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What's On In San Francisco In September
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What's On In San Francisco In September

Picture of Culture Trip
Updated: 15 November 2016
This September, explore San Francisco through the best the city has to offer including film festivals, concerts, art, music, literature, film, fashion, and food events. Read on to browse our top picks for this month and mark your calendars with your favorites.

Thurs Sept 1st – Sun Sept 4th

FESTIVAL | Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

📅 Sun May 1st – Sun Oct 30th

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival commenced Sunday, May 1st, and will continue through the end of October at the Yerba Buena Gardens. The festival will feature over 75 performances, including music, dance, and theater, along with family programs and cultural events. See the full calendar of events here. Admission to YBGF is 100 percent free, but you can donate here. For a taste of what to expect, watch clips from past festivals here.

📍Yerba Buena Gardens, 750 Howard St, San Francisco, CA

THEATER | SF Shakespeare Festival

📅 Sat July 2nd – Sun Oct 2nd

Celebrate Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary at this year’s San Francisco Shakespeare Festival. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is a non-profit regional theater company and major arts education provider, best known for its summer Free Shakespeare in the Park production. This year’s festival programs include Free Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare On Tour, Tailor-Made Residencies, The Bay Area Shakespeare Camps, Midnight Shakespeare, and Shakespeare for All.

📍Various locations

DESIGN | Architecture and the City

📅 Thurs Sept 1st – Fri Sept 30th

One of the country’s largest architecture festivals, Architecture and the City comes to San Francisco every September with walking tours, film screenings, exhibitions, lectures, and more. Get to know the design and planning processes behind San Francisco’s favorite architectural works with over 40 programs throughout the month.

📍Various locations

ART | North Beach First Fridays Art Crawl

📅 Fri Sept 2nd

Take a stroll down the lively and historic Columbus Ave on the First Friday of every month to get a peek into some of the best art and entertainment North Beach has to offer. Art galleries, pop ups, and cultural events decorate the neighborhood from 6 to 9pm, giving visitors a chance to experience its thriving art scene for the evening and support the creative community behind it.

📍North Beach, San Francisco, CA

ART | Oakland’s Art Murmur/First Fridays

📅 Fri Sept 2nd

On the first Friday of every month, Uptown Oakland lights up with activity for Oakland’s popular First Friday and Art Murmur events. Telegraph Avenue closes off between West Grand and 27th Street as local artisans line the street with art, food, clothing, and more for sale from 5 to 9pm. This event coincides with Art Murmur’s First Friday gallery walk, in which art galleries open from 5 to 9pm on the cross streets surrounding Telegraph.

📍Oakland, CA

FUN | SF Comic Con

📅 Fri Sept 2nd – Sun Sept 4th

On the first weekend of September, San Francisco’s Comic Con will return to the Marriott Marquis. This book convention will feature a wide variety of exhibitors covering topics like comic books, magazines, toys, games, Star Wars, Star Trek, anime, manga, cosplay, artwork, sketches, and apparel. Attendees are known to dress in costume to celebrate their favorite characters, and some celebrities will be in attendance for guests to meet.

📍San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

Mon Sept 5th – Sun Sept 11th

ART | Free Museum Day

📅 Tues Sept 6th

On the first Tuesday of every month, enjoy free admission to some of the most prominent and popular museums around the city. The de Young Museum, Legion of Honor, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Museum of Craft and Design all open their doors to the public gratis once a month. Take this weekday opportunity to explore some of the best art the city has to offer without getting lost in the overwhelming weekend crowds.

📍Various locations

MUSIC | SF Symphony’s Opening Night Gala

📅 Wed Sept 7th

San Francisco Symphony is celebrating the opening of its 105th season with an opening night gala. The gala’s main event is a concert conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas and featuring Renée Fleming and Susan Graham. Buy tickets to the concert alone or enjoy one of four luxurious dinner packages beforehand. Stick around after the concert to enjoy dancing at the gala’s after party.

📍Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA

MUSIC | Opera Ball 2016

📅 Fri Sept 9th

San Francisco Opera will celebrate the opening of the 2016-17 season with a night of cocktails, dining, and dancing at the War Memorial Opera House. Stick around after the gala for a performance of Andrea Chénier conducted by Nicola Luisotti and directed by David McVicar. The performance will be sung in Italian but accompanied by English supertitles.

📍War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA

THEATER | San Francisco Fringe Festival

📅 Fri Sept 9th – Sat Sept 24th

The SF Fringe Festival is bringing over 40 plays and shows to Downtown San Francisco, primarily the Exit Theatre. Enjoy cheap tickets to this marathon of theater throughout the month, including a wide variety of alternative, classical, comedy, cabaret and new theater shows. Browse the full list of plays taking part in the festival here.

