Things to Do in San Francisco this April
Bay Area Theatre Week
Bay Area Theatre Week continues through Apr. 7, 2019. Experience the magic of live theater with more than 40 theater companies in and around the Bay Area, including A.C.T., The Curran, New Conservatory Theater Center, SHN, and many others. See shows ranging from hit Broadway musicals to new and exciting original productions. If you're not able to see a show during Theatre Week, you're still in luck. Select theaters will offer special pricing during Theatre Week for future productions.
San Francisco Maritime Celebrates 80 Years
On Friday, Apr. 12, 2019, from 6 to 10 p.m., the San Francisco Maritime Museum will celebrate its 80th anniversary. Come dressed in your best 1930s-1940s costumes and join in the festivities in the Streamline Moderne landmark building, with jazz performances by the Fil Lorenz Orchestra, dancing, cocktails and hors d'oeuvres all night long.
"Queer California: Untold Stories"
Oakland Museum of California will debut the first exhibition of its kind that explores LGBTQ history and culture on Apr. 13, 2019. "Queer California: Untold Stories" willl showcase powerful LGBTQ stories through examples of contemporary artwork, hisotrical materials, archival documents, and other ephemera. See this exhibition before it closes on Aug. 11, 2019.
Junior Ranger Day
San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park welcomes children 5-12 and their families for a free Junior Ranger Day event on Apr. 20, 2019. From 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., young adventurers can explore the park and watch demonstrations of "sailor work," from caulking a ship's deck to rope making. Those who try all the day's activities can earn a Junior Ranger badge!
Sundays are for Presidio Picnics
In partnership with Off the Grid, the Presidio Picnic is back for another year. Grab your blanket and enjoy a combination of the Presidio's natural beauty and San Francisco's incredible food scene each Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Let's Go, Giants!
Opening day for the San Francisco Giants, an unofficial holiday in San Francisco, is April 3, 2019. There are more than 40 special events planned for the 2019 season, including Metallica Night on Apr. 26. Notable giveaways in April include the Year of the Pig bobblehead for Chinese Heritage Night on Apr. 8, an exclusive Giants Cycling Cap for Bike to the Park Night on Apr. 9, an Irish-themed Giants Two Flaps Down Hat for Irish Heritage Night on Apr. 11, and college themed blankets for USF Night, Saint Mary's College Night, Sacramento State Night, and San Francisco State University Night. These are the best areas to stay near Oracle Park.
Why wait until Opening Day? You can do a behind the scenes tour of Oracle Park now, offered daily.
Get Some Sun in Tri-Valley
Spring is here and the Tri-Valley is waiting for you! Home to some of the best outdoor activities in Northern California and just 30 miles east of San Francisco, come enjoy Tri-Valley's warm weather and charming countryside. Hike to Murietta Falls, paddleboard in Lake Del Valle, and visit Mt. Diablo State Park's spectacular vistas. Following your adventure, reward yourself with a visit to Wente Vineyards. Start making your spring plans now!
Celebrate Spring on Union Street
Where can you find pony rides, rollerblading butterflies, a petting zoo, and an Easter Bonnet contest? None other than the Union Street Easter Parade and Festival! On Apr. 21, 2019, join hundreds of locals for a day full of Easter activities. The Easter parade begins at 2 p.m. and there will be plenty to do from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bring the whole family!
San Francisco’s colorful Japantown will burst into full bloom on the weekends of April 13-14 and 20-21, 2019, when members of Northern California’s Japanese American community gather to present the 51st annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Beginning in 1968, the festival has continued to cultivate connections between the U.S. and Japan through demonstrations and exhibitions of popular culture and traditions. Celebrating its 51st anniversary this year, the five-acre Japan Center at Post and Buchanan streets and the adjacent blocks of Japantown will be filled with hundreds of performers and reverberate to the sound of taiko drums. Classical and folk dancers will perform both weekends, climaxing with the parade on Sunday, April 21.
During the month of April, take a prehistoric trek 66 million years into the past to explore the creatures of the Late Cretaceous period at the California Academy of Sciences. Walk among life-size animatronic dinosaurs, dig deep into two excavation pits, and show off your dance moves at the dino dance-off.
April Museum Picks
Several exhibitions this spring pay tribute to great painters. “Gaugin: A Spiritual Journey” is on view at the de Young Museum through Apr. 7, 2019, and "Monet: The Late Years," through May 27, 2019. At the Legion of Honor, see "Early Rubens," opening on Apr. 6.
Other exhibitions of note include:
- "Kimono Refashioned," featuring more than 35 garments from the Kyoto Costume Institute, ponders the influence of the Japanese kimono on fashion. Designs from Issey Miyake, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, and many others can be seen at the Asian Art Museum through May 5, 2019.
- Dive into "The Sea Ranch" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art before it closes on Apr. 28, 2019. This exhibition comprises of a collection of drawings, sketches, and photographs of The Sea Ranch and explores this community where design and nature coexist.
- “Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem” continues through Apr. 14, 2019, at the Museum of the African Diaspora. The exhibition features works from more than 50 African-American artists across all media dating from the 1920s to today.
San Francisco International Film Festival
The longest-running film festival in the Americas, the San Francisco International Film Festival is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation in one of the country's most beautiful cities. The festival runs Apr. 10-23 at venues across the Bay Area and features nearly 200 films and live events, with upwards of 100 participating filmmaker guests.
