Things to Do in San Francisco This October
October signals the return of Open Studios, Fleet Week, and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, among many other annual events. Halloween will bring some extra-special tricks to the San Francisco Dungeon, too. It won’t be long before “falling back” prompts us to surrender an hour, so make the most of October's events.
Why Are You Covered In Sprinkles?
San Francisco offers just the thing for those who crave the sweeter things in life. The San Francisco edition of the Museum of Ice Cream at One Grant Avenue offers multiple themed chambers (see you in the Gummy Garden!) and a rotating lineup of California ice cream makers, including It’s-It, Bi-Rite and Salt & Straw offering visitors a special “scoop of the week.” And yes, there’s a sprinkle pool, too! You and your mates will get a chance to dive into the more than 100 million custom-designed sprinkles. Best of all, it's here to stay! After sold-out limited engagements, the Museum of Ice Cream will now be a permanent fixture in downtown San Francisco.
You’re going to need a checklist to see all the new exhibits in San Francisco this month. So we’ve created one:
- See “Veiled Meanings: Fashioning Jewish Dress, from the Collection of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. This collection of ensembles tells a story about Jewish dress codes and self-expression. Learn how Jewish communities are distinguished based on their traditional clothing and how fashion has shaped Jewish diversity. Through Jan. 6, 2019.
- Don't miss your last chance to see Rene Magritte's "The Fifth Season" at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). This is the only presentation of this retrospective in the U.S. It unites more than 70 mesmerizing artworks, many gathered together for the first time. Through Oct. 28, 2018.
- At the de Young, “Contemporary Muslim Fashions" is the first major museum exhibition to explore the complex, diverse nature of Muslim dress codes worldwide. The exhibition examines how Muslim women—those who cover their heads and those who do not—have become arbiters of style within and beyond their communities, and in so doing have drawn mass media attention to contemporary Muslim life. Through Jan. 6, 2019.
- Conceived around a series of more than a dozen impressive paintings, the Museum of the African Diaspora's "Ficre Ghebreyesus: City with a River Running Through," is the first west coast exhibition of the paintings of Ficre Ghebreyesus. You'll be welcomed with an 18-foot-long four-panel painting upon entering the exhibition. Through Dec. 16, 2018.
- Through Jan. 27, 2019 at the Legion of Honor, “Islam and the Classical Heritage” examines how authors, philosophers, and scientists of the Islamic world spread knowledge through illustrated manuscripts. The artifacts represent historic notables such as Alexander the Great, Aristotle, and Ptolemy.
- An affiliated event of the recent Global Climate Action Summit, the Chinese Culture Center will showcase the "Infinite Cycle," through October 21, 2018. "Infinite Cycle" sparks a conversation about environmental awareness through artworks and performances.
The Reel Thing
Start popping the popcorn! The 40th annual Mill Valley Film Festival takes place Oct. 4-14, 2018 in Mill Valley, San Rafael and other Marin locations, just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Well-known for the quality of its programming, the festival is considered a major launching pad for the annual awards season. This year, the festival includes tributes to Academy Award nominees Rosamund Pike and Matthew Heineman; director and screenwriter Peter Farrelly; and Oakland native Mahershala Ali, who won as Oscar for his work in Moonlight.
Opening with a kick-off event on Oct. 4, 2018, the ninth annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival continues through Oct. 14, 2018 at the Brava Theater Center. The Japan Film Festival of San Francisco returns to the New People Cinema in Japantown through Oct. 7, 2018. And don’t forget that tickets are going fast for the Napa Valley Film Festival, coming up Nov. 7-11, 2018.
“Modern Cinema” Returns to SFMOMA
Co-presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the SFFILM, “Modern Cinema” returns, Oct. 4-21, 2018, for a three-week series exploring the work and interests of storyteller, novelist, and film critic Satyajit Ray. Explore the full range of Ray's human drama that express contemporary issues of Indian life, including his debut feature, Pather Panchali (1955), adapted from a work of Bengali literature.
