Summer Festival Calendar
Summer festival season is alive and well in the Bay Area. From now until September, there’s an abundance of local festivals to fill up your summer calendar — and they’re all accessible by BART.
Whether you just want to enjoy some food, drinks and music — or soak in some culture and world history — there’s a festival on this list for you. Grab your friends and loved ones and start planning your next local festival pilgrimage.
J U N E
Photo courtesy of Alameda County Fair.
Alameda County Fair (June 15-July 8) at Dublin/Pleasanton
The Alameda County Fair has no shortage of activities and things to check out: concerts, horse racing, shopping, contests, a carnival and an action sports arena, to name a few. It even offers specific festivals within the fairgrounds: ones for craft beer, wine and craft cocktails, all on separate days.
Tickets for the drinks festivals cost $40-$50 and includes admission into the fair and can be bought online. Check the website for dates, hours and further details. Take BART to Dublin/Pleasanton and catch the free WHEELS Fair Shuttle (Route 52) to the Fairgrounds.
LakeFest Oakland (June 23) at 19th St. Oakland
LakeFest is a celebration of the heart and soul of Oakland, from organizers who have been setting up free, public events in the community for the past 10 years. From 11am to 7pm, there will be live music featuring homegrown talent, “Dancing on the Deck” dance lessons, food and beverages, a beer and wine garden, retail and artisan vendors and even Lake Merritt boating opportunities. It is also a kid friendly event, with a Kids Zone and Youth Tech Zone. Admission is free. Take BART to 19th St. Oakland and walk 21 minutes to the Lake Merritt Boating Center.
San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade (June 23-24) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
San Francisco Pride has been an annual celebration since 1972, and it’s the largest gathering of the LGBT community and allies in the nation. There are over 200 parade contingents and contributors, and more than 20 community-run stages and venues. Celebrations begin on Saturday in Civic Center Plaza, and the parade takes place on Sunday morning at 10:30am, kicking off from Beale Street along Market and ends at Market and 8th streets. Keep your eyes peeled for the BARTmobile that will be driving down the parade. There will be plenty of speakers, performers and exhibitors to check out both days. Come celebrate equality with thousands of other attendees at one of the most famous events in San Francisco. Admission is free. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and the festivities will be right there!
J U L Y
WorldOne Festival (July 3-4) at El Cerrito Plaza
The 20th World Music & Circus Festival (July 3-4) will be held at Cerrito Vista Park, with circus performances, hula hooping, musical ensembles, dancers and DJs. Visitors can expect global music such as bluegrass, hip hop jazz fusion and punjabi dance music. On July 3, there will be performances from 4 to 7pm, but July 4 is the main festival day, which will last from 10am to 6pm. There will arts and crafts vendors, various food options, vendor booths by local business and service groups, an art show and sale and a children’s fun area with carnival games, jump houses and more. Admission is free. Take BART to El Cerrito Plaza and walk 22 minutes to Cerrito Vista Park.
Sunday Streets (July 15, Sept. 23) at 16th or 24 St. Mission, Civic Center/UN Plaza
Sunday Streets transforms one to four miles of normally congested streets into car-free spaces where kids can play and adults can stroll and mingle. There are often activities for visitors to do as well. On July 15 there will be Sunday Streets in the Mission from Duboce Ave. to 26th St. and Valencia St. Visitors and residents have a chance to roll, walk or pedal to local institutions like The Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, Puerto Alegre and Dog Eared Books.
On Sept. 23 is Sunday Streets Tenderloin. There are an array of nonprofits to check out — such as the Tenderloin Museum or Larkin Street’s Tenderloin Community Garden. For food, grab a local banh mi or bubble tea in the area.
Both events run from 11am to 4pm and admission to both are free. For Sunday Streets Mission, ride BART to 16th St. Mission or 24th St. Mission and walk one block from the Sunday Street route on Valencia Street. For Sunday Streets Tenderloin, take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and use the Hyde or Larkin Street exits and walk north one or two blocks to Fulton Street.
"Nimely Napla Pan African Dance Company." Photo credit to RJ Muna.
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival (July 6-22) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
The San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival brings together world dance artists to broaden appreciation of world dance and music forms in the Bay Area.
Opening day starts on July 6 with a free Rotunda Dance Series performance at SF City Hall, which will include dance, music and spoken word. The festival will then continue July 14-15 and July 21-22 at the War Memorial Opera House with 21 various dance and music ensembles. Attendees can expect Afro-Cuban, Tahitian, South Indian, Liberian and Korean performances, among others.
World Arts West has put on the festival annually the past 40 years and has a vision to work with artists, organizations and communities to advance cultural understanding and achieve support of the world’s diverse dance traditions.
Tickets range from $25-$45 and can be purchased online. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 6 minutes to City Hall, or 9 minutes to the War Memorial Opera House.
A U G U S T
Photo credit: Ryan Mastro. Photo from Outside Lands’ website.
