SIGN UP FOR OUR EMAIL TO RECEIVE YOUR FREE SAN FRANCISCO PLANNING GUIDE.
by Jill Loeffler •
Updated: May 3, 2023
San Francisco Summer festivals run from Memorial Day weekend through to Labor Day. Each weekend, you will find several. Most offer live entertainment, food, drinks, and other fun activities.
My list of the 10 largest include Carnaval, Pride, and Outside Lands. Learn more about these and other top festivals every summer in SF.
Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.
Date: Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend
Location: Starts on 24th and Bryant and ends at 15th and Mission
Carnaval is the start of Summer as far as I'm concerned and is one of the largest San Francisco Summer festival. This 2-day event features 8 blocks of fun to celebrate the Latin and Caribbean cultures. There are numerous bands, and DJs, during the festival to get you dancing in the streets. There are many food and drink choices if you want to eat and drink too.
In addition, on Sunday there is a massive parade. It includes many people in authentic native dress, dancers, floats and low rider cars, bring a very lively, and socially conscious start to the season.
The parade is always packed with people so make sure to plan. It starts at 9:30 am and lasts until 2 pm. When the parade ends when the festival begins for that day.
>> More details on this year's event
Date: Saturday and Sunday in Mid-June
Location: Numerous locations so make sure to check the link below.
The North Beach Festival has been going strong for over 60 years and is still free to enjoy. The event lasts from 10 am to 6 pm and includes more than 20 food vendors, several stages of live music and loads of arts and crafts vendors. This festival also has Italian chalk artists and a kid's area in case you bring the family.
A special event at the festival is the Blessing of the Animals. Occurring both days, you are welcome to bring your pet along with you. Each year a different animal advocacy group is selected to help support their cause, and if you want to participate with your furry friend, make sure to bring them along and let them enjoy the festival as well.
Date: Early June
Location: Union Street
This two-day festival is known as one the best San Francisco Summer festivals. It occurs over 2 days in June and Union Street is packed with food and drink, arts and craft vendors, and a few stages for the musicians to rock out on and for you to get out on and dance.
One of the reasons this is such a popular festival is that the Union Street has not only a craft beer pavilion, but also a wine tasting pavilion. If you aren't into beer and wine, there is a health & fitness pavilion as well as a fashion pavilion.
This festival is free to enter, and you can understand why so many people love this festival and make sure to enjoy it every year they visit San Francisco.
>> More information on this year's festival
Location: Fillmore Street between Post and Turk
Celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation, Juneteenth is celebrating the abolition of slavery and pride in African American culture and how it has influenced the US. A parade starts off the celebration every year and you will see riders on horses, people in authentic dress, marching bands and lowrider cars.
This event has many live bands playing music as diverse as rock, soul, Latin, and reggae throughout the day. There is more food than you could imagine, and it is all mouthwatering. It might be spicy, so make sure to buy a beverage to help if your taste buds get hot.
This is an all age events so, on top of car shows, job fair, and the music, there are activities for kids like a petting zoo and pony rides! The is one of the free San Francisco Summer festivals and it runs from 10 am to 6 pm with the parade starting at 11 am.
Date: Last Weekend in June
Location: Civic Center Plaza
This free event celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersexed people in their community and gives them the freedom to be out and proud. Before the party starts, a famous event happens as a huge pink triangle is installed on a mountain near the area. Then a special ceremony starts at 10:30 am to pay respects to LGTBQI people who lost their lives in the concentration camps.
After these two events, the festival (or should I say party) starts. It runs from noon and goes until 6 pm on Saturday and 11 am to 6 pm on Sunday.
The parade is always on Sunday morning. It starts at 10:30 at Beale and Market Street and ends at 8th and Market Street in Downtown San Francisco. This is a can't miss part of the festival since so many people come out and are dressed in wonderful outfits and having fun. Make sure to get there early as it can get very busy.
As for the actual festival, it is a party like you'll never forget. There are over 20 stages, 300 vendors and dancers and other entertainers. It's another one of the San Francisco Summer festivals where you will find loads of food and drink available all weekend long.
>> Information for Pride in SF
Date: July 4th
Location: SF's Fisherman's Wharf waterfront and other locations around SF
The Fourth of July Waterfront Festival is a full day of activities and live entertainment in San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf District. It includes fun events at Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square, and the Municipal Pier.
Many of the events are free and family friendly. All of these activities will keep you busy as you wait for the grand finale of the day--the fireworks show.
Every year, the fireworks draw in thousands. There are two sets fired off at the same time. Both of them are over the waterfront in Fisherman's Wharf at dark.
In addition to this festival, you will also find plenty of other fun things to do every Fourth of July in San Francisco.
