Top 10 Bay Area Festivals You Can't Miss This Spring

Katerina Gregoriou

San Francisco is one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the USA, with diverse restaurants, museums, and destinations sprinkled throughout. Spring is the perfect time to bring out these hidden cultural gems and connect both locals and visitors from all walks of life. To give you a taste of some of San Francisco’s best offerings, we’ve selected some of the most unique and intriguing festivals out there to catch your eye.

Market Street Prototyping Festival

April 9-11

Silicon Valley innovation mentality—meet local San Franciscan community collaboration. The first-ever Market Street Prototyping Festival will bring artists, designers, and makers out of their workshops and into the streets of San Francisco. Residents of this diverse city will have a chance to interact directly with projects that range from Art Central—Shimmering Stars to Knock Stop Music to The Zen Door (check out the full list of mind-boggling projects here). This festival will not only showcase the extraordinary talent of these emerging artisans, but also will give the public a voice in which prototypes makes it to the newly renovated Market Street of 2018.

Check the website for the details of the five festival host districts.

Cherry Blossom Festival SF Japantown

1. h Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

48th Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

April 11-12, and 18-19

For two beautiful spring weekends in April, one of the three surviving Japantowns in America will celebrate Japanese culture along with the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. From exhibitions of traditional tea ceremonies dating back to the 700s, alongside the infamous Taru Mikoshi Ren—anyone 18 and over is invited to participate in this unforgettable event—there will be something to catch everyone’s eye. In addition to the yearly parades, origami lessons, and performances by the infamous San Francisco Taiko Dojo, this year the Cherry Blossom Festival welcomes ten new events including a Pocky Truck, a Sapporo USA Beer Garden, and even a Social Media Lounge.

Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival, 1759 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 563 2313

Goat Festival: Credit CUESAGoat Festival: Credit CUESA

2. h Annual Goat Festival


7th Annual Goat Festival

April 18

Whether you’re searching for a well-crafted selection of everything goat-flavored you never imagined, are craving to expand your culinary capacity at a goat-themed cooking demo, or simply want to de-stress with some adorable baby goats, CUESA’s Goal Festival has you covered. This family friendly event will feature ample tastings from local San Francisco vendors such as 4505 Meats and Three Babes Bakeshop. After you’ve satisfied your sweet tooth, be sure to stop by the San Francisco Milk Maid to learn how to make all of this goat-cheesy goodness from the comfort of your own home.

Goat Festival, Ferry Building, The Embarcadero and Market Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

3. Cider Summit SF


Cider Summit SF

April 25

Back after an immensely successful first go-round among artisanal cider fans of all levels, the nationally renowned Cider Summit is sure to draw an enthusiastic crowd. Cider-lovers can expect over 120 locally and internationally esteemed selections from almost 50 producers, who will be on-site to complete the tasting experience. Whole Foods Market will provide delicious food pairings, while Berkeley Humane will even host a ‘Dog Lounge’—what more could you ask for on a spring afternoon at the Presidio?

Cider Summit SF, Main Post Lawn, 103 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

How Weird Street Faire 2009, San Francisco | © Cyril Caton/FlikrHow Weird Street Faire 2009, San Francisco | © Cyril Caton/Flikr

4. How Weird Street Faire 2015

How Weird Street Faire 2015

April 26

In a robust celebration of all things street fair, How Weird fuses open-air art festival with EDM music festival with food-and-drink festival with performances of all types. Although the festival’s name started as a play on words, the creators transformed the space into a forum for embracing new perspectives and creative expression. Keeping in step with this year’s carnival theme, guests should come in costume and let their innermost weird out. Be prepared to get interactive at this festival, whether it’s crowdsurfing at the EDM shows, body and mural painting in the Art Alley, or checking out the locally made crafts and food.

How Weird Street Faire, Howard and 2nd Streets, San Francisco, CA, USA

Spring Cocktails of the Farmers Market: Credit Amanda HarrisSpring Cocktails of the Farmers Market: Credit Amanda Harris

5. A Toast to Neighborhoods: Spring Cocktails of the Farmer’s Market

Market, American

Photo Credit: Oysterfest
April 29

If you’re looking for a more intimate and mellow festival experience, then this weekday-night cocktail market is just for you. Join the best of the Bay Area’s bars, chefs, and restaurants for a regional sampling of drinks and hors d’oeuvres all featured by neighborhood. Walk the charming Grand Hall of the Ferry Building to the DJ’s top Bay Area hits, all while mingling with San Francisco locals. Attendees will even have the chance to vote on their favorite cocktails of the night from over 20 bars and 30 bartenders for the chance to win fantastic prizes.

6. h Annual SF Oysterfest


16th Annual SF Oysterfest

May 9

Grab your blankets and lawn chairs, your oyster-loving friends, and even your dogs, for this all-day fest of oysters, SF’s favorite bands and DJs, and more. Relax all day in the California sun at Golden Gate Park with the family, or get up close to your favorite DJs with the crowd at SF Oysterfest. Even the not-so-keen on oysters will be covered with carefully selected local and sustainably farmed food, as well as a large drink menu.

SF Oysterfest, Sharon Meadows, Golden Gate Park, 320 Bowling Green Drive, San Francisco, CA, USA

Cat of a Different Color Art Car, Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 | Becca HenryCat of a Different Color Art Car, Maker Faire Bay Area 2014 | Becca Henry

7. Maker Faire Bay Area 2015

Maker Faire Bay Area 2015

May 16-17

Bringing you the Bay Area’s most resourceful, unique, and crafty inventions, the Maker Faire celebrates creators from all walks of life. Visitors will witness makers’ products from engineers to hobbyists to science club participants, who will all be present to showcase their craftsmanship. This family-friendly event is sure to engage attendees of all ages—past years include a 3D printing stage, an innovation stage, and even a life-size mousetrap. If you want a first-look at what some of the most forward-thinking minds in the nation are creating, or want to get involved in the Maker Movement, then don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Maker Faire, San Mateo County Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo, CA, USA

8. Audio on the Bay


Audio on the Bay

May 22-24

Looking for an unforgettable Memorial Day Weekend right here in the Bay Area? Look no further than Audio on the Bay. Three full days of a fusion of the most popular and diverse headliners today, all in one of the Bay Area’s most coveted music venues—a massive, waterfront, industrial space that was once home to the infamous Ford Assembly Plant. Don’t miss your chance to see headliners Showtek, Knife Party, and Martin Garrix perform just a step away from the breathtaking bay waters.

Audio on the Bay, The Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way S, Richmond, CA, USA

9. h Annual Union Street Festival

39th Annual Union Street Festival

June 6-7

One of the longest-running festivals in San Francisco, the Union Street Festival has been bringing out the best of the city in arts, culture, fashion, food, and more for decades. This year, the creators revamped the festival and organized it into ‘worlds’ by each block: Culinary World, Craft World, Local World, Tech World, Fashion World, and Health and Fitness World. Facilitators will be not only well-established producers, but also local community groups alike. Be sure to look out for the chef demos, fashion shows, and the notorious waiters’ race.

Union Street Festival, Union Street from Gough to Steiner, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 800 310 6563
Katerina Gregoriou

Katerina Gregoriou is a Northern California native and a Product Design student at Stanford University. When she isn’t designing, you can find her exploring San Francisco in search of the most fun and unique restaurants out there, or road tripping with her camera.

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