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See San Francisco in a New Light | 10 Cool Summer Events
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See San Francisco in a New Light | 10 Cool Summer Events

Picture of Julie Calnero
Updated: 24 April 2017
For many people, the word ‘summertime’ conjures up popsicles, sunburns, and sandy swimsuits. San Franciscans traditionally have to drive over two hours to experience those conditions. While San Franciscans have their own traditions (freezing, fretting about the Giants, whining about the fog), the city also has quite a few unique events that will push residents and visitors alike out of their respective comfort zones and into a brand new perspective of The City by the Bay.

Ondine at Mount Sutro

The cold, foggy weather is an inevitable part of summer (no need to bring up Mark Twain) and it’s beautiful. Enjoy Karl and all of his ambient beauty by watching him as a set piece: The We Players use San Francisco’s natural, chilly summer beauty to enhance their versions of classic works (last year’s Macbeth was staged at Fort Point). This year, the troupe will be performing Ondine at the Sutro Baths until June 14th.

Tickets: We Players


Yes, you read that right. The acronym stands for Bay Area Record Fair, and it exists to shut down the popular myth that the San Francisco music scene is dead. This is your chance to rub elbows with San Francisco label heads, musicians, and vinyl collectors. Buy limited edition vinyl, check out new music, and meet fellow audiophiles at this annual event.


Any resident of the city can attest to the impressive number of pups that populate the metro area, and this cleverly named event aims to champion the connection between the city and our canine companions. This event is open to everyone, so don’t worry about seeming creepy and staring at other people’s dogs. All are welcome. Find more info here.

Weekend BBQ at Lucky 13

Lucky 13 is a local favorite year-round, but the bar gets even better during the summer months: the bartenders host a free barbecue every weekend for patrons who stop by. Lucky 13 may soon be razed for condos, so make sure to go this summer, hang with the regulars, and snack on a brat while watching a Giants game – it could be your last chance to do it at this classic San Francisco joint.

City Star Party

You can be anything you want in San Francisco, including an astronomer. The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers Club wants you to come take a look not at San Francisco, but the stars and sky above it. Club members kindly offer their telescopes and knowledge to the general public at these events, and it’s a wonderful way to experience the city in a whole new way. Dates and information can be found here.

Waterfront Flicks at Jack London Square

While Dolores Park reigns supreme as the city’s best place to see movies outdoors in the summer, its current renovations could prevent the movie schedule from going as planned this year. It’s too bad, but it also gives the city’s residents a chance to switch it up: Why not see a movie from the other side of the bay? Plan to enjoy a classic film with one of thousands as downtown San Francisco gently glows across the water. In preparation for the release of the sequel, Waterfront Flicks kicks off with Jurassic Park on June 11. Pro tip: go early, dress warmly and bring great snacks! You’ll be able to watch the sun set first without having to lose your prime spot.

City Beer Run with Rogue Ales

These run-and-you-get-a-beer events happen all year long, but this summer’s upcoming summer event is a special one: because The Rogue Ales House will host the organization’s August city outing, the route runs along the edge of the water from North Beach to Crissy Field. The course will give runners a beautiful view of the water and Golden Gate Bridge. After all, crawling is for babies – a beer run is a far cooler way to experience the city.

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Mural Tour of San Francisco

Whether it’s a surreal Kahlo-inspired piece in the deep Mission or a trolley car workup in North Beach, San Francisco’s murals are living histories of the city’s cultural growth. Ever wonder what that semi-creepy teddy bear represents, or who painted that seascape in the Tenderloin? The 1 AM Gallery hosts mural tours of the city so that you can become an expert in San Francisco’s weird and wonderful public art. Tickets can be purchased individually, or you can email them directly to book a private showing. Become an expert on an ever-changing, always-beautiful aspect of this fascinating city by seeing it through the eyes of the daring artists who make it their canvas.

Phono Del Sol

Did the Outside Lands lineup leave you yawning? Not to worry—there is a music festival in San Francisco that caters to the music lover with more off-the-beaten-path tastes, and it’s not on Treasure Island, either. Phono Del Sol is a one-day event that brings critically adored, about-to-break bands to San Francisco in the sunny side of the Mission. This year’s lineup includes trippy dance-rockers Generationals, the pure rock ‘n roll stylings of indie darling King Tuff, and a host of the best bands in The Bay Area (if you’re not listening to TIARAS yet, fix that: you need to head over to their Facebook right now).

Check the full lineup and buy tickets here. It’s all ages, so kiddies can come too.

Eatwith’s Secret Pizza Party

Pop-ups and food trucks are no longer anti-establishment outfits damning the man and saving the food industry, but we can still think of new ways to enjoy them. Del Popolo, a pizza food truck, is upping the ante with a secret adventure element that will take participants all over the city. The experience will start with a fun event in the morning, like a hike or a tour, and end with a pizza party. You may have thought you had grown out of parties that included a pizza break, but you probably thought wrong. Tickets are $36 and can be purchased here.

Julie Calnero