San Francisco events in May 2018 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.
This month, you can step inside the theater to see a performance of The Color Purple. 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 2018.
Disclaimer: I recieve a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Dates: Several in May
Some of the best San Francisco events in May take place by the water at the ballpark. Head over to AT&T Park this May to catch the SF Giants in action. This month, they have 9 home games in San Francisco, where they play host to the Reds, the Padres, and the Rockies.
Tickets: Find tickets on Ticketmaster
Head over to the Orpheum Theater for one of the top San Francisco events in May. The Color Purple takes the stage on May 1st and runs through the 27th. Based on the book by Alice Walker, this story about a young African American woman in the south in the early to mid-1900s is a must see this month
Dates: 5/1 - 5/6
Catch one of the last performances of the SF Ballet the 2018 season. Four shows are on stage this month through May 6. The four shows are Unbound (A), Unbound (B), Unbound (C), and Unbound (D). All shows are at the War Memorial Opera House near City Hall in the Civic Center neighborhood.
Dates: Any day in May
If you're going to visit San Francisco for about a week, it's worth getting an SF CityPASS to save money. You'll get free admission to the California Academy of Sciences, the Aquarium of the Bay, and either the SF Museum of Modern Art or the Exploratorium.
You'll also get a free ticket to a cruise on the SF Bay, and many more discounts. In addition, this pass enables you to get around town with a breeze by riding the cable cars, buses, and light rail for free for several days.
Dates: Varies Based on Wins/Losses
The Golden State Warriors head into post-season play and their games are some of the top San Francisco events in May. All of their games are over the bay at the Oracle Arena in Oakland which is about a 20 minute train ride away. See Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest of the team fight for their second NBA title in a row.
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.
Dates: 5/12 & 5/13
This year, one of the top San Francisco events in May for teenagers is the Teen Animation Festival. The festival is being held at the Walt Disney Museum. It's for teens aged 13-19 and offers two days of educational and collaborative experiences.
Enjoy an evening of high-class food and drink at Pier 70, brought to you by SF's best bars and restaurants, including Almanac beer, Layer Cake, Piccino, Souvla, The Homestead, and many more. All proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary School.
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!
Another fun event this Cinco de Mayo is this pub crawl that starts at Mayes Oyster House. The crawl starts at 2pm and includes drink specials. Until 10pm enjoy $3 beers, $3 cocktails, and $3 shots. Participating bars include the Lush Lounge, Blur, Vertigo, Mcteagues and many others.
One of those unique, only-in-San-Francisco type of festivals, the 18th 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.
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.
Dates: May to October
Kicking off in May, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is an ongoing event that offers free programming every week through October. Live outdoor performances include music, dance, and theater, and feature both well-known and emerging artists.
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.
Now in its 25th 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 Saturday, May 12 from 10am to 6pm for this family-friendly event and connect with this beautiful ethnic group.
Celebrate your mom on Sunday, May 13 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 great deals on San Francisco events in May. You will also find ticket discounts on tours and other things to do.
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!
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.
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 Traces of the Past & Future at the SF Asian Art Museum, In That Case at the Contemporary Jewish Art Museum, and Cult of the Machine at the de Young Fine Art Museum.
Dates: Starts on 5/4
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. The 2018 season of Union Square Live continues every week from now to October.
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, improv by companies like BATS, and musical comedies like Beach Blanket Babylon and Foodies, the Musical. Check the schedule for upcoming performances of your favorite visiting and local comedians, which this month include Dan St. Germain and Jimmy O. Yang.
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.
Dates: 5/24 - 6/3
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.
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.
Dates: 5/26 - 5/27
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.
Dates: 5/26 - 5/28
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.
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.
This month, you can catch Khalid, Zoe, and Tom Jones as well as dozens of other performers.
Dates: All throughout the month
Head over to Davies Symphony Hall for some amazing performances this month. The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra performs on May 13. Other highlights include Gautier Capucon and Pines of Rome (5/10 - 5/12), Itzhak Perlman with the SF Symphony (5/17 - 5/20), and Gerstein Plays Brahms with the San Francisco Symphony (5/25 - 5/26).
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.
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.
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.
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