Things to Do in San Francisco this March
Picnics, parades, and performances are just some of the can't-miss events happening this March in San Francisco. Here are some ideas to make the most of the start of springtime.
Mardi Gras San Francisco Style
Dance your way to the 2019 Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Party in the Mission on Mar. 5, 6-11 p.m. Expect a full evening of live samba drummers, fun costumes, and upbeat music. Don't forget to come dressed in your best Mardi Gras costumes and beads!
On Mar. 9 and 23, the Exploratorium’s Cinema Arts Program will host their Saturday Cinemas, exploring many forms of shadows through a mix of short films. At the San Francisco Opera, see three “Opera in an Hour” favorites on Mar. 9, starting with “The Elixir of Love” at 1 p.m. Other March film fests include the 15th annual International Ocean Film Festival, Mar. 7-10 at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. On March 1 and 2, watch Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" on the big screen, with the score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony.
Taste Bud Ticklers
Some delectable food festivals are on the menu in March. Dancing, a soul food contest, and live music are among the draws at the annual Black Cuisine Festival on Mar. 2. Those with a yen for chocolate can indulge in artisan, gourmet, and premium chocolate from more than 50 chocolatiers and confectioners at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon on Mar. 30. Coming up on Mar. 23, the Bay Area Brew Festival at Pier 35 features more than 70 breweries, 200 beers and ciders, and some of San Francisco’s best food trucks.
Here’s what you’ll be seeing on marquees this month. Mark Gerrard's regional premiere of "Steve" at the New Conservatory Theater Center plays for the entire month of March. The hit Broadway play “Her Portmanteau” comes to A.C.T.'s Strand Theater through Mar. 31, and "The Great Leap" comes to A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, Mar. 6-31. After taking London and New York by storm with sold out shows, “The Jungle” arrives at the Curran on Mar. 26, where the entire theater will be transformed into an immersive refugee camp. And how could we forget the return of Broadway's hit musical "Hamilton," back at the SHN Orpheum for an extended run.
Bay Area Theatre Week
Despite its name, Bay Area Theatre Week will celebrate nearly two weeks of theater and performing arts, Mar. 26-Apr. 7. Discounts and other special pricing to top Bay Area theater will be available, ranging from $15 to $35. Productions can be seen at the A.C.T., New Conservatory Theatre Center, and SHN, among the 40+ theater venues participating.
Culture for Community
Get free access to arts and cultural programming on Mar. 21, the inaugural free day of "Culture for Community", a collaboration between arts and cultural organizations around the Yerba Buena neighborhood. The supporting theme will honor "Womxn's History Month," where all members of the community are encouraged to explore the cultural shifts that have impacted and empowered women. Programs will include an open mic night at the Museum of African Diaspora, Rad Women live at SFMOMA, designer cocktails and local DJs at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, a women's art talk at SPUR, and a drag cabaret at the Contemporary Jewish Museum.
You can view a full list of participating organizations here.
Here Comes the Parade
The 168th annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, the West Coast’s largest event celebrating Irish history and culture, will take place on Saturday, Mar. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parade will start at 11:30 a.m. from the corner of Market and Second streets, where colorful floats, Irish dance groups, and marching bands will wend their way to Civic Center Plaza. A full day of festivities at the Plaza will showcase Irish history and culture. Transit tip: BART is one of the easiest ways to get to the parade and festival.
150th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Railroad
On Mar. 21, the California Historical Society will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad with two concurrent exhibitions. Mark Ruwedel: Westward the Course of Empire captures the works of renowned photographer Mark Ruwedel, where he documents traces of railroads throughout the American and Canadian West. The second exhibition, Overland to California: Commemorating the Transcontinental Railroad, draws from the CHS's archives, which includes a rarely seen gold spike that was the last to be driven into the railroad that connected Los Angeles and San Francisco to the East Coast.
Presidio Picnic Returns
Join San Francisco’s largest community picnic, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., beginning Sunday, Mar. 31. The Presidio Picnic combines the best of the international food scene with the best of this national park. Leave the car at home and venture to the city’s most sustainable picnic on the PresidiGo shuttle.
