The best of what to do in and around San Francisco this month.
You can still snag tickets to Outside Lands, the city’s biggest music festival of the year. If food is more your thing, head to Eat Drink SF. Plus, find cultural celebrations and a movie you’ll actually want to hear people talk over.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
August 4 - 6 | Culture
Nihonmachi Street Fair
The Nihonmachi Street Fair has been bringing a wide variety of cultural activities celebrating San Francisco’s Asian Pacific Americans to Japantown for 44 years. There’s a muscle car show, a Doggie World parade, a coed basketball tournament and, of course, extensive pan-Asian eating from food truck and restaurant vendors. Organized and staffed by volunteers, the fair is a true labor of love by the community.
12:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Fillmore and Geary Sts., San Francisco | Free | website
August 6 | Music
Fans of the late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia (who passed away in 1995) gather yearly at his namesake amphitheater in McLaren Park for Jerry Day. This year’s 15th annual celebration of his life includes live performances by Melvin Seals & JGB, Stu Allen & Mars Hotel, Midnight North, and other special guests. You’ll swear you can feel Jerry’s spirit here.
11:00 AM | Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, McLaren Park, 45 John F. Shelley Dr., San Francisco | Free (donations suggested) | website
August 10 | Comedy
Desi Comedy Fest
A showcase of South Asian stand-up comedians, the Desi Comedy Fest returns to Cobb’s Comedy Club for the fourth year running. This year’s lineup includes performers who are new to the event and will travel here from such countries as Pakistan, South Africa, India, and China. It’s all part of a larger effort that finds over 40 comics touring the Bay Area through August 20, stopping also in Berkeley, Santa Clara, Mill Valley, Union City, Alameda, Livermore, Santa Cruz, and Mountain View.
8:00 PM | Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., San Francisco | From $25 | website
August 11 - 13 | Music festival
Both three-day passes and single-day tickets are still available for the 10th anniversary of San Francisco’s biggest festival. Music headliners at this year’s Outside Lands include Metallica, The Who, and A Tribe Called Quest, with dozens of other performers each day across the musical and comedic spectrum. Graze on imaginative food items from more than 80 food trucks and restaurants (including themed areas for sweets, beer and wine, and more) while taking in some of the city’s best people-watching for the year.
12:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Golden Gate Park, San Francisco | From $150 | website
August 13 | Music
AT&T Park is home to more than San Francisco Giants games; it’s also a venue for blockbuster concerts. Lady Gaga’s tours usually go to arenas outside of San Francisco, but she’s bringing her Joanne World Tour to the stadium for a supersized treat. (Bonus: You can still get the park’s famous garlic fries.)
7:00 PM | AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco | From $50.50 | website
August 17 | Drink
Noe Valley Wine Walk
Noe Valley’s 24th Street, which offers a charming stretch of shops and eateries perfect for whiling away an afternoon, is home to the annual Noe Valley Wine Walk. Merchants along the route have partnered with local wineries to offer wine samples and light bites. It’s a welcome way to soak up the neighborhood’s leisurely feel.
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM | 24th St. (between Church and Castro Sts.), San Francisco | From $25 | website
August 25 - 27 | Food
Eat Drink SF
Three grand tasting events make up the backbone of the ninth annual Eat Drink SF festival. Each provides an opportunity to sample generous bites and sips from over 30 restaurants, which is an excellent way to become acquainted with a wide variety of the city’s eateries. Most events take place at Fort Mason, with the exception of the opening night Taco Knockdown, a competition of leading chefs judged by the eating audience.
Times & locations vary | From $69 | website
August 26 | Comedy
SF Sketchfest Summer Social
San Francisco’s annual comedy extravaganza Sketchfest takes place at the top of the year with occasional special events like this Summer Social at the Castro Theatre. The summer comedy soiree promises to be ridiculous fun, with funnyman Doug Benson and friends performing one of his beloved Benson Movie Interruptions, this time providing saucy commentary over a screening of Fifty Shades Darker. The event’s start time should provide a clue to the state of mind the performers will likely be in when you get there.
4:20 PM | Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., San Francisco | From $20 | website
August 26 - 27 | Outdoors
The Giant Race
Into running and the San Francisco Giants? The eighth annual Giant Race brings together baseball lovers of all ages with a variety of fun competitive race options, including a half-marathon, 10K, 5K, a kids’ race, and a family relay. All races offer a lively way to tour the San Francisco waterfront around the ballpark.
7:00 AM | AT&T Park, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco | From $63 | website
September 2 - October 1 | Plan ahead: Theater
Shakespeare in the Park
The beloved annual tradition of Shakespeare in the Park lands in San Francisco in the fall after roaming various outdoor locations in the Bay Area this summer. The 35th season brings a production of Hamlet to the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, the Presidio, and McLaren Park, all with a goal to make Shakespeare’s work accessible to people of all backgrounds.
Times & locations vary | Free | website
Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.