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San Francisco Events in May 2021: Mother's Day, Memorial Day Weekend, & Other Things to Do

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

  1. Updated April 27, 2021

San Francisco events in May 2021 include sporting events, free museum days, and performances with the SF Symphony.

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 things to do over Memorial Day weekend. 

I've also included some fun tours and day trips from San Francisco. You can take a cruise, head up to wine country, or explore SF on foot on a free walking tour with the SF Public Library.

Read on for more details on the top San Francisco events in May 2021.

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Sporting Events

SF Giants in May

SF Giants Baseball

Dates: 5/7 - 5/9, 5/10 - 5/11, 5/21 - 5/23, and 5/31

Location: Oracle Park in the South of Market District

Tickets: Available for all home games

Some of the best San Francisco events in May take place by the water at the ballpark. Head over to Oracle Park this May to catch the SF Giants in action. This month, they will fill the stadium at up to 50% capacity.

In May, they have 9 home games in San Francisco. They play host to teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers, and the San Diego Padres.

>> Find the full schedule this year

Golden State Warriors

Dates: 5/6, 5/8, 5/10, 5/11, 5/14 & 5/16

Location: Chase Center

Tickets: On sale for all games

The Golden State Warriors are currently allowing fans into the Chase Center at just over 30% capacity. They have six games this month at home against opponents such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Utah Jazz, and the Memphis Grizzlies.

All games start at 7 p.m. To attend a game, you must show proof of full vaccination or a negative test within 48 hours of the game.

>> More about upcoming games and requirements to enter the Chase Center

Oakland A's

Dates: 5/1 - 5/2, 5/3 - 5-6, 5/7 - 5/9, 5/18 - 5/20, 5/24 - 5/26, 5-27 - 5/30

Location: Oakland Coliseum

Tickets: Tickets on sale for all home games

The Oakland A's are also playing in front of fans this May in San Francisco. They have a full schedule of 19 home games this month at the Coliseum in Oakland.

They host the Toronto Blue Jays, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Houston Astros. 

>> Visit the Oakland A's page to learn more including their full May schedule

Museums: Free Days & Exhibits

Flowers in the Botanical Garden in MayFlowers in the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Free Museum Admission Days

Dates: Several at the beginning of the month

Save money and visit SF's top museums during their free admission days. Each month, several museums offer free entrance to their permanent collections. 

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 San Francisco Botanical Garden

These are some of the top free San Francisco events in May.

>> Uncover free museum dates for May

Museum Exhibits

Dates: All throughout the month

All year round, San Francisco's world-renowned museums host excellent exhibits that you won't want to miss. 

This month, you can enjoy Levi Strauss: A History of American Style at the Contemporary Jewish Museum; Uncanny Valley, Being Human in the Age of AI at the de Young Fine Arts Museum; and Elemental Calder at the SF Museum of Modern Art.

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

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.

Booking: Find great deals all around San Francisco for your upcoming stay

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

Holidays

Mother's Day

Pier 39 in Fisherman's Wharf

Date: 5/9

Celebrate your mom on Sunday, May 9 in San Francisco. You will find a wide range of things to do to make the day extra special. 

You can visit one of our museums, do a little shopping, and enjoy a 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. 

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

Memorial Day Weekend

Dates: 5/29 - 5/31

Spend Memorial Weekend with us and enjoy dozens of fun activities. This weekend, you can head out on the water on a cruise, attend the Carnaval Festival in the Mission, or catch a baseball game.

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.

>> Find a full list of activities this Memorial Day weekend

Other Events

Carnaval in May

SF Symphony

Dates: 5/13, 5/14, 5/20, 5/21, 5/27, & 5/28

Location: Davies Symphony Hall

The SF Symphony will be offering in person concerts starting in May 2021. You must call their office to book your tickets so they can ensure safety for all patrons during the performances.

Shows include Jeremy Denk with the SF Symphony, James Gaffigan Conducts the SF Symphony, and others. 

