Best San Francisco Bay Area
Events, Weekends & Festivals 2014

We limit our top picks to only best, most special events in the SF Bay area in 2014, selected especially for local insiders. These events are organized by month & regularly updated including local Pacific Coast time. Many are unique world-class affairs. A few are just a lot of local fun. We use this calendar ourselves to avoid accidentally missing something fabulous.

DECEMBER 2014 — SF Bay Area Christmas Events

One of dozens of good shows at Dickens Fair

One of dozens of entertaining shows at Dickens Fair.  These fellows were actually very good!

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Cow Palace, Daly City
5 Weekends, Saturdays & Sundays, 11/22/14 – 12/21/14, 10 am-7 pm
Admission $25-30/adult, Parking $10/car, Twilight tickets after 4 pm are $13.
Join the largest cast (over 700 local hobbyists) of costumed Dickensian characters in the world who do an excellent job recreating Charles Dickens’ Victorian London Town. The show fills more than 3 acres and feels even bigger. There is a wide variety of things to do (food, shows, shops, caroling, street performers, wandering the town, etc.) that will get you in the mood for Christmas. See details.

Holiday Ice Rinks in the City, Union Square & Embarcadero Center
Rent some skates or just enjoy the holiday atmosphere. Both are surrounded by festive stores and decorations. See details below.
Embarcadero Center Ice Rink – The “largest outdoor rink in San Francisco”
Union Square Ice Rink – A holiday tradition for seven years. Open through January 19th. Special events include “Drag Queens on Ice”

Breeding Sea Lions Tour, Ano Nuevo State Park, 27 miles south of Half Moon Bay
12/15/14 – 3/31/15,  Admission
See 2.5 ton, 16 foot long elephant seal bulls skirmish for dominance during breeding season. Thousands of seals and sea lions gather for a 3-month orgy of fighting, mating, and birthing.  We’re going early this year (12/20).  This naturalist-led tour of the world’s largest mainland breeding colony for the northern elephant seal is about 2.5 hours and 3 miles long. Advance reservations recommended. See more details.

Christmas Shopping Union Square and other Top Shopping Centers
Month of December, Free
We usually skip the biggest crowds on Thanksgiving weekend and pick some quieter weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas to wander around. This is the best time of year to see Union Square … when you can enjoy festive store decorations, the big Christmas tree, watching ice skating, hearing opera singers on Maiden Lane, Macy’s Christmas windows and very brisk shopping action. We’ve enjoyed a Christmas brunch overlooking Union Square … but get there early to avoid crowds.

Ice skating rink on Union Square. A giant Christmas tree and big palm trees are on the other (west) half of the Square.

Ice skating rink on Union Square. A giant Christmas tree and big palm trees are on the other (west) half of the Square.

Christmas carols by an opera-trained performer at Maiden Lane, just east of Union Square

Christmas carols by an opera-trained performer at Maiden Lane, just east of Union Square



For more Christmas shopping hike from Union Square down Powell St, along the cable car line, to Market St. At Market/Powell is the third largest urban shopping center in the U.S., Westfield San Francisco Centre with over 200 stores.

Here is a list showing the Top Shopping Centers in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It’s always fun to visit them during Christmas time even if you don’t buy anything.  We like Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto  and Santana Row in San Jose

Gray Whale Migration Season, Numerous locations along the Pacific coast
12/20/14 – 5/31/15, Paid boat tours or Free from shore
Watch some 20,000 gray whales migrating from the Arctic to Baja, Mexico.  Tour boats leave San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Moss Landing and Monterey during this season.  Or, watch them from on shore.  See more details.

Christmas Day  Thursday 12/25/14
For plant lovers, here’s a unique idea: the beautiful 55-acre San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is free to non-residents all day Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

New Years Eve Dance PartyUSS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, Alameda
Wednesday 12/31/14, 7:30 pm-1 am, Admission
There are three dance floors on the enclosed, heated hangar decks of this famous World War II aircraft carrier which is now a National Historic Landmark. This is a big, fun event that thousands attend. It is run by and proceeds benefit the USS Hornet Museum.

Month of December- Other

  • Fisherman’s Wharf is good to check out this time of year because it’s not overloaded with tourists.  Pier 39 has some good 50% off deals for locals Dec-January including parking.
  • If you live reasonably near Foster City here are several live performances of holiday classics to check out.   These will be more convenient and less expensive for the kids.
  • Sports  All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • San Francisco 49ers regular season games:  Sat 12/20/14 1:30 pm vs Chargers; Sun 1:25 pm vs Cardinals. See 2014 schedule.
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks
  • College Sports: We are lucky to have an outstanding college scene.  Part of that is the chance to see a wide variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo College.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations.  Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often they are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

JANUARY 2015 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

January is a great time of the year for watching football on TV. However the mild weather around San Francisco Bay also makes it a excellent time to visit sights that are crowded during other months; check out some of the links on this hiddenSF site for ideas. Personally, we pick and choose the best of both options!

January Holidays

  • New Years Day, Thu 1/1/15
  • Martin Luther King Day, Mon 1/19/15
Overlooking Mavericks (right) and Pillar Point (left).

Overlooking Mavericks (right) and Pillar Point (left).

Titans of Mavericks surf competition,  Pillar Point Harbor
Sometime between 1/1/15 – 3/31/15
When the waves are right, on 48 hour notice sometime between 1/1/15 and 3/31/15, the top 24 surfers in the world will tackle some of the biggest most dangerous waves in the world (30- 50 feet high) here in a one day event. However, the exact date is unknown since the competitors must wait for the surf to be massive. Due to environmental concerns spectators are no longer able to personally watch the surfers (I watch online for a closer view anyway).


Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show Cow Palace, Daly City
Sat-Sun 1/25/15-1/26/15, 8 am-5 pm, Admission
If you like dogs or want a dog don’t miss this big show. This is the oldest major dog event in Northern California and one of the most prestigious in the U.S. There are over 1200 dogs of 136 different breeds. See, talk with breeders, and often even pet your favorites. We like wandering around and seeing dogs up close & personal more than we enjoy just watching the judging. Check details for prices and event times.

By the way, if you already have a dog check out our extensive page on best dog walks & parks in the SF Bay area. It is good for just people walking as well.

PAST Information is shown below (note: portions are updated)



past JANUARY 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

College Football Bowls (1st week of January): * Wed 1/1/14, 1:40 pm PST, Rose Bowl, Stanford vs Michigan * Thu 1/2/14, 5:30 pm PST, Sugar Bowl, Alabama vs Oklahoma … Alabama was ranked #1 almost all year. * Fri 1/3/14, 5:00 pm PST, Orange Bowl, Clemson vs Ohio State … two of the highest scoring offenses. * Fri 1/3/14, 4:30 pm PST, Cotton Bowl, Missouri vs Oklahoma State * Mon 1/6/14, 5:30 pm PST, BCS National Championship, #1 Florida State vs #2 Auburn * College Football Bowl Schedule. Many other smaller Bowl games are played in December and January as well. Note that times shown are Eastern Standard Time. Pacific Standard Time (PST) is three hours earlier.

