Best SF Bay Area
Events, Weekends & Festivals 2015

We limit our top picks to only best, most special events in the SF Bay area in 2015, selected especially for local insiders.  Many are unique world-class affairs. A few are just a lot of local fun. These events are organized by month & regularly updated including local Pacific Coast time. Recently past events are also available.

AUGUST 2015 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

Jerry Garcia Festival aka Jerry Day, McClaren Park, SF
Sunday 8/2/15. Doors open 11 am; show starts 11:15 am.   Free (donations welcome)
Calling all Deadheads!   A yearly festival celebrating Jerry Garcia which is located in the Excelsior neighborhood where he was a child. See more details.

San Jose Renaissance Faire knights jousting.   They have impressive battles on the ground too!

San Jose Renaissance Faire knights jousting. See impressive full-contact battles on the ground too!

Renaissance Faire, 180 Woz Way, Downtown San Jose
Saturday-Sunday, 8/1/15 – 8/2/15, 10 am – 5 pm,
Admission: Adults $18, Kids free-$13 depending on age
This 5th annual version of the Renaissance Faire is not as big as some such faires but it’s a very pleasant “adventure.” For a start, this one is easy to get to and parking is not a big hassle. Plenty of food, arts & crafts for sale and well done events too! See website.

Some tips: (1) We’ve seen 40% off discount tickets on Groupon.  (2) Get there early in the day for less hassle & heat (San Jose can get hot in the summer).   (3) Check out the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose also located here at Discovery Meadow.  (4) Casa de Fruta’s big Renaissance Faire in Hollister starts 9/19/15. See September events below.

Santa Clara County Fair, 344 Tully Road, San Jose
Thu-Sun, 7/30/15-8/2/15, Admission
Four days of music, food and entertainment.  But it will be hot, of course.  Groupon had two tickets for the price of one the last time we looked.  See more details about the fair.

Free Shakespeare In The Park, Romeo & Juliet,  See details
* 7/18/15-8/2/15, Fri-Sat-Sun 7:30 pm
Stevens Creek & Mary Ave (Across from De Anza College), Cupertino
* 8/8/15-8/23/15, Saturdays 7:30 pm & Sundays 4:30 pm
Sequoia High School, 1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
* 8/29/15-9/13/15, Sat-Sun, 2:00 pm
The Presidio Parade Ground, San Francisco
* 9/19/15-9/27/15, Sat-Sun, 2:00 pm
The McClaren Park, San Francisco

Women’s Professional Tennis Tournament, Stanford
Monday-Sunday, 8/3/15 – 8/9/15, Admission (note: it’s on TV ESPN3 too)
This Bank of The West Tennis Classic has been played since 1971.  It will feature some of the top professional women’s players, including Serena Williams (8/5/15 @ 7 pm), who won last year, and former World #1 Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark who will be making her first appearance at Stanford.  See details.  It’s also

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 8/8/15-8/9/15
Rolex Motorsport Reunion Races are held Thu-Sun 8/13/15-8/16/15
These two racing events in Monterey Classic Car Week are 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.

Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance,  Pebble Beach Lodge near Carmel
Sun 8/16/15, 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 8/30/15-9/7/15
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.

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

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 2015:
    Saturday, 8/15/15: at Texans, 5 p.m. (KPIX, Ch. 5), 
    Sunday, 8/23/15: vs. Cowboys, 5 p.m. (KPIX), 
    Friday, 8/28/15: at Broncos, 6 p.m. (FOX), 
    Thursday, 9/3/15: vs Chargers, 7 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.

SEPTEMBER 2015 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends

Burning Man Festival, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Week long event held 8/30/15-9/7/15
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 9/5/15-9/7/15 has some big events for art lovers. See:

  • Stanford Football:  1 pm, Sat 7/13/15, 7:30 pm at Stanford vs UCF (University of Central Florida).
  • Sausalito Art Fair:   Opens at 10 am, 9/5/15-9/7/15. The “Granddaddy” of outdoor art festivals. Also check out the nearby ICB Building Art Studios Event while you are there.
  • Sausalito Artists at Work: Open 9/5/15-9/7/15. Visit with more than twenty artists at work in their art studios at the historical ICB Building.
  • Burning Man Festival (see above): 8/30/15-9/7/15.  An amazing week long party.  See above
  • Milbrae Art & Wine Festival:  10 am-5 pm, 9/5/15-9/6/15.  One of the biggest events on the Peninsula if you enjoy street festivals.  Free Mardi Gras-style celebration.  See more details.
Sausalito houseboats

Sausalito Houseboats

Sausalito Floating Homes Tour, Kappas Marina, Sausalito
Sat 9/12/15, 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 or $40 in advance).

Free Shakespeare In The Park, Romeo & Juliet,  See details
* 8/29/15-9/13/15, Sat-Sun (& Labor Day Monday), 2:00 pm
The Presidio Parade Ground, San Francisco
* 9/19/15-9/27/15, Sat-Sun, 2:00 pm
The McClaren Park, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, San Francisco

Rolex Big “Sailing” Boat Series Saint Francis Yacht Club, San Francisco Bay
Thu-Sun 9/17/15-9/20/15, 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 fifty first anniversary.  See details and pictures.

SF International Dragon Boat Festival, Treasure Island
Sat-Sun 9/19/15-9/20/15, 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.

San Francisco’s Comedy Day, Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park
Sunday, 9/20/15, 12 pm-5 pm, Free
The professional comedy community joins together (each year since 36 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.

Renaissance Fair, Hollister, CA
Saturdays & Sundays only, 10 am-6 pm, 9/19/15-10/18/15, $25/day or $35 weekend pass
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.  No pets are allowed.  See website where they are advertising a two-for-one opening weekend offer.

marin-headlands-8a

See hawks & fabulous views at the top

See Hundreds of Hawks/hour, Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands
9/12/15 – 10/11/15, 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.

California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr, Golden Gate Park
FREE quarterly admission day, see dates when posted, Free
The Academy of Sciences is expensive ($34.95) and often crowded. However, four Sundays/year 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 ($12, 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.

Folsom Street Fair
Folsom St. between 8th and 13th Streets
Sunday 9/27/15. 11 am-6 pm, Admission free with a “strongly” suggested donation of $10
The largest leather event in the world and quite kinky. Live entertainment and over 200 exhibitor booths. Warning: definitely do not go if you are at all easily shocked. We have only dared to brave it twice ourselves and did not take pictures. :)  See details.

Pacific Coast Fog Fest, Palmetto Street, Pacifica
Sat-Sun, 9/26/15-9/27/15, 10 am-6 pm. Free admission
Over 200 booths on the main street of Pacifica.  See more details.


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!

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