You can contact them directly at 415.864.6000 for ticketing information and other details on attending a show in May.

Carnaval Celebration

Dates: 5/29 & 5/30

This year's Carnaval Celebration in San Francisco will look very different from previous years. It will be smaller and it's more of a resource fair and celebration.

The fair will include some free and culturally relevant resources for the Latino community including health, COVID-19 resources, employment, education, and more.

It will also include a few dance performances, lowriders, and other entertainment. There is no large parade this year.

Events will be held at the John O'Connell High School (2355 Folsom St), on Harrison between 18th and 20th, and on Alabama between 19th and 20th Streets. It will run from 12 pm to 5 pm both days. 

>> More about what to expect from this year's

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Dates: May to October

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival will take place this summer, but with fewer performances each month. They are mostly lunch time celebrations with a few outdoor classes mixed-in. 

All shows are free and open to the public. It's a fun way to spend an hour or so during your stay in San Francisco.

>> Discover what the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival has to offer

Tours

Cruise on the San Francisco Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge

SF Bay Cruises

As you are enjoying all of these San Francisco events in May, I also recommend checking out some of our great bay cruises. They offer a fun few hours on the waterfront as you soak in the views all around.

Our SF Bay Cruises give you the chance to cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz Island, and along our northern shoreline. You will also learn all about SF's attractions and our colorful history.

Most of our bay cruises leave from Fisherman's Wharf around Pier 39 to 43. They are a great way to relax for a few hours as you learn even more about San Francisco.

Here are a few popular options.

SF Bay Cruise: The SF Bay Cruise is the most popular option. It's a one-hour tour that takes you near our top attractions. Take pictures under the Golden Gate Bridge and learn about the infamous prisoners of Alcatraz. It leaves several times a day from Fisherman's Wharf. Check for tickets here

Sunset Sailing Cruise: Sit back, relax and let the breeze blow through your hair on this 1.5 hour sunset cruise. If you prefer to unwind inside, they have plenty of indoor seating as well. Don't forget your camera! Find out more about this cruise and check for ticket availability.

Additional Cruises You Might Enjoy

Free Walking Tours with SF City Guides

Dates: Every day of the month 

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 and fun facts about a specific district or attraction. 

You can stroll over the Golden Gate Bridge, walk the historic alleys of Chinatown, and learn more about how the Palace of Fine Arts came to be. 

All walks are free and last for around two hours. 

>> Find more free walking tours

>> Additional fun, free things to do in San Francisco in May

SF Helicopter & Alcatraz Tour

Dates: Every day in May

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 over the city and the bay. You will see Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the SF Skyline from above. 

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

Day Trips from San Francisco

Wine tasting in May San Francisco

In addition to all of the fun San Francisco events in May, you will also find some great places to see just an hour or two away. If you have a little extra time, make sure to spend at least one day on a trip outside SF.

What are the most popular day trips from SF this May? The most requested trip is to Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine countries. These two regions offer the best wines in CA. They are side-by-side about an hour or two north of SF. You can sample their famous wines, learn all about how wine is made, and admire the vineyards.

The second most popular trip this month is to Muir Woods. This National Park is just an hour north of SF and is home to dozens of Coastal Redwoods. These mighty trees live for hundreds of years and you will never forget a walk through this forest.

May is also a great time to visit Yosemite. The ride here takes a few hours, but it's worth it. You will get the chance to see Half Dome, climbers making their way up El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls just as the snow is melting. It's an amazing experience and one you do not want to miss.

You can visit all of these locations on your own or let someone else do the driving. If this is your first time in the Bay Area, I recommend a guided tour which will make the day a blast. Your knowledgeable guide will also tell you all about your upcoming destination, answer any questions, and help you find your way around.

Here are the best tours for this month.

More Things To Do in San Francisco in May

In addition to these special San Francisco events 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 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.