Outside Lands (August 10-12) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
Outside Lands is the Bay Area’s biggest music festival, with last year’s lineup attracting over 200,000 guests. This year there are two female headliners on the list — Florence + the Machine and Janet Jackson — an Outside Lands first. Other big-name artists are The Weeknd, Beck and Portugal. The Man. Beyond just music, Outside Lands also offers attractions focused around food, wine, beer and art, such as the popular “Wine Lands” and “Chocolate Lands.” There’s even a Barbary Coast tent that hosts comedy sets, in case you need a break from music or just want some good laughs. Jeff Goldblum and Nick Kroll were Barbary Coast performers last year.
Pistahan 2018: Filipino Cultural Festival and Parade (Aug. 11-12) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
The Filipino American Arts Exposition organizes the annual Pistahan Festival and Parade, which is billed as the largest celebration of Filipino Americans in the U.S. On Saturday, there will be a parade down Market St. to 4th St. displaying Filipino culture and traditions with marching bands, cultural dance groups and even Stormtroopers. The festival, which will run on both Saturday and Sunday and will be held at the Yerba Buena Gardens, will have seven pavilions for exploration, discovery and learning -- plus four food contests! The two-day event is expected to draw over 80,000 people over the weekend. Admission is free. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza for the parade. For the festival, take BART to Montgomery Street or Powell Street and walk 10 minutes to 750 Howard St.
Bay Area Blues Fest (Aug. 18-19) at Civic Center/UN Plaza
San Francisco is known for its love of the blues. The 8th annual Polk Street Blues Festival is a two-day event that will feature blues artists on two main stages from 10am to 6pm. There will also be a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, food booths, cafe seating areas and more. Take BART to Civic Center/UN Plaza and walk 17 minutes to Polk St. around California to Post Streets.
S E P T E M B E R
Photo courtesy of Millbrae Art and Wine Festival’s website.
Millbrae Art and Wine Festival (Sept. 1-2) at Millbrae
Come over to Millbrae to partake in the “Last Blast of Summer.” The Millbrae Art and Wine Festival is celebrating its 48th year and will be offering Mardi Gras-style fun during Labor Day weekend. For food and drinks, there will be artisan specialty food, premium wine, the Hops Haven microbrew tasting tent and the Forty Creek Whisky sampling lounge. There will also be “Art Explosion” which is a juried show with 250 professional artists and craft makers.
On the music lineup are 10 bands playing a mix of genres like 70’s disco, hip hop, 80’s pop, 90’s party hits and R&B. There is also a Kids’ Playland that will have a zipline, climbing wall, bungee jump and carnival rides. Hours are 10am to 5pm both days. Take BART to Millbrae and walk three blocks to the festival.
Eat Real Festival (Sept. 14-16) at 12th St. Oakland City Center
Oakland’s Eat Real Festival has been held in Jack London Square for the past 10 years, and combines the vibes of a state fair, a street-food festival and a block party to celebrate some of the area’s best local food.
The nonprofit Food Craft Institute’s premier educational program is Eat Real. Eat Real provides a way for the community to learn where food comes from, who grows it and how to prepare it. All food at the festival costs $10 or less, and incorporates regionally-sourced and sustainably-produced ingredients. Some of the food featured will be BBQ, falafel, salads, noodles, ice cream and more. There will also be 40+ craft beers, wines and cocktails available.
Admission is free. Take BART to 12th St. Oakland City Center and take a free B-shuttle to Jack London Square.
Autumn Moon Festival (Sept. 15-16) at Montgomery Street
The Autumn Moon Festival in San Francisco’s Chinatown celebrates one of the oldest holidays around: the 1,000 year-old Chinese and Vietnamese holiday of honoring the moon’s symbolic relationship with the fall harvest. Visitors and locals can unite at this festival which celebrates the rich heritage of the city’s Chinatown. Chinese performers and booths stocked with Asian arts and crafts will be present. There will be the best of Chinatown’s culinary offerings along with different varieties of mooncakes — which are traditionally made with red bean or lotus seed paste and yolks or salted duck eggs. They are the staple treat of the holiday, so don’t forget to try some.
Admission is free. Take BART To Montgomery Street and walk four blocks north along Montgomery Street. Turn left on California and walk two blocks to Grant Avenue.
A flyer provided by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival (Ends October 28) at Montgomery Street or Powell Street
This festival offers six months of admission-free music, dance and theater performances at the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco. There will be lunchtime and weekend concerts, along with poetic Tuesdays and a Children’s Garden Series, among other events. Some summer shows include performances from the Native Contemporary Arts Festival, the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the LINES Dance Center. The YBG Festival is dedicated to presenting long-term and free arts and cultural programs that reflect the cultures and creativity of the Bay Area. All programs are outdoors, family-friendly and ADA accessible. Admission is free. Take BART to either Montgomery Street or Powell Street and walk 10 minutes to the gardens at 750 Howard St.
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