The new year is here! Check out everything to do in San Francisco in January 2018.

You are here

January 2, 2018

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 January, including the return of SF Restaurant Week.

We See Sea Lions

From Jan. 1-28, 2018 PIER 39 celebrates the 28th 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. Stop by the Sea Lion Center every day and enjoy programming every half hour; sign the Sea Lion Love Wall; take Sea Lion Encounter walking tours, and meet Salty the Sea Lion every Saturday from noon-3 p.m.

Run It Off!

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 event experiences.

Exhibitions Closing

Several exhibitions are closing this month, so mark your calendars. Two exhibitions end on Jan 7, 2018: “Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs” at the California Academy of Sciences and “Architectural Pavilions: Experiments and Artifacts” at the Museum of Craft and Design. The Walt Disney Family Museum bids farewell to “Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle” on Jan. 8, 2018. There’s still some time to check out the “Curious Contraptions” at the Exploratorium through Jan. 28, 2018. “Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter” at the Legion of Honor also closes on Jan. 28, 2018 as does “Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

FOG Design+Art

Fort Mason Center is the home of FOG Design+Art, one of the region’s premier art fairs, Jan. 11-14, 2018. The fair will kick off with a preview gala on Jan. 10, 2018 benefitting SFMOMA. Forty-five exhibitors from the worlds of design and 20th century art will have stands at the show. Among the galleries making their FOG Design+Art debut are Galerie Chantal Crousel, Galerie Chastel Marechal, Luhring Augustine and Stuart Shave/Modern Art.

Comic Relief: SF Sketchfest

SF Sketchfest returns to grinning faces all over the city. Billed as “the San Francisco Comedy Festival,” Sketchfest is in its 17th year. Offering more than two weeks of comedy, improv, skits and films, Sketchfest presented by Audible runs Jan. 11-28, 2018. This year's festival features everything from a double bill starring Ricky Gervais in conversation with comedy icon, Christopher Guest to a 40th anniversary screening of “Animal House” with director John Landis, actors Tim Matheson, Bruce McGill, Mark Metcalf, Peter Riegert, Martha Smith and James Widdoes, producer Sean Daniels and costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, moderated by Paul Myers. On Jan. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Marines' Memorial Theatre, entertainment icon Dick Cavett will sit down with friends John Hodgman, Lance Bangs and Dave Hill for an evening of conversation and never-been-seen footage in tribute to the 50th anniversary of his debut program.

Untitled, San Francisco

A platform for outstanding Bay Area cultural institutions, non-profit organizations and artist-run exhibition spaces, Untitled, San Francisco returns to the Palace of Fine Arts in the Marina District, Jan. 12-14, 2018. Among the organizations participating are the Chinese Culture Center which will present a multi-channel video, and SOMArts which will offer a selection of pop-up performances. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Recology are also part of the programming. Untitled, Radio will return for the second edition with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and other partners.

San Francisco Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Join thousands of celebrants in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on, Jan. 15, 2018 for a full day of events, festivals and programs honoring “The Urgency of Now,” the theme of this year’s celebration. A number of community events are scheduled from Jan. 13-15, 2018. including a Black Comix Arts Festival and the Liberation Film Festival, Jan. 13-15, 2018. The Museum of the African Diaspora will offer free admission on Jan. 15 as well as programs throughout the day including special exhibitions. Many public transit agencies in the Bay Area are also offering free transportation to and from celebration events on Jan. 15

Going to Muir Woods? Get a reservation!

Beginning in early 2018, the National Park Service will be rolling out a parking and shuttle reservation system at Muir Woods National Monument. Reservations will be required for all vehicles and shuttle riders in order to enhance the visitor experience and ensure the protection of park resources. Driving will still be an option, as will booking with any of the tour companies mentioned above; but we advise visitors to plan carefully and plan early. For more information about the new system, visit

Bernstein Centennial Continues at SFS

Michael Tilson Thomas will lead the San Francisco Symphony in a special tribute to composer Leonard Bernstein. On Jan.19–21, 2018 MTT and the SFS continue the season-long celebration of Bernstein’s birth centennial with performances of a full concert version of the composer’s satirical comic operetta Candide, featuring an all-star cast.

Let the Magic Begin!

Even if you can’t spell abracadabra, there will be no barriers to the fun at the annual Fog City Magic Fest, Jan. 24-27, 2018. Curated by co-founders, Jay Alexander and Christian Cagigal, seven shows featuring some of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed magicians including the legendary Fog City Magic Slam will unfold at EXIT Theatre.

San Francisco Restaurant Week Returns

From Jan. 22-31, 2018 San Francisco Restaurant Week returns with 10 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 who are offering $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.

Curran Brings Back Show & Tell

The Curran’s celebrated series, Curran: Show & Tell will return on Jan. 25, 2018. Brian Reed, the Peabody awarded host and co-creator of “S-Town” and Julie Snyder, the Executive Producer, will be on the Curran stage to share their insights about creating the groundbreaking podcast that had over 40 million downloads in its first month, and currently ranks number one on iTunes.

Noir City 16: Film Noir from A to B

The San Francisco Film Noir Festival returns to the Castro Theatre, Jan. 26-Feb. 4, 2018, 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.

Let’s Make a Plan

Jan. 30, 2018 is National Plan for Vacation Day. Are you one of those American workers who leaves vacation days unused? Did you know that planning synchs 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 – are you thinking of getting away when workload is especially heavy and/or a coworker will be out? Homework complete? Then start working on your bucket list and make your dream vacation a reality.

Portrait Photo by Shawn Clover / CC BY-NC


Sponsor Ad

You may also like