the news. Delve into these stories brought to you by Arab filmmakers, representing the complexity of Arab communities around the world.

Dates: October 7 - 16

Learn More: Get more information about the festival and scheduled films

Free Walking Tours

Every day, the SF Public Library offers free walking tours of different parts of the city. They are intimate, informative, and best of all, completely free! Each tour concentrates on a specific area, like the Japanese Tea Garden, North Beach, or Chinatown. In addition, many are designed around a theme, such as Downtown Deco or Gold Rush City.

Learn More: See the full list and schedule of meeting places

Live Music

Every month in San Francisco, several venues offer great concerts by artists from all over the country and globe. This month, be sure to get tickets for Alice and Chains or Brian Wilson at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, Van Morrison at Davies Symphony Hall, or Alice Cooper at the Warfield. In addition, there are many more live music performances in town nearly every night of the week.

Dates: Several

Learn More: Check out the complete list of upcoming concerts

Open Studios

Open Studios runs all month long, so you can take your time getting to know over 800 artists and their work all over the city. Each weekend will feature different districts, where you can wander in and out of the studios in that area to chat with the artists and purchase pieces on display. This is a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the art scene in SF.

Dates: October 8 - November 6

Learn More: See the schedule and get directions to each area on display

Italian Heritage Parade

San Francisco is home to the country's oldest Italian American Parade, which takes place every year as part of the Columbus Day celebration. Follow the parade of floats, bands, and traditional Italian musicians from Fisherman's Wharf to the heart of North Beach (SF's Little Italy), where it will conclude at a small family-friendly festival in Washington Square Park.

Date: Sunday, October 9

Learn More: Find more details about the parade

SF International Festival of Short Films

Though short in length, short films can be quite powerful and profound. Over the course of three days, the SF Shorts Festival offers six different programs of films from 17 countries, each set revolving around a different theme, for example: "being fearless in discovery," "the push and pull of passion, obsession, and desire," and "our impact on others." Catch the screenings at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District.

Date: October 13 - 15

Learn More: Check out all the details about this film festival

Leap's Sandcastle Classic

The largest sandcastle competition in Northern California is not only fun for the family and a great excuse to get the community together out on the beach; it also raises money for a fantastic organization, Leap, that brings hands-on learning experiences to over 6,000 students across the Bay Area. Head on over to Ocean Beach between 11am and 4pm to witness some dazzling sand creations!

Date: October 15

Learn More: Visit the event website to see pictures and find out more

Potrero Hill Festival

If you're looking for a fun weekend activity for the whole family, head over to the Potrero Hill Festival on 20th Street between Missouri and Wisconsin. On a beautiful fall day, this is the perfect place to enjoy two stages of live entertainment, food stalls, bouncy houses, a petting zoo, and more. In addition, you'll find arts and crafts for sale as well as information from various non-profit organizations. This event is in its 27th year and typically attracts more than 6,000 visitors.

Date: October 15

Learn More: Get all the details for this fun family event

Treasure Island Music Festival

This popular annual music festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. It takes place on Treasure Island, in between SF and Oakland in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, and for two full days of incredible music, you will get the chance to see 26 bands. Traditionally the festival has hosted top emerging artists who then went on to become huge hits. This year's headliners include Sigur Ros, Ice Cube, James Blake, Purity Ring, and Zhu.

Dates: October 15 & 16

Learn More: See the full lineup, how to get there, and ticketing information

Sunday Streets

Imagine the busy streets of San Francisco closed off to traffic and opened up to the public--families on foot and on bikes, walking and dancing--to the tune of free live music and other outdoor fun. This happens one Sunday a month from March to November, each time in a different neighborhood. This October, don't miss your chance to visit the Excelsior, a part of town a little off the beaten path, to join in on the festivities.

Date: October 16

Learn More: Find out more about this monthly event

SF Dance Film Festival

Love dance and film? This three-day event is the perfect combination. Come to the Brava Theater Center for screenings of short dance pieces designed especially for the big screen, documentaries about the art, and features on dancers and choreographers.

