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NOTE: On December 6, San Francisco (and a few surrounding counties) will once again be on a stay-at-home order. This will last indefinitely. Click here for more information.
Almost all San Francisco events in October 2020 are canceled or moved online. To help you find fun things to do, I created a list of what's open this month.
October in San Francisco offers blue skies and sunshine every weekend. You'll find the city's best weather during this season, so take some time to play outside.
Here are 10 things currently scheduled to be open or running this October 2020.
2. SF Bay Cruises: Several SF Bay Cruise companies are running a limited number of cruises. Each one is also limiting the number of people on their boats, so there is plenty of room for social distancing. These are the cruises available for October.
3. de Young Museum: The de Young Museum opened in late September. Most of the pieces here are from the 19th and 20th Century, although you will find some pieces that date back to historic times. This museum covers the Americas, Africa, and the Oceanic. Pick up your tickets in advance.
4. SF Asian Art Museum: The newly expanded SF Asian Art Museum opens on October 3 with free admission through October 12. You must visit their website to request free tickets during this time. Space is limited and the tickets will go fast. Visit my page here to learn more.
5. Pier 39: The shops and restaurants on Pier 39 are also open. You can also visit the sea lions and watch them play around on their platforms. More here.
6. Aquarium of the Bay: The Bay Aquarium on Pier 39 is also open. It's a fun way to learn more about the plants and animals that call the SF Bay home. Visit this page for details and ticketing information.
7. Alcatraz Day Tours: You can also head over to Alcatraz in October. Right now, the tours are only of the outdoor areas on the island. To make it a special visit, they created a 30-minute special audio tour for all guests. You must download it before you visit as they aren't currently offering headsets on the island. More here.
8. Land's End: Another fun thing to do this October in San Francisco is to explore Land's End. This greenspace on the northwestern corner of the city offers some great views of the Golden Gate Bridge (also open), a hiking trail, a few memorials, and other fun things to check out.
9. Ferry Building: The shops and restaurants at the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero are also open. You can do a little shopping indoors and then grab a bite to eat outdoors. More here.
10. Painted Ladies of Alamo Square: Head over to Alamo Square to check out the colorful Painted Ladies along Steiner Street. They are free to visit and are best viewed in the afternoon which is when the sun shines on them.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
This is what you can expect the calendar to look like again in 2021. Most are cancelled this year with a few, such as Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, offering online versions of their events.
Dates: Rescheduled to 2021
Location: Fisherman's Wharf & waterfront
Join the crowds that come out to the waterfront every year for SF's Fleet Week to be wowed by the Blue Angels roaring by in formation just overhead. The Blue Angels will perform on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon.
Festivities will kick off with the Parade of Ships and throughout the week you can watch airshow practices and tour military ships as well. It's by far the biggest of the San Francisco events in October.
at The Wharf
Dates: No shows until January 2021
Location: Curran Theatre
The biggest theater performance this month is the much anticipated Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. Based on a new original story written by JK Rowling, this two-part production features Harry Potter as an adult.
As a husband and father of three, Harry works for the Ministry of Magic. He continues to struggle with his past. His youngest son is also coming to grips with the family legacy. It's a wonderful story on how strong family ties and friendships allow us to conquer anything that stands in our way.
The smash hit Broadway show, Hamilton, will also be on stage all month long. This award winning musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton in a new and fresh way. It walks you through his life including the fateful evening of his death at the hands of our them vice president, Aaron Burr.
9/24 - 11/9: Dance Nation at the SF Playhouse
9/20 - 10/20: This Side of Crazy at the New Conservatory, find tickets at a discount on Goldstar
10/23 - 11/2: The Rocky Horror Show at the Victoria Theater, find tickets at a discount for most date on Goldstar
Date & Time: Cancelled for 2020
12 p.m. – 3 p.m. Chowder Competition and Beer & Wine Tasting
3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Awards and Intermission
4 p.m. – 8 p.m. NEW! for 2019 – Benefit Concert
Fisherman's Wharf is excited to announce the return of Wharf Fest, San Francisco's beloved waterfront festival, as well as their first-ever open-air benefit concert which includes eight hours of musical performances from four up-and-coming local bands and performers.
