Things to Do in San Francisco This November
Now is the moment before the holidays when San Francisco seems to breathe deep and take stock. Whether it’s the kindness of strangers or a view you’ve never seen before, service to our country or the Bay Area banding together, gratitude comes naturally in November. Here are a few things we’re thankful for:
Discover a whole new world at Disney’s Aladdin, the hit Broadway musical coming to San Francisco Nov. 1 to Jan 7, 2018, at the SHN Orpheum Theatre. From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. Starring Adam Jacobs, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.
Dia de Los Muertos Procession
On Nov. 2, 2017, the annual Festival of Altars and Day of the Dead procession will take place in the Mission District. Staging of the Day of the Dead procession will begin on Bryant Street and the Festival of Altars will take place in Garfield Park from 4-11 p.m. The procession begins at 22nd and Bryant Streets at 7 p.m.
Napa Valley Film Festival
The annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) lights up Northern California’s premier wine country destination, Nov. 8-12, 2017. Now in its seventh year, NVFF has established itself as the ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, and as one of the most entertaining, inspiring and memorable experiences for cultural travelers and film fans. USA Today has ranked NVFF among the Top 10 film festivals in the United States. And unlike most big events, during which locals head for the hills, NVFF is embraced by locals as one of their favorite events of the year.
More Film Fare
Ten days of celluloid mayhem are captured at the annual Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, through Nov. 8, 2017, at the New People Cinema in Japantown. The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) has announced the full lineup for Doc Stories, Nov. 2-5, 2017. This year’s program showcases portraits of significant cultural entities from Rolling Stone to UN Ambassador Samantha Power. The American Indian Film Festival takes place Nov. 3-11, 2017 at Brava Theater Center. Now in its 31st year, Superfest: International Disability Film Festival is Nov. 4-5, 2017 at two locations: Berkeley's Magnes Collection and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. New Italian Cinema, happening Nov. 8-12, 2017, opens with The Stuff of Dreams at the Castro Theater. The first Cinematografo Film Festival and Industry Forum (CFFIF), a new film series and networking event designed to elevate emerging and established Filipino-American and Filipino talent, debuts at Japantown’s AMC Kabuki Theater, Nov. 9-12, 2017. At Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, arrive early on Nov. 12 to indulge in cat-themed activities and stay afterward for the Happy Meow-hour following the CatVideoFest 2017. Launching at the New People and Castro Theaters, 3rd i’s 15th annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival promotes diverse images of South Asians through independent film, Nov. 9-12, 2017. The SF Urban Planning Film Fest, Nov. 13-19, 2017, features an extensive combination of film screenings and in-depth panel discussions at SPUR and other locations.
Korean Couture at Asian Art Museum
Discover the past, present, and future of Korea in this first U.S. exhibition to consider Korean fashion as an expression of social and cultural values. Opening Nov. 3, 2017, at the Asian Art Museum, “Couture Korea” showcases historical Korean fashion and its modern reinterpretations at a moment when young Seoul-based designers are making the leap to the global stage and international haute couture is finding inspiration in Korean art and culture. With more than 120 works, the exhibition portrays fashion as an enduring expression of social and cultural values.
Markets and Craft Fairs Coming Up
Get set for the holidays and shop at some of these upcoming markets and fairs featuring unusual and locally made gifts. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, the fourth annual California Indian Market at Oakland Museum of California, Nov. 3 and 4, 2017, features jewelry, baskets, prints and other modern interpretations of Indian motifs. Be sure to check out West Coast Craft, Nov. 18 and 19, 2017 and Renegade Craft Fair, Nov. 11-12, 2017, too. The Asian Art Museum is premiering its first Holiday Artisan Fair on Nov. 29, 2017. Pop-up boutiques will fill the North and South Courts of the museum at this free event, featuring one-of-a-kind handmade goods by local makers. For more singular gifts and souvenirs, don’t forget San Francisco’s street artists. Since 1972, the San Francisco Arts Commission has licensed artists to sell their original works on the city’s bustling streets. Fisherman’s Wharf, Embarcadero Plaza at the foot of Market Street, and Union Square are among the areas where they’ll be found.