📍Various locations

FOOD | Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

📅 Sat Sept 10th – Sun Sept 11th

The 21st Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival will take place in Ghirardelli Square. The weekend will host a chocolate school, live culinary demonstrations, ice cream eating contests, chocolate tasting, and the Ghirardelli Chocolate Lounge featuring wineries, breweries, and spirits. Proceeds from the event will benefit Project Open Hand, a non-profit that provides food for seniors and the critically ill.

📍Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point St, San Francisco, CA

FESTIVAL | Autumn Moon Festival

📅 Sat Sept 10th – Sun Sept 11th

Come out to San Francisco’s Chinatown to enjoy the neighborhood’s Autumn Moon Festival. The festival celebrates the moon, historically associated with water and femininity in Asian traditions. The festival will host two days of entertainment, including parades, live music, children’s activities, and various cultural performances and demonstrations. Additionally, enjoy lots of shopping and food – especially mooncakes.

📍Grant Ave between California & Pacific, San Francisco, CA

Mon Sept 12th – Sun Sept 18th

ART | YBCA Gallery Crawl

📅 Thurs Sept 15th

Every third Thursday of the month, SoMa museums and galleries offer free and discounted admission, while restaurants and bars offer exclusive discounts. Standard participants include the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, Museum of Performance + Design, American Bookbinders Museum, California Historical Society, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, B Restaurant and Bar, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, SFMOMA MuseumStore, and Novela.

📍SoMa, San Francisco, CA

FESTIVAL | Dragon Boat Festival

📅 Sat Sept 17th – Sun Sept 18th

Take a trip over to Lake Merritt in Oakland for the 21st Annual Kaiser Permanente Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival. The main event will feature a fleet of colorful, 40-foot dragon boats racing across the lake to the beat of Chinese drums. Throughout the rest of the weekend, enjoy live performances and shopping at a variety of craft and food vendors.

📍Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

FUN | Comedy Day

📅 Sun Sept 18th

Come out to Sharon Meadow in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park for the 36th annual Comedy Day. The day will feature one stage filled with five hours of comedy, including 40 comedians. The event is 100% free and draws up to 20,000 attendees each year. For a sneak peek, check out video footage from last year’s Comedy Day.

📍Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, 320 Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco, CA

Mon Sept 19th – Sun Sept 25th

LITERATURE | Fall Big Book Sale

📅 Wed Sept 21st – Sun Sept 25th

Friends of the San Francisco Public Library are hosting their annual Fall Big Book Sale at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion. This event is the largest used book sale on the West Coast, featuring 500,000 books and media in over 70 categories. All books and other media will cost three dollars or less, and proceeds will benefit the San Francisco Public Library.

📍Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA

FOOD | WhiskyFest

📅 Fri Sept 23rd

The 10th annual WhiskyFest will take place at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis on September 23rd. The Grand Tasting will run from 6:30 to 9:30pm, with VIP entrance beginning at 5:30, featuring a selection of over 300 whiskies from around the world to taste in addition to a gourmet buffet. Throughout the tasting, attendees can enjoy seminars from whisky experts, too.

📍San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

FOOD | Oktoberfest By The Bay

📅 Fri Sept 23rd – Sun Sept 25th

Oktoberfest by the Bay will return to San Francisco’s Pier 48 on the last weekend of September. The event will feature lots of German beer tasting, delicious food, dancing, and live music headlined by the world renowned, 21-piece Chico Bavarian Band. The event is broken down into four sessions spread out throughout the weekend, including one on Friday, two on Saturday, and one on Sunday.

📍Pier 48, San Francisco, CA

FESTIVAL | Folsom Street Fair

📅 Sun Sept 25th

A uniquely San Francisco event, Folsom Street Fair will bring together leather lovers and fetishists from around the world to the historic Folsom Street. The event will feature over 200 exhibitors, a stage of live music, two dance areas, public play stations, and an erotic artists’ area including a performance stage. Clothing optional.

📍Folsom Street between 7th & 12th, San Francisco, CA

Mon Sept 26th – Fri Sept 30th

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass | © Ann Larie Valentine/Flickr
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass | © Ann Larie Valentine/Flickr

MUSIC | Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

📅 Fri Sept 30th – Sun Oct 2nd

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a free annual music festival taking place at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, specifically in Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley Meadows. The massive event features seven stages hosting over 100 artists, funded by the late Warren Hellman for the past 15 years. The event draws thousands of attendees from all over the Bay Area who seek to treat their ears for three days.

📍Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park, JFK Drive and 25th Avenue, San Francisco, CA