The festival will be the first venue in San Francisco to host musical supergroup The Side Deal, comprised of Grammy-winning artist Charlie Colin of Train, Stan Frazier of the chart-topping band Sugar Ray, and brothers Joel and Scott Owen of The PawnShop kings.
The famed Chowder Competition will also now include food and beer tastings.
Date: 10/26, VIP Reception from 2pm to 5:30pm, General Admission from 3pm to 5:30pm
Location: Hiberia Bank at 1 Jones Street
Head over to Hiberia Bank for Pinots & Plaid hosted by Emily Martin Events. This wine tasting event features 25 Pinot Noir producers from Northern California. These fine wines will be paired with high-end cuisine in the restored, historic Hiberia Bank.
Celebrity Chef Ryan Scott of Ryan Scott 2go Catering will be serving up his delicious creations. Other partners serving dishes for the event include Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates, B Patisserie & The Caviar Co (for VIP guests).
VIP tickets are $185 and General Admission is $115. All food, drink and culinary programs are included with your ticket.
This is a 21+ event and IDs will be checked at the door.
Dates: 10/11 - 11/1
Tickets: Find tickets to all shows
Going to the San Francisco Opera is an unforgettable experience. This month, you can catch a performance of The Marriage of Figaro, a classic piece composed by Mozart in 1786.
This comedic opera tells the story of how two servants, Figaro and Susanna, successfully wed, even though their employer is also trying to seduce Susanna.
This 4-act opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles and lasts about 3 hours and 40 minutes with two intermissions.
Head down to SF's beautiful waterfront for one of the top San Francisco events in October. This month, spend an hour or two on the water as you soak in the views around the SF Bay.
You will find more than a dozen cruises leaving SF daily. After leaving SF, many of them cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, near Sausalito, and around Alcatraz. Some include food and drinks, some include narration, and all offer an unforgettable experience.
Here are just a few of the most popular.
Sunset Sailing Cruise: This is one of the most popular cruises each month and one of my favorites in October. This 1.5 hour sunset catamaran cruise takes sail from Pier 39 nightly at 5:30pm this month. Make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes in advance. Find tickets for all dates.
Rocketboat: October is the last month of the season for this 30-minute high speed adventure. This isn't your normal cruise as you will twist and spin around in the water near Oracle Park as you listen to rock and roll music. It runs Thursday - Sunday this month.
Golden Gate Whale Watch: This month, head out to the Pacific Ocean to search for migrating whales nearby. Whales typically in migration this month include Blue and Humpback whales. You will also get the chance to see dolphins, sea turtles, birds and a variety of other sea animals. These 2.5 hours cruises leave three times a day from Fisherman's Wharf. Check for ticket availability.
Are you planning to stay a night or two (or more!) as you enjoy these San Francisco events in October. If so, then make sure to check out the great deals below before booking your room. You will find top deals in Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, and other top districts around SF.
Date: 10/4 & 10/5 at 8 p.m.
Location: Presidio Theater in San Francisco at 99 Moraga Avenue
"Tattooed" is the inaugural flamenco dance performance created by the new Oakland based contemporary flamenco dance company, Sintonia.
Created by Fanny Ara and Marina Elana in 2018, Sintonia's mission is to create thought-provoking, culturally relevant dance productions though the powerful language of flamenco. Their first production, "Tattooed," is an experimental flamenco dance performance about survivors' strength and resilience.
Joining Sintonia on stage is an incredible cast of musicians from Spain and Emmy-Award winning guest artist, Yaelisa.
This year is the 46th anniversary of the Castro Street Fair, which was started by Harvey Milk to celebrate the LGBT community and their supporters.
The all-day (11am-6pm) fair features gourmet food, live music on two stages, lots of dancing in the streets, and more.
