TGW Tour Guide: The San Francisco Annual

If you’re travelling to San Francisco and happen to read The Garb Wire, then not only are you considered an incredibly stylish citizen with impeccable taste, but chances are you’ll care about what’s on our list of things. Anything. All the things. Sure, you can head to AT&T Park to watch a Giants game, or see Haight Ashbury from the top of a double-decker bus, but, as with any place, the real magic starts to happen when you alight the tourist traps and open your eyes to the things that make a place distinctly what it is.

 

There is always a festival on in San Francisco. Many of them are free, too. They are spectacular street parties catering to people who like food, the drank, music, cinema, dancing in the streets, dogs, Santa Claus, riding bikes naked and fans of leather (do read on).

One thing to note is that every printed address in the city ends in San Francisco, rather than a suburb. Take note of cross (X) streets in the below guide and on maps. Neighbourhoods are only spoken aloud, really. Cab drivers or locals may ask you what the nearest cross street is to your destination, rather than a place name, so be prepared, and you can expect to arrive in the right ‘hood on the desired day i.e. not accidentally travelling on a ferry to Alcatraz, when you meant to ride a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Why this list, you ask? After living in the city myself, I can tell you that some of the gold included here is very hard to find out about, especially if you unwittingly plonk yourselves at a Holiday Inn at Fisherman’s Wharf. Don’t ask. Just read the list, and, if you do happen to attend any of the events, we’d love to hear from you.

JANUARY

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NOIR CITY: SAN FRANCISCO FILM NOIR FESTIVAL

The largest of its kind in the United States, the San Francisco Noir Film Festival is dedicated to lovers of noir attitudes and styles in films, books, art and music.

Venue: Castro Theatre X streets: Castro and Market

BAY AREA BREW FESTIVAL

Running since 2012, the Bay Area Brew Festival brings dozens of international and domestic beers together, to the , as well as some of San Francisco’s best food trucks.

Venue: Festival Pavillion, Fort Mason Center  X streets: Marina and Buchanan

FEBRUARY

SF INDIE FEST

The San Francisco Independent Film Festival showcases the best in alternative, independent and subversive cinema from around the world.

Venue: Various. Check website.

SAN FRANCISCO TRIBAL & TEXTILES ARTS SHOW

The San Francisco Tribal and Textile Arts Show brings together an emporium of striking museum-quality masks, textiles, sculptures and jewellery from more than 100 galleries from around the world.

Venue: Festival Pavillion, Fort Mason Center  X streets: Marina and Buchanan

SFBW
image source: sfbeerweek.org

SAN FRANCISCO BEER WEEK

San Francisco Beer Week celebrates the local craft beer legacy (read: obsession) with around 150 events, including beer dinners, cheese & beer pairings, and meet-the-brewer evenings, demonstrations, music and films, from Monterey to Sacramento and beyond. Relish your chance to drink beer for breakfast!

Venue: Various. Check website.

THE UNION-STREET-HAS-A-CRUSH-ON-YOU VALENTINE’S WINE WALK

The Union Street Valentine Wine Walk sees restaurants and merchants in the local area offering wine samples, special treats and hors d’oeuvres, while lovers walk. Have you met yet?

Venue: Union Street, from Gough to Steiner, and Fillmore Street from Union to Lombard. Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016

MOSTLY BRITISH FILM FESTIVAL

The Mostly British Film Festival is a week-long event in one of San Francisco’s most historical, single screen theaters, with a spotlight on works from the UK, Ireland, Australia and South Africa. Possibly not so fascinating if you happen to come from the UK, Ireland, Australia or South Africa.

Venue: Vogue Theatre 3290 Sacramento St X street: Presidio

MARDI GRAS SAN FRANCISCO STYLE

Mardi Gras San Francisco Style begins with a free concert at the Fillmore Plaza, and is then followed by a New Orleans-style parade up Fillmore Street, then a Mardi Gras masquerade ball, with local bars and restaurants participating.

Venue: The Fillmore Music District and West Bay Conference Centre 1290 Fillmore St X street: Geary

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image source: noisepop.com

NOISE POP

Immerse yourself in The City’s cultural swagger. Noise Pop is a premier independent music, film and arts festival, with art gallery shows, a music-themed film festival, and an indie designer trunk-sale.