>> What to pack for a trip to SF in May

2022 and Later

This section is perfect for those visiting us in May 2022 or later. You will find quite a few more San Francisco events in May that will start returning next year. This is just a little more on what you can expect moving forward.

A Three Day Self-Guided Tour of SF

Three Day Itinerary

Dates: Any day in May 

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 72 hours. 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

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

National Cemetery Memorial Day Event

Memorial Day Celebration at the Presidio

Date: TBD

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 US Army's 75th Pacific Division will honor those we've lost with a 21-gun salute. 

>> Find details on this event in the Presidio

Concerts & Live Music

Dates: All throughout the month 

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. You will also find large international bands on stage at the Chase Center.

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

Broadway Shows at the Orpheum

TBD for 2022

Other Theater Shows in San Francisco

Harry Potter & The Cursed Child (10/23 - 8/2): See on of the hottest shows on stage this May at the Curran. This Harry Potter show has been taking London audiences by storm and is now on stage in San Francisco. See what Harry and his family are up to and see how his middle child works to overcome some of the same issues Harry faced as a child. It's on stage all month long. Find tickets for all performances.

Additional shows this month include The Band's Visit (5/26 - 6/21) at the Golden Gate, The Clean House (5/5 - 6/20) at the SF Playhouse, and Life Sucks (5/2 - 6/1) at the Custom Made Theater. 

>> Find additional theater performances this month in SF

Taste of Potrero

Taste of Potrero

Date: No event in 2021

Enjoy an evening of high-class food and drink at The Midway, brought to you by SF's best bars and restaurants, including Nopa, Starbelly, The Slanted Door, Souvla, and many more. 

All proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary School. 

The Midway is at 900 Marin Street in the Dogpatch District.

Cinco de Mayo Festival

Cinco de Mayo

Date: Cancelled for 2021

It is a tradition for SF's Latino community in the Mission District to hold a large, festive Cinco de Mayo celebration every year on Valencia Street between 21st and 24th Streets. 

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 one of the most colorful cultural San Francisco events in May! 

>> Full festival calendar for May

Other Fun Things to Do for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl (TBD): Another fun event this Cinco de Mayo is this pub crawl that starts at Mayes Oyster House. The crawl starts at 2pm both days and includes drink specials. Participating bars include the Lush Lounge, Blur, Vertigo, Mcteagues and many others.

Cinco de Mayo Tequila & Mezcal Tasting (TBD): Sample tequila as you learn all about one of Mexico's top spirits. You will try several classic tequila brands as you also learn how to mix them into delicious cocktails at home. The tasting is at Hotel Via (138 King Street) and runs from 5:30pm to 8pm.

Cinco De Mayo Party Cruise (TBD): Set sail on the SF Bay to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This cruise features tacos, desserts, margaritas, cervezas, and more. You can also dance the time away to the sounds of some of SF's top DJs. The first cruise leaves at 5:15pm and the second leaves at 9:30pm. Both run for 3-hours from Pier 40 (near Oracle Park - not Pier 39).

How Weird Street Faire

How Weird Street Faire

Dates: Moved to September

One of those unique, only-in-San-Francisco type of festivals, the 21st 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.

All of the fun happens near the intersection of 2nd and Howard Streets in the South of Market District. It runs from Noon to 8pm.

>> Find out more on the How Weird web page

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival

Dates: Online only

Now in its 27th 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 from 10am to 4pm for this family-friendly event and connect with this beautiful ethnic group.

Union Square Live

Union Square Live

Dates: TBD

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. Most performances are on Sunday and Wednesday.

The 2019 season of Union Square Live continues every week from now to October. 

>> Find out who will be performing next in Union Square

SF Comedy Shows

Comedy graphic for May

Dates: Reopening in August

Each month, SF offers a variety of laugh-out-loud performances, including stand-up at the Punch Line and Cobb's comedy clubs in North Beach, and improv by companies like BATS.