Join in on the fun at Market and Castro Streets, in the heart of the colorful, lively Castro district. It's one of the most talked about San Francisco events in October every year!
Sunday Streets (10/20): Imagine the busy streets of San Francisco closed off to traffic and opened up to the public--families on foot and on bikes, walking and dancing--to the tune of free live music and other outdoor fun. This happens one Sunday a month from March to October, each time in a different neighborhood. This October, don't miss your chance to visit the Excelsior, a part of town a little off the beaten path, to join in on the festivities. Find out more about this monthly event
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (10/4 - 10/6): Don't miss the 19th year of this huge free bluegrass festival. For three days, several stages in Golden Gate Park will feature the biggest names in the genre. Pack your own refreshments for a picnic in the park, or check out the more than 50 gourmet food and beverage vendors, in addition to the great music. Find out who's playing this year and how to get there
Litquake (10/10 - 10/19): Every year, SF's longest running literary festival brings light to great reads and the world of literature through a variety of venues, including churches, bookstores, and even popular bars. For over a week, you get to engage with authors, participate in workshops, attend panel discussions and groups readings, and more. Check out the full schedule of events and locations
Potrero Hill Festival (10/19): If you're looking for a fun weekend activity for the whole family, head over to the Potrero Hill Festival on 20th Street between Missouri and Wisconsin. On a beautiful fall day, this is the perfect place to enjoy two stages of live entertainment, food stalls, bouncy houses, a petting zoo, and more. In addition, you'll find arts and crafts for sale as well as information from various non-profit organizations. This event is in its 29th year and typically attracts more than 6,000 visitors. Get all the details for this fun family event.
San Francisco International Tea Festival (10/19 & 10/20): This year's International Tea Festival is scheduled for Saturday, November 6 at the Fort Mason Center. At this event, you will get the chance to sample a variety of teas from around the world. You will also receive your own teacup to sample during the event. All of the teas will be on sale too, so you can easily pick up anything you want! Find tickets at a discount on Goldstar.
WhiskeyFest (10/4): If you love whiskey, then make sure to check out this year's WhiskeyFest sponsored by Whiskey Advocate Magazine. The event features dozens or whiskey makers and experts from around the world. Spend the evening sampling Scotch, Tennessee, Japanese, bourbon, rye, and other whiskeys. You can also attend one of the seminars to learn even more than evening. This is one of the San Francisco events in October that runs from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Visit their site for additional details.
Fiesta On the Hill (10/27): Head over to the Bernal Heights district for this year's Fiesta on the Hill. This family-friendly event will feature live music, dancing, food trucks, and family activities. The event takes place on Cortland Avenue. Learn more.
Fall Art & Antiques Show (10/3 - 10/9): If you have an appreciation for fine art and unique antique pieces, you'll love this large annual event at the Fort Mason Center. The show opens with a preview gala on October 2, followed by four days of viewing and buying beautiful pieces. Find out more on the organization's website.
The largest sandcastle competition in Northern California is not only fun for the family and a great excuse to get the community together out on the beach; it also raises money for a fantastic organization, Leap, that brings hands-on learning experiences to over 6,000 students across the Bay Area.
Head on over to Ocean Beach between 11am and 4pm to witness some dazzling sand creations!
One of the best ways to explore San Francisco is on a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour. These narrated bus tours offer you the chance to hop on and off at any of there more than two dozen stops.
Top stops include Fisherman's Wharf, the Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park. Other top options include stops at the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square, the Palace of Fine Arts, and Union Square. Each company offers a slightly different tour, but all allow you to quickly cruise around SF from one top attraction to the next.
Here are a two of my top picks.
BigBus San Francisco: This is another popular company with 1- and 2-day tours. They also have some great combo tours. Visit their site for details.
City Sightseeing: They offer 1- and 2-day tours that allow you to see as much as possible. You can also combine it with their Mega Pass for discounts on top SF attractions. Visit their site for details.
