Things to Do in San Francisco This September
It might be time to go back to school, but that doesn’t mean that the fun is over. Here are some of our favorite September pastimes in San Francisco . For more suggestions, check out our festival and events listing.
Get "Unhinged" at the Winchester Mystery House
For almost a century, this estate has been considered one of the most haunted houses in America. Now you can enter its secret rooms and hidden passageways that were once forbidden on this exciting, suspenseful walkthrough experience. This psychological thriller is in lieu of the traditional Halloween Candlelight Tour that will allow guests to see the house in a completely new light. This opportunity will only be available on specific nights Sept. 6 – Nov. 2, so get your tickets soon!
Architecture and the City Festival
One of the nation’s largest architectural festivals of its kind, the annual Architecture and the City Festival, Sept. 1-30, 2019, features walking tours, films, exhibitions, lectures and more that address varying aspects of the design and planning process. This year’s theme, “We the City,” will explore how cultural diversity and connectivity inspire the built environment.
Bluestem Brasserie Bake Sale
Bake the world a better place with Bluestem Brasserie at their second annual bake sale happening on Sept. 12, 5-7 p.m. Taste your favorite pastries prepared by some of the top pastry chefs in the Bay Area. Other participating restaurants and bakeries include b. patisserie, Perbacco, Waterbar, State Bird Provisions, Dandelion Chocolate and many others. Proceeds benefit Cuesa's Foodwise Teens program.
Experience PLANET HOME at The Palace of Fine Arts
PLANET HOME is a three day experiential summit that exhibits solutions to solve critical environmental challenges. There will be live entertainment from musicians like Wyclef Jean, Gallant, and DJ Snoopadellic "Snoop Dogg", guest speakers (also known as "Solutionists"), and networking opportunities for attendees who are eager to share their environmental solutions. Be part of the movement and learn how to protect the health of our planet on Sept. 13-15, 2019 at The Palace of Fine Arts.
Roller skate at Fort Mason Center
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture presents a roller rink experience in conjunction with assume vivid astro focus (avaf). The outdoor roller skating rink features performances and live DJ sets for a night full of disco and skating. This exhibition is free and rental skates are available to visitors for $5. Join the fun on Sept. 13 thorugh Oct. 6, 2019. For open hours, click here.
SOMArts: The Bloody Mary Festival, Project Nunway, and Molcajete Domingero SF
On Sept. 14, partake in the Bay Area's most creative and innovate Bloody Marys at the Bloody Mary Festival! Indulge without guilt, as event proceeds benefit the Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA. On Sept. 21, see trash turn into treasure at Project Nunway, a celebration of fashion, drag, and creativity put together by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Proceeds from this 10th Anniversary manifestation of Project Nunway is going into the Sisters General Fund. Molcajete Dominguero SF returns to SOMArts on Sunday, Sept. 22, with their family-friendly vendor market featuring Latinx makers and artists!
Professional Squash Tournament
Returning to San Francisco for the Eighth Annual Oracle NetSuite Open Squash Championship, 24 men and 24 women will compete in a state-of-the-art glass court along the Embarcadero for a cash prize. There will be four days of international competition, Sept. 27-30. Don't miss this prestigious event!
Opera in the Park
The San Francisco Opera Orchestra will be putting on a performance for their 97th season at Robin Williams Meadow in Golden Gate Park . Bring some chairs and blankets to picnic outdoors and come ready to enjoy an afternoon of music at this free event happening on Sept. 8 at 1:30 p.m.
Culture for Community Free Day
The Culture for Community partnership of businesses and organizations around the Yerba Buena neighborhood will be putting on this year’s second Free Day on Sept. 19. The day will feature free and discounted exhibits at 12 local arts and cultural organizations including SFMOMA, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. At night, the Museum of African Diaspora is having an open mic night of theater and poetry while local restaurants dish out free and discounted menu items.
Bike with Red Bull
The Red Bull Bay Climb comes to San Francisco on Sept. 7, 2019. This straight line bike sprint up Potrero Hill separates the meek from the mighty. There are two categories that cyclists can participate in: Fixed and Open. The Fixed category features a men's and women's division but is restricted to a single gear. The Open category has a men's and women's division that allows the use of any two-wheel bike as long as it's human-powered! Register for this race here.