Venue: On at over 20 different places. Check website for details.

ACADEMY OF FRIENDS ACADEMY AWARDS GALA

The Academy of Friends Academy Awards Gala is a chance to express your red carpet fitness and place yourself in the company of fellow Oscars obsessives. This event is held in a striking Galleria space and benefits the Bay Area AIDS/HIV organisations.

Venue: San Francisco Design Centre Galleria 101 Henry Adams St X street: Alameda

MARCH

 

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE SALON

The San Francisco International Chocolate Salon is a mecca for those with a passion for chocolate. Indulge in artisan, gourmet, premium chocolates from over fifty chocolatiers. To accompany your chocolate desires is a select number of wineries and other non-chocolate (but-where-is-the-fun-in-that?) exhibitors.

Venue: Festival Pavillion, Fort Mason Center  X streets: Marina and Buchanan

MACY’S FLOWER SHOW

For two weeks in late March to early April, the Macy’s Flower Show is a floral tribute to spring. The celebration includes guest speakers and special in-store events.

Venue: Macy’s, Union Square X streets: Geary and Stockton

DANCE ANYWHERE

Dance Anywhere is a worldwide, simultaneous public art performance. People from all over the world, of all ages and artistic capabilities, stop at 12 noon (PST) to dance.

 Venue: San Francisco Conservatory of Dance 301 Eighth St X street: Folsom

APRIL

 

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NORTHERN CALIFORNIA CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL

Now in its 48th year, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival heralds the blooming of cherry blossoms, and is a dazzling display of colour, grace and diversity. Celebrate Japanese American culture to the traditional sounds of koto (harp-like), shakuhachi (bamboo flutes), and shamisen (3 strings), with food, cultural performances, martial arts demonstrations, live music, ikebana (flower arranging), sum-e (brush/ink painting), calligraphy, bonsai (tree dwarfing), origami and doll making.

Venue: Japantown X Streets: Geary and Fillmore

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

The San Francisco International Film Festival is the city’s celebration of the best in contemporary, international cinema, attracting around 70,000 film enthusiasts. It’s an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery featuring over 150 films with more than 100 filmmakers in attendance. The International runs for two weeks every Spring.

Venue: There are many. Click here for a list.

DISPOSABLE FILM FESTIVAL


Described (by an unidentified source) as one of the world’s “coolest” film festivals, the Disposable Film Festival embraces the artistic perspective of disposable video, showing short films made on non-professional equipment like smart phones, pocket cameras, handy cams and other small web devices.

Venue: Castro Theater X streets: Castro and Market

Bouquets to art
image source: sfcitizen.com

BOUQUETS TO ART


Every year at de Young MuseumBouquets to Art celebrates the beautiful combination of flowers and fine art. Admire extravagant floral arrangements from some of California’s top designers. While you’re at Golden Gate Park, plan a visit to the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, and the California Academy of Sciences. Do not do a segway tour, or we’ll need to sever ties permanently.

Venue: de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park X streets: Haight and Stanyan

FOOD & FARM FILM FEST


Only in San Francisco would you find a film festival centred around food, with local chefs even  matching culinary pairings for each day’s films. Proceeds from the Food & Farm Film Fest supports Three Squares, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, offering nutrition and cooking classes in low-income communities.

Venue: Roxie Theater 3117 16th Street, The Mission X street: Valencia 

HOW WEIRD STREET FAIRE

The How Weird Street Faire, billed as a ‘menagerie of attractions’ and a ‘sensational spectacle of art, music and creativity, where thousands of people in colourful costumes from around the world gather together to celebrate peace and have fun’, boasts nine stages of music across seven San Francisco city blocks.

Venue: Downtown, or 37°47’12.4″ N, 122°23’53.7″ W (those guys, so crazy) X streets: Howard and Second

ART MARKET SAN FRANCISCO


Held in late April, Art Market San Francisco is the Bay area’s only contemporary art fair, welcoming over seventy established galleries, and newcomers from across the United States. Art Market San Francisco presents a brilliantly curated selection of contemporary and modern works of art. Pack light?