After a sold-out festival in March, Future Fires and The Midway are back with “Luminary (Expanded),” on Nov. 4, 2017. Featuring even more stimulating installations and performances, the event brings local and international artists together to create dazzling, one-of-a-kind immersive environments. Percussionists create explosions of color and light, sculptures bloom and selfies will abound.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is not only home to In Situ, where chef Corey Lee just earned himself a Michelin star, but also to a constellation of artists who inhabit this space. This month, SFMOMA offers the exclusive West Coast exhibition, “Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules.” This is the first retrospective of Rauschenberg’s art career in nearly 20 years. Don’t forget Family Day is Nov. 5, 2017. While the museum is always free for visitors 18 and younger, on Family Day, it is also free for up to two adults accompanying each visitor under 18. Tickets are available onsite only on Nov. 5.
A tempting local favorite returns on Nov. 6: the annual Saucy Awards & Gala, presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Considered the Oscars of the Bay Area restaurant community, this event will honor luminaries in 21 categories.
Now in its fifth year, “Illuminate SF Festival of Light” includes 36 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations and a variety of light-related events and activities. Accessible by public transportation and free to view, the diverse range of works by light artists is found throughout the city. From Nov. 23, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018, the festival includes artist talks, tours, and self-guided options. One of the newest light art additions will debut at Harvey Milk Plaza, at Castro and Market Streets, on Nov. 8, the 40th anniversary of Harvey Milk’s election to the Board of Supervisors. Milk was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California.
Metallica, Dave Matthews, G-Eazy, Dead & Company, Raphael Saadiq, Rancid and other artists will perform on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, at AT&T Park at the “Band Together Bay Area Benefit Concert.” Developed in response to the North Bay firestorm by the San Francisco Giants and a local coalition of Bay Area business and community leaders, 100 percent of ticket sales will go towards the relief fund established by Tipping Point Community and will be directed to North Bay community organizations.
From the return of the “Home for the Holidays at Carolwood” exhibition on Nov. 9 at The Walt Disney Family Museum to the twinkling tree that will be lit on Nov. 19 at on PIER 39, there will be much to the delight and enchant this holiday season. Skate in Union Square or beside the Embarcadero Center, catch the special holiday edition of Beach Blanket Babylon, take a holiday lights tour on Big Bus, get tickets for Bright Star at the Curran, or join in the merriment at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party. Attention, holiday shoppers: those adorable pets up for adoption from the SPCA will return to the windows of Macy’s on Nov. 17, while the foot of Stockton Street becomes Winter Walk SF, an inviting holiday pop-up plaza, Nov. 25, 2017-Jan. 1, 2018.
San Francisco Art Institute
The venerable San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) has opened a second campus at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture. The free inaugural party, Nov. 10 and 11, 2017, will include exhibitions, open studios, a student art sale and more. The 67,000-square foot renovated pier, formerly known as the Herbst Pavilion, with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, is the new home for over 160 art studios for students, faculty, and visiting artists. There's also 4,300 square feet of new public exhibition space, open to the public and free of charge, including a flagship gallery, a graduate student-run gallery, and Gray Box media and performance space.
On Nov. 12, 2017, the San Francisco Salute to Veterans Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at North Point Street and the Embarcadero and wend its way through Fisherman’s Wharf. The lead unit will be 100 veterans from Bay Area motorcycle clubs, who will roar down Jefferson Street past the reviewing stand at Leavenworth Street. Units from seven San Francisco high school JROTC programs will march, as will the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Newark Memorial H.S., and U.S. West Tian Guo bands. The Native Sons of the Golden West will march with a half-block long California state flag and a large group of veterans will carry flags of the 50 states. All veterans will be honored, including a special tribute to the 100th commemoration of World War I.
