Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Free Music & Cultural Programs in the Heart of San Francisco

Discover free music, artistic performances, and other cultural programs at the 2018 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. This annual event offers free programming every week from May to October.

Enjoy classical, jazz, and world music, learn more about traditional and contemporary dance, watch local theater companies perform their craft, and uncover a variety of programs specifically for children and families.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco

During these months, you will find several performances each week around the Buena Vista Gardens. Many are on the weekends, although some are also scheduled during the week. They also feature special Thursday lunchtime shows for those working nearby.

This is a fun event every year. It's relaxing to sit in the gardens around Yerba Buena Park catching free, live performances of both up-and-coming local artists as well as some who are recognized around the world.

Here are some additional details on what you can expect to find during this festival.

2018 Schedule

This year's events will run from May 6 - October 28. The full schedule will be available soon. In the short term, check out last year's events to get an idea on what to expect again this year.

May 2017

The Opening Event for the 2017 Season is on May 7 from 1pm - 3pm. Head over to the Yerba Buena Gardens to help kick off a great new series of live performances with Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, plus VNote Ensemble.

Here are the additional performances this month:

  • Tuesday, May 9: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Saturday, May 13: Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Thursday, May 18: CMC Older Adult Choirs, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, May 18: Changui Majadero, 6pm - 7:30pm
  • Saturday, May 20: Brass Convergence II: Protest Brass, 1pm - 3pm
  • Thursday, May 25: The Anita Lofton Project, 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
  • Saturday, May 27: Richard Howell & Sudden Changes, 1pm - 2:30pm

June 2017

  • Thursday, June 1: Howard Wiley & Extra Nappy, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 2: Alphabet Rockers (2 shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, June 3: Michael Doucet and Tom Rigney with Flambeau, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Thursday, June 8: Aireene & The Itch, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 9: Chelle! & Friends (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30pm, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Friday, June 9: Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Day 1, 6pm - 7:15pm
  • Saturday, June 10: Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Day 2, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Sunday, June 11: Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Day 3, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 13: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, June 15: Destani Wolf, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, June 15: La Mixta Criolla, 6pm - 7:30pm
  • Friday, June 16: Red Panda Acrobats (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, June 17: M.A.K.U SoundSystem, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Sunday, June 18: Native Contemporary Arts Festival, 12pm - 3pm
  • Thursday, June 22: Jenny Lind Concert, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 23: Circus Bella, 12pm - 1pm
  • Saturday, June 24: Circus Bella (2 shows), 12pm - 1pm, 2:15pm - 3:15pm
  • Thursday, June 29: The Jamming Nachos, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, June 30: Ka-Hon (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm

July 2017

  • Saturday, July 1: Axis Dance Company - The Garden Project (2 shows), 12pm - 1:15pm, 2:30pm - 3:15pm
  • Sunday, July 2: Axis Dance Company - The Garden Project (2 shows), 12pm - 1:15pm, 2:30pm - 3:15pm
  • Thursday, July 6: Eva Salina, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 7: Crosspulse (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Friday, July 7: Theatre Rhinoceros - Lear!, 7pm - 8pm
  • Saturday, July 8: Theatre Rhinoceros - Lear!, 7pm - 8pm
  • Sunday, July 9: Theatre Rhinoceros - Lear!, 1pm - 2pm
  • Tuesday, July 11: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, July 13: Cascada de Flores, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 14: Caterpillar Puppets (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, July 15: Ensemble Mik Nawooj - Death Become Life, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Thursday, July 20: Shamisen of Bachido + Awakko Ren, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, July 20: Somos el Son, 6pm - 7:30pm
  • Friday, July 21: Pi Clowns (2 kids shows), 11am to 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Sunday, July 23: San Francisco Mime Troupe, 2pm - 4pm
  • Thursday, July 27: RUBaDUB Posse, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, July 28: Unique Derique (2 kids shows) 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, July 29: SF Uke Jam Summer Uke-splosion!, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Sunday, July 30: San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, 1pm - 2:30pm