San Francisco International Beer Festival
On Apr. 20, 2019, the 36th annual San Francisco International Beer Festival will feature 100+ breweries from all around the Bay Area. Choose your festival experience, from general admission to the VIP Brewmaster experience, which includes all general admission benefits plus a 90-minute exclusive tasting prior and all-night access to the Brewmaster Lounge. The festivities will kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion.
Enter "The Jungle" at the Curran for its West Coast premiere. The Curran's traditional theater space will be transformed to house a 360-degree stage for a highly intimate and immersive theatrical performance through May 19. The regional premiere of an insightful new play, “The Gentleman Caller,” is booked for the New Conservatory Theatre Center Apr. 5-May 5, 2019. Opening April 12, 2019 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Alonzo King LINES Ballet partners with Emmy award-winning musician and composer Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ for a world premiere ballet production. The American Conservatory Theater will present “Vanity Fair," April 17-May 12, 2019. Beginning April 30 at the A.C.T.'s Strand Theater is "Weightless," a rock opera that blends the energy of a rock show with the clever storytelling of experimental theater.
A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On
April 18, 2019 is the 113th anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire. If you’re an early riser, head to Lotta’s Fountain. At 5:12 a.m., civic leaders and history buffs will gather at the corner of Market and Kearny streets, for an annual commemoration. Also worth visiting is the Gold Fire Hydrant on the southwest corner of Dolores Park, famously known as the "Little Giant" that saved the Mission District from the deadly fires. This miraculous fire hydrant gets a fresh coat of gold paint every April 18th.
San Francisco Ballet: The Little Mermaid
San Francisco Ballet's "The Little Mermaid" premieres on Apr. 19. "The Little Mermaid" tells a tale of love and sacrifice, where a young mermaid is intent on discovering the world above the water. Single tickets to this premiere are on sale now.
San Francisco's 49th Year of Earth Day
April 20, 2019 is Earth Day San Francisco. This year's theme is "Celebrate the Green New Deal." Multicultural entertainment, keynote speakers, earth-friendly exhibitors, eco-educational workshops, organic food and drink, a kids zone and much more will unfold on Valencia St. (between 19th and 20th streets), from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Lexus Culinary Classic Returns to Cavallo Point Lodge
From Apr. 26 to 28, Lexus and a lineup of chefs team up for a weekend full of exclusive events hosted at Cavallo Point Lodge in Sausalito. As part of the Lexus Culinary Classic, you'll go on a farmer's market excursion, participate in cooking demonstrations, and have a private dinner at Skywalker Ranch. Cap off the weekend with the Lexus Grand Tasting featuring all participating chefs, top wineries, and Champion Race Car Driver and Lexus Brand Ambassador Scott Pruett. Lexus owners receive 15% off all tickets.
City Nature Challenge
Feeling competitive? The Presidio Trust invites people of all ages to participate in the worldwide City Nature Challenge on Apr. 26-29. What began in 2016 as a friendly rivalry between California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to stimulate citizen interest in science has turned into quite an international "sport." Make observations of plants and animals in the Presidio to help San Francisco win the City Nature Challenge. Last year, San Francisco teams made 41,737 observations and counted 3,211 species!
SoundBox Season 5
Composers will showcase their musical talent by experimenting with the music of language—and the language of music—on Apr. 26-27. The SoundBox at Davies Symphony Hall is an experimental performance space, where curators and fans make it what they want it to be. The music ranges from the threshold of audibility to a cornucopia of unusual sounds.
Art Market San Francisco
The Bay Area’s only contemporary and modern art fair, Art Market San Francisco welcomes more than 80 established galleries, as well as innovative newcomers from around the world, presenting a significant selection of contemporary and modern works of art to the Fort Mason Center for Art & Culture, April 25-28, 2019. That same weekend is stARTup Art Fair, a unique contemporary art fair in an intimate setting at the Hotel Del Sol. It gives independent artists direct access and broad exposure to art world professionals and the art-loving public.
Leap into Bay Area Dance Week
The 21st annual Bay Area Dance Week (BADW) brings the vibrant world of Bay Area dance to the public, offering more than 400 events—all completely free—from Apr. 26 to May 5, 2019. BADW includes workshops, performances, classes, open rehearsals and more. First-time dancers can try their hand (and feet) at a variety of dance styles. Art lovers can go behind-the-scenes and see how dances get made. Hardcore exercise enthusiasts can inject a little Bollywood flair into their usual cardio.
The West Coast’s top designers are busy transforming 465 Marina Blvd. in the heart of the Marina District for the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, which will be open to the public from Apr. 27 to May 27, 2019 (closed Mondays except Memorial Day). Originally built by architect George McCrea in 1930, the house offers uninterrupted views of San Francisco Bay from its location opposite Marina Green. More than two dozen interior and landscape designers along with artists and photographers have been selected to make over the rooms and outdoor spaces in this three-level residence.
Bay to Breakers
Of all of San Francisco’s unique traditions, none captivates the entire city the way Bay to Breakers does. It’s an annual testament to the creativity, community and resilience that make San Francisco such a popular destination. The race began in 1912 and is now recognized as the longest consecutively run foot race in the world. It is also one of the most creative. Whether it’s a pink gorilla or a cadre of runners dressed as Wonder Woman, participants try to outdo one another by crafting some truly outrageous costumes every year. Need some inspiration? Here are a few of our favorites. Registration is now open. The race is May 19. These are the best areas to stay for Bay to Breakers.