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Sketch Tuesday at 111 Minna © Travis Grathwell/Flickr
Sketch Tuesday at 111 Minna © Travis Grathwell/Flickr

San Francisco's Can't-Miss Arts Events

Picture of Amanda Walker-Storey
Updated: 3 January 2017
San Francisco is world-renowned for its love and appreciation of the arts, the more eccentric the better. No trip to the city is complete without a taste and maybe a little participation in one of San Francisco’s iconic art events. Read on to discover the most unique SF art events and why they cannot be missed.

The Edwardian Ball

Held annually in the historical Regency Grand Ballroom, this spectacle is truly a sight to see. Enjoy a weekend of dance, performance art, costume, and wonder inspired by the writer and illustrator Edward Gorey. This is no sleepy Victorian fair, this is a high-kicking and boldly creative party that keeps people coming back year after year. Check out The Edwardian Ball Style Guide for costume inspiration and insight into this must-see exhibition.

Visit The Edwardian Ball website for dates and info.

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Edwardian Ball © Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr

Sketch Tuesday

Are you an artist, art lover, art buyer, or lover of cocktails and people watching? Everyone loves at least one of those activities, and that’s why Sketch Tuesday is a monthly affair that cannot be missed. Hosted by one of San Francisco’s most popular galleries, 111 Minna, Sketch Tuesdays give artsy people a chance to get together and buy and sell art in a casual environment. Each month, 20 artists are hand-selected to sketch, paint, or draw small affordable art pieces that are then offered up for sale to the other attendees. Everyone who visits is encouraged to participate  and sell their art as well as purvey the gallery and the bar.

Check here for upcoming dates and featured artists.

111 Minna Street. San Francisco, CA, USA

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Buy, Sell and Trade Art at Sketch Tuesdays | Photo courtesy of Mike Cuffe/

Fillmore Jazz Festival

Fillmore Street provides so many chances to dance, eat, and go shopping at the unique vendors, and every year the neighborhood plays hosts to the Fillmore Jazz Festival. Energetic music, excessive use of ‘Jazz Hands,’ and ample food and alcohol options makes for an unbelievably fun celebration of the rich culture and tradition of jazz in San Francisco.

The festival takes place every summer on Fillmore Street, between Jackson and Eddy. For more details and dates click here.

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Fillmore Jazz Fest © Steven Damron/Flickr

Mr. Nobody’s Spookeasy

Everyone needs to experience at least one Halloween in San Francisco; it is truly a memorable sight. People pull out all the stops to create elaborate costumes and celebrate the holiday with galas and other extraordinary parties. To celebrate the occasion, Mr. Nobody’s Spookeasy, a creepy burlesque circus at Chinatown’s historical Great Star Theatre is nothing short of astonishing! A rare and fascinating blend of performance art, theatre, dance, and circus, Spookeasy is distinctly San Francisco and a rollicking good time. Guests are encouraged but not required to dress up in costume, and food, drinks, and cocktails are available for purchase.

Follow Spookeasy on Facebook for show dates

The Great Star Theatre636 Jackson Street. San Francisco, CA, USA

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Dancing girls and creepy skeletons at Spookeasy © Aaron Muszalski/Flickr

Free Museum Days

Here in the City by the Bay, we want our visitors and locals alike to have the privilege of seeing our art collections at little to no cost. If you happen to be in our fair city on the right day, there are multiple museums you can experience for the bargain price of FREE fifty! However, if you are able to make a donation, I’m sure it would be more than appreciated. Here are some highly suggested museums to visit on free day:


The De Young Museum: Free the first Tuesday of every month. Free the first weekend of every month for Bank of America card holders.

50 Hagiware Tea Garden Drive. San Francisco, CA, USA


Legion of Honor: Free the first Tuesday of every month. Free the first weekend of every month for Bank of America cardholders.

100 34th Avenue. San Francisco, CA, USA


The Asian Art Museum: Free the first Sunday of every month.

200 Larkin Street. San Francisco, CA, USA


Musée Mécanique: Free daily!

Pier 45. San Francisco, CA, USA


The Cable Car Museum: Free Daily!

1201 Mason Street. San Francisco, CA, USA


The Contemporary Jewish Museum:  Free the first Tuesday of every month. Free the first weekend of every month for Bank of America cardholders.

736 Mission Street. San Francisco, CA, USA

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Discover the inner workings of the iconic San Francisco Cable Car System at The Cable Car Museum © Justin Ennis/Flickr