Explore visuals and sounds at CounterPulse
Now in its third year of Combustible, the highly-acclaimed dance and technology residency at CounterPulse, artists will collaborate on creating live performances using lighting, sound, and technologies. This year, guests can experience "The Looking Glass Self" by Mugwumpin, an immersive theater performance centered on how truth an lies interact with technology. This ticketed event also includes the opportunity to see Mabel Valdiviezo and Travis Bennet's "Metamorphosis: Phase 1," a dance performance that uses visuals and sounds to tell the story of Latinx immigrant women. Join CounterPulse (80 Turk St.) for these special events on Sept. 12-14 and 19-21, 2019 from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema
Showcasing the work of local filmmakers, the Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema series offers films, music and more, Sept. 6-7 and Sept. 14, 2019. Friday marks the return of the annual Film Crawl on Cortland Ave., featuring simultaneous, progressive screenings in six venues up and down the street. Saturday offers an outdoor cinema "Under the Stars" at Precita Park (Folsom St. at Precita Ave.). Seasoned viewers recommend blankets, cushions and low-backed chairs for a comfortable view of the screen and city lights. The closing night, Sept. 14, celebrates the end of the cinema fest with encore screenings of award-winning films from the season.
There are a number of exciting events happening at Creativity Explored this September. "Fractures & Resistance," a new exhibition featuring local artists and curators, debuts on Sept. 19, 2019. In a tumultuous political climate, various artists will share their own versions of resistance through paintings, drawings, multimedia sculptures and installations. Every Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m., Creativity Explored hosts "Imagine Saturdays," a new weekly program that brings Creativity Explored artists with developmental disabilities and community members together to make art.
Celebrating its 27th anniversary, the San Francisco Fringe Festival brings fresh and daring theater of all varieties to open-minded audiences, Sept. 5-14, 2019. More than thirty-five shows will be staged at the EXIT Theatreplex. Most performances run under an hour and Fringe fans amble from venue to venue, seeing as many shows as they can in one day.
Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation's "One Night Only"
Join the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation in their benefit cabaret, "One Night Only," featuring the San Francisco touring cast of "Hamilton". Proceeds will benefit the Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. See this exciting performance on Sept. 9, 2019, at the Marines' Memorial Theater at 7:30 p.m.
Seasons Come and Seasons Go
Autumn is when a number of San Francisco’s performing arts groups and companies open their new seasons. The San Francisco Opera starts anew on Sept. 6, 2019, with "Romeo and Juliet," and the San Francisco Symphony opens on Sept. 12. SFJAZZ offers more than 300 shows this season, opening on Sept. 5 with music from rising star Veronica Swift. The New Conservatory Theatre Center launches "This Side of Crazy" on Sept. 20.
Tenth Annual San Francisco Giant Race
Get your heart pumping at the Tenth Annual Giant Race on Sept. 8, 2019. Run a half marathon, 10K, 5K, or Kids Race & Family Relay on the scenic San Francisco waterfront. Participants will receive a commemorative 10th anniversary shirt and finisher medal. You can register here now.
This is still a great event to attend if you aren't planning to run. There will be live music, entertainment, and food alongside vendor booths inside Oracle Park while you wait to see participants cross the finish line.
Opera at Oracle Park
Opera at the ballpark is returning on Sept. 21, 2019 with a free live simulcast of Charles Gounod's "Romeo and Juliet." Opera and baseballs fans can experience this romantic performance while seated on the field or stands in Oracle Park.
Must-See Exhibitions at the Exploratorium
Sept. 2 will see the end of two of the Exploratorium’s most recent exhibits, "Self, Made" and "Museum of the Moon", so be sure to check them out before they’re gone! The ongoing Thursday "After Dark" series will have exhibits exploring music mixing, comedy, and drama in nature on Sept. 5, 12, and 26, respectively. You can also attend a talk with local scientist Ron Hipschman on Sept. 23 as he discusses philosophies of time and space.
At the de Young Museum, you can see the famed Ed Hardy’s tattoo art from all stages of his life in "Deeper than Skin," running until Oct. 6. Another fascinating exhibit at the de Young is "in Pursuit of Venus [infected]," which includes a 70-foot-long video displayed across the walls that animates the art of Lisa Reinhana and her representation of 18th century colonization. This moving piece will be on display until Jan. 5.
"A Gothic Tale" is a film and art installation by Alexandre Singh at the Legion of Honor, opening Sept. 7. Singh takes us back by heavily utilizing the gothic art traditions of Europe and the history of film noir in San Francisco. The interior of the Legion of Honor serves as a beautiful landscape for the striking images of the short film.
On view at the Asian Art Museum, Sept. 27 – Dec. 8, "Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan" displays the sculptures of Isamu Noguchi and paintings of Saburo Hasegawa and explores how they inspired one another. This exhibit emphasizes the artists’ role in spreading Japanese influence through U.S. art and their ideas that art may be able to mend a post-war world.