>> Fourth of July activities this year in SF
Date: First Weekend in July
Location: Pacific Heights neighborhood
If you are looking for more jazz than you could imagine, at a free event, then the Fillmore Jazz Festival is going to be your dream festival. The 2-day festival has four different stages, with two main ones, and there is music from 10 am to 6 pm both days.
Not only is there incredible jazz music all day long, but there are many arts & crafts vendors selling their products, people selling gourmet food, and even a beer garden. Make sure to bring you ID as you can't enter the beer garden if you don't have one. This means if your friends go in, and you forget yours, you can't go in with them.
If you are looking to check out the neighborhood and relax, there are many bars and restaurants lining the event that have excellent food and drinks options as well.
Date: August 11 - 13
Location: Western section of the Golden Gate Park
Simply stated, Outside Land's is the best music festival in San Francisco. It is situated in the gorgeous Golden Gate Park. Unlike most of these San Francisco Summer festivals, this three-day festival is jam packed with truly world-famous headliners, while also showcasing up and coming and local bands at the same time.
In the past, some of these bands included Duran Duran, Radiohead, Chance the Rapper, Lionel Richie and others. The festival makes sure to have different styles of music so every person that attends can hear the music, and see the bands, that they want to experience.
This three-day festival is so popular that tickets sell out quickly so make sure to buy them as soon as possible. Doors open at 11 am each day and music starts at noon and continues until 10 pm. Parking is incredibly limited so using mass transit or Lyft and Uber is your best bet.
>> This year's line-up and ticketing details
Dates: Mid-June to Mid-August
Location: Stern Grove in Golden Gate Park
Although the Stern Grove isn't technically a festival, I list it here because it is close enough to one, and the attitude of everyone attending has a festival feel to it. The Stern Grove Concert Series has now been running for over 80 years and there is no end in sight.
Stern Grove has many musicians that play during the summer. They start at 2 pm on Sundays but the grove fills up well before that with people picnicking and getting ready for the music.
Make sure to get there in advance and grab a place to sit.
This free event runs every Sunday from late June to late August. The shows usually last about 2 to 3 hours. They are always well attended, and the people are usually dancing and having a great time in the summer sun.
>> This year's dates and details
Date: Labor Day Weekend
Location: Sausalito waterfront
The Sausalito Arts Festival is just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the quaint town of Sausalito. If you've never been there, you are in for a treat as it is a gorgeous town with all kinds of fun bars, restaurants, and most importantly, a well-respected arts festival that you will not want to miss.
There are many styles of art exhibited including popular ones like photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass and many more. You can purchase tickets either in advance or at the door.
There are food and beverage vendors, including delicious drinks like margaritas, for your pleasure.
The festival has been going on for more than 60 years. This is one of the more popular San Francisco Summer festivals as they always have a great live band line-up. There are two stages at the event with music starting at 11 am and ending at 5 pm both Saturday and Sunday.
>> Additional information on the Sausalito festival
If you are still looking for a place to stay, make sure to check out the great deals below!
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!
VRBO: In addition to hotels, you'll also find some great places to stay locally through VRBO. Book an apartment or a room and feel more like a local. Find some great places to stay on VRBO here.
Dates: Around a dozen home games each month in the summer
Location: Oracle Park in Downtown San Francisco
The San Francisco Giants play in one of the most beautiful parks in the country. When you see them, you will swear you have time traveled back to the 1920s. Being that it is so new, you will have all the best amenities including food, beer, and a special kid's area.
There are numerous great restaurants outside the stadium, and they are full of Giants' fans having a great time before the game starts. Being that this is San Francisco, and even though it is summer, it can get VERY cold when the fog rolls in. So, make sure to bundle up and wear layers in case it is warm during the day and then gets cold at night.
If you decide you don't want to go into the stadium, but want to catch a bit of the action, check out the free area outside near McCovey Cove. The ushers will let about 100 people stand in front of a fence that is ground level for 3 innings.
Here are a few of the upcoming games.
>> Details to attend an SF Giants game this summer
Dates: Several shows each week throughout San Francisco
When you visit San Francisco, you will find a multitude of theater shows each week. There are many traveling Broadway shows that come through every year. Some of the past ones include Mama Mia, Hamilton, and The Lion King and are shown in the larger venues.
If you are looking for more off-Broadway, or local shows, you will find many to choose from also. These are usually in smaller venues, which are more intimate, but the quality of the shows is just as professional as the more famous theater events.
Prices of these shows can be as low as $10 and up to a few hundred dollars depending on shows, dates and seats that you choose. Make sure to check the calendar and plan so you can see the shows that will entertain and enthrall you when you visit the lovely City by the Bay.
>> Full schedule of theater performances this summer
Comments? Questions? Suggestions?
I would love for you join me in my private Facebook group!
It’s a great place to interact with me and others that know the area well.
You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It’s a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!