Venue: Festival Pavillion, Fort Mason Center  X streets: Marina and Buchanan

MAY

 

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CINCO DE MAYO

Cinco de Mayo takes place in the heart of the Mission District, showcasing the very best of Mexican and Latin American cultures with a diverse array of Mexican and Latino foods, music, dance and artistry.

This alcohol-free, family friendly celebration takes place along the Mission’s hip, main thoroughfares, including Valencia St and Delores Park. The event attracts around 10,000 people, empowering the local community through greater awareness and at the same time providing a rich cultural experience for all.

Venue: Valencia St, The Mission 21st and 24th Streets, Delores Park, between 18th and 20th Streets

SAN FRANCISCO OYSTERFEST

Every year, thousands of music and oyster fans gather at the San Francisco Oyster & Music Festival. It’s the largest event of its kind on the West Coast, attracting over two hundred and fifty thousand attendees in 2015.

Oysterfest features two stages of live music, tasty food, and delicious drink, which includes plenty of Guinness, Harp, Kilkenny, premium cocktails, sauvignon blanc, and Jameson Irish Whiskey. Get involved in the oyster shuck and suck competition, ogle the oyster history exhibition, and witness oyster cooking demonstrations, whilst not forgetting about that impressive list of drinks.

Venue: Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park X streets: Haight and Stanyan

Bay to Breakers
image source: zozi.com

BAY TO BREAKERS

Bay to Breakers is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace in the world – it first started in 1912 – and continues to be a major calendar highlight for the people of San Francisco. It begins by the Bay, just blocks from   The Embarcadero (derived from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning “the place to embark”). The 12km race runs west through the city, and finishes at the Great Highway, just on Ocean Beach.

From what I witnessed when we lived there – everyone in the city loves any excuse to dress in costume, so be prepared to see masses of people roaming the streets before, during and after the big race.

Venue: The Embarcadero, Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach. See website for details.

SF MADE WEEK

SFMade is a week-long event that celebrates San Francisco’s vibrant manufacturing sector. Discover locally made products, and the people who make them. Take classes, do factory tours, walk a beer & wine trail (meaning, continue down that path), and explore pop-up shops and sales all over the city.

Venue: Various. Check here for more details.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL

The San Francisco International Arts Festival has a line up of more than seventy theater, dance and music ensembles. Performances by artists from the Bay Area and 16 countries unfold over three action packed weeks. The festival features a major arts exhibition as well as multiple educational, residency and outreach activities.

Venue: Fort Mason Center

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image source: carnavalsanfrancisco.org

CARNAVAL

Now in its 37th year, this is San Francisco’s version of Mardi Gras – Carnaval is one of the city’s largest annual public events, featuring exotic Carnaval dancers with a mixture of Latino, jazz, samba and Caribbean influences. The festive parade on Sunday morning is the true highlight, in a vision of gleaming pageantry.

 Venue: Mission District on Harrison Street X streets:  16th and 24th

JUNE

 

 USF Poster 2016

UNION STREET FESTIVAL

The Union Street Festival turned 40 this year, and in 2016 the event will continue to add exciting elements, with each of the six blocks of the event showcasing Fashion, Technology, Local Exhibits, Crafts and Health & Fitness.

In addition, the Festival will host Craft Beer and Wine Tasting Pavilions.

Every year the festival is held on San Francisco’s stylish Union Street, where historic Victorian terraces have been transformed into hip boutiques, galleries and restaurants.

HAIGHT ASHBURY STREET FAIR

The Haight Ashbury Street Fair is produced by a non-profit organization of the same name, dedicated to preserving the cultural and historical significance of the internationally celebrated Haight Ashbury district.

With the assistance of Harvey Milk, the first street fair launched to much fanfare in 1978. It supports community programs that incorporate the neighborhood’s spirit of diversity, cooperation and humanism.

Wander through arts and crafts, stalls, three musical stages, a Family Area (Children’s Alley) and more.

Venue: The Upper Haight X street: Ashbury (but you knew that, right?)

ANNUAL WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE

The Annual World Naked Bike Ride is a world movement of cyclists riding without the constriction of clothes. The San Francisco edition passes through many popular spots in the city: Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina, along the Embarcadero, Civic Center, the Haight, Castro, and if it’s warm enough, Ocean Beach. It must be seen to be believed. Do you dare?