August 2017

  • Thursday, August 3: Blue Tango Project, 12:30pm to 1:30pm
  • Saturday, August 5: AfroSolo in the Gardens, 1pm - 3pm
  • Tuesday, August 8: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, August 10: LINES Dance Center, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Saturday, August 12: Pistahan, 11am - 4pm
  • Sunday, August 13: Pistahan, 11am - 4pm
  • Thursday, August 17: Jazz Herstory Collective, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, August 17: Bobi Cespedes, 6pm - 7:30pm
  • Friday, August 18: Non Stop Bhangra (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, August 19: Dayme Arocena + Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble, 1pm - 3pm
  • Sunday, August 20: Brazil in the Gardens, 1pm - 3pm
  • Thursday, August 24: Dalia Marina, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Friday, August 25: Venezuelan Music Project (2 kids shows), 11am - 11:30am, 12:15pm - 12:45pm
  • Saturday, August 26: Paula West, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Thursday, August 31: Evie Ladin Band, 12:30pm - 1:30pm

September 2017

  • Saturday, September 2: Kugelplex with special guest Linda Tillery, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Thursday, September 7: The Flock, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Saturday, September 9: Alsarah & The Nubatones, 1pm - 2:30pm
  • Tuesday, September 12: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Saturday, September 16: Brooklyn Raga Massive with Classical Revolution - Terry Riley's in C, 1pm - 2:15pm
  • Thursday, September 21: Camilo y los Robot Ninjas, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Thursday, September 21: Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, 6pm - 7:30pm
  • Saturday, September 23: Marcus Shelby Orchestra, 1pm - 2:30pm

October 2017

  • Tuesday, October 10: Litquake, 12:30pm - 1:30pm
  • Sunday, October 29: Halloween Hoopla (kids show), 12pm - 2pm

Places to Stay Nearby

If you plan on spending quite a bit of time in or near Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, then I recommend looking at hotels in the Union Square District.

This area is centrally located and the most convenient place to stay in San Francisco for those exploring this area (or the entire city!). It's just a few blocks away from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and an easy bus ride to other popular attractions in SF.

Click here for my top recommendations in Union Square.

You can also find great deals on Click here to find the perfect hotel for your stay in SF.

How to Get to the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival performances are all in and around the Yerba Buena Gardens at 750 Howard Street. You can also enter the gardens from Mission or 3rd Streets.

The great thing about the location of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is that it is easy to reach from everywhere in SF and the Bay Area.

BART: If you are coming from the south or east bay, you can take BART to the Powell Street Station. Head south on 4th Street one block and make a left onto Mission. You will find the gardens about one block down on your right.

Muni Buses: All of these buses drop within a block or two of the festival: 5, 6, 8, 14, 21 30, 38, 41, 45, 54, 72, 91, 92, 93. You can also take the light rail trains to the Powell Street Station and walk two blocks to the festival.

Caltrain: If you take Caltrain from the south bay, you can either walk to the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival or take the 30 or 45 bus from the corner of Townsend and 4th Streets.

Golden Gate Transit: If you are coming from the north bay, it's an easy bus ride on Golden Gate Transit. Take the 70, 80 or 101 bus to the stop at Mission and 4th Streets.

Other Popular Annual Festivals & Events

Union Square Live: Throughout the summer, you can also catch free cultural performances just down the street at Union Square Live. Here you can also see everything from live music to local theater productions. Union Square Live offers shows most Wednesdays and Sundays from April to October. Click here for this year's calendar.

Wine Tasting Festivals: Some of my favorite events are SF's wine tasting festivals. The largest is the Chronicle Wine Tasting Event every February. You will also find other annual tastings such as Pinot Noir Days, the TAPAS Wine Tasting Event, and the Rhone Rangers Festival. Learn more here.

Street Fairs: Almost every weekend in the summer in SF, you will find a fun street fair or festival. They range from the two-day Pride Festival & Parade to the popular Haight Street Fair. Find the full list of this year's festivals.

Sunday Streets: Another free monthly event every year in SF is Sunday Streets. One Sunday a month from March to October, a specified district shuts down a number of streets to car traffic to allow pedestrians to run and play in the streets. You will also often find live music, free health screenings, and more. Click here for this month's schedule.

Savings Tip (AD): I also recommend checking out the event calendar on They feature dozens of event and tour tickets at up to half-off the full retail price. It's a great place to look before booking these types of tickets anywhere else. Click here to see their current ticket selection.

How else can I help you with your plans to attend the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival this year?

Add your questions or comments below!

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