NFL Playoff Schedule (weekends all January) * Sun 1/5/14, 1:40 pm PST, 49ers vs Packers (away)

Wild Card Weekend  (schedule)Sat & Sun, Jan. 4-5
Divisional RoundSat & Sun, Jan. 11-12
AFC & NFC Conference ChampionshipsSunday, Jan. 19
Super Bowl XLVIIISunday, Feb. 2, 3:20 pm PST

Of course exactly who plays depends on the winners each week. Check the NFL Playoff Picture for the latest projected playoff teams.

Month of January- Other

  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • San Francisco 49ers NFC  Playoffs * Sun 1/5/14, 1:40 pm PST, 49ers vs Packers (away)
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks.
  • College Sports: We are lucky to have an outstanding college scene.  You can see a variety of different sports up close and at low cost. Often the teams are of championship calibre. We like StanfordCal BerkeleySan Jose State and San Mateo Jr. College.
  • College Football: Here is the College Football Bowl Schedule including several in December. Note that times shown are Eastern Standard Time. Pacific Standard Time (PST) is three hours earlier. * Wed 1/1/14 2:00 pm PST, Rose Bowl, #5 Stanford vs #4 Michigan State
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see great museums for free.

past FEBRUARY 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

SF Giants FREE Annual Fanfest Sat 2/1/14, 10 am-3 pm PST,  AT&T Park & Pier 48, Free Get a picture with the World Series trophies, play catch on the ball field, take a self-guided tour of the clubhouse & press box, see the players answer questions up close, and more. Autographs are available too if you get there early and are willing to wait in long, long lines. See more details. Another fun free thing to do year-round, even when there is no game, is the SF Giants Children’s Play Area. Super Bowl Sunday 2014 Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday, 2/2/14, 3:20 pm PST More on recent playoff games February Holidays

  • Chinese New Year, Friday 2/19/15 (see related events below)
  • Lincoln’s Birthday, Wednesday 2/12/14
  • Valentines Day, Friday 2/14/14 SF heart
  • Presidents Day, Monday 2/17/14
  • More Holidays

Chinese New Year Events Several other events are also held to celebrate the Chinese New Year in Chinatown. For details check this calendar.

  • Flower Market Fair:  Sat-Sun 1/25/14-1/26/14
  • Chinese New Year Day: Friday 1/31/14  … no public events are scheduled
  • Miss Chinatown Pageant:  Sat 2/8/14, 7:30 pm
  • Chinese New Year Parade:  Sat 2/15/14, 5:15 pm-8:00 pm.
  • Chinatown Community Street Fair:  Sat-Sun 2/15/14-2/16/14

Chinese New Year Parade Sat 2/15/14, 5:15 pm-8:00 pm,  Chinatown along Kearny St, Free Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year). This parade is a historical tradition starting in the 1860s and has been named one of the top ten Parades in the world. Now some 500,000 spectators watch it in person along with another 3 million TV viewers (that’s us because it is almost always cold & rainy). Getting there by 4:30 pm (it is crowded) via public transportation (parking is tough) is recommended. See www.chineseparade.com for details.

Chinatown Street Fair Sat 2/15/14 10 am-4 pm, Sun 2/16/14 9 am-5 pm, Free The street fair will be located along Grant Ave from Broadway to California St. It was not terrifically exciting last year. It will also on the following cross streets — Pacific Ave, Jackson St, Washington St — between Stockton and Kearny St. See Chinatown map.

Month of February- Other

  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • Super Bowl Sunday Sun 2/2/2014 3:30 pm PST kickoff
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks.
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo Jr. College.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see some great museums for free.

past MARCH 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

Special Things To Do Outdoors this March This is an excellent month for locals to check out local attractions. Weather is typically outstanding as is the blooming flora. While busy traffic & crowds are not nearly as bad (probably because of fewer tourists) as at other times of year.

Daylight Savings Time Begins Sun 3/9/14, San Francisco Bay Area.  At 2:00 am turn your clocks forward to 3:00 am.

March Holidays:

  • St Patricks Day’s Day, Mon 3/17/14.   This is always a big weekend for SF’s Irish pubs, even if you are not Irish!
  • More Holidays

Month of March- Other

  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • Pro Sports: See San Francisco GiantsGolden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks.
  • March Madness (college basketball playoffs on TV) starts 3/19/14 and ends with the Final 4 playing 4/5/14 and the Championship Game on 4/7/14.   See details.
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo Jr. College.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see some great museums for free.

past APRIL 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

April Holidays

Filoli Gardens in the Spring Open year round, Woodside, CA, $20 admission If you like flowers you won’t want to miss one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S.  See our Filoli page and pictures for details. (note: closed Easter Sunday).

Picnic at the Presidio Sundays April-October, 11 am – 4 pm, Main Parade Ground, Main Post, Presidio of SF This is another San Francisco treat to do some lazy Sunday afternoon.  Off the Grid’s food vendors gather in this great venue (weather, view, grass, food) along with hundreds of locals .  See details.

Ladies PGA Golf Tournament Thu 4/24/14-Sun 4/27/14, Lake Merced Golf Club, Daly City, Admission The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic features 120 LPGA players, as well as players from Taiwan. 40,000-70,000 spectations are expected. See more details.

B25 Bomber

B25 Bomber such as flown in the famous 1942 Doolittle Raid



Dream Machines Show
Sun 4/27/14, 10 am-4 pm,  Half Moon Bay Airport, Admission See an amazing array of old planes, cars, and machines in a fun and funky setting.
Month of April – Other

San Francisco Giants ball park

The SF Giants Ball Park
  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • Pro Sports: See San Francisco GiantsGolden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks.
  • The Giants regular season home opener, against the Arizona Diamondbacks, is set for 1:35 pm,Tuesday, April 8, 2014.
  • March Madness (college basketball playoffs on TV):  The Final 4 play on  4/5/14 and the Championship Game plays on 4/7/14.  See details.
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  The sunken diamond at Stanford is one of the best places to watch college baseball in the country. Check schedules for baseball or all sports. We also like Cal Berkeley, and San Mateo Jr. College sports.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see some great museums for free.

 

past MAY 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

May Holidays

  • Cinco De Mayo, Monday 5/5/14
  • Mothers Day,  Sunday 5/11/14
  • More Holidays

Cinco De Mayo Festival, San Francisco Sat 5/3/14, 10 am-6 pm, Dolores Park (Dolores St/18th St) SF, Free. This is an good time to check out Dolores Park, one of SF’s favorites, and Castro Street. See details. The actual Cinco De Mayo day this year is Monday,  5/5/14.  It commemorates the anniversary of an early victory by Mexican forces over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

Polynesian Festival, Leo Ryan Park Amphitheater, 650 Shell Blvd/Hillsdale., Foster City CA
Sat 5/3/14, 10 am – 5 pm, FREE admission
Unique day of activities celebrating the Polynesian culture.  There will be award-winning professional Polynesian dance performances, food booths, arts and crafts booths and even outrigger canoe rides.  See more.

Picnic at the Presidio Sundays April-October, 11 am – 4 pm, Main Parade Ground, Main Post, Presidio of SF This is another San Francisco treat to do some lazy Sunday afternoon.  Off the Grid’s food vendors gather in this great venue (weather, view, grass, food) along with hundreds of locals .  See details.