Venue: Many, check the website or join the Facebook page for more details

Photo Credit: Juan Carlos Betancourt eyeofpassion.com
photo credit: Juan Carlos Betancourt eyeofpassion.com

SAN FRANCISCO LGBT PRIDE PARADE

The San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade celebrates “equality without exception.” The first pride marches were held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in 1970.

The San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade fights for LGBT visibility, dignity, and equality, and is the largest gathering of LGBT people and allies in the United States, attracting over a million (yes: 1,000,000) revellers this year (2015).

Venue: Market Street, city.

SAN FRANCISCO JAZZ FESTIVAL

The San Francisco Jazz Festival is the city’s largest jazz event of the year. The roster boasts more than forty big name performers over just under two weeks (past acts have included Herbie Hancock, Dianne Reeves and Juan De Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars). If want more, SFJAZZ Summerfest continues with free weekly outdoor shows in the South Bay and at Levi’s Plaza off Embarcadero, later in the year.

Venue: Various. Check website for details.

NORTH BEACH FESTIVAL

The North Beach Festival takes place in San Francisco’s ‘Little Italy’, and home to the famed beat generation (Burroughs, Kerouac) The Festival is in the heart of the historic North Beach district including Grant Avenue and Columbus Avenue.

It features over 125 market stalls, 20 gourmet food booths, two stages of live entertainment, Italian street painting, beverage gardens, a kid’s chalk art area and a blessing of the animals (not sure).

Venue: Grant Ave X Street: Broadway or Columbus

JULY

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FILLMORE STREET JAZZ FESTIVAL

The Fillmore Jazz Festival is free. It’s the largest free Jazz festival on the West Coast, and draws over 100,000 visitors every Independence Day weekend. From dawn till dusk, punters can enjoy live music on multiple stages, wander down 12 blocks of art and craft market goodness and enjoy gourmet food and beverages. The Fillmore Jazz Festival is not to be missed.

Venue: Fillmore St X streets: California or Sacramento

FOURTH OF JULY WATERFRONT FESTIVAL

There’s plenty of live entertainment and food stalls on the waterfront by day, and a spectacular fireworks display after dark. Unhelpfully, the summer fog often makes viewing fireworks more of a listening party; you might have better luck viewing the show from across the Bay in Sausalito or other parts of Marin. The Fourth of July Music Festival at starts from 1pm at Pier 39, and ends with fireworks at around 9:30 pm. The main event is presented by the San Francisco Chronicle. Visit the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau for more information.

The Old Cannery, on Leavenworth Street (X Street Columbus), hosts a fourth of July parking lot party like no other and has music all day leading up to fireworks. The BBQ is fired up with tasty hot dogs. Look for the red, white & blue flags and celebrate with an old-fashioned, fun-filled Independence experience at The Old Cannery.

Fourth of July at Ghirardelli Square boasts one of the best vantage points for the fireworks display over San Francisco bay (walk to the front of the square on the north side), plus there’s chocolate in the immediate vicinity as well as a 1950s San Francisco diner experience at Lori’s Diner (open 24 hours).

Venues: Pier 39 or Ghiradelli Square or The Old Cannery

THE RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR

Once heavily involved with Melbourne’s Finders Keepers Design Markets, I was instantly attracted to The Renegade Craft Fair. It appeared like the mothership of independent design, touring the States (and London) throughout the each year.


Founded in 2003, Renegade gathers the best makers of handmade goods from the Bay Area and beyond to create the perfect marketplace for indie-craft culture, showcasing the best and brightest talents from the modern Maker community. It’s a weekend-long celebration of DIY, where shoppers and micro-entrepreneurs can make meaningful connections. Our kind of shopping, where you get to talk to the people who actually make the things you’re buying (you’re buying, you will buy).

The Renegade Craft Fair holds fairs in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Portland (‘put a bird on it’), Seattle and now London. Entry is free.