Opening Nov. 16, 2017, at The Exploratorium is “Curious Contraptions: Small Machines of Love and Mystery,” an interactive exhibition of more than 30 charming and often playful sculptures known as automata. These whimsical machines are brought to life by intricate arrangements of handmade crams, cranks, and other simple mechanisms. Each sculpture performs an absurd miniature drama, often reflecting its maker’s sense of humor. Visitors will be able to see and investigate the simple mechanisms used to make these automata move.
Originally scheduled to end Oct. 21, the Photosynthesis illumination at the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park will keep the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love going strong until Nov. 26. Pulsating with spinning flower mandalas and animated butterflies, the large-scale light-based art piece is presented by Illuminate, the nonprofit arts group behind The Bay Lights, in partnership with San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Obscura Digital, a world-renowned creative studio specializing in large-scale light-based art.
Check out 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat English-style ale, available through December in six pack cans and on draft, or Anchor Brewing's Coffee Porter made with Four Barrel Flash-Chilled Coffee. Now that's one way to start your morning! Always a hit on Instagram, the adorable pumpkin-shaped dim sum at Crystal Jade in the Embarcadero Center is filled with a sweet red bean paste. Humphry Slocombe is scooping up pumpkin hazelnut ice cream and Ghirardelli Chocolate has the perfect upgrade for a traditional s’more: Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel. The fire rings at Ocean Beach are ready and waiting!
It’s Ale Time!
Sold only from early November to mid-January, Anchor Brewing just released its 43rd annual Christmas Ale. Laced with rich flavors of cacao, toffee, and roasted nuts, the new ale continues a long tradition of featuring a tree on the label. This year’s favored conifer is the Santa Lucia fir, considered extremely rare. Available at the Anchor Public Taps on De Haro Street, Christmas Ale is also sold at select stores throughout the Bay Area and, of course, at local bars and restaurants.
Leap for Joy
Seventeen of the most sophisticated hip hop dance companies from across the globe will gather at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Nov. 17-19, 2017 for the 19th annual San Francisco International Hip Hop DanceFest (SFIHDDF). In addition to performers from London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Mexico City, and Spain, there will be dancers from Houston, Denver, Nashville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and locally from Redwood City, Oakland, and San Francisco. More than 100 individuals will take the stage at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, mixing skillfulness with artistry and storytelling.
San Francisco International Auto Show
One of San Francisco’s favorite Thanksgiving traditions is the 60th annual International Auto Show at The Moscone Center, Nov. 18-26, 2017. Northern California’s premier auto exhibition, it features vehicles representing models from 37 global manufacturers. In addition to 2018 model vehicles, the Auto Show will feature Ride & Drive opportunities, classic cars, tricked-out vehicles and aftermarket products. If you're in the area on Nov. 25, 2017 be sure to check out the holiday lighting festivities at the carousel at the Children's Creativity Museum and enjoy some hands-on crafts activities. There are free carousel rides from 4-6 p.m.; festivities are 4-7:30 p.m.
Chinese in the Sunset
The culmination of an extensive research project about the lives of Chinese Americans in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District, “Chinese in the Sunset,” presented by the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), delves into the history of racial restrictions preventing Chinese and other people of color from living in the area, how social attitudes evolved and how the vibrant community of today came to be. Exhibit dates are Nov. 19-Dec. 20 at the Sunset Recreation Center, 2201 Lawton St.; Nov. 22-30 at CHSA, and Dec. 2-Mar. 2018 at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St.
The Shop Around the Corner
Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017, is the best way to support neighborhood businesses. Sometimes they’re no bigger than a walk-in closet, but inside you always find the perfect present—and gift wrapping is included.
Meanwhile, Out West …
At the California Historical Society (CHS) learn more about the colonizing of California between 1769 and 1821. At least 300,000 indigenous people lived in Alta California when the Spanish Crown asserted sovereignty over the territory in 1769. In the ensuing decades, Spain left an enduring imprint on the Native peoples, the landscape, and California’s cultural heritage. Also on view: “Alexander Hamilton, Treasures from the New-York Historical Society.” Both shows close on Feb. 18, 2018.