The best of what to do in and around San Francisco this month
Get a sense for the diverse culture of the city at several festivals this month. First, Taste of Potrero will introduce you to the neighborhood’s most popular restaurants and bars. Then, the Cinco de Mayo Festival will show you another side of the Mission District, and the How Weird Street Faire will illuminate the oddball vibe of San Francisco that its residents cherish.
AFAR Local is our monthly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
May 4 | Food festival
Taste of Potrero 2017
Daniel Webster Elementary School’s seventh annual benefit of gourmet sips and bites features popular restaurants and bars, including Nopa, Beretta, The Saratoga, Barzotto, and Lolinda. It’s a great way to flex that philanthropic muscle while tasting your way through some of the city’s best culinary ideas. More than half of Webster Elementary School’s students face severe economic need, and this event helps ensure that the school has the right tools and services to give them the best education possible.
7:00 PM - 10:00 PM | Pier 70, Building 12, 436 22nd St., San Francisco | From $100 | website
May 6 | Music
Eye Heart Block Party 2017
Event promoters Eye Heart SF have so far kept the lineup of DJs for this year’s Block Party under wraps, but the company typically favors a diverse selection of sounds and artists. Most Public Works events take place inside the club, but this one will be both indoors and outdoors, with three stages of entertainment plus street food, cocktails, and grade-A people watching.
12:00 PM - 7:00 PM | Public Works, 161 Erie St., San Francisco | From $5 | website
May 6 | Festival
Cinco de Mayo Festival 2017
The rapidly gentrifying Mission District will show some of its old culture during its annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, where the neighborhood’s Latinx roots are properly celebrated. Graze on snacks from dozens of food and drink vendors while you vibe out to mariachi bands, live salsa, hip-hop, and other styles of music and dancing. You’ll come away with a renewed appreciation for the soul of the neighborhood.
10:00 AM - 6:00 PM | Valencia St. between 21st and 24th Sts., San Francisco | Free | website
May 7 | Festival
How Weird Street Faire
San Francisco has a number of charming local street fairs, but none is quite as quirky as How Weird, now in its 18th year. There are 11 outdoor stages to entertain you with live dance performances, musical acts, and DJs representing the colorful beat spectrum of electronic dance music. Whether you want to kick back in the Chill Pod or rage to something a bit more upbeat, there’s a rhythm for you here.
12:00 PM - 8:00 PM | Howard and Second Sts., San Francisco | From $20 | website
May 13 | Culture
Taiwanese American Cultural Festival
This year marks the 25th anniversary of San Francisco’s Taiwanese American Cultural Festival, a volunteer- and donor-led celebration that attracts more than 10,000 attendees yearly. Taiwanese bento boxes, soul food, and confections such as snow ice fuel an afternoon of performances by groups, including acapella team The Rits and the Formosa Circus Arts troupe.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | Union Square, San Francisco | Free | website
May 16 | Film & music
“Mad Max: Silent Fury” by The Firmament
In an experimental music performance/film screening, local electronic duo The Firmament has radically altered the blockbuster Mad Max: Silent Fury by showing it in black and white with a provocative new live score. Audio samples from the film are mixed in with copious amounts of deep bass, distorted basslines, and synthesizers. There’s no dress code, but attendees are urged to wear black and white to match the theme.
8:00 PM | Gray Area/Grand Theater, 2665 Mission St., San Francisco | From $15 | website
May 20 | Festival
SF PorchFest 2017
Check out the flavor of the Mission District in a completely different way at SF PorchFest, which invites residents of the neighborhood to perform whatever their talents are on their own front stoops. You’re likely to see impressive—and unexpected—bouts of imagination and talent. It’s an unpredictable afternoon by nature, which is a big part of the charm.
12:00 PM - 6:00 PM | Locations vary, Mission District, San Francisco | Free | website
May 21 | Race
Bay to Breakers
A combination of a 12K race, walk, and citywide block party, Bay to Breakers has been a San Francisco event for 105 years and counting. Serious athletes often win the actual race in about a half hour, but the self-paced pack of nonrunners and revelers (who can walk the route for free) take their sweet time—up to three hours—to cover the route from downtown to Ocean Beach. Arrive in your most creative costume to join a time-honored San Francisco tradition.
8:00 AM | Race starts at Howard and Main Sts., San Francisco | From $65 | website
May 27 | Film
Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival
Locals, sex workers, and filmmakers have come together yearly since 1999 at the Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival to share a behind-the-scenes look at an often misunderstood industry. The program includes short films, documentaries, and features that cover the Bay Area and beyond for an eye-opening look at both the harsh realities and the occasional hidden humor found in such a risky world.
2:00 PM | Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th St., San Francisco | From $10 | website
June 1 - 4 | Book ahead: Summit
AFAR Partner: No Barriers Summit
With the energy of a music festival, this immersive four-day event brings together people of all abilities who are transcending barriers to unleash their full potential and live with purpose. It features inspirational storytelling, celebrity performances, and more than 40 activities, including yoga, falconry, and whitewater rafting. The mission is in sync with AFAR’s belief in the transformative power of travel, and AFAR has partnered with No Barriers USA since 2009 on the Learning AFAR program, funding life-changing travel for underserved students. AFAR readers can use the code JOURNEY when registering to receive $25 off a No Barriers Summit pass.
Resort at Squaw Creek North Lake Tahoe, 400 Squaw Creek Rd., Olympic Valley | From $350 | website
Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.