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8 Summer Extravaganzas Happening Around San Francisco You Don’t Want To Miss

June 7, 2018
by Shannon Meyer

If you perform a simple search on Google for the best summer cities in America, without a smidgen of doubt, California (and any of its coastal cities) will inevitably pop up on its list of top 10s. Although San Francisco has the kind of weather that makes it a great, laid-back vacation city any time of the year, the sanguine atmosphere is best. Summer is warmer, friendly, it packs more festive and the Bay Area with cultural activities that are although aimed at tourists, still a reliable mainstay.

san francisco quaint neighborhood trips

You can take advantage of packaged tours, group promotions, outdoor and indoor events held at museums and art galleries, and attractions like the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Escape from the Rock Cruise from Alcatraz, California Academy of Sciences and California, and Wine Country Tour will be out in full swing. Compared to other months of the year, the coldest temperatures in San Francisco is in June, July, and August, fettering down the sweltering heat. This is all thanks to its location at the mouth of Golden Gate where the cooling ocean waters of the Pacific sweeps in. Thanks to the comparatively more benign summer weather, Southern California, in particular, gets a lot of hype. Event after event, marathon after marathon, concert after concert, they sometimes collide with each other over the same weekend and patrons have to choose one over another.

Here are some of the best summer events rolling out right here in the heart of San Francisco for you to consider putting into your calendar.

1. July 4th in San Francisco

As with the rest of the country, July 4th in San Francisco will be an extensive city-wide party and there are countless places where you can catch the remarkable firework displays. Some areas are more touristy and packed than others, so, it bears reminder to seek out a suitable location if you’re heading out. The busiest locations would always be the waterfronts. Activities will roll out all day, despite it falling on a mid-week in 2018, especially at Pier 39 as ferry rides around the bay takes on a new meaning the whole day through.

The standard revelation will go off at Fisherman’s Wharf at the end of Municipal Pier and Pier 39. Even before it begins, people will throng to the area for all-day outdoor activities like biking, shopping, dining, walking, and people-watching. In fact, cruise ships are popular. A typical cruise will take around 4 hours where a spectacular dinner is served, hosted by world-class entertainers and hoisted by a fully-loaded cocktail bar. Spots for cruises like Rock the Yacht Fireworks Cruise, Hornblower's Premier Fourth of July Dinner Cruise, Red and White Fleet, and SpeakEasy July 4th Fireworks Cruise are up for grabs so, secure them quickly!

However, sometimes, going on a cruise ship and battling for a spot with thousands of strangers in a park is not a practical idea, especially when you have kids and the elderly with you. Take the family to spots like the quieter Coit Tower parking lot in North Beach instead, linger around for half a day at Lincoln Park along 34th Avenue where there is a guaranteed good view, or tackle the tough tracks up to Bernal Hill where you can spot, not just ONE, but a few fireworks in action!

July 4th Pier 39 San Francisco-0933

2. Fillmore Jazz Festival

June 30 - July 1, 2018
Fillmore St - Eddy St and Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Days leading up to the main event can be just as exhilarating as the real deal itself as you roam the 12 blocks worth of streets looking for the best gourmet food and ice, cold beverage.

The streets along the opulent neighborhood of Pacific Heights will come alive with relaxing, inspiring jazz music from its two main stages which feature a lineup of performers all day long. It goes on strong for the entire day from 10am to 6pm on both days. Artisans would offer their best handmade items for bargain prices, while vendors bringing out their best BBQ'd beef, fried chicken, and jambalayas. Young entertainers flock to the event to hone their craft and find new fans, families bring their kids out for an affordable day of fun, while DJs spin their favorite tracks (which range from mixed 80s tracks to the latest, trendiest hit songs) throughout the day.

A word of warning: parking can be a hassle during the busy event, they often encourage a group to take a charter bus; otherwise, biking, walking and carpooling are workable options too. The Fillmore Jazz Festival is undoubtedly the biggest free jazz event on the west coast, highlighting everything from photography and pottery from local artisans to bring patrons the best selection of beer into its beer gardens.

3. Orchids in the Park

San Francisco County Fair Building
1199 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 831-5500
As the colors of summer spread throughout California’s landscape, it is a fantastic time to learn about orchid cultivation in their most natural environments...which, in this case, in technologically-advanced gardens and greenhouses. The most cultivated species of the flowers are tropical and subtropical, but there is a growing body of agriculturists focusing on bringing in colder-climate orchids, which are just as beautiful, useful and fragrant.

San Francisco is one of the best places in the country for the active cultivation of orchids, thanks to its climate and you can sample some of the enthusiasm at the '2018 Orchids in the Park' event.

Organized and run by the San Francisco Orchid Society, the event will be held at the San Francisco County Fair Building on July 21 and July 22, 2018, from 10am to 5pm. The extravagant summer show and sale plans to encourage discovering the world of growing the plant as a habit and hobby. The venue, with its roomy, well-lit facilities, modern amenities, fairgrounds, located in Golden Gate Park is also often used for weekend shows, meetings, exhibits, school fairs and gatherings of all sizes and purposes.

