Carnaval San Francisco is a large, two-day celebration in the colorful Mission District. This year's event is on Memorial Day Weekend, May 23 - 24, 2020.
This SF festival celebrates Latin American and Caribbean arts and traditions. It runs from 10am to 6pm both days.
The highlight of the weekend is the Grand Parade on Sunday, May 24. It starts at 9:30am and lasts until around 2pm.
During the parade, you will have the chance to see more than 30 music and dance groups. Each one showcases elements of the year's theme. Here are just a few pictures from previous years.
The parade starts on 24th and Bryant Streets. From there, it heads west to Mission Street. It continues north on Mission to 17th Street, and ends at 17th and Harrison.
Here is a map of the parade route.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Are you looking for additional events this weekend? Here are a few that are offering tickets at up to 50% off.
60-Minute Bay Cruise: Cruises around the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf, several cruises a day, Full price $34, Goldstar price $17*
California Twilight Cruise: 2-hour evening cruise on the SF Bay, includes light appetizers and one drink per ticket, Full price $80, Goldstar $55*
North Beach Food Tour: 3-hour walking tour, offers a variety of samples in this Italian district, Full price $69, Goldstar $48*
Chinatown Food Tour: Sample traditional dishes in the popular Chinatown district as you learn about its history, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10am, Full price $75, Goldstar $49*
*Small service fee at checkout.
Carnaval San Francisco stretches out along eight city blocks of the Mission (find other things to do in this SF neighborhood). Most of the festival takes place on Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Streets.
The event is free, although they usually request a donation at the entrances.
This family-friendly event includes food, music, dance, and arts & crafts. You will also find other fun activities throughout the weekend.
On every corner of the festival, DJs will be spinning Latin and Caribbean music such as cumbia, cha cha cha, tango, and salsa. You will hear hip hop rancheras, samba, and reggae music as well.
Carnaval San Francisco will also include several areas of live bands.
The main stage is at the corner of 17th and Harrison. This is where you will find the most popular performers during the festival.
Additional entertainment will be at the following locations:
If you plan to stay all weekend long, then I recommend finding a great hotel in Union Square. This centrally located district is just a quick 15- to 20-minute bus ride away from the Carnaval San Francisco Festival.
The weather in San Francisco for Carnaval is wonderful. It's usually around 60 to 65 and sunny. I recommend wearing layers in case the breezes kick up and cool it down a bit.
From Union Square
From Fisherman's Wharf
Memorial Day Event at the National Cemetery: One of the biggest events this weekend is at the National Cemetery in the Presidio. It starts with a military parade, followed by speeches by top local officials, then ends at around 1:30pm with a 21-gun salute. Click here for more details on this annual event.
SF Theater: Every Memorial Day Weekend, you will find a variety of theater productions. On stage, you will find everything from Broadway musicals like The Lion King, to small independent shows at intimate theaters throughout the city. Click here to learn more about this weekend's theater shows.
Free Walking Tours: If you want to learn more about the history of SF, then head out on one of the free walking tours offered by SF City Guides. Each day, you will find around 6 to 10 tours a day. They cover topics such as Fisherman's Wharf, the Gold Rush, and the Golden Gate Bridge. Click here for a schedule of walking tours for this holiday weekend in SF.
Tours & Other Events: All weekend long, you will find dozens of other tours and events throughout SF and the Bay Area. The best way to save on everything you do this weekend is by browsing the tickets available on Goldstar. This online ticket retailer offers almost 200 tickets for SF and the surrounding communities at up to half-off the full retail value. Click here to find discounted tickets to popular tours and other events on Memorial Day Weekend.