World Class Squash On A Glass Court
The ninth annual Oracle NetSuite Open will be hosted along the Embarcadero through Oct. 2, 2018. Cheer on reigning world squash champions as they compete for the $206,000 grand prize. Reserved seat tickets for all sessions are available online, starting from $20.
Celebrate Service During Fleet Week
From Oct. 1-8, 2018, San Francisco will be filled with tributes to America’s armed forces. Fleet Week features a parade of ships, ship tours and an impressive air show that includes the Blue Angels. There will be ongoing entertainment from Oct. 2-7, 2018 at PIER 39, as well as a Humanitarian Assistance Village at Marina Green, Oct. 5-7, 2018. Check out our tips for the best places to experience Fleet Week, as well as the best places to stay.
A Milestone for the Italian Heritage Parade
Celebrating its 150th anniversary on Oct. 7, 2018, the San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade is the oldest continuing American-Italian parade in the U.S. The parade will begin at Fisherman's Wharf at Jefferson and Powell streets and end at Washington Square. Expect to see handcrafted floats and marching bands from local high school Italian clubs. Queen Isabella and her court will also be making a special appearance!
Castro Street Fair's 45th Anniversary
The Castro Street Fair has it all, from local food vendors to live musical acts and open-air dancing. The fair is easily accessible by public transit. Just take the K, L, M, or T Muni Metro trains and exit at Castro St. Join the fun on Oct. 7, 2018!
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Is Back
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, which is described by organizers as “three days of treating your ears,” is just that. From Oct. 5 to 7, six stages in Hellman Hollow, Lindley and Marx meadows in Golden Gate Park will be home to the likes of everyone from Alison Krauss and Graham Nahs to Mavis Staples and too many other boldface names to mention here. It’s free and it’s only in San Francisco.
Litquake Rumbles Into San Francisco
Litquake, happening Oct. 11-20, is the largest independent literary festival on the West Coast. It turns 19 this year, with a ten-day program that features a variety of authors and participants at 160 different venues. There are events for all ages, including "Kidquake" and "Teenquake," offering the youth a place of enouragement to showcase their readings of poetry, memoir, and prose, along with performances of dance and music. All kinds of art and literature are welcome!
SF Open Studios 2018
Showcasing more than 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists, Open Studios is the perfect moment for art patrons, admirers and collectors to venture out on self-guided tours throughout San Francisco and visit as many studios as possible. Each weekend from Oct. 13 to Nov. 11 highlights a different group of neighborhoods. Celebrating its 43rd anniversary this year, Open Studios is the largest and oldest open studios program in the U.S.
It’s Show Time!
Miss Saigon, from the creators of Les Miserables, will be at the SHN Orpheum Theater, Oct. 9-Nov. 4, 2018. This legendary musical tells the story of a Vietnamese woman who is orphaned by war and on a journey to reunite with the love of her life. Also at the Orpheum is On Your Feet!, the Gloria Estefan musical, through Oct. 7, 2018. The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, Sweat, continues through Oct. 21, 2018 at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater. Red Scare on Sunset, which campily juxtaposes Hollywood and Washington, closes on Oct. 21, 2018 at the New Conservatory Theatre Center. Cardboard Piano premieres a few days later on Oct. 26.
Show & Tell At The Curran
The Curran’s special performance series, Curran: Show & Tell, features a diverse range of thought-leaders, cultural influencers, and artists in conversation, on stage at the Curran. Each program in the series will be a one-night-only event, ticketed and open to the public. Megan Mullally (Will & Grace) and Nick Offerman (Parks & Recreation) open the series this year on Oct. 6 with "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told: An Oral History." Other guests scheduled for the season include founding member of Monty Python, Eric Idle; former White House photographer Pete Souza; and many others.
Something For Your Littlest Travelers
Rock, play and learn this October as the San Francisco Public Library celebrates the 10th anniversary of Tricycle Music Fest. The stellar lineup includes the Alphabet Rockers, Jose-Luis Orozco, The Okee Dokee Brothers, and Grammy and Emmy winner Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. On Oct. 14, 2018, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band present a special concert for children and caregivers with VIP access to the Main Library before public hours.