Venue: Fort Mason Center 2 Marina Boulevard

Roxie Theater. Photo credit: nellyben.com
image source: nellyben.com

SAN FRANCISCO FROZEN FILM FESTIVAL


Screening the year’s best new independent, avant-garde pop culture films, the Frozen Film Festival takes its name from the distinct chill of the San Francisco summer, and takes place at the Roxie Theater, a San Francisco landmark in the Mission district. 3117 16th Street, between Valencia and Guerrero

Venue: Roxie Theater 3117 16th Street X streets: Valencia or Guerreo

AUGUST

 

Outside Lands

 

OUTSIDE LANDS FESTIVAL

The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is San Francisco’s largest major three day music festival which is held at Golden Gate Park.

I was fortunate to attend in 2013. It’s incredible. The scale, the talent, the food and merch offerings are all incredible, dwarf anything we know in Australia. I got to see Sir Paul McCartney, Nile Rogers, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The National and Kurt Vile. It’s also where I first discovered Surfer Blood (thanks OL).

One tip I would pass on is to (buy VIP tickets!) plan in advance exactly how you will get home from Golden Gate Park once the festival ends. Our nights ended very differently – the first saw us chowing down on low-budget Mexican fare in Upper Haight, after trudging the perimeter of Golden Gate Park for over an hour (it’s 1,000 acres, don’t kid yourselves). Though there are buses supposedly shuttling in to the city, we didn’t see many. The next night we confidently sauntered to a close by side street where our pre-booked limousine waited. We asked the driver to take us for pizza in the Lower Haight (class/not class), 3km away. Money well spent if you consider time/fatigue + starvation economics.

Headliners in 2015 included: Elton John, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Wilco and Tame Impala.

Dates for 2016: August 5-7

AMERICAN CRAFT COUNCIL SAN FRANCISCO SHOW

The American Craft Council San Francisco Show is the largest juried (selected by a panel) craft event of its kind, featuring more than 230 of the USA’s top contemporary jewellery, clothing, furniture and home décor artists, set within the festival pavilion at the Fort Mason Centre. Come see pure craft at its finest. Open daily between 10am – 5pm

August 5 – 7, 2016

Venue: Festival Pavillion at Fort Mason Center 2 Marina Boulevard

SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL

The 2016 San Francisco Street Food Festival is presented by Wholefoods. In 2016 the event will celebrate it’s 8th birthday.

This year the festival was held at Forest City’s iconic Pier 70 location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighbourhood.

Savour delights from 100 owner-operated food businesses representing the best of the Bay for a free-to-enter celebration of hard work, well-made food and the vibrant and inclusive food economy that we all dream of.

Venue: Pier 70, Dogpatch neighbourhood X Streets: King St & 2nd Dates: Sat 15th & Sun 16th August, 2016

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J-POP SUMMIT FESTIVAL


The J-Pop Summit Festival is a one-of-a-kind event bringing the latest in Japanese popular culture to San Francisco. In its seventh year, the J-POP extravaganza expanded to Fort Mason Centre (not in town) as well as Union Square (in town) presenting a lively two-day program packed with Japanese pop style music, fashion and fine foods.

Venues: Fort Mason Center and Union Square (behind Macy’s in town)

EAT DRINK SF

While the name is self-explanatory, really, Eat Drink SF is where chefs, wine and spirits are celebrated at an interactive urban food and wine festival, featuring local talent and regional ingredients in a series of tastings, classes, dinners and events. Also celebrated are the very people who enjoy that food, wine and spirits. Hey! That’s you. You might want to pre-arrange a ride back to your lodgings afterwards.

Venue: Fort Mason Center

SEPTEMBER

image source: folsomstreetfair.com
image source: folsomstreetfair.com

FOLSOM STREET FAIR

Billed as “The World’s Biggest Leather Event”, the Folsom Street Fair sees over 400,000 leather enthusiasts spread out (unintended pun) over thirteen city blocks on historic Folsom St, from 8th to 13th Streets in San Francisco.

Leather and fetish players from around the world, come together (whoops) and nestle among the 200 exhibitor booths, chock full of fetish gear and toys – a “pig’s dream”. Check out their massive live stage with top-name indie, electronic and alternative acts (Miami Horror played while we were there, but I was too chicken to go), and two huge dance areas spanning underground EDM, public play stations (I’m guessing not the console variety), and an erotic artists area with a ‘sick and twisted’ performance stage.

It’s one of the few occasions where you can still be legally naked in public, so be sure to have your way with that coat and clothes check service!

