How to Celebrate Your Birthday in San Francisco | San Francisco Travel
A girl celebrates her birthday with balloons in front of a colorful mural.

How to Celebrate Your Birthday in San Francisco

No matter how you like to mark another year around the sun, San Francisco offers the perfect experience for everyone on their birthdays.

Your birthday comes only once a year, so make sure it's a memorable one. No matter which persona fits you best, we have unforgettable ways to celebrate your birthday in San Francisco.

For the Foodie

Foodies can celebrate their birthdays by sampling some of San Francisco's best eats. Start the day by indulging in breakfast pastries and coffee from the French-styled b. patisserie in the Fillmore, then head to Fisherman's Wharf to try some of the famous Pacific seafood at McCormick & Kuleto's, the Franciscan Crab Restaurant, or Scoma's Restaurant. For dinner, go to Chinatown for a spectacular dining experience at China Live or dim sum and Peking duck at the Far East Cafe.

Chinese food on the table
Chinese cuisine is so influential to everything in San Francisco.

For the Culture Vulture

San Francisco offers plenty of culture. Explore masterworks at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or the Asian Art Museum. Spend a day in Golden Gate Park to learn about living things at the California Academy of Sciences, then take an evening stroll through the city to discover its unique light art installations.

For the Nature Lover

There are plenty of trails to hike in and near San Francisco, namely the art trails in the Presidio and the trails at Muir Woods, where you can see hundreds of coastal Redwood trees. There are also many beautiful spots for camping, should you decide to spend the night under the stars on your birthday.

For the Night Owl

Night owls can keep the party going into the wee hours at San Francisco's best bars, clubs, and venues on their birthday. Enjoy cocktails at lively joints like The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar in Nob Hill or grab a few pints at The Lark in SoMa. Visitors can also soak up the fabled San Francisco comedy scene at the Punch Line or Cobb's Comedy Club. Sing your heart out at Pandora Karaoke & Bar in Union Square.

Bartender pouring cocktails

For the Music Maven

The vibrant music scene of San Francisco offers a perfect way to spend a birthday. The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus always put on a captivating live show, and the San Francisco Symphony delivers classical music at Davies Symphony Hall. Keep the entertainment coming by seeing shows at The Fillmore and The Masonic, two of San Francisco's most legendary music venues. Be sure to check out the line-up of upcoming events at the new Chase Center, which has already hosted talents including Janet Jackson, Metallica, Mumford & Sons, and others.

For the Brewmaster

San Francisco is rightfully famous for its incredible beer scene and distinctive styles. Start at the Anchor Brewing Company for one of the brewery's distinctive Anchor Steam drafts. Craft beer spots like Jasper's Corner Tap & Kitchen deliver amazing brews from all over California.

For the Hopeless Romantic

Are you spending your birthday with someone special? San Francisco is the perfect place for a romantic interlude. Go out with your significant other for one of the city's famous martinis, take in an exquisite performance, and mix some Ghirardelli chocolate and ice cream into your adventure.

For the Leader of the Pack

There are plenty of options for group fun in San Francisco. One of the best choices out there for a large group is to take in a Giants game at Oracle Park. The Giants play in one of the best ballparks in the nation. Grab the gang and take a trip to Alcatraz to explore the place where Whitey Bulger, Al Capone, and "Machine Gun" Kelly once resided. If you're looking for immersive experience, try The Escape Game, located in downtown San Francisco and Fisherman's Wharf. Work your way through a variety of escape rooms with you, full of puzzles, code-cracking and rich story-telling. 

For a Budget Birthday

The city is full of inexpensive ways to have a great time. Buy a San Francisco CityPASS card for a Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, admission to California Academy of Sciences, and admission to either Aquarium of the BayThe Walt Disney Family Museum, the Exploratorium, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), or the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. The Go San Francisco card is another great budget-friendly sightseeing pass, offering a build-your-own pass option and discounted admission to more than 25 attractions.

For a Luxurious Birthday

On the other hand, if you're looking to treat yourself in San Francisco, there are plenty of luxury shopping opportunities and Michelin-starred restaurants in San Francisco. Take home limited edition spirits at the Cask spirits shop in SoMa or designer duds from Neiman Marcus in Union Square. For dinner, treat yourself to one of the city's top French spots at Atelier Crenn in the Marina or delicious contemporary American fare at State Bird Provisions in the Fillmore.

For the First-Time Visitor

Use your birthday to tackle all of the quintessential experiences in the city. Get your postcard shots at the Painted Ladies and the Golden Gate Bridge, eat clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at PIER 39, visit San Francisco's must-see museums, and walk along the Embarcadero for more stunning waterfront views. Don't forget to ride one of the historic cable cars!

A cable car rounds a hill in San Francisco with passengers looking out the window.
San Francisco Cable Car

For the San Francisco Expert

There are hidden gems throughout San Francisco that only a seasoned visitor would know about. Grab one of the city's best pizzas at Flour + Water. Check out the relaxed vibe and great beers at the Barrel Head Brewhouse in Haight-Ashbury, with 30 drafts served out of a torpedo. For a colorful souvenir of your trip to the city, grab some tie-dyed treasures at Love on Haight.

For Fun with the Family

Celebrating with kids? Little ones will adore the remarkable sea creatures at the Aquarium at the Bay or the sea lions at PIER 39. They'll also enjoy a cruise along the water with the Blue & Gold Fleet. This aquatic adventure brings families to see the sights all around the Bay, including Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

For the Adrenaline Junkie

For those in search of extraordinary, heart-pumping experiences, San Francisco offers that and more. See the wonders of the city from the air with San Francisco Helicopters, spend a morning soaring in a hot air balloon with the Balloon Pacific tours or sail on a catamaran for an excursion past Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge with Adventure Cat Sailing Charters.

For the Day After

Did you celebrate a little bit too much for your birthday? We have the hangover cure for you. Start with some coffee and sweets at Le Marais in the Castro. Stroll through the tranquil Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. While you're there, visit the Tea House for an afternoon of traditional Japanese tea and small snacks. For an immersive sound experience, head to Audium, the only theatre of its kind in the world. For 75 minutes, you'll go on an exploration of space in music in this 49-seat theatre, in total darkness. If you're looking for a way to recharge outside the city, visit these hot springs that are within a day's drive of San Francisco.

A woman relaxes in a natural hot spring beyond San Francisco.

Carol High
Carol High

Carol is a digital marketer creating media-rich content for global audiences covering travel, San Francisco and the Bay Area, food & drink, outdoor experiences, and cross-cultural storytelling. Her work is found in the San Mateo Daily Journal and The Skyline View (Skyline College). Before travel writing, her professional background included working internationally in business, nonprofits, and government. She lives in San Francisco with her family and regularly explores the parks in her city, especially untamed McLaren Park.