San Francisco festivals in May 2020 offer you the chance to celebrate the Latin culture, sample local wines, and enjoy independent films. You can also listen to music, sample traditional Asian cuisines, and help spread the "Maker Movement."
Read on for details about this month's annual events.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Dates: 5/29 & 5/30
2021: This festival will be more of a resource fair in 2021. There will be no parade.
One of the largest San Francisco festivals in May is the Carnaval celebration in the Mission District. The event lasts for two days over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The colorful, lively Sunday morning parade brings Latin American and Caribbean traditional dances to the streets of SF's largely Latino neighborhood.
There is also a massive street fair spread out along eight city blocks, featuring food, more music and dance, and arts and crafts.
One of the most unique San Francisco festivals in May is the annual How Weird street fair held all day Sunday in downtown SF. The fair will include 11 stages of the best electronic music and will be full of people in colorful costumes dancing in the streets.
This is a truly eclectic festival, offering a Circus Alley, art and activities, food and drinks, technology demos, a cannabis market, and other fun exhibits. The theme for this year is "Summer of Weird," in honor of the 50th anniversary of SF's "Summer of Love."
Maker Faires are spreading the "maker movement" all over the world, a sensation that started right here in the Bay Area over ten years ago. The event is as simple as the title sounds, but way cooler than you can imagine.
This is a space for everyday people, including teachers, crafters, techies, students, engineers and artists, to show off what they have made and what they have learned. You'll discover some amazing inventions as you gather with other enthusiastic creators to celebrate the art of resourcefulness.
The 25th Annual Silent Film Festival once again brings favorite silent films to the big screen and shines the spotlight on often forgotten ones from throughout the decades. This is one of the San Francisco festivals in May that will feature a variety of shows over the course of the 4-day event. All movies and live music performances will screen at the historic Castro Theater.
Dates: No events
You're in luck, because it's that season again--the season of free biweekly outdoor shows in the heart of San Francisco. Some of them are actually dance classes where you can learn to salsa or tango. Others are dazzling performances by cultural groups like the Chinese lion dancers.
In fact, the ongoing summer festival Union Square Live offers so much variety, you might even catch a circus, theater, or live music show. Just head to the center of all the action, in the plaza of Union Square, any Wednesday at 6pm or Sunday 2pm.
Dates: Might move to September or October
Of all the San Francisco festivals in May, this one unites the most diverse group of artists and audiences from around the globe. The SF International Arts Festival proudly welcomes artists from over 50 different countries, including those whose work has never before been seen in the US, as well as local Bay Area artists who are collaborating across borders on creative projects.
It is the festival's goal to form lasting relationships among the 270 arts ensembles. Just wait until you see the beautiful results of these unique unions at the Fort Mason Center.
Dates: Several in May
The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is an ongoing summer festival of free performances that opens this month. From May to October, this cultural center provides five to seven shows a week—many on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, but also some on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons.
The performances include jazz, classical, and world music concerts, as well as traditional and contemporary dance. This festival gives you lots of great excuses to take an hour or two out of your day and relax on the grass at these gardens in the SoMa District.
Date: Canceled this year
As Cinco de Mayo falls on a Tuesday this year, the annual Mission District festival will be held all day the Saturday before. The street fair will transform one of the city's trendiest and most lively strips of shops and restaurants—Valencia between 21st and 24th Streets—into a family-friendly celebration of Mexican and Latin American cultures. It runs from 10am to 6pm.
Enjoy authentic food, music, dance, and art in SF's traditionally Latino neighborhood.
Date: Canceled this year
The Taiwanese American Cultural Festival is another one of the San Francisco festivals in May that celebrates the traditions of a particular cultural group and proudly shares them with the broader community.
At this annual event in Union Square, you can taste delicious Taiwanese cuisine, admire the folkloric costumes and dances, and get involved at the interactive booths. Learn about the history and customs of this island nation and maybe even get your fortune read.
Dates: Small festival in 2021
The CAAM Fest is another one of the fantastic cultural San Francisco festivals in March, this one featuring art from the Asian American community. The festival offers more than 120 film screenings, several concerts, and great food.
The Opening Night Gala will take place at the Asian Art Museum, and every piece of art included in this festival sheds light on the complex cultures of Asia.
Save on your stay with the great deals on Booking.com and TripAdvisor. In addition to deals, you can read recent guest reviews to find the best place for your stay.