Filoli Gardens in the Spring Open year round, Woodside, CA, $20 admission If you like flowers you won’t want to miss one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S.  See our Filoli page and pictures for details.  Mothers Day, Sun 5/11/14

Amgen Tour of California Bike Race Sun-Wed, 5/11/14 – 5/14/14 Tour of California is the biggest professional bicycle race in America and is the world class U.S. version of Tour de France. See more information. If you like to ride a bike yourself also see our best SF Bay bike tours.

Amgen Tour of California Bike Race – Stage 3, San Jose Tuesday 5/13/14, San Jose, Free The Tour is an eight day eight stage race and San Jose is the start of stage 3. See more details.

IOM Model Boat Races - National Championships in Foster City

IOM Model Boat Races. National Championships in Foster City.

Model Boats Regatta (National IOM National Championship), Central Lake, Foster City
Thu-Sun 5/15/14-5/18/14, FREE admission. National championship races for International One Meter class radio controlled model boats.  Over 50 contestants expected.  Spectators welcome.  See more details including exact race times.

Bay to Breakers Race, San Francisco Sun 5/18/14, from Bay Bridge to Golden Gate Park Breakers, watch Free
The Bay to Breakers 12k run and walk is probably the biggest foot race in the world and includes everyone from world-class runners to fat old nude walkers. If you don’t want to run in it, like we and probably half of the SF Bay Area population has done, then just go to Golden Gate Park to watch the finish and join the festivities held afterwards. See details.

Caledonia Street Festival, Sausalito
Sat 5/25/14, 11 am-5 pm, Caledonia Street/Johnson Street, Sausalito, Free.
A Sausalito Festival featuring local art and music.

San Francisco Carnaval, Mission District, San Francisco
Sat-Sun, 5/24/14 – 5/25/14, Free
A big, hot, crowded Latin American/Caribbean Street Parade and Festival in the Mission District.

Memorial Day Mon 5/26/14

World Cup Soccer Warmup Game, Candlestick Park
Tue 5/27/14, 7 pm, Admission
The U.S. Men’s National Team has only played once before in San Francisco.  This is the first in three send-off games before the team heads for Brazil  to start the World Cup in mid-June.  See more.

Foster City Arts & Wine Festival, Leo Ryan Park, 650 Shell Blvd/Hillsdale, Foster City
Fri, 5/30/14, 5 pm – 11 pm;  Sat, 5/31/14, 10 am – 11 pm; Sun, 6/1/14, 10 am – 7 pm.
FREE admission.
Big annual Arts & Wine Festival with an old fashioned carnival, live music entertainment Saturday & Sunday, and over 150 booths.  More than 50,000 attendees are expected.  See more.

Picnic at the Presidio
Sundays, April-October, 11 am – 4 pm
Main Parade Ground, Main Post, Presidio of SF
This is another San Francisco treat to do some lazy Sunday afternoon.  Off the Grid’s food vendors gather in this great venue (weather, view, grass, food) along with hundreds of locals .  See details.

Filoli Gardens in the Spring Open year round, Woodside, CA, $20 admission
If you like flowers you won’t want to miss one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S.  See our Filoli page and pictures for details. 

Month of May – Other

San Francisco Giants ball park
   The SF Giants Ball Park
  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • Pro Sports: See San Francisco Giants
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  The sunken diamond at Stanford is one of the best places to watch college baseball in the country. Check schedules for baseball or for all Stanford sports. We also like Cal Berkeley, and San Mateo Jr. College sports.
  • FREE Outdoor Performances:  There are several summer performances at Yerba Buena Gardens (various days of the week) and Stern Grove (Sundays).
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days: Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see some great museums for free.

past JUNE 2014 — SF Bay Area Events

Arts & Wine Festival, Leo Ryan Park, 650 Shell Blvd/Hillsdale, Foster City
Fri, 5/30/14, 5 pm – 11 pm;  Sat, 5/31/14, 10 am – 11 pm; Sun, 6/1/14, 10 am – 7 pm.
FREE admission.
A big local family-oriented event  which includes a Carnival, Festival, and Live Entertainment.  Over 150 booths, 20 different carnival rides and 40,000 attendees expected.   See more.

2014 Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon Marina Blvd/Scott, SF
Sun 7:30 am-12 pm, 6/1/14, Free to spectators
Join 20,000 spectators to watch 2,000 of the world’s top triathletes compete at Marina Green Park (see area map) this weekend. At 7:30 am 2000 triathletes will jump in at Alcatraz Island for a 1.5-mile swim. At 8:00 am the first swimmers will arrive at Marina Green where they start a 18-mile bike ride. The first cyclist will get back to Marina Green at 8:45 am and start an 8-mile run. The first runner will finish at Marina Green at 9:30 am; the remaining 1,999 athletes will straggle in for hours. Awards are at 11:30 am at the free Fitness Festival & Expo which is open from 6:30 am-2:30 pm (also open Saturday 11 am-6 pm). See more details.

Jazz on the Hill, San Mateo Jr College, San Mateo, CA.
Saturday 6/7/14 11 am- 6 pm, Free
A day-long community event sponsored by the jazz station KCSM 91.1 FM and San Mateo Jr College.  It’s free, the setting is beautiful, and there will be plenty of good food by local vendors.  Last year over 5000 attended.  See more details.

Golden Gate Park Band Festival, Music Concourse, Golden Gate Park
Sat-Sun, 6/7/14-6/8/14, 11 am – 5 pm, Free
11 different bands will be playing at the Music Concourse between de Young Museum and the Academy of Sciences.  Drop by as you enjoy the many other things to do in Golden Gate Park.  See more details.

Dragon Boat Races Festival
Foster City Lagoon, Leo Ryan Park, 650 Shell Blvd / Hillsdale Blvd, Foster City, CA
Sun 6/8/14, 9 am – 4 pm.  Free
Dragon boats are  4 foot long canoes similar to those raced over 2400 years ago in ancient Chinese rituals. Each canoe seats up to 20 paddlers and also has a steersperson and a drummer who beats out the paddling rhythm.   The Festival includes several races, food, music, dancing by lions & dragons, and the opportunity for visitors to take a dragon boat ride or paddling lesson.  See more details.

June Holidays

Stern Grove — FREE Sunday Concerts, Stern Grove at 19th Ave/Sloat Blvd
Playing 10 consecutive Sundays from 6/22/14-8/24/14, 2 pm, Free
World-class musicians, including the SF Symphony/Ballet/Opera, perform free outdoor concerts at Stern Grove every summer. Come early to get a seat. See Stern Grove Festival for schedule & details.

San Francisco Pride Celebration & Parade, Civic Center
Sat-Sun 6/28/14-6/29/14, Free
One of the oldest, biggest, and most famous lesbian gay bisexual transgender events in the world. See details.

Picnic at the Presidio, Main Parade Ground, Main Post, Presidio of SF
Sundays, April-October, 11 am – 4 pm, Free
This is another San Francisco treat to do some lazy Sunday afternoon.  Off the Grid’s food vendors gather in this great venue (weather, view, grass, food) along with hundreds of locals .  See details.

Filoli Gardens, Woodside, CA
Open year round, $20 admission
If you like flowers you won’t want to miss one of the best botanical gardens in the U.S.  See our Filoli page and pictures for details. 