Venue: Folsom St, between 8th-13th Streets

GHIRADELLI SQUARE CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company hosts this annual, two-day chocolate celebration. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival hosts over 50 vendors, with a Chocolate & Wine Pavilion,  the Chocolate Earthquake Ice Cream Eating Contest (a festival tradition!), Chocolate School – ‘From Cocoa Bean to Chocolate Bar’, and dessert chef demonstrations. 100% of the profits from this event are donated to San Francisco non-profit, Project Open Hand.

Find out more here

Venue: Ghirardelli Square

ARCHITECTURE AND THE CITY

Presented by AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design, the annual Architecture and the City is one of the USA’s largest architectural festivals of its kind. Taking place in San Francisco every September, the monthlong celebration provides  an excellent opportunity for participants to engage with the local architecture community through tours, film screenings, exhibitions, design lectures, home shows and more.

Venue: City wide

SAN FRANCISCO OPERA IN THE PARK

San Francisco Opera In The Park offers free admission to an opera concert of arias and ensembles by the stars of the San Francisco Opera and Orchestra in a landmark outdoor setting.

Venue: Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park

BAY AREA BLUES FESTIVAL

Two main stages, a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, gourmet food booths and much more are all a part of this annual homage to San Francisco’s blues roots, the Bay Area Blues Festival.

Venue: Historic downtown Martinez, CA (approx 34 miles/55km from San Francisco. Don’t try to walk).

Lê DINER en BLANC A SAN FRANCISCO

Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space.

At the last-minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place.

Though Le Dîner en Blanc is much more than a simple picnic. It is a spontaneous movement that exhibits such values such friendship, elegance, heritage, respect and secrecy… at its very heart. There are no commercial intents, political affiliation or any charitable association. Presented by Handmade Events.

Venue: Revealed close to time & date

OCTOBER

Castro

CASTRO STREET FAIR

The Castro Street Fair takes place in the heart of San Francisco’s Castro District, at the intersection of Market & Castro Streets.

The fair is a community street celebration that was founded by Harvey Milk in 1974. Hundreds of local artists, market stalls and craftspeople line the streets and celebrate the diversity of the neighborhood. Stages with live entertainment and dance stages can be found throughout the fairgrounds. Always the first Sunday in October from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

Venue: The Castro X Streets: Market and Castro

HARDLY STRICTLY BLUEGRASS

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is the great gift of late billionaire investment banker and banjo picker Warren Hellman, who founded the free music festival over ten years ago. He called it his “selfish gift” to San Francisco.

When the festival first started, there were only nine strictly bluegrass bands, but Hardly Strictly Bluegrass has since exploded beyond the banjo to become the city’s biggest free musical extravaganza featuring up to 100 acts, over three full days on six stages, with around 800,000 attendees. Country stars like Rosanne Cash and Emmylou Harris mix with indie-rock artists like Conor Oberst for an eclectic mix.

Imagine our surprise in 2013 to see/listen to the entire Sons of Anarchy soundtrack, complete with Katy Segal on vocals, at the height of our obsession with the show. Seeing Martha Wainwright was also a big highlight.

Venue: Golden Gate Park Dates: October 2, 3 & 4, 2015

TREASURE ISLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL

Sitting in the middle of San Francisco Bay, Treasure Island is hard to get to most of the time, but tickets to Treasure Island Music Festival include complimentary bus pick-up to and from Downtown’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The festival takes place in front of breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, and the lineup leans to indie-rock and electronic dance with this year’s headliners including: DEADMAU5, The National, FKA Twigs, CHURCHES, Big Grams and The War on Drugs. Party boats to the island are also available.

Venue: Treasure Island Dates: October 17 & 18, 2015

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HALLOWEEN IN SAN FRANCISCO

The city officially ceased the riotous festivities that used to take over the Castro at Halloween, but there’s still a thriving scene of drag queens, pagans and Sarah Palin lookalikes strutting their stuff in the neighbourhood. Join San Francisco City Guides’ annual evening Ghost Walk at City Hall – hear about poltergeists and the cemetery once laid where the Civic Center is now. Even City Hall glows a spooky orange. Check out a list of Haunted places in San Francisco and conduct your own scientific research, or join in at one of the million thousand, ‘leventy hundred costume parties around town.

