San Francisco may be known for perpetual chilly-to-mild weather—and the ever present fog—but it still pulls off quite the showing for spring. Its parks are blooming, the days are longer and warmer, and the street festivals, baseball games and even young wildlife are all back for the city’s residents and visitors to enjoy.
To take advantage of the season of new beginnings, here is a roundup of our favorite SF activities to celebrate spring:
Whether you’re a SF Giants diehard or Oakland A’s superfan (or even if you just enjoy outdoor arenas with hotdogs and brews)—March 26th marks opening day for the MLB season!
Both Bay Area teams feature all-star players and top notch amenities to enjoy. The Giant’s arena, Oracle Stadium, boasts a gorgeous waterfront view and a beloved Fan Lot (giant Coca-Cola slide included). The Oakland Coliseum, home of the A’s, features a new digital experience that gives youngsters the opportunity to race against their favorite A’s players, and simulates hitting and pitching machines.
When: March 26th—September 27th (regular season) Where: Oakland A’s at 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621; SF Giants at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107
This year, Golden Gate Park celebrates 150 beloved years of being a recreational, cultural and environmental SF icon. Kicking off with a community “birthday party” on April 4th, the park will be honored in a year-long celebration of concerts, special exhibits at museums and gardens, food offerings—and, best of all: a 150 foot illuminated observation wheel.
When: April 4th, 2020—March 1st, 2021 Where: 55 Music Concourse Dr San Francisco, CA 94118
Once voted nationwide as “America’s Best Rose Garden,” this 5 ½-acre Municipal Rose Garden is well worth the trip to the South Bay. The magical spot draws thousands of visitors each year, and features over 4,000 rose shrubs with 189 varieties. And, in addition to a walk or picnic in the blooming garden, you can enjoy nearby vintage boutiques and dining on the Alameda strip, or larger attractions like the Winchester Mystery House. Pro tip: There’s a second world-renowned garden called Heritage Rose Garden located five minutes away, containing a limited collection of “historic roses.”
When: Year round Where: San Jose Municipal Rose Garden at 1649 Naglee Ave, San Jose, CA 95126
Perfectly decorated for its spring arrival (self-described as “Lisa Frank and jelly roll pens” vibes), Viridian is a neon-bright new cocktail bar serving craft cocktails and Asian desserts. The food and drinks are sustainable, hyper-seasonal and produce-forward—making it a prime spot to taste the flavors of the season.
Where: Viridian at 2216 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612
Cherry Blossoms go hand and hand with the arrival of spring—and also symbolize the fleeting nature of life, blooming for about only 2 weeks per year. Experience a city wide celebration in Japantown at the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (the largest celebrations of Asian tradition in the West Coast) for two weekends in April, with the grand parade taking place April 19th. Pro tip: Can’t make the festival dates? Check out the trees in the Japanese Tea Garden during March or April.
When: April 11-12, 2020 at 11 am to 6 pm and April 18-19, 2020 at 11 am to 6 pm; Grand Parade on April 19th a 1 PM Where: Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival at 1759 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94115
You don’t want to miss San Francisco’s oldest beer festival for its 37th annual event. The popular festival will feature 100+ brewers, plus complimentary bites from top restaurants and food trucks in the Bay Area, music, games and fun. The best part? Your proceeds will directly fund the Telegraph Hill Cooperative Nursery School—good beer for a good cause.
When: April 18, 2020, 7 PM—10 PM Where: 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123
(Ok, so this is technically located an hour away from the city, but it’s too exciting to miss.)
The Pier 39 sea lions may be super adorable—but there is something just...for lack of a better word, bombastic about elephant seals. Starting in April, northern elephant seals will bask on the beach to shed their outer layer of skin and fur. During this time, the Wildlife Viewing Area within this Natural Preserve is open and reachable by self-guided hiking! The trail is an easygoing path around 3 to 4 miles long, with varied terrain including sand dunes to enjoy.
When: April 1st to August 31st Where: Año Nuevo State Park at 1 New Years Creek Rd Pescadero, CA 94060
In spring, Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park is full and ready to be explored. The Stow Lake Boathouse rents out a fleet of different vehicles, including: rowboats, electric boats, and pedal boats that seat anywhere from one to four boaters. Head out onto the expansive lake to pass gorgeous bridges, feathered residents and turtles galore (PSA: it’s baby goose and duck season!), waterfalls, and a Chinese pagoda–a gift given to the park from San Francisco’s ‘sister city’ of Taipei.
Where: Stow Lake Boathouse at 50 Stow Lake Dr E, San Francisco, CA 94118
The traveling bay area gourmet food truck extravaganza Off the Grid is reopening for its Fort Mason weekly spot on March 6th! Enjoy delicious and creative dishes and bites, plus firepits and underground DJ artists and musicians each Friday night. New to the 2020 lineup this year is the Anarchist Wine Bar, and (on select nights) “Tijuana style” cheese queso tacos and quesabirrias from renowned pop-ups.
When: Friday evenings March 6 through October 30, 2020. Where: Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center at Parking Lot, 2 Marina Boulevard, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123
Macy’s welcomes spring in three of their marquee stores in NYC, Chicago and San Francisco with a gorgeous annual Flower Show. They transform their stores into stunning floral designs with lush plants and blossoms from all around the world that are (incredibly) able to bloom in unison despite their unique climatic DNA. Millions of visitors attend the two-week exhibit for tours, specialty gardens and themed events.
The full 2020 schedule is still TBD, but opening day is set to feature deep-sea florals.
When: March 22 through April 5, 2020 Where: Macy’s at 170 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The premier (read: delicious) international craft chocolate show on the West Coast is back in spring for their 14th annual “Chocolate Salon.” The Salon brings together samples of the world’s best tasting chocolates, demonstrations, intriguing new products, and chef and author talks. We recommend eating your way through the day.
When: March 21st, 2020 Where: San Francisco County Fair Building / Hall of Flowers at 1199 9th Avenue at Lincoln Way San Francisco, CA 94122