Month of June – Other

San Francisco Giants ball park

The SF Giants Ball Park
  • Sports All month, at many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • Pro Sports: See San Francisco Giants.
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  The sunken diamond at Stanford is one of the best places to watch college baseball in the country. Check schedules for baseball or all sports. We also like Cal Berkeley, and San Mateo Jr. College sports.
  • FREE Outdoor Performances:  There are several summer performances at Yerba Buena Gardens (various days of the week), Stern Grove (Sundays) and Golden Gate Park Band Shell (Sundays).
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days: Several San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. They are usually crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see some great museums for free.

past JULY 2014 — SF Bay Area Events

World Cup Soccer – USA vs Belgium
Tuesday 7/1/14, 1:00 pm PDT.
This is the highest level which the USA men’s team has ever reached in World Cup soccer competition.  If you don’t have ABC TV or ESPN on cable the match can be seen free online at Univision (in Spanish) and heard on the radio at 860 AM (in English).  See schedule.

Fourth of July Festivities, San Francisco Bay Area
Fri-Sun 7/4/14-7/6/14, Free
There are always big festivities including fireworks by Marina Green and Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Expect large crowds, traffic, and sometimes fog. On the Peninsula, the fireworks at Foster City is one of the top displays.  See more about fireworks & festivities around the Bay.

Hollister Motorcycle Rally & Music Street Festival, Hollister, CA
Fri-Sun 7/4/14-7/6/14, Free
Celebrate the “birth of the American biker” as exaggerated in Marlon Brando’s movie “The Wild Ones.” This is one of the biggest rallys in California; about 150,000 attendees in this town of 35,000.   See more.

Opera at the Ballpark, AT&T SF Giants Ballpark, SF
Saturday 7/5/14, 8 pm, Free
Verdi’s La Traviata will be transmitted live via HD video simulcast from the SF Opera House onto a big scoreboard screen.  Sit on the baseball field or in the stands.  Enjoy hot dogs and garlic fries.  Gates open at 6:30 pm for registered fans and 7:00 pm for general entry.  See more.

World Cup Soccer World Championship – Germany vs Argentina,  7/13/14, 12:00 noon PDT.
World championships are always fun to watch.  Most of rest of the world will be watching this one.  It shows in the U.S. on ABC TV or ESPN cable (but no free Internet video seems to be available).  Radio is at 860 AM (in English).  See World Cup schedule.

Berkeley Kite Festival, Berkeley Marina (Caesar Chavez Park)
Sat-Sun 7/26/14 -7/27/14, Free (note: parking $15)
Over 25,000 kite fanatics attend this event every year. Features great winds, spectacular views, and a three-ring circle of kiting craziness. See details.

Stern Grove — FREE Sunday Concerts, Stern Grove at 19th Ave/Sloat Blvd
Playing 10 consecutive Sundays from 6/22/14-8/24/14, 2 pm, Free
World-class musicians, including the SF Symphony/Ballet/Opera, perform free outdoor concerts at Stern Grove every summer. Come early to get a seat. See Stern Grove Festival for schedule & details.

Picnic at the Presidio, Main Parade Ground, Main Post, Presidio of SF
Sundays, April-October, 11 am – 4 pm, Free
This is another San Francisco treat to do some lazy Sunday afternoon.  Off the Grid’s food vendors gather in this great venue (weather, view, grass, food) along with hundreds of locals .  See details.

Fun Free WEEKLY Events & Activities
Here are some good things to do that happen regularly every week in July.

Month of July – Other

The SF Giants Ball Park

The SF Giants Ball Park

As a final tip, we have noticed that new events are often more unique and pleasant before most of the “world” learns about them. Then they sometimes become more crowded, commercial, and less free wheeling. Also, go early in the day. So don’t wait if you see something you may like. If you have never lived in San Francisco you may not realize that it is definitely a public party town without peer! The inhabitants really do spend a lot of effort throwing outstanding, unique, and fun events. Enjoy these special things to do … only in San Francisco!

past AUGUST 2014 — SF Bay Area Events

Free Shakespeare In The Park, The Taming of the Shrew, See details
* 8/1/14-8/3/14, Fri-Sat-Sun 7:30 pm
Stevens Creek & Mary Ave (Across from De Anza College), Cupertino
* 8/9/14-8/24/14, Saturdays 7:30 pm & Sundays 4:30 pm
Sequoia High School, 1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
* 8/30/14-9/1/14, Sat-Sun-Mon, 2:00 pm
The Presidio Parade Ground, San Francisco

New Jaguar "concept" car

New Jaguar “concept” car at the Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance during Classic Car Week

Monterey Motorsports Reunion & Pre-Reunion Races
Laguna Seca Raceway, east of Monterey, Admission
Pre-Reunion Vintage Car Races are held Sat-Sun 8/9/14-8/10/14
Rolex Motorsport Reunion Races are held Thu-Sun 8/14/14-8/17/14
This main event in Monterey Classic Car Week is a great way to see vintage sport cars in action at one of the best, most spectator-friendly race courses in America. You can avoid the crowds and much of the costs by attending the pre-reunion weekend races rather than the reunion event itself. See details and schedules.Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance,  Pebble Beach Lodge near Carmel
Sun 8/17/14, 9 am-5:00 pm, Admission
See 200 of the “best of the best” collector cars and motorcycles in the world at the “best finishing hole” in golf. The culmination of an entire week of events for automobile connoisseurs. As shown above, besides old collector classics … new concept cars are also shown at Pebble Beach.

Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Week long event held 8/25/14-9/1/14
Even the organizers have a difficult time explaining this unique week-long party/art festival/event held in the desert. However, it is “amazing” and something our 21-35 year old friends would never miss. Over 50,000 people attend and it always sells out. See details and pictures.

Labor Day Weekend— Sat-Mon 8/30/14-9/1/14 has some big events for art lovers. See:

  • Stanford Football:  1 pm, Sat 8/30/14, 1 pm at Stanford vs UC Davis.
  • Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus:  Thu 8/28/14 – Mon 9/1/14, varying times at Cow Palace, Daly City.  See more.
  • Sausalito Art Fair:   Opens at 10 am, 8/30/14-9/1/14. The “Granddaddy” of outdoor art festivals. Also check out the nearby ICB Building Art Studios Event while you are there.
  • Sausalito Artists@Work : Open 8/30/14-9/1/14 from 11 am-6 pm. Visit with more than twenty artists at work in their Art Studios at the historical ICB Building.
  • Burning Man Festival (see above): 8/25/14-9/1/14.  An amazing week long party
  • Milbrae Art & Wine Festival:  10 am-5 pm, 8/30/14-8/31/14.  One of the biggest events on the Peninsula if you enjoy street festivals.  Free Mardi Gras-style celebration.  See more details.

Fun Free WEEKLY Events & Activities
Here are some good things to do that happen regularly every week in August.

  • Picnic at the Presidio – Sundays, 11 am-4 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (Note: Ends Oct 2014)
  • Twilight at the Presidio – Thursdays, 5 pm – 9 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (8/7/14-10/26/14)
  • Swing Dancing in the Park – Sundays, 11 am-2 pm.  Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park.  (Note: Held all year long except when it rains)
  • Bicycle Sundays – Main roads are closed to cars on Sundays for bikers & skaters of all levels to enjoy at both Golden Gate Park  (Note: All year subject to special events such as Bay to Breakers) and Canada Road,off Hwys 280 & 92, Belmont (Note: Year round subject to weather).