In addition to these fun Hop On Hop Off Bus Tours, you will also find some other great city bus tours. Here are a few of my top recommendations.
Goldstar offers great deals on tickets to San Francisco tours, events, and theater performances. You can pick up most of them at almost 50% off the full retail cost. The list below are just some of their top offers this month. Click the links to learn more and find additional details for fun San Francisco events in October.
*Small service fee at checkout.
Location: S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien on Pier 45 in Fisherman's Wharf
If you enjoy artisanal brews and Saturday afternoons soaking in a sea breeze with great views, you won't want to miss this unique beer festival.
This popular craft brew tasting features over 60 beers on tap, and you'll have the opportunity to mingle with the brewers and ask them questions.
There will also be gourmet food trucks on hand. The event is held aboard the historic S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, a ship that served in WWII and is now docked at Pier 45 in Fisherman's Wharf.
Location: Fisherman's Wharf to Washington Square in North Beach
San Francisco is home to the country's oldest Italian American Parade, which takes place every year as part of the Columbus Day celebration.
Follow the parade of floats, bands, and traditional Italian musicians from Fisherman's Wharf to the heart of North Beach (SF's Little Italy), where it will conclude at a small festival in Washington Square Park.
It's one of the top family-friendly San Francisco events in October.
Dates: Pre-season, 10/5, 10/10, 10/18 and Regular Season 10/24 & 10/30
Location: Chase Center in SF
Catch the Golden State Warriors in pre-season and season play this October.
They play at the brand new Chase Center in SF and a game at their home arena is a must for all basketball lovers.
They play around a half dozen games this month at home.
Their tickets sell out early, so don't miss your chance to see one of our top sports teams from around the SF Bay.
In addition to Golden State Warriors basketball, you can also head south for some NHL hockey. Our San Jose Sharks start play this month also and offer about a half dozen home games this month.
They play about an hour south of SF and the SAP Center offers easy access from locations all around the SF Bay.
Location: Moscone West in the South of Market District
With SF being front-and-center of the tech world, you won't be disappointed by this gathering of the brightest and most enthusiastic entrepreneurs, investors, hackers, and tech fans.
Here, innovation is celebrated as the industry's leaders are featured in on-stage interviews, a Startup Battlefield competition, and a 24-hour Hackathon.
You'll also find great information in the Startup Alley and Hardware Alley.
Though short in length, short films can be quite powerful and profound.
Over the course of three days, the SF Shorts Festival offers six different programs of films from 17 countries, each set revolving around a different theme, for example: "being fearless in discovery," "the push and pull of passion, obsession, and desire," and "our impact on others."
Catch the screenings at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District.
Arab Film Festival (10/11-10/20): This year's Bay Area Arab Film Festival will host screenings in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto. For over a week, you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Arab culture not often seen on mainstream TV, movies, or the news. Delve into these stories brought to you by Arab filmmakers, representing the complexity of Arab communities around the world. Get more information about the festival and scheduled films.
United Nations Association Film Festival (10/17 - 10/27): Each year, the UNAFF features a selection of over 60 documentary films about important issues from all over the world. The theme for this year's festival is Compass for a Better World. Screenings will take place in SF, East Palo Alto, and Stanford University. More information on this year's event.
Japan Film Festival of San Francisco (10/4 - 10/13): This nine-day festival of films about Japan and the Japanese community will take place at the NEW PEOPLE Cinema in Japantown. It is a great opportunity to gain insight into Japanese culture. The film festival is a prominent feature of the J-POP Summit, an annual cultural festival that highlights Japanese film, music, fashion, technology, and more. Get more details about this year's festival
This time of year, you will find both regions buzzing with last minute harvest activities. You can also get some great pictures of those last bundles of fully ripe grapes on the vines.
I love heading up on one of these tours as I don't have to worry about driving back to SF. It makes it a great way to do some tasting and not have to think about getting back to San Francisco afterwards.
In addition, you will learn quite a bit about one or both regions from your knowledgeable guide.
