The Top Music Festivals In San Francisco

Brian Iniguez

It’s no secret that San Francisco possesses a vibrant music scene. Each year, dozens of festivals showcase the city’s cultural variety and vitality. From today’s top artists to lesser known gems, San Francisco hosts musical experiences unlike any other. Here are five of the best music festivals the City by the Bay has to offer.

Courtesy of How Weird Street Fair SF

How Weird Street Faire

‘Weird’ has long been one of the defining descriptions of San Francisco since the Beat and Hippy movements of the 1960s. With 10 music stages, food and and Art Alley, How Weird Street Faire hosts a plethora of fun that calls back to that distinctive SF quirk. The musical aesthetic, described as ‘vibrations of peace,’ is largely of the EDM variety, so expect some big crowds and rumbling bass beneath your feet. Prepare to have fun and get weird.

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

Courtesy How Weird Street Faire SF

Carnaval San Francisco

San Francisco’s Mission District hosts many events, including Pride Parade and Love Evolution. Another essential festival is Carnaval San Francisco, a two-day celebration of Latin American and Caribbean culture taking place May 23-24. Local food and crafts showcasing Latin/Caribbean life will be available from multiple vendors and workshops located throughout the event. The festival will culminate in the colorful Grand Parade, where more than 30 musical acts and dance troupes will march the streets to the sounds of Cumbia, Cha Cha Cha, Tango and Salsa, along with Reggae, Samba, and Rancheras flavors. The event is completely free, though donations are encouraged at the gate.

Check out the website for details of locations throughout the city

Courtesy Sterns Grove

Stern Grove Festival

If you’re looking for a quintessential picnic in the park, look no further than Stern Grove Festival’s ‘Big Picnic.’ The concert will feature none other than The Doobie Brothers and will be free to attend. You also have the option to purchase tickets for reserved seating, as well as an invitation to the Picnic Party following the event in the Big Picnic Lounge. The Stern Grove festival is a perfect blend of music and nature available to people of all ages.

Check out the website for details of locations throughout the city

Courtesy Outside Lands

1. Castro Street Fair


Gay rights and the larger LGBT community have always been a ubiquitous aspect of San Francisco’s Castro District. Though Pride Parade is a larger, more well-known celebration of the gay lifestyle, the Castro Street Fair presents an equally colorful experience located in the heart of the Bay’s gay community. Founded by harvey Milk in 1974, the fair offers the diverse array of people, vendors, craftsmen and artists from the community. Celebrate the right to equality of love with authenticity at this historic event.

Outside Lands

What list of music festivals would be complete without mentioning Outside Lands? The Bay Area’s answer to Coachella, Outside Lands provides entertainment from top artists and independent musicians, from Kanye West to Flume. Combine this with large crowds, multiple stages, exotic foods, a campground for visitors and locals alike, and exciting side acts (comedians Lewis Black and Gallagher have both played in previous years), and the result is one hell of a time. It’s no doubt that Outside Lands is one of the best music festival San Francisco has to offer.

Check the website for details of locations throughout the city

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