food & drink · music & nightlife · attractions & tours · outdoor activities ·
Published August 7, 2023
San Francisco's Ultimate 2023 Summer Bucket List
Get outside, SF! Summer has arrived in the Bay Area. 😎
by San Francisco Bucket List
It’s summertime in San Francisco, and our favorite beaches, camping spots, parks, and festivals are calling our names! Warm weather is back, and that means longer days outside, bonfires on the beach, outdoor movies, and more.
We've rounded up all of the season's can't-miss activities so you can make the most of summer 2023 in San Francisco this year.
The Ultimate Guide to Summer in San Francisco
Picnic in Mission Dolores Park
No summer is complete without dolo days! Home to the warmest weather in the city and large enough to handle huge weekend crowds with ease, this park is perfect for enjoying drinks under a shady palm tree with views of the downtown skyline and plenty of prime opportunities for people-watching.
Where: 19th and Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA
Soar 15 Stories High in the SkyStar
The glowing, 150-foot SkyStar Wheel provides riders with unmatched views from the Pacific Ocean to downtown SF. Hop in a cushy gondola and enjoy twelve minutes of epic sights above Golden Gate Park. P.S. It makes for a great date night!
Where: 1 Bowl Drive, San Francisco, CA
Watch an Outdoor Movie
Join the Bay Area's first year-round outdoor cinema experience at The Cut in downtown SF. Relax under the stars on Big Joe Original bean bags or deck lounge chairs with cozy blankets while enjoying iconic favorites, cult classics, and local community film programming on the 23-foot LED screen. Creative concessions with local products and a full bar, along with food trucks and other activities at The Crossing, make it a truly San Franciscan experience.
Where: The Crossing: 250 Main St, San Francisco, CA
Catch A Giants Game
A leisurely summer day at the ballpark is always a good idea. Whether you're a Giants die-hard or just there for the brews and garlic fries, a good time at Oracle Park is always guaranteed. This summer, look out for a Drone and Fireworks Show (a tribute to Bay Area Hip Hop) on June 9 and a Pride Jersey giveaway for the first 20,000 fans on June 10.
For a truly unique way to experience a baseball game, kayak into Covey Cove and enjoy the roar from the crowd and the energy of the park from the water! If you have your own kayak, you can do this free of charge! City Kayak also offers a gameday experience package that provides all the equipment needed. Just make sure to pick a waterproof AM radio to tune into the game and a headlamp or lantern for evening games.
Where: 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA
Visit the Golden Girls Kitchen
Step into an 80s sitcom dream at the fully immersive Golden Girls’ Kitchen in SF! Explore moments inspired by the beloved series like Blanche’s Boudoir, the Lanai, and—only at the SF location—the girls' living room. You can also indulge in menu items inspired by the show, like Sofia's Lasagna and, of course, lots of cheesecake. Make sure to grab a themed cocktail from the Rusty Anchor Bar before you go!
Where: Trademark: 1123 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA
Celebrate SF Pride
The iconic, extraordinary, and largest LGBTQ+ gathering in the nation is back for its 53rd year! Join the two-day celebration. This year's theme is #LookingBackMovingForward.
On Saturday, you can hit the public plaza in front of City Hall for over 20 community dance, hip-hop, and soul performers on Saturday. The parade kicks off on Sunday morning at 10:30 am! Marchers will walk west along market street to city hall, with vendors and performers circling the plaza for a celebratory finish.
Where: West on Market Street, from Steuart Street to 8th Street
Catch a Live Show
It's summer concert season, and we couldn't be more excited. So many great performances are coming to the Bay Area this year, from the nostalgic bands you grew up with to a 4th of July Performance by the San Francisco Symphony and everything in between. There's nothing better than enjoying live music, warm weather, and good company, so we rounded up all the top shows in the area (with some serious discounts). Pick your favorite and add it to your summer bucket list!
Where: Various locations.
Set Sail Under the Golden Gate Bridge
They don’t call it the “City by the Bay” for nothing! Whether you’re looking for a whole family adventure or a romantic evening for two, there's a sail for you. See some of the Bay’s most popular attractions up close and personal, like Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and ocean views of the city’s famed skyline.
