One of those unique, only-in-San-Francisco type of festivals, the 17th annual “Weirdest Show on Earth” is fun for everyone. At this street fair, dancers, DJs, artists and other performers come together on 10 music stages to celebrate the eclectic beauty of the community.
Dates: May 1
Learn More: Find out more on the How Weird web page
SF’s beloved and unique concert venues, including the Fillmore and the Warfield, host great performances all year long. Top performers this month include Tommy Emmanuel, Violent Femmes, Andrew Bird, Disclosure, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. You will also find several top shows just beyond SF including Rihanna & Travis Scott at the Oracle Arena, Beyonce at Levi’s Stadium, and Janet Jackson at the Concord Pavilion.
Dates: All throughout the month
May 1 in the Bayview/Dogpatch neighborhood marks the second edition of Sunday Streets this year, a monthly festival that rotates among districts. Each of these free events features activities for the whole family, live music, and streets closed to traffic so you can run, bike, and play in the area.
Dates: May 1 – November 13
Kicking off May 1, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is an ongoing event that offers free programming every week through October. Live outdoor performances include music, dance, and theater, and feature both well-known and emerging artists.
Dates: Several, beginning May 1 and continuing through October
Step inside the Hunger Games franchise and Katniss’s journey at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. This unique experience offers hands on, high tech interactive games that allows you to explore the Hunger Games like never before. Each display also offers iconic costumes, props, and set recreations.
Dates: Wednesday – Sunday through June 30
The 59th edition of the longest-running film festival in the Americas—the SF International Film Festival— features an excellent selection of marquee premiers, international winners, documentaries, musical performances, and more. Filmmakers from nearly 50 countries around the world are screening hundreds of films.
Dates: April 21 – May 5
Head over to AT&T Park this May to catch the SF Giants in action. This month, they have fourteen home games in San Francisco. During May, they play host to the Colorado Rockies and the Toronto Blue Jays. Toward the end of the month, both the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres take on the Giants in SF.
Dates: Several in May
Learn More: Find the full schedule this year
Catch one of the last performances of the SF Ballet this season. From May 1 – 8, see a performance of Onegin. All shows are at the War Memorial Opera House near City Hall in the Civic Center neighborhood.
Dates: May 1 – 8
Learn More: Additional details for the SF Ballet in May
Every day of the year, you will find five to six wonderful tours offered by SF City Guides. Supported by the SF Public Library, all walks offer the history or fun facts about a specific district or attraction. You can stroll over the Golden Gate Bridge, walk the historic alleys of Chinatown, or learn more about the history of the Palace of Fine Arts. All walks are free and last for around two hours.
Dates: Every day of the month
Learn More: Find a full schedule with starting locations
In addition to the SF Ballet, the Smuin Ballet also has several performance this month in San Francisco. It includes a piece called Oasis, which is a close look at the scarcity and abundance of water; Return to a Strange Land, a piece by dance master Jiri Kylian; and utto Eccetto il Lavandino (everything but the kitchen sink) by Val Caniparoli. All performances are at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts.
Dates: May 6 – 15
This elegant annual SF Jazz Gala brings together some of the greatest contemporary musicians on the red carpet, in the concert hall, and on the dance floor. Every year, the organization presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to top artists, making this a truly star-studded event.
Date: May 6
Learn More: Get more info from the SF Jazz website
During the Uncorked Wine Festival at Ghirardelli Square, you can sample new local wines, talk to winemakers, and attend a seminar to learn more about the wines on hand. You can also listen to live music, sample local goodies, and watch live cooking demonstrations.
Date: May 7
Learn More: Discover details for this year’s event
Save money and visit one of SF’s top museums during their free admission days. Each month, several museums offer free entrance to their permanent collection. You can see dozens of artifacts at the Asian Art Museum, enjoy fine arts at the de Young Museum, or discover new plants and flowers at the Conservatory of Flowers.
Dates: Several at the beginning of the month
Learn More: Uncover free museum dates for May
Enjoy a full day of music and food at Oysterfest. For one day, you can sample a variety of oysters from top local locations. There will also be a large selection of premium beer and wine for sale. In addition, all day long, this festival offers live music on their main stage. All activities are at Sharon Meadows in Golden Gate Park.
Date: Saturday, May 7
Tickets: Buy your tickets today on Goldstar
Celebrate your mom on Sunday, May 8 in San Francisco. You will find a wide range of things to do to make the day extra special. You can head out on a Champagne Cruise in the morning, do a little shopping in the afternoon and/or enjoy an evening sunset cruise. You can also make you way over to Alcatraz for the day or spend time exploring the Golden Gate Bridge. There are plenty of wonderful places for the entire family to enjoy a lovely brunch or lunch to celebrate.
Date: Sunday, May 8
This month, you will find several performances on the theater calendar. The biggest shows include Kinky Boots and Cinderella. Kinky Boots is at the Golden Gate Theater between May 11 – 22. Cinderella is on stage at the Orpheum Theater from May 3 – 8.
