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15 Best Street Fairs in San Francisco: Live Music, Gourmet Food, and Unique Arts & Crafts

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: July 16, 2022

Enjoy a day outside at one of these street fairs in San Francisco. Each one offers a day or more of outdoor activities including live music, a variety of food, and arts & crafts booths with plenty of unique items on sale.

Many of them offer special activities and entertainment based on the theme or district where the event is located. A few of these also include a colorful parade. Read on to learn more about my 15 top picks.

The Carnaval street fair and parade in SF's Mission District.

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1. Carnaval

My list starts with one of my favorites: Carnaval. There's something about the colors, music, and flavors of this festival that transports me to another world. 

This high-energy event in the Mission District includes a street fair and parade. It celebrates Latin American cultures and traditions, from the costumes to the styles of dance to the food. 

This is always the most lively way to spend Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco.

Date: May

Learn More: Discover details for this year's event

2. Castro Street Fair

This is one of the street fairs in San Francisco that is sure to be a fun and uniquely SF experience. It was founded by Harvey Milk in the 1970s to celebrate the LGBT community and their allies. 

This fair offers two stages of live music, dance alleys, games, art, and some of the best local food. There are tons of fun activities where everyone is welcome to let loose and participate. 

The Castro Street Fair is always held in the Castro District on the first Sunday of October from 10 am to 6 pm. It's a great way to get to know the neighborhood and its history as a refuge for the queer community.

Date: October

Learn More: Visit the Castro Street Fair page for more details

3. Cherry Blossom Festival

The cherry blossom has long been a treasured symbol of spring in the Japanese culture, and every year the Japanese community in San Francisco honors it by throwing a huge party.

This is a fantastic opportunity for people to discover the Japantown neighborhood and the local customs. You will enjoy sampling authentic Japanese food, entertainment that includes taiko drums and karate, and plenty of kid-friendly activities.

The fair takes place over two weekends in April with a large parade on the final Sunday.

Date: April

Learn More: Find out more about this year's event

4. Fillmore Jazz Festival

This two-day event is one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country, offering multiple stages of incredible live music. 

The festival was founded in the 1980s to commemorate the Fillmore Jazz District's history. This is located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood, where legends such as Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday used to grace the stages.

Discover how the city has revitalized what used to be the "Harlem of the West." Celebrate great music, history, arts and crafts, and delicious food.

It's always the first weekend in July, usually on or near the Fourth of July holiday. 

Date: July

Learn More: Visit the Fillmore Jazz page for additional info

5. Glen Park

The Glen Park Festival is a fantastic way to get that folksy hometown feel and discover local artists, bands, and food merchants.

Glen Park is a residential neighborhood just south of Twin Peaks, pleasantly distant from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco city life. Coming here is a fun way to interact with and support the local community. 

Proceeds from the fair go toward funding playground equipment, school gardens, and other local grants and programs. 

It's held toward the end of April on Diamond Street between Bosworth and Chenery.

Date: April

6. Haight-Ashbury Street Fair

Surrounded by murals and social history, between the two stages of live music and more than 200 vendor booths, you'll find plenty of "peace, love, and happiness" to go around at this fair.

The Haight-Ashbury District is iconic of San Francisco's 1960s counterculture era, a haven for artists like Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead. The annual street fair in this neighborhood embraces that spirit. 

This is a one-day event that draws in thousands of people from all around the Bay Area. It's held on Haight Street between Masonic and Stanyan, adjacent to the southeastern end of Golden Gate Park.

Date: June

Learn More: Find additional info for this year's event

7. How Weird Street Faire

Are you looking for a new experience, something totally out of the ordinary? If so, then check out the How Weird Street Faire.

Here you'll find weird everything—from music to costumes to art. This one-day event features 10 stages of different types of music, a platform for several types of performers, and a unique market with very interesting vendors.

Located downtown in the city's SOMA district, the philosophy is to "stay weird" and embrace the wacky, while also embracing the ever more technology-focused industries that have taken San Francisco by storm. It's a unique intersection of divergent worlds that's meant to stir up the outdoor dance floor.

Date: April

Learn More: Visit the April calendar for this year's info

8. Juneteenth

The Juneteenth festival celebrates the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the US on June 19, 1865. It is focused on community education and partnerships while bringing lots of fun activities to the public.

