Best SF Bay Area
Events, Weekends & Festivals 2019
We limit our picks to ONLY the best events in the SF Bay area in 2019, personally handpicked for local insiders to enjoy. Many are unique world-class affairs. A few are just a lot of fun. The events below are organized by month & regularly updated including local Pacific Coast time. Also see regular weekly events at the end of each month below and recently past events.
JANUARY 2019 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends
January is a great time of the year for watching football on TV. The mild weather around San Francisco Bay also makes it a excellent time to visit sights that are crowded during other months. For example, Fisherman’s Wharf is good to check out this time of year because it’s not overloaded with tourists; Pier 39 often has some 50% off deals for locals only December-January. Check out the many links on this hiddenSF site for more ideas.
- NFC & AFC Championship Games: Sunday 1/20/19 12:05 pm and 3:40 pm
- Superbowl: Sunday 2/3/19 (3:30 pm)
Martin Luther King Day, Monday 1/21/19
Holiday Ice Skating Rinks in San Francisco,
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” 11/5/18-1/19
Union Square Ice Rink – A holiday tradition for seven years. Open 11/7/18-1/21/19
Here’s a list of ice rinks between San Mateo and Palo Alto.
Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show Cow Palace, Daly City
Saturday-Sunday 1/26/19-1/27/19, 8:00 am-5 pm, Admission $19
If you want a dog, have a dog or just like dogs this is the big local show you don’t want to miss. It is the oldest major dog event in Northern California and one of the most prestigious in the U.S. with almost 2,000 dogs of more than 175 different breeds. This is a rare benched show which means you can walk around and talk with the breeders and see (& pet sometimes) their animals at their benches between events. We like the wandering around and seeing dogs up close & personal much more than we like the judging events. Check see details.
By the way, if you already have a dog, check out our extensive page on best dog walks & parks in the SF Bay area. Almost all of these walks are good for humans too, even if you don’t have a dog.
Mavericks Big Wave Challenge, Pillar Point Harbor, Princeton-By-The-Sea
Sometime before 3/31/19 on 24 hour notice the top 24 surfers in the world will tackle some of its biggest most dangerous waves right here at Mavericks. Read about the 50-60 foot waves on 1/19/18. However, the exact date is unknown since competitors must wait for the surf to be massive before they are given notice to get here. We will let you know, in red, right here when the event is scheduled to start. More details.
Breeding Sea Lions Tour, Ano Nuevo State Park, 27 miles south of Half Moon Bay
12/15/18 – 3/31/19 (every day except Christmas and last weekend in January). Admission $7 + $3.99 reservation fee
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 are recommended since available slots fill up quickly, especially on weekends. See more details.
Gray Whale Migration Season, Numerous locations along the Pacific coast
12/15/18 – 5/31/19, 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.
- Swing Dancing in the Park – Sundays, 11 am-2 pm, year round. Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park.
- Bicycle Sundays – Open Sundays round subject to weather. Main roads are closed to cars on Sundays at both Golden Gate Park and Canada Road (off Hwys 280 & 92, Belmont) for bicyclists & skaters of all levels to enjoy.
Month of January – Other
- Pro Sports:
- Golden State Warriors: Preseason starts 9/29/18, regular season starts 10/16/18. See schedule (or national TV NBA schedule).
- College Football Bowl Games: See schedule and the best bowl games each weekend.
- Pro Football: Oakland Raiders: See schedule. SF 49ers: See schedule.
- Hockey: San Jose Sharks: See schedule.
- College Sports of all types, including football, are in full swing. See Stanford, Cal Berkeley, San Jose State and San Mateo Jr. College event schedules.
- College Sports: In the Bay Area you can see a variety of interesting collegiate sports up close and at low cost. E.g., the sunken diamond at Stanford is one of the best places to watch college baseball in the country. Check Stanford’s schedules for baseball or all sports. Also see the Cal Berkeley, San Jose State and San Mateo Jr. College event schedules.
- 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.