Get a dose of magic in the city this week with the Fog City Magic Fest. Then eat something magical at Union Square’s newest restaurant (and an NYC favorite), Halal Guys. Take in awe-inspiring photography at PHOTOFAIR, and head to the Asian Art Museum to celebrate Chinese New Year. This weekend, escape to Santa Cruz, where the final weekend of a pop-up taproom will include the unveiling of a brand new beer from local craft brewery Humble Sea.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
January 25 - 28 | Magic festival
Fog City Magic Fest
Launched last year, Fog City Magic Fest returns with a three-day extravaganza of sorcery and surprises. The schedule includes an opening gala with magic and comedy, solo performances by artists like Jade, who was named Best Female Magician of the Year by the International Magicians Society, and a Magic Slam where competitors will have just 20 minutes to come up with a crowd-pleasing trick. There’s even an intriguing “Magicians Only” event, in case you happen to be one yourself.
Exit Stage Left, 156 Eddy St., San Francisco | From $20 | website
January 27 | Now open: Restaurant
After almost two years of anticipation, this beloved East Coast institution will open its doors in San Francisco on Friday. Halal Guys is a hit in New York City for gyros, chicken and rice, and insanely hot sauce. The new Union Square quick-service restaurant is now a leading local purveyor of halal cooking, which is food permitted for consumption under Islamic law, and should become a fast favorite in the city. Don’t be surprised if it draws consistent lines as it does in New York, but we promise, it’s worth it.
340 O’Farrell St., San Francisco | website
January 27 - 28 | Escape the city
Humble Sea Popup Taproom
Make time for a quick coastal getaway this week, whether at the weekend or even just for an evening. Head about 75 miles south of San Francisco to Santa Cruz for the last edition of Humble Sea Popup Taproom, a temporary watering hole from Humble Sea Brewing Company that’s set inside the Octagon at the Museum of Art & History. It’s finishing out in style: A hoppy new beer will be released Friday, and on Saturday the chef will present a selection of favorite dishes for you to vote on.
Octagon at the Museum of Art & History, 118 Cooper St., Santa Cruz | From $28 | website
January 27 - 29 | Art
PHOTOFAIR San Francisco
PHOTOFAIR is the first local installment of an international photography show that exhibits and sells both vintage and current prints from artists and galleries around the world. The most provocative works that are up for grabs here include Paul Fusco’s haunting “Untitled from RFK Funeral Train” series, which captures mourners after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and Willy Rizzo’s celebrity portraits of icons like Marilyn Monroe and Jack Nicholson.
11:00 AM | Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco | From $12 | website
January 29 | Chinese New Year
Lunar New Year Celebration: Year of the Rooster
Sunday is a good time to consider a return to the Asian Art Museum or visit it for the very first time. The Lunar New Year Celebration is one of the liveliest all-age parties held there each year and features dance performances—including audience participation!—with students from the Chinese American International School and the China Dance School and Theatre. Chinese New Year is a special and honored holiday in San Francisco, and this is a great way to kick off several weeks of activities happening in the city.
10:30 AM - 4:00 PM | Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco | From $20 | website
Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.