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Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Free Music & Cultural Programs in the Heart of San Francisco

Discover free music, artistic performances, and other cultural programs at the 2016 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. This annual event offers free programming every week from May to October.

Enjoy classical, jazz, and world music. Learn more about traditional and contemporary dance. Watch local theater companies perform their craft and uncover a variety of programs specifically for children and families.

During these months, you will find five to seven performances each week around the Buena Vista Gardens. Many are on the weekends, although some are also scheduled during the week. They also feature special Thursday lunchtime shows for those working nearby.

This is such a fun event every year. It's relaxing to sit in the gardens around Yerba Buena Park catching free, live performances of both up-and-coming local artists as well as some who are recognized around the world.

Here are some additional details on what you can expect to find during this festival.

2016 Schedule

May 2016

The 2016 Season Opening Event is on May 1 from 1pm - 2:30pm. Head over to the Yerba Buena Gardens to help kick off a great new series of live performances.

Here are the additional performances this month:

  • Saturday, May 7: Elephantine + The Seshen from 1pm to 3pm
  • Sunday, May 8: Slow Research Lab from 1pm to 3:30pm
  • Tuesday, May 10: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Saturday, May 14: Con Brio + Duniya Dance & Drum Company + Black Orpheus from 12pm to 5 pm
  • Tuesday, May 19: Cypress String Quartet’s Beethoven in the City from 12:30pm to1:30pm
  • Tuesday, May 19: Orquesta La Moderna Tradición from 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Saturday, May 21: El Teatro Campesino + La Familia Peña-Govea from 1pm to 3pm
  • Tuesday, May 26: Inspector Gadje from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 28: Ensemble Mik Nawooj from 1pm to 2:30pm

June 2016

  • Thursday, June 2: LoCura from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 3: Red Panda Acrobats (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, June 4: Gamelan Sekar Jaya from 1:00pm to 2:30pm
  • Sunday, June 5: Dr. Loco’s 75th Birthday: Tribute to Jim Pepper from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Thursday, June 9: Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 10: Alphabet Rockers (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30pm
  • Saturday, June 11: Embodiment Project from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 14: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 17: Pi Clowns (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30pm
  • Saturday, June 18: The Brass Convergence from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Sunday, June 19: Native Contemporary Arts Festival from 12pm to 3pm
  • Thursday, June 23: Jenny Lind Concert from 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Friday, June 24: Circus Bella’s Out of Line! (2 shows) from 12pm to 1pm

July 2016

  • Friday, July 1: Caterpillar Puppets (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, July 2: Troker from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Sunday, July 3: San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Thursday, July 7: Cal Raijin Taiko from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 8: Red Panda Acrobats (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30pm
  • Saturday, July 9: The Klezmatics + Charming Hostess from 1pm to 3pm
  • Tuesday, July 12: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Thursday, July 14: Tiffany Austin from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 15: Pi Clowns (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, July 16: Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu’s The Ola Project from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Thursday, July 21: Zéna Carlota from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Thursday, July 21: Fito Reinoso y Su Ritmo y Armonia from 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Friday, July 22: Unique Derique (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, July 23: Alligator Spacewalk + Cosa Nostra Strings from 1pm to 3pm
  • Sunday, July 24: San Francisco Mime Troupe from 2pm to 4pm
  • Thursday, July 28: Joe Bagale from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 29: Ka-Hon (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30pm
  • Saturday, July 30: Tom Rigney & Flambeau + André Thierry from 1pm to 3pm
  • Sunday, July 31: Artists Guild Exhibit from 9am to 5pm

August 2016

  • Friday, August 5: Crosspulse (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, August 6: AfroSolo in the Gardens from 1pm to 3pm
  • Tuesday, August 9: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Thursday, August 11: Blue Tango Project from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, August 12: Unique Derique (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, August 13: Pistahan from 11am to 5pm
  • Sunday, August 14: Pistahan from 11am to 5pm
  • Thursday, August 18: Mazacote from 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Friday, August 19: Venezuelan Music Project (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, August 20: Jane Bunnett & Maqueque from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Thursday, August 25: Naima Shalhoub from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Friday, August 26: Chelle! & Friends (2 shows) from 11am to 11:30am
  • Saturday, August 27: Red Baraat + Non Stop Bhangra from 1pm to 2:30pm

September 2016

  • Thursday, September 1: Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Saturday, September 3: Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers from 1pm to 2:30pm
  • Thursday, September 8: Mass Bass from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Saturday, September 10: Las Cafeteras + Soltron from 1pm to 3pm
  • Tuesday, September 13: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Thursday, September 15: Edgardo y Candela featuring Calixto Oviedo from 6pm to 7:30pm
  • Sunday, September 25: Yassir Chadly & The Moroccans from 1pm to 2:30pm

October 2016

  • Tuesday, October 11: Litquake from 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Sunday, October 30: Halloween Hoopla from 12pm to 1:30pm

Places to Stay Nearby

If you plan on spending quite a bit of time in or near Yerba Buena Gardens, then I recommend looking at hotels in the Union Square District.

This area is centrally located and the most convenient place to stay in San Francisco for those exploring this area (or the entire city!). It's just a few blocks away from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and an easy bus ride to other popular attractions in SF.

Click here for my top recommendations in Union Square.

You can also find great deals on TripAdvisor.com. Click here to find the perfect hotel for your stay in SF.

How to Get to the Yerba Buena Gardens

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival performances are all in and around the Yerba Buena Gardens at 750 Howard Street. You can also enter the gardens from Mission or 3rd Streets.

The great thing about the location of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is that it is easy to reach from everywhere in SF and the Bay Area.

BART: If you are coming from the south or east bay, you can take BART to the Powell Street Station. Head south on 4th Street one block and make a left onto Mission. You will find the gardens about one block down on your right.

Muni Buses: All of these buses drop within a block or two of the festival: 5, 6, 8, 14, 21 30, 38, 41, 45, 54, 72, 91, 92, 93. You can also take the light rail trains to the Powell Street station and walk two blocks to the festival.

Caltrain: If you take Caltrain from the south bay, you can either walk to the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival or take the 30 or 45 bus from the corner of Townsend and 4th Streets.

Golden Gate Transit: If you are coming from the north bay, it's an easy bus ride on Golden Gate Transit. Take the 70, 80 or 101 bus to the stop at Mission and 4th Streets.

Other Popular Annual Festivals & Events

Union Square Live: Throughout the summer, you can also catch free cultural performances just down the street at Union Square Live. Here you can also see everything from live music to local theater productions. Union Square Live offers shows most Wednesdays and Sundays from April to October. Click here for this year's calendar.

Wine Tasting Festivals: Some of my favorite events are SF's wine tasting festivals. The largest is the Chronicle Wine Tasting Event every February. You will also find other annual tastings such as Pinot Noir Days, the TAPAS Wine Tasting Event and the Rhone Rangers Festival. Learn more here.

Street Fairs: Almost every weekend in the summer in SF, you will find a fun street fair or festival. They range from the two-day Pride Festival & Parade to the popular Haight Street Fair. Find the full list of this year's festivals.

Sunday Streets: Another free monthly event every year in SF is Sunday Streets. From March to October, a specified district shuts down a number of streets to car traffic to allow pedestrians to run and play in the streets. You will also often find live music, free health screenings and more. Click here for this month's schedule.

Savings Tip: I also recommend checking out the event calendar on Goldstar.com. They feature dozens of event and tour tickets at up to half-off the full retail price. It's a great place to look before booking these types of tickets anywhere else. Click here to see their current ticket selection.

Other Pages for You

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symphony
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SF Theater
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SF Symphony
Calendar
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