San Francisco is a vibrant city with a unique identity, which makes it an incredible place to live. However, it can sometimes seem a little overwhelming because there’s so much to do.

After all, San Franciscans love celebrating everything and everyone. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the best events in San Francisco. Some are even free, which is definitely a positive in the country’s most expensive city.

The only real downside to SF is that it can be difficult to find a place to live because of the highly competitive rental market. However, with the help of a company like Blueground, you can easily and quickly find a great home. Blueground offers beautiful apartments for rent in some of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods. All the apartments are completely furnished and fully equipped. Blueground offers fully-furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in some of the world's most sought after cities. Plus, it’s very easy to rent from them. Check out their website listings page and, once you’ve found an apartment you like, you can rent it straight through the site. It’ll definitely make moving to SF much easier, especially when you’re moving from out-of-state or from abroad. Now, let’s take a look at some great events in San Francisco that you definitely should check out.


Chinese New Year Festival and Parade

This festival celebrates the Chinese New Year with events all over the San Francisco Bay area. San Francisco’s Chinese New Year Festival and Parade is acknowledged as one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festivals and Events Association.

street lanterns at the chinese new year's parade in san francisco

It is the largest festival to celebrate Asian culture outside the continent and is also one of the few remaining nighttime illuminated parades in the U.S. Thousands of spectators attend the event every annually near the beginning of the calendar year.

The festival features a wealth of elaborate costumes and floats and the highly popular Golden Dragon. The latter is 270 feet long and operated by more than 100 people. It also includes fireworks along with the introduction of the newly chosen Miss Chinatown USA and her court.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade

One of the most popular events in San Francisco, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been running for more than 160 years. It attracts over 100,000 spectators every year, with thousands of people joining in to celebrate Irish culture. You’ll be able to enjoy everything from traditional poetry to Irish singing over 100 floats, along with Irish dance troops and marching bands.


San Francisco Flower and Garden Show

The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show is the biggest garden festival in the western United States. It has been popular for more than 27 years.

Besides what you can usually expect at a garden show, you’ll also be able to enjoy various other events. These include seminars on a variety of related topics, including flower arrangements, lawn cutting, and more. Garden experts also attend to share their knowledge and sign books at this springtime expo in early April.

The San Francisco Flower and Garden Show also boasts a huge market with over 200 merchants selling relevant items. If you’re taking the kids, there’s a special garden specifically for them called Sproutopia. It features educational activities but also lots of entertainment and fun.


Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival celebrates Japanese-American and Japanese culture. It has been a huge event in San Francisco for more than 40 years and it attracts over 200,000 visitors.

You’ll be able to enjoy delicious Japanese food at the booths, as well as taking part in the fun of the Cherry Blossom Queen Pageant. Another highlight is the closing of the festival with the amazing Grand Parade. Mark your calendar for mid-April!


San Francisco Family Day Kite Festival

This popular and free event gives families the opportunity to create their own kites and engage in kite flying competitions.

sky full of kites during the kite festival in san francisco

You’ll also be able to watch highly skilled professional kite flyers and marvel at the acrobatics they can perform. The most spectacular and funniest kites receive prizes at this mid-August jamboree.


Union Street Festival

Another one of the free events in San Francisco, the Union Street Festival is the largest of its kind. You’ll be able to enjoy great art, awesome food, and amazing entertainment. This June festival features over 150 booths presenting arts and crafts and more than 25 food booths. There’s also a range of bistro-style cafés, along with live entertainment provided in two stages.


North Beach Festival

The North Beach Festival is another one of the more popular events in San Francisco. It has an international reputation and has been running for almost 60 years. If you’re in town in June, this is one weekend to stay put. You’ll be able to enjoy more than 125 arts and crafts booths, 20 delicious food booths, along with live entertainment on two stages. It also has a very popular chalk art area for children to add their own artistic flair to the pavement.


San Francisco Carnaval’s Grand Parade and Festival

This event is known as the biggest multicultural fair in California. It celebrates a variety of different cultures including India, the Philippines, the Middle East, China, the US, and Africa.

You’ll be able to enjoy a wide range of events including the Grand Parade, live music on three stages, and arts and crafts presentations. There’s also salsa dancing, drumming displays, and activities for children. Of all of the May events in San Francisco, this is one of the loudest and most colorful!


San Francisco Fringe Festival

The San Francisco Fringe Festival has established a reputation for offering quality theater productions. It brings together theater companies from all over the world to perform some of their favorite works at the Exit Theater, but also at restaurants, in parks, and bars. So, if you love theater and would enjoy seeing a few somewhat more obscure productions, then this is definitely one of the September events in San Francisco for you.


The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

This event spans five weekends starting around the end of November and running through to Christmas. It has been popular in San Francisco for over 40 years and attracts more than 40,000 visitors.

fireworks in the great dickens christmas fair in san francisco

You’ll be able to enjoy more than 700 costumed actors, singers, musicians, dancers, and acrobats all working together to re-create an old English Victorian Christmas. There are also musicals, taverns, stalls, street vendors, dance parties, and much more. All this is featured in a space of 120,000 square feet that has been designed to emulate Victorian London.

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