Month of August – Other

  • Sports All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission:  SF 49ers  see schedule SF Giants see schedule
  • 49ers Preseason Games 2014:
    Thursday, Aug. 7: at Ravens, 4:30 p.m. (KPIX, Ch. 5), 
    Sunday, Aug. 17: vs. Broncos, 1 p.m. (KPIX), 
    Sunday, Aug. 24: vs. Chargers, 1 p.m. (FOX), 
    Thursday, Aug. 28: at Texans, 5 p.m. (KPIX).
    See more.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days
    Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations
    Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often these events are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

past SEPTEMBER 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

Labor Day Weekend— Sat-Mon 8/30/14-9/1/14 has some big events for art lovers. See:

  • Sausalito Art Fair –  Opens at 10 am, 8/30/14-9/1/14.  The “Granddaddy” of outdoor art festivals. Also check out the nearby ICB Building Art Studios while you are there.
  • Sausalito Artists@Work - Open 8/30/14-9/1/14 from 11 am-6 pm. Visit with more than twenty artists at work in their Art Studios at the historical ICB Building.
  • Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus:  Thu 8/28/14 – Mon 9/1/14, varying times at Cow Palace, Daley City.  See more.
  • Burning Man Festival (see below) – 8/25/14-9/1/14. An amazing week long party.
  • Milbrae Art & Wine Festival:  10 am-5 pm, 8/30/14-8/31/14.  One of the biggest events on the Peninsula if you enjoy street festivals.  Free Mardi Gras-style celebration.  See more details.

Burning Man FestivalBlack Rock Desert, Nevada
Week long event held 8/25/14-9/1/14
Even the organizers have a difficult time explaining this unique week-long party/art festival/event held in one of the largest, flattest surfaces on earth.  The participants, who are a big part of the spectacle, turn this area into an amazing temporary metropolis every year.  It’s something our 21-35 year old friends would never miss. Over 50,000 people attend and the event always sells out. See details and pictures.

Free Shakespeare In The Park, The Taming of the Shrew, See details
* 8/30/14-9/1/14, Sat-Sun-Mon, 2:00 pm
The Presidio Parade Ground, San Francisco
* 9/6/14-9/14/14, Saturdays & Sundays, 2:00 pm
The Presidio Parade Ground, San Francisco
* 9/20/14-9/21/14, Saturday & Sunday, 2:00 pm
McLaren Park, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, San Francisco

Rolex Big “Sailing” Boat Series Saint Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco Bay
Thu-Sun 9/11/14-9/14/14, Races start at 11 am, Free
In an effort to bring large racing sail boats to compete in the San Francisco Bay, members of the St. Francis Yacht Club created the St. Francis Perpetual Trophy Regatta in 1964.   This will be the fiftieth anniversary.  See details and pictures.

San Francisco’s Comedy Day, Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park
Sunday, 9/14/14, 12 pm-5 pm, Free
The professional comedy community joins together (each year since 35 years ago when Robin Williams helped them start) to produce a FREE highly-entertaining, PG-13 rated, five-hour show with 40 comedians at Golden Gate Park. Up to 10,000 attendees. Doggies are allowed too. See details.

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, Golden Gate Park
FREE quarterly admission day, Sun 9/14/14, 11 am-4 pm, Free
The Academy of Sciences is expensive ($34.95) and often crowded. However, four Sundays/year (including 12/7/14 tenative) there is free admission on a first-come first-serve basis. Early arrival is highly recommended and you can still expect to stand in line. See details. We have also heard that the Academy’s nightlife events (6-10 pm Thursday nights for adults over 21 only) are a good way to go. They have cocktails, music (sometimes live), and unique themes … and the crowds are not so intense.

Renaissance Fair, Hollister
Saturdays & Sundays only, 10 am-6 pm, 9/13/14-10/12/14, $25-$35
History comes to life at this Hollister version of the Renaissance Fair. Held at Casa de Fruta every Saturday and Sunday for a month in the fall. See website.

marin-headlands-8a

See hawks & fabulous views at the top

See Hundreds of Hawks/hour
Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands
9/10/14 – 10/10/14, Free
The largest known flight of daytime raptors (hawks, falcons, vultures, etc.) takes place every autumn  at Hawk Hill, the 920 foot peak on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. See details.

 

Sausalito houseboats

Sausalito Houseboats

Sausalito Floating Homes Tour, Kappas Marina, Sausalito
Sat 9/20/14, 11 am-4 pm, Admission
See hundreds of the most unique & beautiful houseboat homes in the world and look inside 15-20 of them. There is also a free art fair and live music. Often sold out even the houseboat tour is rather expensive ($45).


SF International Dragon Boat Festival, Treasure Island
Sat-Sun 9/20/14-9/21/14, Free admission
One of the largest competitive dragon boat races in the United States with over 130 dragon boat teams and 3500 paddlers.  The festival has entertainment, food and free activities.  See more.

Folsom Street Fair
Folsom St. between 8th and 13th Streets
Sunday 9/21/14. 11 am-6 pm, Admission free with a suggested donation of $10
The largest leather event in the world and very kinky. Live entertainment and over 200 exhibitor booths. Warning: definitely do not go if you are at all easily shocked. We only dared to brave it twice ourselves and did not take pictures. See details.
Fun Free WEEKLY Events & Activities
Here are some good things to do that happen regularly every week in September.

  • Picnic at the Presidio – Sundays, 11 am-4 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (Note: Ends Oct 2014)
  • Twilight at the PresidioThursdays, 5 pm – 9 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (Note: 8/7/14-10/26/14)
  • Swing Dancing in the Park – Sundays, 11 am-2 pm.  Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park.  (Note: Open year round except when it rains)
  • Bicycle Sundays – Main roads are closed to cars on Sundays for bikers & skaters of all levels to enjoy at both Golden Gate Park  (Note: All year subject to special events such as Bay to Breakers) and Canada Road, just off Hwys 280 & 92, Belmont.  (Note: Open year round subject to weather)

Month of September – Other

  • Sports All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • SF 49ers regular season games.  Sun 9/7/14 1:25 pm at Cowboys; Sun 9/14/14 5:30 pm vs Bears at home; Sun 9/21/14 1:05 pm at Cardinals; Sun 9/28/14 1:25 pm vs Eagles at home.   See 2014 schedule.
  • See SF Giants schedule.
  • Stanford football plays at home Sat 8/30/14 at 1 pm vs UC Davis, Sat 9/6/14 at 12:30 pm vs USC, and Sat 9/13/14 at 2:00 pm vs Army.
  • College Sports of all types, including football, are in full swing.  See Stanford, Cal Berkeley, San Jose State & San Mateo Jr. College event schedules. CSM  is one of the top three ranked Jr college football teams in California this year …  their next game at home is 1 pm, Saturday, Sept 27th.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days: Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations. Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often they are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

past OCTOBER 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

The Blue Angels are back after a year off!

The Blue Angels are back again in 2014 after a year off due to government cut backs.

Blue Angels Air Show, Fishermans Wharf & Marina area
Sat 10/9/14 - Sun 10/12/14, 3 pm-4 pm, Free
FLASH! The Blue Angels are back in 2014. The fleet week air show will be from 12:30 pm-3 pm each day and the Blue Angels will perform from 3 pm-4 pm each day. See more about how to best watch the show.