Dates: October 20 - 23

Learn More: Click here for 2016 Dance Film Festival details

Learn More: Get the full calendar of all SF film festivals

Perfect Day in the Haight

SF's colorful Haight Ashbury district, home of the famous 1968 Summer of Love, has a lot more to offer than just hippie vibes, although you'll find plenty of that there. Start your day taking in views from the park, get some good eats, admire the street art, lose yourself in old records and vintage clothing, and more.

Dates: Any day in October

Learn More: Read the full one-day itinerary

United Nations Association Film Festival

Each year, the UNAFF features a selection of over 60 documentary films about important issues from all over the world. The theme for this year's festival is Compass for a Better World. Screenings will take place in SF, East Palo Alto, and Stanford University.

Dates: October 20 - 30

Learn More: Take a look at the list of films and schedule

Museum Exhibits

San Francisco has a wealth of interesting, beautiful, and diverse museums, offering fascinating exhibits throughout the year. October is the last chance to see The Wild Bunch: Succulents, Cacti & Fat Plants at the Conservatory of Flowers, California BookWorks at the Legion of Honor, and Film as Place at the SF MOMA. And if you're looking for a new exhibit, opening this month at the Asian Art Museum is The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe.

Dates: Throughout October

Learn More: Check out the complete list and exact dates for the top museums

San Francisco Wharf Fest

Head over to Fisherman's Wharf on Saturday, October 22 for this annual street festival. Get into the San Francisco spirit with the Chowder Tasting Competition, live music, and great views of the bay. It's one of the free San Francisco events in October.

Date: October 22

Learn More: Get the full 2016 details

San Francisco BBQ Festival

Do you love the mouthwatering smell and taste of barbecue, or the fun social atmosphere that goes along with it? Head over to the 2nd annual SF BBQ Festival at The Yard at Mission Rock, close to AT&T Park, for some delicious food and drink. There will be a competition of BBQ chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket, and you get to taste the contenders. In addition, enjoy craft beers from 15 local breweries and live music from two local rock bands.

Date: October 22

Learn More: Read more about this delicious, unique event

Fall Art & Antiques Show

If you have an appreciation for fine art and unique antique pieces, you'll love this large annual event at the Fort Mason Center. The show opens with a preview gala on October 26, followed by four days of viewing and buying beautiful pieces.

Dates: October 27 - 30

Learn More: Find out more on the organization's website

Halloween Activities

San Francisco is one of the best places to celebrate Halloween each year. You will find activities that range from trick-or-treating to 21+ party cruises around the SF Bay. This year, Halloween falls on a Monday, so most activities will be the Saturday and Sunday before the holiday.

Date: October 31

Learn More: Visit the Halloween page for a full list of this year's activities

More Things to Do in San Francisco in October

Are you looking for additional fun things to do during your visit? If so, then check out my full list of the best things to do this month in SF. It includes the top cruises, tours, and other activities.

More: Additional things to do in SF in October

What to Wear in SF in October

Are you unsure of what you will need to pack for your stay in October? My guide to the weather in October is just what you need to prepare. It includes information on what to expect from the weather throughout each day and the month.

>> Tips on what to pack for your stay in October

Other Topics to Explore

walking tours
Golden gate bridge
Best SF
Walking Tours
Fun Golden
Gate Bridge Tours
Top Annual

> SF Events > San Francisco Events in October 2016

New! Comments

Thanks for visiting! Do you have a question or comment about what you just read? Leave me a note below!

Back to the Top

SF ebook

Free 2017 SF 
Planning Guide!

Sign up for the SFTourismTips email 
& get your free guide today!


walking tours

about the author

cheap and clean lodging

50 free things to do

north beach

fishermans wharf

murals in sf

pier 39

sf with kids

wine tours

theater calendar

Contact | Home