4. Breastfest

July 14, 2018
Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium
10 Ave of the Flags, San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6800
There’s an endless round beer, samples of food and it all goes towards a charitable’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Over 40 breweries from all around California will converge in Marin Center in San Rafael this summer to do their parts for cancer research, particularly, breast cancer. It may have started off humble, with a young daughter watching her mother suffer and fight breast cancer, the Non-profit Organization took on a life of its own and has become a formidable fundraising force.

It helps to raise funds to support state-licensed clinics offering alternative medical treatment for those who cannot afford to or prefer to use alternative treatments for cancer. Every year since 2000, Brewfest welcomed local breweries, cafes, and restaurants to contribute towards their cause. Bay Area musicians keep participants entertained, and restaurants fed them. Killing two birds with one stone, festival attendees get to have a full day of fun on the cheap while giving back to the community.

5. Oakland Festival

July 28 - July 29, 2018, 12pm - 6pm
1382 Clay St, Oakland, CA 94612
(831) 250-3343
It’s beer, it’s art, it’s dance, it’s food, it’s a circus, it’s a market and it’s a great summer block party for everyone out to have a good time with their families and friends! Blues and jazz music will play in the background while you browse through all the offerings by local art vendors, while the kids enjoy their own art activities. Tempting you are the best BBQ and wine/beer in town.

The event boasts of a family-friendly atmosphere so, everyone is welcome (friendly volunteers roam the venue and convenient porta-potties are provided for those emergency moments). Four stages around the venue will take the limelight featuring performers like Jazz Mafia Choral Syndicate, Jazz Mafia Bay Revue, Alphabet Rockers, Jimmy Smith Blues Band, Chuck Wallace, Oakland Blues Divas, Dee Dee Simons, Willie G, and a special performance by The Pointer Sisters.

Tickets are selling for $12 for Adults (single-day admission), $18 for Adults (two-day admission), $6 for Seniors 65+ (single-day admission), $9 for Seniors 65+ (two-day admission), and free admission for those age 18 and younger.

6. German festival

July 15, 2018, 12pm - 6pm
Nature Friends Tourist Club San Francisco
730 Panoramic Hwy, Mill Valley, CA 94941
(415) 388-9940
The organization puts together 3 very distinct festivals throughout the year - Maifest in May, Sommerfest in July and Kinderfest in September - each of which appealing to different groups of people. They design Sommerfest for people who love traditional folk music, fun Bavarian and Austrian games and activities, and, of course, tasty food and drinks.

Imported authentic German and Austrian cuisine and beer will flood the beautiful Mt. Tamalpais Alpine Lodge. So, patrons are reminded that a short hike is inevitable and the trip up to the venue is not ADA accessible. In the midst of redwood forests just above Muir Woods National Monument, however, the hike up will be well worth it because of the amazing views out towards the Californian coasts, ranges, and its surrounding neighborhoods.

Come dressed in traditional Lederhosen, Dirndl, Tirolerhut or Tracht costumes and you’re ready to immerse yourself completely in the unique festival. With a blanket, you can take a break in the meadows while enjoying your option of gluten-free beer, traditional cuisine, and amazing side dishes while soaking in the angelic scene of the setting sun.

7. Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

July 15, 2018, 7am
The Napa to Sonoma Marathon is incredibly popular, with spots flying off the shelves the moment they come online. People clamor for it.

Bringing runners and their friends to some of the most scenic parts of California’s wine country, you’ll make friends, connect with like-minded people and build rapport with everyone else who shares your passion for running. The event draws marathon enthusiasts from all around the country, almost as fastidiously as The Boston Marathon. In fact, because of social media, the event has become a hot favorite for in-training runners from all around the world who are prepping for larger, bigger marathons.

The beatific course takes runners around to the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Preserve, San Pablo Bay and Mount Tamalpais where there are ranches and farms along the way. 

2569 Sonoma, California: Dreamy vineyards...

8. AIDS Walk San Francisco

July 15, 2018; 10K walk
273 9th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 615-9255
People who are interested in doing good and raising funds for AIDS research and medical advancements will be out in full force for this walking event. Since its humble start in 1987, kicking off at Golden Gate Park, the event has grown into the largest and most active AIDS fundraising event in Northern California. To-date, it has raised up to $90 million in aid of HIV and AIDS research.

Tens of thousands of people from all around Bay Area, California and the rest of the country will join you, rain or shine, in your earnest effort, which includes corporations, similar organizations, running teams, families, and communities. This year, they are hoping to surpass their own record of $1.8 million achieved in 2017, benefiting organizations like Positive Resource Center, Ward 86 and Project Open Hand. One of its primary beneficiaries is ACRIA, one of the world’s major players in HIV research, education and outreach.

After doing your bit of walking, wait up at the finishing line where there will be a post-walk show you positively deserve! It’s an amazing time to catch up with friends, family while making new friends at the same time! A shared passion connects people in the best ways.

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It’s been shown that hitting the road with a charter bus leaves far less carbon footprint so, if you care for the environment and yet would still like to travel comfortably, call us at 1-800-304-1993 or contact us via our online form to speak to our friendly customer service representatives. We care about how we get you to where you need to go!

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