The Garb Wire’s Halloween Party Picks;

SAN FRANCISCO DANCE FILM FESTIVAL

The San Francisco Dance Film Festival is a four-day event featuring the best dance films from around the world – and San Francisco’s own backyard. From feature documentaries on choreographic luminaries to innovative experimental shorts, the festival offers something for dance aficionados and enthusiasts alike.

Venue: Brava Theater Center X Streets: 24th & York

ARTSPAN/SF OPEN STUDIOS

During Artspan/SF Open Studios, some of San Francisco’s most exciting artists open their doors to the public to show their latest projects, open their creative spaces and sell their works

 Venue: Various

NOVEMBER

ILLUMINATE SF

Illuminate SF is the culmination of more than a dozen temporary and permanent eco-friendly light art installations that transform San Francisco nights into a citywide gallery of light.

Venue: Citywide

image source: www.sfhiphopdancefest.com
image source: http://www.sfhiphopdancefest.com

SAN FRANCISCO HIP HOP DANCE FESTIVAL

The San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Festival features live performance by excellent professional dance companies from around the world. In addition, there are master classes taught by some of the visiting artists, along with a VIP/Performer party to celebrate the convergence of artists with the general public.

Venue: Palace of Fine Arts Theater

THE RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR

Founded in 2003, The Renegade Craft Fair gathers the best makers of handmade goods from the Bay Area and beyond to create the perfect marketplace for indie-craft culture, showcasing the best and brightest talents from the modern Maker community. It’s a weekend-long celebration of DIY, where shoppers and micro-entrepreneurs can make meaningful connections. Our kind of shopping, where you get to talk to the people who actually made your new purchase. The fair happens twice a year in San Francisco, in July and November.

The Renegade Craft Fair produces fairs in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, Portland (‘put a bird on it’), Seattle and internationally in London, UK and is free to attend.

Venue: Fort Mason Center

DECEMBER

with contributions from our San Francisco correspondent Kathryn Lefroy

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SANTA CON

When we lived in San Francisco, we didn’t even know what Santa Con was, until a sea of Santas descended upon us at our local park in Duboce Triangle, a place that sits snugly between the Lower Haight and The Castro.

Santa Con officially starts at Union Square in the city, and from there you can choose from over six pub crawl routes, depending on where your favourite bars are. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like for Santa to have a little too much to drink and start seeing Santas everywhere, this pre-Christmas pub crawl is for you.  The main rule is to wear a full santa suit to participate. And acting unlawfully is not encouraged, even in costume.

THE SAN FRANCISCO GAY MAN’S CHORUS 

Each year, the SFGMC get together and perform Broadway, Cabaret and Holiday themed pieces. So, if you love a rousing musical experience by hundreds of grown men dressed as Santa, do yourself a favor and check them out.

Check out the schedule, and buy tickets here

TOM AND JERRY’S CHRISTMAS TREE

You might think you’ve seen a house festively decorated, but trust me, until you’ve marveled at Tom and Jerry’s Christmas extravaganza, you haven’t.

Just do it.

Tom and Jerry’s House 3650 21st St, San Francisco, 94114

Find more information here

BEACH BLANKET BABYLON

The world’s longest running musical revue, Beach Blanket Babylon is loved by locals and tourists alike. While they perform year round, the holiday show is quite a spectacle. Much tinsel! So sparkle! Wow!

You can grab your tickets and learn more about the holiday show time schedule here

GREAT DICKENS CHRISTMAS FAIR AND VICTORIAN HOLIDAY PARTY

Ever wanted to immerse yourself in Dickensian Christmas culture, but not be bothered by all that pesky snow and ice and whatnot? Well, do it in California! Ye Olde London is recreated across three acres of vintage exhibition halls, and you can shop, eat, laugh and make merry, with no worry of the plague, or someone emptying a latrine over your head.

More information available here

HOLIDAY NIGHTS AND SOUNDS

Ride a classic cable car and take a tour of the San Francisco holiday sights.  It ain’t quite as San Francisco as a drag queen dressed at Mrs Claus in 11 inch heels, but it’s good wholesome family fun.

You can buy tickets online here

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