Whether you’re a San Francisco native or first-timer sporting a fanny pack, there’s really no better way — or cheaper way — to experience The City than by attending a good ol’ neighborhood festival.
“San Francisco is home to more than 40 distinct neighborhoods, if not more. No two neighborhoods are alike and each have their own coffee shops, shops, restaurants, local history and more,” says Tanya Houseman, media and relations manager at the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Whether it’s authentic island cuisine you crave or hairy, hunky guys, there’s certain to be a festival that’s right for the picking. Here are a few upcoming festivals:
Cinema al fresco
You know it’s summer when you can grab a blanket and catch an outdoor movie. Film Night in the Park features classic flicks for all ages, starting at dusk.
Up next: “All About Eve” on June 28 in Union Square. The rest of the season features “The Breakfast Club,” July 26 in Dolores Park; “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Aug. 9 in Union Square; “Il Postino,” Sept. 6 in Washington Square; “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Sept. 20 in Dolores Park and “Vertigo,” Oct. 4 in Union Square.
Info: Call (415) 453-4333, or visit www.filmnight.org.
A slice of cheese, please
Tony Gemignani, the Bay Area’s own champion pizza tosser, gets down and doughy at the North Beach Festival this weekend. In addition to live music and arts and crafts, the free fest in the heart of Little Italy features Italian street chalk art.
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Sunday
Where: Washington Square Park, Columbus Avenue at Union Street, San Francisco
Info: Call (415) 989-2220, or visit www.sfnorthbeach.org
All that jazz
The City celebrates jazz with two summer festivals. On July 5-6, the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival hosts three stages of continuous performances alongside craft vendors. Then, beginning July 21, the North Beach Jazz Festival showcases local talent for a whole week throughout the district.
Fillmore Street Jazz Festival
Where: Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy streets, San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 5-6
Info: Visit www.fillmorejazzfestival.com
North Beach Jazz Festival
Where: Flagship location is Mojito, 1337 Grant St., San Francisco
When: July 21-27
Info: Visit www.nbjazzfest.com
The island way
Pacific Islander dance, food, culture and art takes center stage at the two-day Aloha Festival. One of the largest gatherings of Pacific Islanders on the U.S. mainland, the 14th annual festival is your best bet for authentic island entertainment.
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 2-3
Where: Presidio, Parade Grounds, Lincoln Boulevard and Graham Streeet, San Francisco
Info: (415) 281-0221 or www.sanfranciscoalohafestival.org
Fun with fur
Bear Week gets under way in late August, so what better way to celebrate “hairy and hunky guys” than with the culminating Hairrison Street Fair? The Labor Day weekend party, organized by PrideWorks, has been known to draw more than 5,000 fellas of the hirsute variety.
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 31
Where: Harrison Street between 11th and 13th streets, S.F.
Info: Call (415) 255-8658, or visit www.hairrison.org