Here are a few of my top picks this month.
Sonoma & Napa Wine Country Tour: This full day tour takes you to three wineries. It leaves SF at 9am daily. You will also have an hour for lunch on your own, so you can enjoy a tasty meal or do a little more tasting on your own. Check for ticket availability in October.
Half-Day Tour: Are you crunched for time? If so, then this highlight tour might be the best option for you. On this 5-hour tour, you will stop at two wineries for tastings. The tasting fee for the first is included and you will need to pay for the second tasting. It's a great way for a quick look at these amazing wine regions. Find tickets for this October.
Small Group Boutique Wine Tasting Tour: If you prefer to check out a few places that are off the beaten path, then check out this small group tour. You will stop at three hand selected wineries in Sonoma with no more than 12 other people (tastings included). You will also get some time on your own for lunch and live narration from your local guide. Find out more about this tour.
Dates: 10/12 - 11/3
Open Studios runs all month long, so you can take your time getting to know over 800 artists and their work all over the city.
Each weekend will feature different districts, where you can wander in and out of the studios in that area to chat with the artists and purchase pieces on display.
This one of the unique San Francisco events in October that gives you the opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the art scene in SF.
Head out to the Inner Sunset for their final Sunday Flea Market of 2019. This community event includes locally crafted goodies, a fun children's activity zone, and music all afternoon long.
You can also enjoy food from Grilled Cheez Guy and Le Punkies Kettle Corn or any of the local restaurants near the market.
The big event is the lunch at 12:30pm. Grab something when you arrive or bring your own lunch and enjoy it with the community.
This free event is held from 10am to 4pm on Irving Street between 9th and 10th Avenues on Sunday 10/13.
Date: 10/7 & 10/27
Location: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara
Get in on the action at Levi's Stadium, as the San Francisco 49ers play their sixth season in Santa Clara, just an hour south of the city.
This month, the 49ers have two home games.
The first is on 10/7 against the Cleveland Browns. Their second game is on 10/27 against the Carolina Panthers. Go Niners!
Oakland Raiders: In addition to the SF 49ers, you can also catch a game across the bay in Oakland. The Raiders take on the Chicago Bears on 10/6. Their games are played at the Oakland Coliseum. Find out more about this game.
College Football: Both the Cal Bears and Stanford also have games this month in the SF Bay Area. The Cal Bears play in Berkeley which is about an hour north east of SF. Stanford plays down south about 45 minutes away from SF.
Dates: 10/5, 10/19 & 10/26
Have you ever wanted to see sharks up close? Just off the coast of San Francisco, the Farallon Islands are world-famous for being the winter home and feeding ground to some of the largest (15- to 20-foot) great whites.
Get in a cage to see this underwater world in all its glory, or watch from the deck as sharks come up to feed on seals.
No dive experience is necessary to enjoy this tour and it's one of the most thrilling San Francisco events in October on my list!
Dates: Various dates in October
SF boasts a number of world-renowned museums, but visiting all of them can be pricey.
Luckily, each month there are several free admission days!
This will give you the chance to see the Asian Art Museum, the Conservatory of Flowers, the de Young, Legion of Honor, and more at no cost to you! These free admissions include access to these museums' permanent collections and you will need to pay extra for any special exhibits.
Make sure to arrive early as they are some of the most popular San Francisco events in October.
Spend an hour or two admiring some of the best Coastal Redwoods in the SF Bay Area at Muir Woods. This national park is home to trees that are hundreds of years old. They estimate the oldest tree could be as old as 1,000 years!
The best way to get there is on a guided tour. These tours will do the driving for you and drop you off at the entrance. You will then have time on your own to explore and learn more about these amazing trees. None include admission tickets into the park.
Here are a couple of the best options.
Muir Woods & Sausalito: This half-day tour offers you the chance to see the park and also visit the lovely seaside village of Sausalito. You will get about an hour at the park to explore on your own. They will then take you to Sausalito where you will have about an hour. You can then either return to SF on the tour or you can pick up a ferry ticket and head back on your own time. It leaves twice a day from SF. Find tickets for this October.
