Stern Grove Festival San Francisco: 2024 Calendar & Tips to Attend This Popular Festival

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: May 13, 2024

This year the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco celebrates its 87th anniversary. The 2024 season runs from June 23 to August 25. This year, top performers include Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, and Lucinda Williams.

Every Sunday at 2 pm during the summer months, you will find a free concert in the park. The shows usually last two to three hours and are wildly popular.

You will once again need to make reservations for entry, even though admission is still free. You can make your reservations online starting on May 23. You are able to reserve tickets exactly one month in advance, so you will want to be sure to do it as quickly as possible as they will fill up.

They will release a portion of the tickets at 2 pm that afternoon. They will also release additional tickets randomly as the date approaches to allow more people to get access to their tickets. They will release 8 rounds of tickets for each date.

Reservations do not guarantee entry as it's still first come, first served.

However, if you have 10 people, you can reserve a picnic table. It includes 3 parking spots and you get to go through the express security lane. Unlike the general tickets, which are free, you will have to pay for these.

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2024 Schedule

Here were the events and performers planned for Stern Grove 2024.

  • 6/23: Tegan and Sara
  • 6/30: Chicano Batman
  • 7/7: SF Symphony
  • 7/14: The Commodores
  • 7/21: Masego
  • 7/28: Franc Moody
  • 8/4: Alex G
  • 8/11: Herbie Hancock
  • 8/18: Lucinda Williams
  • 8/24 & 8/25: The Big Picnic Weekend with Sylvan Esso on 8/24 and Chaka Khan on 8/25

>> Visit their site to get tickets to upcoming performances

The Big Picnic

The Stern Grove Festival ends their season with the Big Picnic. This year, it's a two day event!

It's a great way to celebrate the last performances of this annual free concert series. 

The Big Picnic is on August 24 & 25 with Sylvan Esso, Poolside performing on Saturday, 8/24 and Chaka Khan performing on Sunday, 8/25.

More Details on Admission Options

Free GA Tickets

This is the most popular option, but you will need a ticket to enter. When you arrive, you must show your reserved ticket from their official Eventbrite page. No 3rd party reseller tickets will be accepted.

These tickets will go live at 2 pm one month before each event. Stern Grove will then release tickets seven additional times, at random intervals, as the show date approaches to allow everyone a chance to grab up these highly sought after tickets.

You will need one ticket per person in your group.

Tickets are available online only.

Reserved Tables at Stern Grove

If you have a larger group and don't mind paying for this experience, you can also book one of their Basic or Premium Reserved tables.

The Basic Reserved Tables are $2,000. This includes a table for 10 people, 3 parking spots in their Upper Lot, and VIP security check-in and entrance.

The Premium Reserved Tables are $4,000. These include the great views of the stage and are for 10 people. This option includes a customized catered lunch for 10 with premium beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages. You will also get three parking spots in their preferred lower parking lot.

VIP Stageside Lounge

The VIP Stageside Lounge is their top ticket. It's $10,000 and accommodates up to 40 guests. It includes lunches with premium beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages. 

You will get 10 spots in their preferred lower parking lot, VIP check in and entrance, and a festival merchandise package. 

Stern Grove Festival with crowd and stageLocals and visitors enjoying the afternoon at Stern Grove. Photo courtesy of

Food & Drinks at Stern Grove

Stern Grove offers food and drinks for sale before and during the event. This is their offerings:

  • Tante's Concessions: They offer everything from grilled sausages to vegan dishes.
  • Food Trucks: They will have a variety of food trucks this year. There will be 4 food trucks each week and the vendors will change each week. They will be found in the West Meadow.
  • Bars: There are two bar locations this year. All proceeds will go directly to supporting the Stern Grove Festival.
  • Bring Your Own Picnic: They also allow you to bring your own food and drinks to the festival. 

What to Bring

Since these concerts are free, there are very few amenities. Here are just a few of the items you will want to bring with you.

  • Blanket or Camping Chairs: You won't find chairs or other seating, so I recommend bringing along something to sit on. They allow blankets that are no larger than 5 x 7 feet. You must use low-profile lawn chairs.
  • Food & Drinks: There are plenty of food options on site, but you can also bring your own to enjoy during the concerts. 
  • Alcohol: They will have a vendor that sells alcohol, but the park does allow you to bring your own beer and wine during the shows too. 
  • Warm Jackets & Clothing: Since Stern Grove is closer to the Pacific Ocean, it does get cooler here. Make sure you bring along a jacket or wear warm clothing in case the temperatures are cool during the show. You want to be prepared for the wind, fog, and even a little sunshine.

Other Things You Need to Know

Since the concerts are crowded, here are just a few other things you need to know before you arrive.

  • Reservations Required: They will do this again in 2024. You must visit their site in advance to get tickets for each performance. This year, reservations are available one month in advance with additional tickets available in the weeks and days leading up to the performances.
  • Arrival Time: I recommend heading over to the shows early. The gates open at 12 pm. They only allow people with advanced registration in, but you will still want to go early to grab a seat as seats are still first come/first served. I like to head over no later than 1 pm or so in order to get a good spot.
  • Senior and ADA seating: It is available but it is also first come/first served, so you will want to be sure to get there as early as possible.
  • Pets: No pets are allowed in this area of the park during the concerts. There are other areas open for pets, but they will not allow any within the concert seating area. Service animals are allowed.
  • Personal Belongings: Make sure you keep an eye on your personal items at all times. It gets crowded (and is free!), so can attract people looking to pick up a few unattended items.
  • Recording/Photography: Neither pictures nor video is permitted during the shows. I recommend leaving your camera at home or the place you are staying, so you don't have to worry about it during the performances.

More Fun Things to Do Around SF

Other Popular Festivals This Summer

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival: The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival also offers free music and other cultural programs all summer long. Performances are held several days a week between May and October. Click here for more details.

Sunday Streets: The annual Sunday Streets event features blocks of car-free streets in a specific district on one Sunday each month. This allows pedestrians to bike, run, or walk without worrying about traffic. Each event also provides live music, free health screenings, and other community activities. Click here for this year's schedule.

Union Street Festival: The Union Street Festival is typically the kick-off to SF's famous summer festival season. This lively event features live music, gourmet food, and dozens of merchant booths with unique arts and crafts. You will also find a premium craft beer and wine tasting pavilion. Click here to learn more.

North Beach Street Festival: Another popular SF Street Fair is the North Beach Festival. This one also features live music, amazing street food, and several fun activities for the kids. Click here to learn more about this year's festival.

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Tips to Get To Stern Grove

Stern Grove Park is on the corner of 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in the city's Outer Sunset neighborhood.

Your best bet is to take public transit, since parking is very limited in this part of the city.

From Union Square

Light Rail Trains: The fastest way to get here from Union Square is by taking either the M Ocean View or K Ingleside light rail trains. You can pick them up at the underground station at Powell and 5th Streets. Make sure you hop on an 'outbound' train.

  • Stop: Take either of these to the stop at St. Francis Circle. You will then walk one block west to the park. There will be plenty of other people on these trains, so just follow the crowds.
  • Timing: Allow for at least 35 to 40 minutes to get to the park.

From Fisherman's Wharf

F Streetcar: Take this streetcar to the Embarcadero Station at Market and Drumm Streets.

  • Light Rail Train: Head to the underground Embarcadero Station on this corner. Take either the M or K (outbound) trains to the St. Francis Circle stop. Walk one block west to the park.
  • Timing: Allow at least 50 minutes to an hour to get here from Fisherman's Wharf

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