San Francisco Fleet Week, Fishermans Wharf area
Thu 10/9/14 - Mon 10/13/14, Free
The parade of ships will pass under the Golden Gate Bridge at 11 am Friday, 10/10/14.  Ship tours will be given Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  One of the Navy’s newest warships, the USS America, will be here.  See more.

SF Giants National League Championship Series vs St Louis
Saturday, 10/11/14 at 5:07 pm. First game in a best-of-seven series.
The next games will be: Sunday, 10/12/14, at 5:07 pm; Tuesday, 10/14/14, at 1:07 pm; Wednesday, 10/15/14, at 5:07 pm. Extra games, if needed, will be: Thursday, 10/16/14, at 5:07 pm; Saturday, 10/18/14, at 1:07 pm; Sunday, 10/19/14, at 4:37 pm.

SF Giants World Series at Kansas City Royals
Tuesday, 10/28/14, at  5:07 pm.
Sixth game in a best-of-seven series.  Giants are ahead 3 to 2 and need only one more to win the World Series. The next game, if needed, will be at 5:07 pm PDT, Wednesday, 10/29/14.  By the way, even many locals don’t know that you can often get into the Giants stadium for free on non-game days.

Columbus Day ParadeFishermans Wharf to Washington Square, Free
Sun 10/12/14, Starts 12:30 pm, Free
The oldest Italian-American parade in America (est. 1869). Over 400,000 people attended last year.  Combined with the Blue Angels this year it should be an even bigger event which will make parking an even more serious challenge.  See details.

San Francisco 49ers at St Louis Rams
Monday night football 10/13/14, 5:30 pm, at St Louis, admission
Future games: Sun 10/19/14 5:30 pm at Broncos.  See 2014 schedule.

Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival, Golden Gate Park

Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival, Golden Gate Park

Hardly Strictly Blue Grass Festival, Golden Gate Park
Fri 10/3/14- Sun 10/5/14, 11 am – 7 pm, Free
There are many music festivals in SF during the year. We like this one because it is low-key (bring your dog and picnic blanket), not horribly crowded so we’ve never had trouble finding parking south of the Park, and free. The event is held on six different stages along John F Kennedy Dr in Golden Gate Park. See details.

SF Giants Division Series Playoffs vs the Nationals in Washington DC
Saturday, 10/4/14 at 2:37 pm PDT.  On ESPN TV or on Radio KNBR 680 AM.
This is the first game in a best-of-five series to determine who will represent the National League in the World Series.  The playoff games will be on Friday 10/3/14 (Giants won 3 to 2), Saturday, 10/4/14, at 2:37 pm and on Monday in San Francisco at a time to be determined.

San Francisco 49ers vs Kansas City Chiefs
Sun 10/5/14 1:25 pm at home, admission
Future games: Mon 10/13/14 5:30 pm at Rams; Sun 10/19/14 5:30 pm at Broncos.  See 2014 schedule.

halloween-aratas-farm

Halloween at Arata Pumpkin Farm south of Half Moon Bay (free admission). Great for kids and adults too. Includes a 2-acre maze made out of hay bales stacked high ($10 admission), a petting farm (free) and a haunted house ($5 admission). See website

Fall along the Half Moon Bay Coast
The clear, mild weather usually makes Fall the best time of the year to visit Half Moon Bay and the Half Moon Bay Coastline.  See the pumpkin patches and visit Pescadero, our favorite small town between San Francisco & Santa Cruz. Be aware, however, that Halloween along the coast is very crowded so start & leave early to help minimize chances of getting stuck in a serious traffic jam.

Renaissance Fair, Hollister
Saturdays & Sundays only, 10 am-6 pm, 9/13/14-10/12/14, $25-$35
History comes to life at this Hollister version of the Renaissance Fair. Held at Casa de Fruta every Saturday and Sunday for a month in the fall. See website.

Blue Angels Air Show, Fishermans Wharf area
Sat 10/9/14- Sun 10/13/14, 3 pm-4 pm, Free
FLASH! The Blue Angels are back in 2014. The fleet week air show will be from 12:30 pm – 3 pm each day and the Blue Angels will perform from 3 pm – 4 pm each day. See more about how to best watch the show.

San Francisco Fleet Week, Fishermans Wharf area
Thu 10/9/14- Mon 10/13/14, Free
The parade of ships will be at 11 am Friday, 10/10/14, and ship tours will be given Saturday, Sunday and Monday. One of the Navy’s newest warships, the USS America, will be here.  See more.

Columbus Day ParadeFishermans Wharf to Washington Square, Free
Sun 10/12/14, Starts 12:30 pm, Free
The oldest Italian-American parade in America (est. 1869). Over 400,000 people attended last year. See details

Grand National Rodeo  Cow Palace, Daly City
Fri-Sat 10/17-10/18/14 & 10/25-10/26/14, Admission
If you like rodeos this is the one to see in San Francisco once per year. There are several different events including livestock, competitions, and shows depending on your interests.  It generally opens at 8 am and rodeo shows are at 7:30 pm on Fri & Sat evenings. See details.

marin-headlands-8a

See hawks & fabulous views from the top

See Hundreds of Hawks/hour
Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands
9/10/14 – 10/10/14, Free
The largest known flight of daytime raptors (hawks, falcons, vultures, etc.) takes place every autumn  at Hawk Hill, the 920 foot peak on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. The is a good vantage point for watching the Blue Angels Air Show as well … though they may scare away the hawks. See details.

Art & Pumpkin Festival,  Half Moon Bay
Sat-Sun 10/18-10/19/14, 9 am-5 pm, Free
If you can stand the very heavy weekend traffic check out the Art & Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay and the pumpkin stands near Half Moon Bay. We go much earlier in the month and earlier in the morning (certainly before 10 am) when traffic is not as bad.  It often backs up for miles on Hwy 92, especially around the Lemos Farm kid’s rides just east of the city.

Picnic at the Presidio, The Presidio, SF
Sundays, 11 am – 4 pm, through 11/2/14
It turns out that the Presidio’s main parade ground grass lawn makes a great picnic site.  We’ve been twice and it is one of those very pleasant, low key “only in San Francisco” experiences complete with beautiful weather & view.    Off the Grid has set up several excellent food stands including Rosamunde Sausage Grill and Humphry Slocumbe’s ice cream with attitude (e.g., secret breakfast,  bourbon & corn flake flavored ice cream) we recommend you check out.   See details.

USS Hornet Monster Ball—, USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, Alameda,
Sat 10/25/14, 7:30 pm-12 am, Admission (kids are now welcome too)
Thousands attend the Monster Ball every year at the USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier/Museum in Alameda. There will be dancing with The Cocktail Monkeys Band, haunted tours and a $500 cash prize to the best dressed.  This museum fund-raising event is both safe and fun; our swing dance instructor who loves to dress up in costume highly recommends it. Call 510-521-8448 x282 for current information & tickets.  See details.

Halloween,
Fri 10/31/14
Halloween is a big deal in San Francisco. For those into history, from the 1940s until 2006 the most fantastic costume event in the world was held Halloween Eve on Castro Street, SF. But, alas, this amazing street celebration was cancelled after crowds of hundreds of thousands became too difficult to control. Now you will have to go to a private party to seriously celebrate or pay to get into a night club.  The USS Hornet Monster Ball mentioned just above is a good option for ballroom dancers, in costume or not.

