San Francisco might not have the typical summer – there’s usually more fog than sun – but that doesn’t stop the City by the Bay from getting into the spirit of the season with plenty of great events and festivals that bring people together. Whether you’re traveling solo or with some friends, the HI San Francisco hostels are a good base from which you can experience the fun, and sometimes crazy, festivities in the city. Take a look at five of our favorites that are worth checking out while you’re in town.
Stern Grove Festival
Summer is music festival season, and if you don’t have the time or the funds to attend one of the big name ones, the next best thing is to enjoy the free concerts in Sigmund Stern Grove. The park in the Sunset neighborhood hosts Sunday concerts from June to August featuring popular national acts as well as up-and-coming local performers, and music-loving locals flock here for a lovely afternoon out with picnic blankets and snacks.
When: June – August
On the other hand, if you do want to experience and splurge on the peak of summer revelry, then Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park is the way to go. With a stellar line-up of some of the biggest acts in the world, plus comedy, art, and food and wine, the three-day festival offers up a veritable feast for the senses that’s totally worth breaking the bank for at least once. Every year people from all over the world come to experience the magic of Outside Lands and it ends up being like a giant party with thousands of new friends.
San Francisco Pride
As America’s capital of LGBTQ culture, San Francisco knows how to throw the mother of all Pride festivals, and it seems like each year the celebration of queer culture and diversity outdoes the previous one. The two-day affair, which attracts people from all over the state and the world, is a colorful cacophony of parades, concerts, and parties in honor of the LGBTQ community. The parades are truly a sight to behold, and whether it’s your first or fiftieth time at Pride, you’ll find it hard not to get swept away in the sheer joy of this celebration.
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
The “hardly strictly” in this festival’s name refers to the fact that there is more than just bluegrass to be heard during this weekend in Golden Gate Park. A bit of an institution in San Francisco, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is a free concert series held over three days each fall – when San Francisco’s weather finally feels like summer -- featuring such a variety of acts that it really isn’t a stretch to say there’s something for everyone. Stake out a spot early, as the park tends to fill up fast each day, and enjoy the sounds of San Francisco from local acts and those from further afield performing on one of seven stages set up in the iconic park.
Giants Baseball Game
If you’ve been yearning for someone to take you out to the ball game, treat yourself to an afternoon or evening at AT&T Park, where the San Francisco Giants baseball team plays its home games. The stadium itself has beautiful views of the Bay Bridge and the city, and it’s always exciting to root for the home team with the local crowd. Get yourself a hot dog and a beer and you’ve got all the right trimmings to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.
When: Visit the San Francisco Giants website for details on individual games
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