Muir Woods & Wine Country: This full day tour includes a visit to Muir Woods as well as a half day visit to Northern California wine country. You will have about an hour in Muir Woods. You will then head north and stop at 2 wineries for tasting. You will also have some time on your own for lunch. Tasting fees are included, but entrance to Muir Woods is not. Find tickets for this October.
If you're looking for a lighthearted night of comedy, you'll find plenty of shows in San Francisco almost every night of the week.
These shows include famous stand-up comedians, local stars, improv troupes, and comic musicals like the SF favorite Beach Blanket Babylon.
Location: Davies Symphony Hall
The world renowned San Francisco Symphony offers more than one hundred events each year, and people from all over come to the elegant Davies Symphony Hall to see their most anticipated San Francisco events in October.
This month, you can enjoy Pictures & Percussion (10/17-10/19), Prokofiev & Shostakovich's Leningrad (10/14-10/26), and Get Out—Film with the SF Symphony (10/30).
Every day, the SF Public Library offers free walking tours of different parts of the city. They are intimate, informative, and best of all, completely free!
In addition, many are designed around a theme, such as Downtown Deco or Gold Rush City.
Every month in San Francisco, several venues offer great concerts by artists from all over the country and globe.
In addition to these San Francisco events in October, you will also find dozens of amazing concerts throughout the Bay Area.
Dates: Any day in October
SF's colorful Haight Ashbury district, home of the famous 1968 Summer of Love, has a lot more to offer than just hippie vibes, although you'll find plenty of that there.
Start your day taking in views from the park, get some good eats, admire the street art, lose yourself in old records and vintage clothing, and more.
It's a great way to really see this amazing district as you check out some of our top San Francisco events in October too!
Here are a few additional suggested itineraries for your stay.
San Francisco has a wealth of interesting, beautiful, and diverse museums, offering fascinating exhibits throughout the year.
Here are a few of the top exhibits at our local museums.
Asian Art Museum: Changing and Unchanging Things
de Young Fine Arts Museum: Spectors of Disruption
SF Museum of Modern Art: Elemental Calder
This year, Halloween falls on a Wednesday. You will find plenty of activities the day of the holiday as well as on the Saturday and Sunday before or after.
My insider's guide will include the best options for all dates and some of the biggest San Francisco events in October.
Dates: 10/20 - 10/28
As one of the world's leading hubs of innovation and a melting pot of cultures, it seems only natural that the theme of this year's annual SF Fashion Week be Innovating Fashion's Diverse Culture.
This week-long convention will show how diversity became the battle cry of the fashion industry.
Check out the full schedule of events and find out how you can launch your own fashion product.
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019
Admission Times: VIPs from 5:30pm – 8:30pm & General from 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Host: Wine & Spirits Magazine
Location: City View at Metreon, 135 4th Street in San Francisco
Head over to City View in the Metreon for this year's Annual Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 Tasting event. Sip on wine from the Top 100 Wineries of the Year as you meet some of the world's top producers. Small bites from some of the best Bay Area restaurant will also be on hand serving up items such as fresh oysters, local cheeses and an array of artisan specialties.
You will also be supporting a wonderful cause. The Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 Tasting benefits San Francisco Baykeeper. They work hard locally to protect water resources. They also provide support to initiatives fighting water pollution.
Tickets are on sale now and range from $135-185.
Are you looking for additional fun things to do during your visit? If so, then check out my full list of the best things to do this month in SF. It includes the top cruises, tours, and other activities.
Are you unsure of what you will need to pack for your stay in October? My guide to the weather in October is just what you need to prepare. It includes information on what to expect from the weather throughout each day and the month.
On my Facebook page, you will find more great information about planning your San Francisco vacation.
It includes tips, must see attractions, and other fun details.
Click the link below to check it out. If you enjoy the page, give us a like.