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2021 San Francisco Festivals & Fairs

Jeff Howard June 24, 2021

Festival season has arrived in The City By The Bay, as concerts, fairs, and large events are scheduled throughout 2021! Whether you’re looking to enjoy great shows, delicious food, or just quality time with friends, there are plenty of festivals to choose from in iconic SF neighborhoods. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular yearly gatherings scheduled to reopen at full capacity this year.

Pride Events


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Pride celebrations take place throughout June in San Francisco, and there are plenty of awesome events to attend despite the cancellation of the yearly parade. Options include Body & Soul with David HarnessPride Weekend at El RioElectroluxx Pride 2021Mr. Queen San Francisco Gay Pride Daytime PartyRexy’s Golden Pride Brunch, and Pride 2021 Castro Pup Crawl… to name a few. SF is also filled with a variety of iconic landmarks that display the history and progress of the LGBTQ+ community. Possibly the most well-known LGBTQ+ landmarks, the once-lost original 1978 rainbow Pride flag created by Gilbert Baker is now part of the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco. We also encourage you to support the many LGBTQ+-owned businesses providing a variety of services to San Franciscans.

Fireworks Shows


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Fireworks are back in The City, and you can go to various locations on the Fourth of July to partake in this year’s festivities! The best public spots to catch a glimpse of the Independence Day fireworks include Pier 39, Aquatic Park, Fort Mason, Fisherman’s WharfCoit Tower, or of course, on the water, in a boat! Residents of Trinity’s 1550 Bay, 1000 Chestnut, 2140 Taylor, 2133 Stockton, and 350 Union apartments have the opportunity to view the show from their windows, balconies, or amenity spaces. The San Francisco Giants will also host various fireworks nights throughout the year, and you won’t even need to catch the game to see post-game fireworks shooting across The Bay.

Stern Grove Festival

Stern Grove lies in the southwest corner of San Francisco near the SF Zoo and Ocean Beach in Outer Parkside. The park is legendary for its free summertime concerts on 10 Sundays during the summer! Acts this year include Perfume GeniusThe SF Symphony, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, X, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Thundercat, and Tower of Power + Too $hort. While general admission for the festival is always free, you must obtain a reservation, and all tickets are non-transferrable. Make sure to get your reservation for the shows you’d like to see before the event is sold out!

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

Yerba Buena Gardens will host admission-free, outdoor, and family-friendly performances for the rest of the year, showcasing culture and creativity from around the Bay Area. Events include Outdoor Dance Classes with Rhythm & MotionKev Choice Ensemble, Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest, Poetic TuesdaysPi Clowns (Kids’ Show)AfroSolo Arts Festival in the Gardens, among a plethora of other free shows. Located just a few blocks from the 1177 Market, 33 8th, 1190 Mission, and 1188 Mission apartments at Trinity Place, each of these events at Yerba Buena Gardens are a short walk for residents of the community. Want a bite to enjoy with the show? Check out any of these wonderful restaurants open within walking distance.

Oktoberfest by the Bay

San Francisco’s much-anticipated Oktoberfest by the Bay celebration will return in 2021, and this time will take place at Pier 48 in Mission Bay. Located just between the Giants’ Oracle Park and the Warriors’ Chase Center, this event takes place this September right on the water, looking out across the Bay Bridge. The traditional German party includes plenty of beer, sausages, singing, dancing, and authentic Bavarian garments. While official dates are TBD this September, you can stay tuned here to see the exact dates and times of the four sessions planned for 2021. Prost!

Nihonmachi Street Fair

Founded in 1973 and set to return to Japantown in 2021, the Nihonmachi Street Fair has grown from a four-booth block party to a multi-day event with over 30,000 attendees each year. This uniquely San Francisco event showcases traditional Asian-Pacific culture with influences from local entertainment, including hip-hop, salsa, rock, and jazz. Celebrating its proud 47-year history in San Francisco, the Nihonmachi Street Fair is organized and staffed by youth volunteers to provide experience in collaboration, entrepreneurship, and problem-solving. The “little street fair that could” was canceled in 2020 alongside many other celebrations, and they can use your support in 2021!

Outside Lands Festival


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Undoubtedly the most anticipated festival taking place this year in SF, Outside Lands boasts an unbelievable lineup this year, and tickets sold out almost immediately with only third-party options now available. Typically scheduled for late summer in Golden Gate Park, this year’s festivities are planned for Halloween Weekend. Outside Lands 2021 will headline with The Strokes, Tyler, The Creator, Glass Animals, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, Zhu, Young Thug, Tame Impala, J BalvinRüfüs Du Sol, and Kehlani. Outside Lands won’t be just great music, however. Some of San Francisco’s best food trucks will be in attendance serving up local dishes along with craft brews and wine. Check out more info here to see up-to-date news on vendors scheduled to make an appearance.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated Fall events each year in San Francisco. The festival is set to return to Golden Gate Park on October 1st-3rd in 2021. While lineups and stage format are yet to be announced, it can be assured that this year’s events will be in person at full capacity. Typically, shows take place in Hellman Hollow, Marx Meadow, and Lindley Meadow, with various food vendors present to supply local eats. Although located in the same location, unlike Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is entirely free. Originally started as the “Strictly Bluegrass Festival” by Warren Hellman, the festival has evolved to now include popular country, folk, and rock ‘n roll acts from around the country.

Castro Street Fair

Scheduled for the first Sunday of October, the Castro Street Fair was founded by Harvey Milk to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters. This gathering at the iconic intersection of Castro and Market takes place right next to the famed Castro Theatre and Rainbow Crosswalk in the heart of the neighborhood. This popular street fair will have over 100 exhibitors, and delicious treats are sold from vendors such as Aunt Betty’s Corn Dogs and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. One of the most popular attractions is the “Dance Alley” at 18th & Collingwood that features popular local DJs. You can also partake in country dancing at the Sundance Saloon or even participate in the Scavenger Hunt from September through October.

Fleet Week San Francisco


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One of the most exciting parts of Fall in San Francisco is the sound of jet engines soaring overhead The City’s tallest skyscrapers. Planned for October 3rd through 11th, Fleet Week attracts fans from all over to watch the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perform a choreographed air show between Alcatraz and The Golden Gate Bridge. There are many tremendous vantage points to see the show, such as Crissy Field, Fort Point, The Marina Green, Angel Island, or The Marin Headlands. Although the primary show takes place over The Bay, residents of high-rise towers across San Francisco can catch glimpses of the Blue Angels throughout this phenomenal week.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies


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San Francisco will light up for the holidays with multiple Tree Lighting ceremonies already planned for 2021. The three most popular events occur yearly at Union Square, Pier 39, and The Civic Center near Trinity Place. SF’s Embarcadero Center will also host a lighting ceremony in which its four buildings are lit with over 17,000-holiday lights, and fireworks shoot across the sky during a magical ice skating performance. If this doesn’t get you ready for the holiday, I don’t know if anything will! While official dates are still not announced, each of these tree lightings typically occurs in the final week of November or the first week of December.

You can also look at the following list to see a full directory of all San Francisco festivals scheduled for 2021!

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