Some of the best WEEKLY Activities
Here are some good things to do that happen regularly every week in October.

  • Picnic at the Presidio – Sundays, 11 am-4 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (Note: Ends Oct 2014)
  • Twilight at the PresidioThursdays, 5 pm – 9 pm.  Food vendors gather at the main post of the Presidio. (Note: 8/7/14-10/26/14)
  • October Fireworks Series – Saturdays, fireworks at 8:30 pm and DJ dance music at 6 pm at Pier 39.
  • Swing Dancing in the Park – Sundays, 11 am-2 pm.  Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park.  (Note: Open year round except when it rains)
  • Bicycle Sundays – Main roads are closed to cars on Sundays for bikers & skaters of all levels to enjoy at both Golden Gate Park  (Note: All year subject to special events such as Bay to Breakers) and Canada Road, just off Hwys 280 & 92, Belmont.  (Note: Open year round subject to weather)

Month of October- Other

  • Sports  All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
    October and November are good times for watching sports, especially when the 49ers and Warriors are doing well.
  • San Francisco 49ers regular season games: Sun 10/5/14 1:25 pm vs Chiefs at home; Mon 10/13/14 5:30 pm at Rams; Sun 10/19/14 5:30 pm at Broncos.  See 2014 schedule.
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks, .
  • College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo College Football.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations.  Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often they are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

past NOVEMBER 2014 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

pescadero-arcangeli-bakery

Arcangeli Bakery in Pescadero

The weather is often surprisingly good in November and, since there are fewer tourists than usual, this is a quiet month for locals to enjoy the many year-round activities and attractions San Francisco offers. For example, weekends on Ocean Beach can be outstanding this time of year.

Daylight Savings Time Ends
Sunday morning 11/2/14
In the San Francisco Bay Area at 2:00 am turn your clocks back to 1:00 am.

San Francisco 49ers vs Rams, Santa Clara
Sunday 11/2/14 1:05 pm
Next games are Sun 11/9/14 10 am vs Saints, Sun 11/16/14 10:00 am vs Giants, Sun 11/23/14 1:25 pm vs Redskins, Thu 11/27/14 5:30 pm vs Seahawks.  See 2014 schedule.

Fall along the Half Moon Bay Coast
Fall is the best time of year to visit the coast.  See things to see (see map) and trails & beaches (see map) along the Half Moon Bay Coastline. We also recommend visiting Pescadero, our favorite small town between San Francisco & Santa Cruz.

San Francisco 49ers vs Saints
Sunday 11/9/14, 10 am
Next games are Sun 11/16/14 10:00 am vs Giants, Sun 11/23/14 1:25 pm vs Redskins, Thu 11/27/14 5:30 pm vs Seahawks.  See 2014 schedule.

Veterans Day, Tuesday 11/11/14, U.S.A.
Here’s a list of Discounts to Veterans and Active Duty Military (restaurants & stores) on or around Veteran’s Day.

Veterans Day, Tuesday 11/11/14, U.S.A.
Here’s a list of Discounts to Veterans and Active Duty Military (restaurants & stores) on or around Veteran’s Day.

Two big rowing regattas in November (in Foster City)

Two big rowing regattas are held in November at different Foster City lagoons

The Head of the Lagoon Rowing Regatta, Foster City Lagoon map
Saturday, 11/8/14, 9 am-12 pm, and Sunday, 11/9/14, 9 am-12:45 pm
This big two-day  rowing regatta is hosted by the Stanford Rowing center that features several Collegiate & Open crews on Saturday and Junior & Master crews on Sunday.  Up to 250 crews will be racing each day.    If you’ve never watched crew races before the Foster City Lagoon is a perfect venue.  See more details.

The BAIC Fall Rowing Regatta, San Mateo Marina Lagoon adjacent Foster City
Sunday, 11/16/14, 8:30 am-3:00 pm
A big rowing regatta that marks the end of the USRowing Fall Season in California.  This 5000-meter Marina Lagoon course is unusually twisty and challenging. See more details.

The Big Game 2014: Stanford vs Cal at Cal
Saturday 11/22/14, 1 pm
Many locals attended one of these two schools. So, we know from sometimes bitter experience that “anything” can happen. This year both teams are at 5-5 so this Big Game is the last chance to keep a little pride :) and to qualify for a bowl game.  See details about Big Game Week at Stanford.

marin-headlands-8a

Looking north from Hawk Hill. One of the best views of the City is seen looking south

See Hundreds of Hawks/hour Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands
Season can last through November but it peaks 9/10/14-10/10/14, Free
The largest known flight of daytime raptors (hawks, falcons, vultures, etc.) takes place every autumn (usually through November)  at Hawk Hill, the 920 foot peak on the Marin side just west of the Golden Gate Bridge.  See details.


Dickens Christmas Fair, Cow Palace, Daly City
Opens 11/22/14 for 5 straight weekends
See more about Dickens Fair in the December schedule below. By the way, you can save $5 off the $25-30 ticket price if you buy them on-line by 10/15/14.

Thanksgiving Day
Thursday 11/27/14
For plant lovers, here’s a interesting idea: the 55-acre San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is free to non-residents all day Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Thanksgiving evening, at 5:30 pm, the SF 49ers will be playing the Seattle Seahawks.  That’s why we are eating Thanksgiving dinner early.

San Francisco 49ers vs Seahawks
Thurday 11/27/14, 5:30 pm
This game against the 49ers arch rival will be one of the most important in the season.  Next games are Sun 12/7/14 1:25 pm at Raiders, Sun 12/14/14 1:25 pm at Seahawks, Sat 12/20/14 1:30 pm vs Chargers, Sun 12/28/14 1:25 pm vs Cardinals.  See 2014 schedule.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Friday, 11/28/14, and Monday, 12/1/14
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year (it’s called Black Friday because historically that’s when retail stores profits often went “in the black” for the year). Here are the best shopping centers in the Bay area.  Cyber Monday, 12/1/14, when shoppers are still looking for bargains on-line from their work computers, has now also become a part of this big weekend.

On-line discounts are never better than these two days. Personally, I make my clothing shopping list for the entire year and buy it all on Black Friday.  Brand items which are almost never on sale can be discounted 30% or more.

By the way, amazon.com is starting early on Friday, 11/21/14, and will launch new deals every 10 minutes for eight straight days.  Macy’s and others as well are also starting early.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Friday, 11/28/14, and Monday, 12/1/14
Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year (it’s called Black Friday because historically that’s when retail stores profits often went “in the black” for the year). Here are the best shopping centers in the Bay area.  Cyber Monday, 12/1/14, when shoppers are still looking for bargains on-line from their work computers, has now also become a part of this big weekend.

On-line discounts are never better than these two days. Personally, I make my clothing shopping list for the entire year and buy it all on Black Friday.  Also bought a computer this year.  Brand items which are almost never on sale can be discounted 30-50% or more.

Map of the many things to do at Dickens Faire.  Click for larger picture.

Map of many things to do at Dickens Christmas Faire including food, taverns, shows, & interacting with hundreds of Dicken’s characters on the crowded streets. Click for a clearer rendition (& then click again).

