Best SF Bay Area
Events, Weekends & Festivals 2016
We limit our picks to only the best events in the SF Bay area in 2015, personally handpicked for local insiders. Many are unique world-class affairs. A few are just a lot of local fun. The events below are organized by month & regularly updated including local Pacific Coast time. Also see this month’s regularly scheduled weekly events and recently past events.
FEBRUARY 2016 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends
The mild weather in February is quite pleasant for inland activities that sometimes get quite hot during other months … such as visiting Historic Niles or Old Mission San Jose in Fremont, Hollister, or, walking the flat manicured Bay trails around Foster City and Redwood Shores.
Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest, Pillar Point Harbor, Princeton-By-The-Sea
Flash! Mavericks is on! Friday, 2/12/16
The top 24 surfers in the world will soon tackle some of its biggest most dangerous waves right here at Mavericks. See more details.
Golden State Warriors (CSN TV)
Tuesday 2/9/16 7:30 pm vs Rockets (TNT),
Also Wednesday 2/10/16 6:00 pm vs Sun, Sunday 2/14/16 NBA All Star Game (TNT), Friday 2/19/16 7 pm vs Trailblazers, Saturday 2/20/16 5:30 pm vs Clippers (ABC), Monday 2/22/16 5:30 pm vs Atlanta, Wednesday 2/24/16 4:30 pm vs Miami Heat, Thursday 2/25/16 4 pm vs Magic, Saturday 2/27/16 5:30 pm vs Thunder (ABC).
Check out the reigning NBA Champion Golden State Warriors featuring MVP Stephen Curry, one of the very best basketball players in the history of the game. Their 3-point shooting & running style of play is much more fun to see than watching big men beat each other up under the basket. See Warrior’s schedule. For TV cord cutters see NBA TV schedule on TNT, ESPN & ABC.
- Miss Chinatown Pageant: Saturday 2/13/16, 7:30 pm (admission)
- Chinese New Year Parade: Saturday 2/20/16 , 5:15 pm-8:00 pm. One of the top 10 parades in the U.S. Also see the parade on KTVU Fox 2 TV from 6 pm-8 pm.
- Chinatown Community Street Fair: Sat-Sun 2/20/16 & 2/21/16, 10 am-4:30 pm
SF Giants – KNBR 680 Fan Fest, AT&T Ball Park
Saturday 2/13/16, 10 am- 3 pm, Free
The World Champion Giants baseball team will personally meet & greet some 40,000 fans at the annual pre-season fan fest. This is a way to get on the baseball field, watch players answer questions asked by the fans, and get autographs (at 6 autograph booths if you want to stand in a long line). Fan fest can also be watched on line at sfgiants.com. See more details about fan fest or listen to Radio KNBR 680 which is co-sponsoring the event.
- Valentines Day, Sunday 2/14/16
- Presidents Day, Monday 2/15/16 (a national holiday)
- More Holidays
Chinese New Year Parade, Chinatown along Kearny Street (between Market St & Columbus Ave)
Saturday 2/20/16, 5:15 pm-8:00 pm, 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 parade day is almost always cold & rainy). Getting there earlier than 4:30 pm (it is very crowded) via public transportation (parking is tough) is recommended. See www.chineseparade.com for details including exact route.
Chinese Community Street Fair, Chinatown
Saturday 2/20/16, 10 am-4:30 pm, Sunday 2/21/16, 9 am-5 pm, Free
The street fair will be located along Grant Ave from Clay St. to Broadway, Pacific Ave. from Stockton to Kearny. It was not that exciting last year but is a good excuse to visit Chinatown and has traditional Chinese entertainment such as lion dancing on stage. See details and Chinatown map.
San Francisco Zoo … for Seniors
Month of February Seniors Discount, 10 am-4 pm daily
Seniors, if both are over 65 years old, receive a 2-for-1 admission discount every day of February. Zoo admission is also completely FREE to seniors on Sunday 2/14/16 (Valentines Day) and Saturday 2/27/16 (Polar Bear Day). See discount details and also details on regular admission ($16 for Seniors) & parking costs ($8-10) … or call (415) 753-7080. Monday 2/29/16 is San Francisco Free Resident Day.
Breeding Elephant Seal Tour, Ano Nuevo State Park, 27 miles south of Half Moon Bay
12/15/14 – 3/31/15, $7 Admission
See 2-1/2 ton, 16 foot long elephant seal bulls skirmish for dominance during breeding season when thousands of seals and sea lions gather for a 3-month orgy of fighting, mating, and birthing. The only way to see this unique natural phenomenon is via naturalist-led tour which takes about 2.5 hours and is 3 miles long.
The season is busiest between January 15th & February 15th. Tour tickets sell out early so advance reservations are definitely recommended. See more details.
Visit Fremont? This is a good time of year!
We like visiting the lower East Bay in the winter because summers can get quite hot. Here are some excellent places worth checking out: Coyote Hills Park, the Alameda Creek Trails and old town Niles. The Niles Canyon Railway starts running in February for two Sundays/month.
Mavericks Big Wave Surf Contest, Pillar Point Harbor, Princeton-By-The-Sea
Sometime between 11/1/15 – 3/31/16 on 48 hour notice
The top 24 surfers in the world will soon tackle some of its biggest most dangerous waves (30-50 feet tall) north of Half Moon Bay at Mavericks. However, the exact date is unknown since competitors must wait for the surf to get massive before they are given a 48 hour notice to get here. We will let you know here when the event is scheduled to start.
Gray Whale Migration Season, Numerous locations along the Pacific coast
12/20/15 – 5/31/16, 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. Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park. (year round)
- Bicycle Sundays – Sundays. 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 (open year round subject to weather).
Month of February – Other
- Sports All month, many Bay Area locations or on TV, Admission.
- Pro Sports: See schedules for the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors who are doing fantastically this year. Also the San Jose Sharks & San Francisco 49ers.
- College Sports of all types are in full swing. See Stanford, 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.
MARCH 2016 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends
Special Things To Do Outdoors this March The blooming flora are outstanding this time of year. There’s less fog along the coast and it’s cooler inland. Here are some good things to check out in March.
- Old St Hillarys Open Space Preserve in Tiburon has some of the very best views in the SF Bay area. We just took some more pictures on March 1st.
- Dutch Windmill & Tulip Gardens in Golden Gate Park … March 15th-April 15th is the best time of year to tiptoe through the tulips, icelandic poppies and primroses. Cherry blossoms at the Japanese Tea garden are in full bloom during the same period.
- It’s less foggy along the Half Moon Bay coastline making this is a great time to check out the many HMB coastal trails. For example, try the Mori Ridge Trail starting at the Shelldance Orchid Nursery in Pacifica. Or, Devils Slide Trail or Montara Mountain Trail a few miles south.
- It’s cooler inland this time of year making it a good time to check out Coyote Hills Park, the Alameda Creek Trails and old town Niles in Fremont. Or, visit the Hollister area.
Daylight Savings Time Begins, San Francisco Bay Area
Sunday 3/13/16. At 2:00 am turn your clocks forward 1 hour to 3:00 am.
- Daylight Savings Time, Sunday 3/13/16
- St Patrick’s Day’s Day, Thursday 3/17/15. This is always a big weekend for SF’s Irish pubs, even if you are not Irish!
- Palm Sunday, Sunday 3/20/16
- Good Friday, Friday 3/25/16
- Easter Sunday, Sunday 3/27/16
- Caesar Chavez Day, Thursday 3/31/15. (note: the big Parade is on Saturday 4/23/16 this year)
- More Holidays
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!