Things to Do in San Francisco This January
Time for resolutions and checking things off your bucket list. There will be plenty to do in San Francisco this January, including the return of SF Restaurant Week.
We See Sea Lions
From Jan. 17 to 20, 2020, PIER 39 celebrates the 30th anniversary of the sea lions’ arrival. The boisterous, barking pinnipeds began arriving in droves shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake hit San Francisco in October 1989. With a protected environment and plentiful supply of food from San Francisco Bay, the sea lions made PIER 39’s K-Dock their new home. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days, celebrate with free Sea Lion Encounter Walking Tours, celebratory treats, and special discounts at select PIER 39 businesses.
Several museum exhibitions are closing this month, so be sure not to miss them. Celebrate snowy ecosystems and Arctic animals with “'Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice” at the California Academy of Sciences until Jan. 5, 2020. The Walt Disney Family Museum bids farewell to “A Powerful Force: Working to End Homelessness Through Art” on Jan. 6, 2020. There’s still some time to check out the “Curious Contraptions” at the Exploratorium through Jan. 26, 2020. “Moving Forward, Looking Back: Prints From the Anderson Graphic Arts Collection” at the de Young closes on Jan. 12, 2020. You also have until Jan. 19, 2020 to see "Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped" at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
At San Francisco Art Institution's Main Gallery within Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, "To Be Real" will be on view from Jan. 10 to Feb. 23, 2020. This exhibition draws from ballroom divas, haute couture, and African art in collage, sculpture and interactive A.I. It explores how today's biases are baked into technology and creates dialogue around increasing awareness for human agency. Admission is free and open to the public.
The American Bookbinders Museum starts the new year with their new exhibition. "Bound for Beauty: Highlights of the Kathleen V. Roberts Collection of Decorated Publishers Bindings". Free to the public, museum goers can embark on a guided docent tour or self-guided tour of the stunning bookbinding designs reflecting the tastes of the time.
Golden Gate Park's 150th Anniversary Kick-Off Event
The new decade also marks Golden Gate Park's 150th anniversary. On Jan. 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., join San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed, various community groups and cultural partners in planting 150 trees in Golden Gate Park to kick off a year of celebration in honor of San Francisco's beloved park. Stay tuned for more fun activations and events at Golden Gate Park all year long.
Cockettes Are Golden
Celebrate 50 years of music, art and mayhem with the legendary Cockettes on Jan. 4, 2020 at the Victoria Theatre. Get ready for a night like no other and watch this troupe of fearless drag queens take the stage to perform various musical numbers with over-the-top makeup and plenty of glitter!
Fort Mason Center is the home of FOG Design+Art, one of the region’s premier art fairs, Jan. 16-19, 2020. Forty-five exhibitors from the worlds of design and 20th century art will have stands at the show. Among the galleries making an appearance at FOG Design+Art are Galerie Chantal Crousel, Altman Siegel, Luhring Augustine, and many others.
Comic Relief: SF Sketchfest
SF Sketchfest returns to spread laughter all over the city. Billed as “the San Francisco Comedy Festival,” SF Sketchfest is now in its 19th year. Audiences can expect another year full of improv, skits, films and more entertainment from major comedy stars and up-and-coming acts from around the world. SF Sketchfest kicks off with a world premiere of the Netflix original series, "Medical Police", and closes with Quiz-o-Tron, a witty quiz show between comedians and scientists. Be there for all 18 days of comedy beginning Jan. 9-16, 2020.
Untitled, San Francisco
A platform for outstanding Bay Area cultural institutions, non-profit organizations and artist-run exhibition spaces, Untitled, San Francisco will take place at Pier 35 from Jan. 17 to Jan. 19, 2020, featuring galleries from 12 countries and two cities. Among the organizations participating this year are the Chinese Culture Center and Creativity Explored.
San Francisco Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Join thousands of celebrants in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on, Jan. 20, 2020, for a full day of events, festivals and programs honoring “The Time for Justice,” the theme of this year’s celebration. A number of community events are scheduled between Jan. 18 and 20, 2020, including the MLK2020 Music Festival and Liberation Film Screenings. The Museum of the African Diaspora will offer free admission on Jan. 20, including special exhibitions. Many public transit agencies in the Bay Area are also offering free transportation to and from celebration events on Jan. 20.
January Events at the Schulz Museum
January is a jam packed month for the Charles M. Schulz Museum in nearby Santa Rosa. "Museum Mondays" for Little Ones will kick off on Jan. 6, with a changing theme each week. Crafts, games, story time, and many other fun activities are designed for children ages 1-5 and their guardians. On Jan. 11, learn how to draw with cartoonist Matthew Luhn, who has animation credits in "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2," as well as "Cars," "Finding Nemo," and "Monsters Inc."
San Francisco Independent Film Festival
The 21st SF IndieFest will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 13, 2020, at the Roxie Theater and Victoria Theater. Celebrate the original cinematic works of talented directors from the Bay Area and beyond.
San Francisco Restaurant Week Returns
From Jan. 23-31, 2020, San Francisco Restaurant Week will offer nine days of celebrating the top toques and tastes in the U.S. The Golden Gate Restaurant Association has signed up more than 100 of the city’s best restaurants to offer $15 and $25 two-plus course lunch menus, and $40 and $65 three-plus course dinner menus. Reservations are available now for an array of restaurants in more than two dozen neighborhoods, from Bayview to West Portal.
Wizardry at The Curran
Begin the new year with the thrilling production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", a new play based on an original Harry Potter story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. See what unfolds as Harry's son, Albus, struggles with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" continues on stage through July 2020.
Noir City 18: Film Noir from A to B
The San Francisco Film Noir Festival returns to the Castro Theatre, Jan. 24-Feb. 2, 2020, with a program of 12 “A” and “B” double bills spanning the breadth of the film noir era (1941-1953). The festival screens 24 films as they were experienced in their original release, pairing a top-tier studio “A” with a shorter, low-budget second feature, or “B” film.
Run It Off at The Giant Race!
If you added a few extra pounds over the holidays or made a resolution in the new year to be more active, there are a lot of great spots in San Francisco to run, from scenic coastal trails offering breathtaking views to many one-of-a-kind race experiences. The Giant Race Series will kick off in Scottsdale, AZ and will journey through Sacramento, San Jose, and San Francisco, celebrating 11 years in 2020. You can register for one or all four of these races beginning Jan. 7.
Let’s Make a Plan
Jan. 28, 2020 is National Plan for Vacation Day. Are you one of those American workers who leaves vacation days unused? Did you know that planning syncs with greater happiness across nine categories, including financial stability and professional success? We’ve got a couple of tips for you: confirm your time off benefits; review your calendar for the year (especially paid holidays, family events and other important dates); and check with your coworkers. Homework complete? Then start working on your bucket list and make your dream vacation a reality.