San Francisco Events in May 2020: Mother's Day, Memorial Day Weekend, & Other Things to Do

San Francisco events in May 2020 include festivals, sporting events, concerts, theater performances, and so much more!

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 show off your favorite costume during the Bay to Breakers race, and savor a variety of dishes at the Taste of Potrero.

A colorful costume and dancer at the Carnaval Parade in SF in May.

This month, you can step inside the theater to see a performance of Hamilton. 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 and attend one of almost a dozen festivals.

Read on for more details on the top San Francisco events in May 2020.

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

SF Giants Baseball

SF Giants

Dates: 5/8, 5/9, 5/10, 5/15, 5/16, 5/17, 5/19, 5/20, 5/29, 5/20, & 5/31

Location: Oracle Park in the South of Market District

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 have 11 home games in San Francisco. This month they play host to teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Atlanta Braves.

>> Find the full schedule this year

Hamilton at the Orpheum Theater


Dates: 2/12/2019 - 5/31/2020

Tickets: No tickets available at this time.

Head over to the Orpheum Theater for one of the top San Francisco events in May. 

The Hamilton takes the stage all month long. Based on the book by Ron Chernow, this story about Alexander Hamilton offers a look at this founding father's rise to fame and the duel that took his life. 

This award winning Broadway musical is cast with mostly non-white ethnicities and features a variety of musical numbers from rap to traditional show tunes. 

It's a must see this month in SF.

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

SF Bay Cruises

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. Enjoy two complimentary drinks (beer, wine, soda) as you see the gorgeous sites around the bay. Don't forget your camera! Find out more about this cruise and check for ticket availability.

Additional Cruises You Might Enjoy

Fisherman's Wharf Accommodations

If you want to stay close to the waterfront, then check out my top picks from around the Wharf. 

>> Find recommendations for all budgets

SF Ballet

SF Ballet

Dates: 5/1 - 5/10

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

Free Walking Tours with SF City Guides

Free walking tours in May

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

Taste of Potrero

Taste of Potrero

Date: 5/7

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: 5/2

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: 5/3

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

Free Museum Admission Days

Free Museum Admission May

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 Conservatory of Flowers

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

>> Uncover free museum dates for May

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Dates: May to October

Kicking off in May, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is an ongoing event that offers programming every week through October. 

Live outdoor performances include music, dance, and theater, and feature both well-known and emerging artists. They also offer several kid friendly shows each season.

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

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

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!

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival

Taiwanese American Cultural Festival

Dates: 5/11

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.

Mother's Day

Mothers Day Cruise

Date: 5/10

Celebrate your mom on Sunday, May 10 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 a sunset cruise in evening. 

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

Top Ticket Discounts

Find great deals on San Francisco events in May. You will also find ticket discounts on tours and other things to do.

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.

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

Museum Exhibits

Museum Exhibits in May

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 Thought Pieces: 1970s Photographs of Lew Thomas, Donna-Le Phillips and Hal Fischer at the SF Museum of Modern Art.

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

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: All month long

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: 5/31

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: 5/19 - 5/31

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 Helicopter & Alcatraz Tour

Helicopter 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. 

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. 

>> Discover more details & grab your seats today on!

Carnaval Celebration

Carnaval during Memorial Day Weekend

Dates: 5/23 & 5/24

One of the most colorful San Francisco event sin May 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 Latin and South American cultures. Sample traditional foods, dance salsa in the streets, 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. 

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

Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day at the National Cemetery

Dates: 5/22 - 5/25 

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.

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

Live Music in SF

May Concerts around the SF Bay Area

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

SF Symphony

Symphony Music Stands

Dates: All throughout the month 

Head over to Davies Symphony Hall for some amazing performances this month. MTT conducts Brahms A German Requiem (5/22 - 5/24).

Other highlights include Gaffigan Leads Marsalis & Dvorak's New World (5/7 - 5/9), MTT, Yuja, Sibelius, & Brahms (5/14 - 5/17), and Gardner & Montero: Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 (5/29 - 5/31).

>> Full SF Symphony calendar for May 

Day Trips from San Francisco

Day Trips from San Francisco

In addition to all of the fun things to do in San Francisco this 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.

National Cemetery Memorial Day Event

Memorial Day Celebration at the Presidio

Date: 5/25

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

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

More Bay Area Events in May

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: 5/16 & 5/17

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: 5/2

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: 5/22 - 5/24

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: 5/2 & 5/3

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: 5/22 - 5/24

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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