March Museum Picks
There's plenty to see at San Francisco's must-see museums this month. At the Contemporary Jewish Museum , “Show Me as I Want to Be Seen” continues through July 7. This group show presents the work of 10 contemporary artists whose work examines the empowered representation of identity through paintings, sculptures, 3-D animations, and much more. Also at the CJM until Mar. 25 is “What We Hold: Youth Voices on Roots and What Matters Most,” a series of audio recordings of youth reflections on cultural inheritance and family life.
Through May 27, 50 original paintings from the final phase of Claude Monet's long career are on display at the de Young Museum. “Kimono Refashioned,” on display through May 9, 2019 at the Asian Art Museum, brings Japanese tradition and fashion together with an impressive collection of designer garments. See the designs from Coco Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin, and many others and learn how the Japanese kimono transformed the world of fashion.
You have until Mar. 31 to see "Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. See Celmins' first retrospective in North America in more than 25 years before it travels to the Art Gallery in Ontario, Canada. “Black Refractions: Highlights from the Studio Museum in Harlem” and "Sadie Barnette: Phone Home" will be on view through Apr. 14 at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
On Mar. 22, embark on a space odyssey to a colorful paradise at Macy’s Union Square for their annual Flower Show. There will be special events and in-store promotions all built around a vibrant “Journey to Paradisos” theme. Sci-fi-inspired floral scenes will come to life and the windows will be transformed into special gardens.
C’mon, you remember this from fifth-grade math! The Exploratorium will be celebrating pi, the never-ending number, as well as Albert Einstein’s birthday on Mar. 14. Founded at the Exploratorium by the Prince of Pi, physicist Larry Shaw, PI Day has become an international phenomenon. Here’s a peek at the Pi Day festivities, as well as other special events happening at the Exploratorium in celebration of their 50th anniversary.
40 Years of Dancing
Sonoma International Film Festival Opens March 27, 2019
Now in its 22nd year, the Sonoma International Film Festival takes place in the heart of Northern California's wine country, Mar. 27-31. Featuring more than 100 hand-selected films, it includes independent features, documentaries, world cinema, and short films. All films are shown in intimate venues and within walking distance of Sonoma's historic plaza. The festival is dedicated to promoting independent film, supporting filmmakers around the world, and inspiring film lovers. Experience the best of indie films while sipping and savoring exceptional wines from local Sonoma vintners.
Sundays Won’t Be the Same
For its 11th year, Sunday Streets brings back its 10 fun-filled Sundays, beginning Mar. 10 in the Mission. Main streets throughout the city will be closed to traffic and transformed into car-free community spaces for kids to play, seniors to stroll, organizations to connect and neighbors to meet.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
On Mar. 22, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus presents “The Brits Are Coming” a homecoming concert celebrating the momentous change of British music. The performance at Davies Symphony Hall will feature the Chorus’ renditions of classics from The Beatles, Adele, Sir Elton John, Queen, and many others.
Immigrant Yarn Project
Beginning on Mar. 8, come see the knitted and crocheted patches of yarn representing generations of immigrants from every corner of the world, made by more than 600 contributors. Celebrate the diverse heritage and journeys that brought families the United States. This free exhibit will be installed at the Fort Point National Historic Site.
Free Sensory-Friendly Family Day at Charles M. Schulz Museum
On Mar. 5, the Charles M. Schulz Museum will host a special sensory-friendly family event from 3 to 5 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to watch an animated "Peanuts" special in the museum's theater with the lights up, explore the museum's current exhibitions in a quieter environment, and experiment with water beads and no-mess finger painting while the museum is closed to the general public.Noise-cancelling headphones, sensory kits, and a quiet cartooning space will be available. More information can be found here.
San Francisco Giants Race Registration Open
If you aren't able to make it to the Giants Race as it makes its way through Scottsdale on Mar. 2 and Sacramento on Mar. 30, you can register now for the Giants Race in San Francisco on Sept. 8. Join the fun on the San Francisco Giants' home turf for a full day of races, family activities, and a celebration of 10 years of Giant Racing in San Francisco.