San Francisco Trolley Dances Return Oct. 12
On Oct. 12, 2018, San Francisco Trolley Dances debuts with a nighttime performance at Salesforce Park, atop the new Salesforce Transit Center. An annual, admission-free festival that takes place each October, SFTD has been dubbed “art for citizens” and “a gift to the City.” This year, audiences will get a taste of contemporary dance and music, contact improvisation, and much more. Live music will accompany many of the performances.
Get Cultured At Yerba Buena Night
From 5-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, there will be surprises around every corner at Yerba Buena Night. The eighth annual free, outdoor arts festival in the Yerba Buena Cultural District includes dance, music, art and video projections. More than 30 groups will be performing in Jessie Square, Yerba Buena Lane and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
PIER 39’s 40th Anniversary Fireworks Celebration
PIER 39’s 40th anniversary celebration wraps up with a bang on Oct. 13, 2018. There will be live music by DJ Busy B from 5-8:30 p.m., as well as roving PIER 39 street performers and free caricature sketches, while supplies last. At 8:30 p.m., the fun-filled evening under the stars culminates with PIER 39’s spectacular fireworks show over San Francisco Bay.
The spirit of the Old West is still alive and well in San Francisco. The 2018 Grand National Livestock Exposition, Horse Show and Rodeo continues with the PRCA Rodeo at the Cow Palace for two weekends, Oct 12-13 and 19-20, 2018. For more than 70 years, the Grand National has been the West's most prestigious western lifestyle event, attracting thousands of participants and fans.
La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival Returns
The San Francisco Street Food Festival, an essential element of the thriving Bay Area food scene, returns Oct. 13, 2018 at The Power Station (420 23rd St.). The festival embraces the delicious and diverse story of American food with Mexican huaraches, Vietnamese pho, Southern fried chicken, Nepalese dumplings and so much more.
Wharf Fest Chowder Competition & Street Fair
Wharf Fest returns to San Francisco’s iconic waterfront neighborhood on Oct. 20, 2018. Come enjoy a street fair, exhibitors and fun family entertainment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The highlight of the festivities is the chowder cook-off competition at noon. The festival takes place at the intersection of Jefferson and Taylor streets, at the base of the famous Fisherman’s Wharf crab wheel sign.
Potrero Hill Festival Set for Oct. 20
For more than two decades, the Potrero Hill Festival has been a celebration of this eclectic community as local food vendors, artists, musicians, historians and residents turn out for this community event for all ages. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. join in the fun on 20th Street between Wisconsin and Missouri streets.
“Free Falling Objects” at Fort Mason Center
"Free Falling Objects" is activated periodically throughout the year at sundown to enhance this nationally recognized video, sound, and light installation by Elaine Buckholtz. This installation at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture examines the relationship between objects and their movements within space. See this exhibit through Dec. 31, 2018.
Can You Dig It?
Oct. 20 is International Archaeology Day. Every Wednesday from 2 p.m.-4 p.m. learn about the Presidio's archaeological process and see how artifacts are cleaned, cataloged, studied, and curated during Open Lab hours.There are also guided tours every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Meet at the welcome desk at the Presidio Officers’ Club.
Mayhem Mansion at The Haas-Lilienthal House
This is your chance to see what awaits behind the doors of the only Victorian-era house museum of its kind in San Francisco. This haunted tour will have many surprises, from rotting rooms and historic halls, to The Spookeasy for guests 21 and over to enjoy the Bootender's special concoctions. Experience this spooky tour for two weekends only on Oct. 20-21 and 27-28!
It's Your Unlucky Day at the San Francisco Dungeon
Hold on to your soul this Halloween season at The San Francisco Dungeon. Through Nov. 4, 2018, the spirits of the dead will be summoned at the Dungeon's special Seance experience, offering brave visitors a glimpse of the spirits lurking beneath Fisherman's Wharf. Neither rabbit feet or lucky pennies on the ground will be able to ward off these omens of bad luck.
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