Check the schedule for upcoming performances of your favorite visiting and local comedians. 

>> Check out the full list of upcoming comedy shows 

Alaska Airlines Bay to Breakers Run

bay to breakers run in may

Date: Virtual this Year

Race through the city in your most comfortable and 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. This is one of the biggest San Francisco events in May.

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

SF International Arts Festival

SF International Arts Festival

Dates: Planning to Move to the Autumn in 2021

This festival aims to foster a global community of artists who come together to 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. 

>> Click here for event details 

SF Ballet

SF Ballet

Dates: TBD for 2022

Catch one of the last performances of the SF Ballet the 2020 season. 

The final show of the season is Romeo and Juliet. It's based on the classic tale of love, life and death written by Shakespeare.

All shows are at the War Memorial Opera House near City Hall in the Civic Center neighborhood

>> Additional details for the SF Ballet in May

If you plan to visit in 2022 or later, here are more San Francisco events in May. These are larger festivals and group gatherings that are either online in 2021 or are postponed until a later date. 

More Bay Area Events in May for 2022 and Beyond

Jack London Square Art & Wine Festival

Date: TBD

One of the tastiest SF Bay Area events in May will take place in the East Bay at Jack London Square in Oakland. The Jack London Square Art & Wine Festival will set up all along the waterfront at this popular outdoor shopping center. 

In addition to the live music and more than 40 Northern California wineries that will be exhibiting their best wines, you'll also find booths offering small eats, craft beer, ciders, and arts and crafts. The event runs from 12pm to 5pm and is free to attend. For $40 (or $55 day of), you will get unlimited tastings and a souvenir wine glass. 

>> Visit the Jack London Square site for details

Himalayan Fair in Berkeley

Dates: Postponed to 2022

The Himalayan Fair was founded in 1983 when record-breaking mountain climber Arlene Blum organized a picnic gathering of Tibetan and Nepali friends in Berkeley. Each year since then, the fair has grown larger and more elaborate, welcoming vendors and performers from as far as Kathmandu. 

Here, you'll find delicious food, artisan crafts, music, and dance from the Himalayas at one of the most unique SF Bay Area events in May. Head over to Live Oak Park in Berkeley (East Bay) on Saturday from 10am to 7pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 5:30pm. 

>> Visit their site for more details

Maker Faire Bay Area

Dates: TBD

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! It's one of the best San Francisco events in May for those that love science or want to learn more about it! 

>> Discover what Maker Faire is all about

BottleRock Napa Valley

Dates: Moved to September

One of the top SF Bay Area events in May is the highly anticipated three-day BottleRock music festival in Napa Valley. This North Bay event has an impressive lineup including the Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, Pharrell Williams, Santana, and so many more stellar bands. 

In addition to the great music, there will be award-winning culinary treats and, of course, the world's best wine and brew. The festival runs from 11:30am to 10pm each day at the Napa Valley Expo. 

>> More events in Napa in May

Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley

Date: Virtual in 2021

The Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley offers two days of literary fun with some of the most famous authors in today's world attending. There are talks, readings and an opening night gala if you want to meet and greet some of the authors. There are also children, teen and family programs for you to enjoy. 

California Roots Music & Arts Festival

Dates: Moved to 2022

Another large music festival this Memorial Day Weekend takes place at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center, about two hours south of San Francisco. This one offers good vibes and a more down-to-earth atmosphere, embracing "California Roots" in the redwoods and partnering with a local campsite to provide alternative lodging for guests. 

>> More Monterey events this month

Calistoga Food & Wine Festival

Date: TBD

The Calistoga Food & Wine Festival is another one of the fun and delicious SF Bay Area events in May. The Friday event will feature a farm-to-table dinner paired with local wines at the cave at Fairwinds Estates. The Grand Tasting on Saturday will feature live music, samplings from 40 Calistoga wineries, and small bites and live cooking stations from top chefs of the area's best restaurants. 

>> Visit their site for details 

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