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Cow Palace, Daly City
Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday Thanksgiving weekend 11/28, 29, 30/2014, 10 am-7 pm.
Open Saturday-Sunday the following weekends through 12/21/14, 10 am-7 pm
A big event on three acres transformed into a  facsimile of Victorian London circa 1865.  You can walk around amidst hundreds of amateur “actors” playing different roles. Enjoy “authentic” food, music, shops and a wide variety of free shows inside.  It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.  Prices go up from $25 to $30 in mid December.  Twilight tickets after 4 pm are $13.  Parking is $10 in the lot (or free on the street where we usually park, at least during daylight).  See details about the fair.

Month of November – Other

  • Sports  All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
    November is a good time for watching sports, especially when the 49ers and Warriors are doing well.
  • San Francisco 49ers regular season games: Sun 11/16/14 10:00 am vs Giants, Sun 11/23/14 1:25 pm vs Redskins, Thu 11/27/14 5:30 pm vs Seahawks.   See 2014 schedule and news.
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks, San Francisco 49ers
  • San Mateo Jr College football stadium ... overlooking San Mateo County and San Mateo Bridge.

    San Mateo Jr College football stadium … overlooking San Mateo County and San Mateo Bridge.

    College Sports: The local college scene is always fun.  You can often see a variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo College.

  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations.  Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often they are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

 

past DECEMBER 2014 — SF Bay Area Christmas Events

Cyber Monday
Monday, 12/1/14
Cyber Monday, 12/1/14, when shoppers are still looking for bargains on-line from their work computers has now become the last day of Black Friday weekend, the biggest discount shopping weekend of the year.

Night of Lights Between Main Street & Kelly, Half Moon Bay
Friday, 12/5/14, 6-9 pm, Free
This local home-made event is a big favorite of Half Moon Bay residents and their children. There are tree lighting festivities, a parade, caroling, roasted chestnuts, booths by local clubs, open retail stores and more. Since mainly locals attend highway traffic has not been a problem to date.  See details.

San Francisco 49ers at Oakland Raiders
Sunday 12/7/14 1:25 pm
Next games are Sun 12/14/14 1:25 pm at Seahawks, Sat 12/20/14  1:30 pm vs Chargers, Sun 12/28/14 1:25 pm vs Cardinals.  See 2014 schedule.

California Academy of Sciences – FREE quarterly admission day, Golden Gate Park
Sunday 12/7/14, 11 am-5 pm, Free
The Academy of Sciences is expensive ($34.95/adult) and often crowded. However, on four Sundays each year there is free admission on a first-come first-serve basis compliments of Chase Bank. Early arrival is highly recommended and you can still expect to stand in line. See details.

We have also heard that the Academy’s nightlife events (6-10 pm Thursday nights, $12 for adults over 21) are a good way to go. They have cocktails, music (sometimes live), and unique themes each week … and the crowds are not so intense. Check ahead to confirm details.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair, Cow Palace, Daly City
5 Weekends, Saturdays & Sundays, 11/22/14 – 12/21/14, 10 am-7 pm
Admission $25-30/adult, Parking $10/car, Twilight tickets after 4 pm are $13.
Join the largest cast (over 700 local hobbyists) of costumed Dickensian characters in the world who do an excellent job recreating Charles Dickens’ Victorian London Town. The show fills more than 3 acres and feels even bigger. There is a wide variety of things to do (food, shows, shops, caroling, street performers, wandering the town, etc.) that will get you in the mood for Christmas. See details.

Official Star Trek Convention, SF Airport Hyatt Regency
Fri, Sat, Sun 12/12/14 – 12/14/14, admission
Are you a Trekkie?  Here’s a chance to see Captain Janeway, Data, Counselor Troi, Worf and more of the original cast in person.  Many fans love to go in fabulous costume to these conventions.  San Francisco Trekkies are some of the best, of course, and it’s fun to watch their enthusiasm.  See details.

Breeding Sea Lions Tour, Ano Nuevo State Park, 27 miles south of Half Moon Bay
12/15/14 – 3/31/15,  Admission
See 2.5 ton, 16 foot long elephant seal bulls skirmish for dominance during breeding season. Thousands of seals and sea lions gather for a 3-month orgy of fighting, mating, and birthing. This naturalist-led tour of the world’s largest mainland breeding colony for the northern elephant seal is about 2.5 hours and 3 miles long. Advance reservations recommended. See more details.

Christmas Shopping Union Square and other Top Shopping Centers
Month of December, Free
We usually skip the biggest crowds on Thanksgiving weekend and pick some quieter weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas to wander around. This is the best time of year to see Union Square … when you can enjoy festive store decorations, the big Christmas tree, watching ice skating, hearing opera singers on Maiden Lane, Macy’s Christmas windows and very brisk shopping action.

Ice skating rink on Union Square. A giant Christmas tree and big palm trees are on the other (west) half of the Square.

Ice skating rink on Union Square. A giant Christmas tree and big palm trees are on the other (west) half of the Square.

Christmas carols by an opera-trained performer at Maiden Lane, just east of Union Square

Christmas carols by an opera-trained performer at Maiden Lane, just east of Union Square



For more Christmas shopping hike from Union Square down Powell St, along the cable car line, to Market St. At Market/Powell is the third largest urban shopping center in the U.S., Westfield San Francisco Centre with over 200 stores.

Here is a list showing the Top Shopping Centers in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It’s always fun to visit them during Christmas time even if you don’t buy anything.

Gray Whale Migration Season, Off the Pacific coast
12/20/14 – 5/31/15, Paid boat tours or Free from shore
Watch some 20,000 gray whales migrating from the Arctic to Baja, Mexico.  Tour boats leave San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Moss Landing and Monterey during this season.  Or, watch them from on shore.  See more details.

Christmas Day  Thursday 12/25/14
For plant lovers, here’s a unique idea: the beautiful 55-acre San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is free to non-residents all day Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

New Years Eve Dance PartyUSS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, Alameda
Wednesday 12/31/14, 7:30 pm-1 am, Admission
There are three dance floors on the enclosed, heated hangar decks of this famous World War II aircraft carrier which is now a National Historic Landmark. This is a big, fun event that thousands attend. It is run by and proceeds benefit the USS Hornet Museum.

Month of December- Other

  • Fisherman’s Wharf is good to check out this time of year because it’s not overloaded with tourists.  Pier 39 has some good 50% off deals for locals Dec-January including parking.
  • Sports  All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission
  • San Francisco 49ers regular season games: Sun 12/7/14, 1:25 pm at Raiders; Sun 11/14/14, 1:25 pm at Seahawks;  Sat 12/20/14 1:30 pm vs Chargers; Sun 1:25 pm vs Cardinals. See 2014 schedule.
  • Pro Sports: See Golden State WarriorsSan Jose Sharks
  • College Sports: We are lucky to have an outstanding college scene.  Part of that is the chance to see a wide variety of interesting sports up close and at low cost.  We like StanfordCal Berkeley, and San Mateo College.
  • FREE Monthly Museum Days Typically the first Tue/Wed/Thu, every month at many Bay Area locations.  Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. See dates & links. Often they are quite crowded but if you arrive early enough this is a way to see the best museums for free.

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