Northern California's hilly San Francisco is well known for its iconic bridge, foggy weather, and barking Pier 39 sea lions. Each year from May through October, it's also home to dozens of festivals and street fairs celebrating everything from steampunk art to Zimbabwean dance styles. If you're looking for San Francisco events to enjoy throughout the summer, plan your trip around one or two of these rollicking seasonal street parties.
This day-long, steampunk-themed festival kicks off with celebrations of music and art, including huge interactive installations with ample wow factors. You get to enjoy music on several stages, circus acts like aerialists and fire performers, art cars, and mutant vehicles fashioned in a steampunk aesthetic. Kids are welcome with adult chaperones.
Alameda Spring Festival
Alameda's Park Street shuts down annually for this Bay Area Mother's Day tradition. The Spring Festival offers plenty of family fun, including arts and crafts, face painting, bounce houses, designated areas just for kids, live music, food vendors, and other entertainment.
Head to San Fran's Mission neighborhood for a two-day celebration of the city's diversity. Carnaval features celebratory dance and music traditions from cultures across the world, with skilled performances showcasing Brazilian-style samba, Mexican Aztec dance, Caribbean dance, Polynesian dance, African drummers, Japanese drummers, and more.
Coinciding with Pride month, this highly lauded international film festival is the biggest and most recognized LGBTQ film exhibition event around the globe. Founded in 1977, this 11-day cinema festival takes place each year at the Castro Theatre and other venues across the city.
The LGBTQ community and allies gather for a weekend in June each year for one of the country's biggest pride celebrations: SF Pride. The event includes music, dance, exhibitors, food, community-run stages, and a huge parade and march, which annually draws around 50,000 participants and more than 200 contingents from Northern California and beyond.
Stern Grove Festival
A San Fran summer favorite, this summer-long festival has been a city tradition for more than 80 years. Every Sunday from June through the end of August, you can visit the serene Sigmund Stern Grove to enjoy a new lineup of free live music in a natural setting.
Fillmore Jazz Festival
Jazz enthusiasts from across the country trek to San Francisco each year to attend Fillmore Jazz Fest. Enjoy music on multiple stages, as well as craft and food vendors, at this free weekend event celebrating a blend of art and soul. Joined by 100,000 attendees, Fillmore locals are especially proud of this event. For resident Wardell Walters, "The street's musical history is reinvigorated and jazz reverberates throughout the city."
Ethnic Dance Festival
If you missed Carnaval in June, head to the War Memorial Opera House in July for the Ethnic Dance Festival. Performances feature accomplished dancers from all over the world, including Brazil, China, Cuba, Hawaii, India, the Philippines, and Zimbabwe as well as many other countries and cultures.
Berkeley Kite Festival
Pack up the family, and travel to the Berkeley Marina for this family-friendly weekend kite festival that delights both children and adults. This vibrant spectacle has been around for more than 30 years and includes incredible kite shows, plus popular events like kite making and a candy drop for kids.
This Golden Gate Park music festival draws huge crowds each year as an all-ages celebration of music, food, art, and comedy with a big-name line up. Between acts, head to the Market Place to browse handmade goods and merchandise from local vendors.
Eat Drink SF
A premier Bay Area food and drink festival, this annual event is a foodie's dream come true. Dining guide and food newsletter Eater calls it "a summer weekend full of eating, drinking, and education from some of the city's top talent." Go hungry and ready to enjoy grand tastings, dinners, seminars, and smaller tasting activities.
Shakespeare in the Park
Each summer, the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents theater-loving crowds with free productions of Shakespeare in the Park at venues across four California cities. The tour ends in San Fran with five weekends of performances that always bring down the house.
Eat Real Fest
This Oakland food fest was created with a focus on sustainable and affordable eats. A Food Craft Institute educational program, the free, three-day festival features vendors, artisan food and drinks, and demos for all to enjoy.
Keep your eye on the skies at this three-day event that attracts more than a million people to the city's Marina Green waterfront each year. Fleet Week's air show features the Blue Angels and Canadian Snowbirds, plus community events, educational programs, and a breathtaking parade of military and civilian ships.
If you're looking for fun San Francisco events featuring delicious food, awesome music, and splendid communities, then one or all of the city's summer festivals and street fairs should make this year's travel list.
What San Francisco festival are you most looking forward to? Be sure to tag us in your best SF summer fun photos on Instagram.