Dates: Several shows between May 3 – 22
Discounted Tickets to Kinky Boots: Find a limited number of discounted tickets to Kinky Boots on Goldstar
Are you short on time for your stay in SF? Do you want to see as much as possible during your visit? If so, then check out my self-guided three-day tour of SF. It offers you the chance to visit as many attractions and see as much as you can in just three days. You will visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Coit Tower. You will also get a chance to explore top districts such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and North Beach.
Dates: Any day in May
Enjoy an evening of high-class food and drink at Pier 70, brought to you by SF’s best bars and restaurants, including Almanac beer, Layer Cake, Piccino, Souvla, The Homestead, and many more. All proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary School.
Date: May 12
All year round, San Francisco’s world-renowned museums host excellent exhibits that you won’t want to miss. May is the last month to enjoy the Oscar de la Renta exhibit at the de Young Fine Arts Museum, “Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia” at the Legion of Honor, and “Hidden Gold: Mining its Meaning in Asian Art” at the Asian Art Museum.
Dates: All throughout the month
Beginning May 14, discover the transformed SF Museum of Modern Art, which has more than doubled in exhibition space and now offers more free galleries to the public. Head downtown to admire how the expansion’s sleek, modern architecture complements the world around it, and check out the exciting new artwork inside. Exhibits you can look forward to include: “Film as Place,” “Learning to Love You More,” “The Campaign for Art,” and many more.
Dates: May 14
Learn More: Visit the SFMOMA website to find out more
Now in its 24th year, the Bay Area’s biggest Taiwanese American celebration is expecting over 10,000 people to come and enjoy delicious traditional food, music, art, and other vibrant parts of Taiwanese culture. Head over to Union Square on Saturday, May 14 from 10am to 6pm for this family-friendly event and connect with this beautiful ethnic group.
Dates: May 14
Learn More: Get festival details from the event website
Race through the city in your most comfortable, yet colorful costume. The Bay to Breakers run is a unique experience with more than a hundred thousand people running in costume from the Bay, on the eastern side, to the Breakers out on the western side of the city. This 12k run is not for the faint of heart though as many people are challenged by the number of hills on this course. It’s fun to run, but also fun to watch along the sidelines.
Date: Sunday, May 15
Head on over to the Minnesota Street Project, the hot new place to be in the Dogpatch district, for an evening of gourmet bites and cocktails. The creative ambience is unbeatable—an innovative art space converted from a block of industrial warehouses, not far from the bustling restaurants, shops, and tasting rooms of 20th Street. The event will benefit SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, dedicated to promoting good planning and good government in the area.
Date: May 19
Learn More: Visit the website for more information
This festival aims to foster a global community of artists who together present a variety of top quality collaborative projects in music, dance, theater, and more. Catch the performances at the Fort Mason center and enjoy the contributions of artists from France, Japan, Lithuania, Ireland, Serbia, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the US.
Dates: May 19 – June 5
Learn More: Click here for event details
Come join thousands of people who love to tinker with, discover, and make things. Try out their inventions—everything from handmade teas to open sourced digital pianos—and find out what they’ve learned in the process. If you are not already one of these innovators, you will surely be inspired to become one!
Dates: May 20 – 22
Learn More: Discover what Maker Faire is all about
This year’s International Beer Festival is once again scheduled to be held at the Festival Pavilion in the Fort Mason Center. This venue offers plenty of space for the dozens of local brewers showcasing their latest brews. Sample as many as like between 7pm and 10pm. This fundraiser supports the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School, which is this school’s only fundraiser of the year. Stop by to help out a great cause as you enjoy some cold beers with your friends.
Date: Saturday, May 21
Each month, SF offers a variety of laugh-out-loud performances, including stand-up at the comedy clubs, BATS Improv, and musical comedies like Beach Blanket Babylon and Foodies, the Musical. This month at Cobb’s Comedy Club and the Punch Line: Tom Papa, Pablo Francisco, Al Madrigal, Dan Cummins, Ari Shaffir, and more.
Dates: All month long
Learn More: Check out the full list of upcoming comedy shows
This annual festival is free to the public and offers live entertainment, specialty foods, arts & crafts, and more. The event brings the community together and represents a diverse group of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures.
Date: Saturday, May 21
One of the most colorful celebrations each year is Carnaval in the Mission District. Every year, it’s held the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day. This two day event celebrates the Latin and South American cultures. Sample traditional foods from Latin and South America, dance salsa on the streets of the Mission, and meet new friends. The popular parade is on Sunday morning and features traditional dress and music from places such as Peru, Nicaragua, Panama, Ecuador, and more.
Dates: May 28 – 29
Spend Memorial Weekend with us and enjoy dozens of fun activities. This weekend, you can head out on the water on a special holiday cruise, attend the Carnaval Festival in the Mission, or attend a theater, symphony, or other cultural performance. You can also honor those that died for our country at one of the Memorial Day Events. Click the link below for a full list of activities for this weekend.
Date: May 28 – 30
Head over to Davies Symphony Hall for some amazing performances this month. The New York Philharmonic performs on May 6 & 7. MTT and Susan Graham present Brahms on May 19 & 22. The month wraps up with Bernstein’s On the Town: A Semi-Staged Event on May 25 – 29.
Dates: Several in May