One fascinating museum you may not have heard of yet is the American Bookbinders Museum. They will be featuring a brand new installation, "Book Smart: Learning to Break the Rules," Sept. 14 – Nov. 30, which takes their passion for literature and flips it on its head. You can see how artists and engineers have deconstructed books to create all kinds of objects and tools.
The incredible "Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again" exhibit will be leaving the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on Sept. 2 after occupying three floors of the gorgeous building. On display are pieces of his art that are unique to SFMOMA, so if you’re a fan of Andy, this is a can’t miss.
The fifth annual San Francisco Cheese Fest promises to be a delicious evening of music, mingling and munching in classic San Francisco style at Social Hall San Francisco. On Sept. 14, 2019, guests will get to meet more than 20 California Artisan Cheese Guild member cheesemakers, serving dozens of new and classic California cheeses. Pairing with the melty fromage will be brews from local favorites, as well as ciders and wines from more than a dozen wineries. On Sept. 15, following the Cheese Fest, educational seminars will be held at The Cheese School of San Francisco.
All Steamed Up
Don’t miss the 16th annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival on Sept. 22, 2019. A seven-ton, 1924 Buffalo-Springfield coal-powered steamroller will be enlisted to press oversized linocuts right on Rhode Island St., between 16th and 17th streets. Sponsored by the San Francisco Center for the Book, the festival has become a popular tradition in San Francisco’s Do.Re.Mi (Dogpatch-Potrero Hill-Mission) Arts District, attracting art, printmaking and book art enthusiasts of all ages.
First Sundays Block Party at The Civic Center Commons
San Francisco’s central public plazas between City Hall and Market St. will be the setting for free family-friendly events beginning Sept. 1, 2019. This block party will feature live music, food trucks curated by Off the Grid, and many other fun outdoor activities. The event will occur on the first Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Yes, We Have Oktoberfest (in September)
The three pillars of a successful Oktoberfest—tasty food, cold beer and sizzling oompah music—will be on hand this September at several locations. The popular Oktoberfest by the Bay will take place at Pier 35, Sept. 20-22, 2019. Nonstop music, singing, dancing and the very best in German food and drink will be celebrated in the same spirit as Munich’s famed festival. Need a little warmup? Schroeder’s (240 Front St.), in the heart of the Financial District, will offer several Oktoberfest events with live music, including their annual block party celebration on Sept. 20, 2019.
Famous for its inclines, San Francisco’s annual Peak2Peak walk is coming up, Sept 28, 2019. This is no ordinary walk in the park. With 13 miles and 10 peaks, discover hidden stairways and explore new neighborhoods while supporting Walk SF's Vision Zero campaign to end all traffic deaths by 2024. This event sells out quickly, so register now. Still full of energy? Explore some of the trails at the Presidio of San Francisco.
Folsom Street Fair
Another mainstay of San Francisco is the Folsom Street Fair. This leather pride event, the largest of its kind, is held on Sept. 29, 2019. It centers around the BDSM community, with 200 vendor booths, live music performances, demo stations and exhibitors.
National Public Lands Day
It’s National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, 2019! Join your fellow java junkies at some of these local coffee spots. From the earliest days of the Gold Rush, the smell of coffee has infused the San Francisco air. Did you know that three of the major coffee firms in the U.S. started here? The java giants included J.A. Folger & Co., M.J.B. and Hills Bros. Nowadays, coffee ranks as one of the top imports to the Port of Oakland, just across San Francisco Bay.
The Autumn Moon Festival, Sept. 7-8, opens with a grand parade on Saturday at 11 a.m. on California St. and Grant Ave. Over the weekend, there will be non-stop entertainment, traditional lion and dragon dances, and children's activities.
Across San Francisco Bay in Oakland, the Dragon Boat Festival, Sept. 28-29, 2019, draws more than 120 dragon boat teams and 3,000 paddlers from across the U.S. and Canada to compete in 40-foot boats on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
OMCA's Hella Big 50th Birthday Party
The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) invites you to join their huge 50th anniversary celebration on Sept. 20 as a special edition of its Friday Nights at OMCA. This party will feature tons of drinks, food trucks, music, dancing, and fascinating exhibits, all that exemplify the best that the Bay Area has to offer. As the “Museum of the People,” the OMCA has served as a way for people to experience the Bay Area’s unique culture, artistry, and history in a fun and engaging experience. Starting at 5 p.m. this birthday bash will celebrate everything people have come to know and love about Oakland.