The street fair includes several city blocks of booths that pay tribute to Black history, food, art, and culture. In addition to live music and a parade, it also features a health and wellness pavilion, a car show, a job fair, and a variety of crafts by Black artists.

The festival continues to be held in San Francisco's "Harlem of the West," where the Black community first began to celebrate this event publicly. This is on Fillmore Street between Post and Turk Streets.

Date: June

Learn More: Additional details for this year's event

9. Nihonmachi

The Nihonmachi festival is another one of the street fairs in San Francisco's Japantown District. Unlike the Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring that focuses on Japanese traditions, this event celebrates the diversity of Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures.

Your senses will be wowed with the sound of drums, the colorful sight of palang and lion dancers, and the authentic tastes of dumplings and sweet treats. 

This is a fun opportunity for Asian American communities and visitors to come together and celebrate their resilience. In addition to standard street fair activities, this one also includes a car show, a basketball tournament, and an area called Doggie World where you can spoil your four-legged friend.

Date: August

Learn More: Visit the Nihonmachi page for more

10. North Beach

One of the largest street fairs in San Francisco every year is in the North Beach District, also known as SF's Little Italy. This event is rich in cultural customs and delicious food.

For two days, you can enjoy live music on two stages and stroll through dozens of artists' booths. You will also find Italian street artists at work and a kid's chalk art area.

This is a great opportunity to see some of the district's iconic sights, like the National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi, where the Blessing of the Animals ceremony is held on both days of the festival. 

Date: June

Learn More: Visit the North Beach page for more

11. Pride

The Pride Festival and Parade is another one of the largest street fairs in San Francisco every year. In fact, it is one of the largest gatherings of the LGBT community and allies in the country and in the world.

For a city with such a strong history of gay pride and activism, one would expect nothing less than the spectacularly flamboyant celebration put on each year, which never fails to dazzle the crowd and create an exciting jubilant atmosphere.

It's a two-day event that features a very vibrant parade on Sunday morning. All weekend long, there are at least 20 community-produced stages and venues of entertainment.

Pride is held in the Civic Center District near City Hall, which gets decked out in rainbow colors for the occasion. 

Date: June

Learn More: Discover additional details for the SF Pride event

12. Saint Patrick's Day

Enjoy a day of drinking, Irish music, and mingling with others in green at the annual Saint Patrick's Day Festival, held the weekend before or after March 17.

This event offers a day of fun in the Civic Center District. The morning starts off with a traditional Catholic mass, followed by an impressive parade of Irish dance groups, musicians, and floats, which runs along Market Street and ends to the north of the event.

There is also a kids' area offering games and rides. Around town there is no shortage of Irish pubs and bars that offer after-party St. Patrick's Day specials on beer and plates of corned beef and cabbage. 

Date: March

Learn More: Visit the Saint Patrick's Day page for more details

13. Union Street

Another fun street festival in San Francisco is on Union Street in the Marina District, which has been well known for its community resilience ever since the 1906 earthquake and fire. 

This event has been a local favorite for years and features two stages of live music, a wine tasting pavilion, and a fashion show, as well as a kids' carnival area.

For an entire weekend, you'll have the opportunity to taste the best of the neighborhood's restaurants, craft beers, and more. You can also browse dozens of vendors of artwork and photography. 

Date: June

Learn More: Find additional info on this event

14. Bearrison Street Fair

At this outdoor festival for adult LGBTQ+ folks, Harrison Street becomes Bearrison Street for a day in San Francisco's SoMa "Leather District." Welcoming all bears and more, this fair aims to promote body positivity and an inclusive community.

The event is hosted by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of queer nuns, and it features a fun selection of local and national DJs, vendors, other performing artists, and even a live wrestling stage.

Date: October

Learn More: Get more details about attending this street fair in San Francisco

15. Folsom Street Fair

The Folsom Street Fair is another one of those uniquely San Francisco occasions for adult audiences and participants. People come from all over, dressed in all kinds of outfits (or in no outfit at all!), for this leather and kink block party.

Their mission is to create an inclusive community while celebrating sexual liberation and standing up to gentrification and marginalization. Head over to SoMa to check out the artists, musicians, DJs, dancers, vendors, and more.

Date: September

Learn More: Visit the Folsom Street website for more info

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