Where: Pier 39, San Francisco, CA
Cool Off with a Sweet Treat from Matcha Cafe Maiko
Sun’s out, soft serve's out! Aside from being deeply aesthetic—peep the 24k edible gold ice cream—Cafe Maiko creates all kinds of frozen treats from their top-notch matcha. Cool off with creative treats from matcha floats to iced lattes to parfaits and more.
Where: 1581 Webster Street, Suite 175, San Francisco, CA
Go Camping or Hiking at Kirby Cove
Summer is camping season! This stunning campground boasts a one-of-a-kind view of the GG Bridge Towers through a grove of cypress and pines. Campers can take in breathtaking views of San Francisco, enjoy a delightful beach area and swing, and hike around the headlands during their stay. Just make sure to grab a reservation—Kirby Cove is limited to just five overnight campsites.
Bonus: Another great spot to check out is Angel Island, offering trails, kayaking, and 16 overnight campgrounds.
Where: 948 Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA
Watch Free Outdoor Movies at Sundown Cinema
Sundown Cinema is back for another season, offering seven outdoor movies across seven different parks throughout San Francisco. Now in its fifth season, this outdoor film series will feature local food, drinks, music, themed pre-show entertainment, and of course, a diverse movie lineup that celebrates the unique character and beauty of San Francisco and its parks! Learn more and see the full lineup here.
Where: Various locations.
Enjoy Drinks and Dinner with a View at Embarcadero Center
Bike the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito
Starting at the landmark Fisherman’s Wharf, you’ll be led on a journey along the coast to see sea lions, dolphins, military forts, a wave and wind organ, and SF’s most elegant neighborhood. Cycle your way to and over the Golden Gate Bridge, with stops to snap photos, then coast downhill into sunny Sausalito to catch a ferry back!
Where: Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco, CA
Have a Bonfire at Ocean Beach
Officially open for the 2023 season (March 1–Oct 31), Ocean Beach is the perfect spot to gather your friends and family for a cozy night by the sea. Build a bonfire at one of the established rings or pits and watch the sunset over the Pacific while roasting marshmallows and sharing stories!
Where: Ocean Beach: Fulton St & Great Hwy Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Go Wine Tasting on Treasure Island
Treasure Island has been reinventing itself as a mecca for wine lovers, with tasting rooms packed into less than one square mile and spectacular views of the water while you sip. Try out Treasure Island Wines for outdoor wine tastings and picnics, or try Woods Island Club for a laid-back tour (both are open Saturday and Sunday only). We also recommend Aracely Cafe for even more wine and a delicious brunch (Wednesday through Sunday, from 8 am to 3 pm).
Where: Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA
Go Back 2 The Video Store
Back 2 The Video Store is a unique pop-up experience in SF this summer, inspired by the art of renting videos during the greatest throwback era.
Inside the 90s-inspired speakeasy, you'll find lava lamps, pog-playing stations, and very memorable TV/Film scenes turned into photo moments. Choose your movie-themed cocktails (think: Mean Girls, Braveheart, Titanic, and more), arranged into drink categories rather than movie genres. Your video choice will translate into your corresponding film-inspired drink! So Fetch.
Where: Westwood Annex: 2036 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA
Attend Outside Lands
The much-beloved annual multi-stage festival held in Golden Gate Park is back! This year's headliners are the incredible Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, and Odesza. There will also be a star-studded comedy tent, psychedelic art installations, and the weed-friendly Grasslands. Snag a one, two, or three-day pass to enjoy the beloved SF tradition.
Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Have Late Night Drinks at Charmaine’s Rooftop
European atmosphere meets California energy at Charmaine’s gorgeous rooftop bar. Now serving cocktails from the genius teams behind Bon Vivants and Trick Dog, grab a glass while you watch the stars over the city skyline by their fire pits.
Where: 1100 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Take a Seaplane Ride Over the Bay
Enjoy an incredible 60-minute flight with stunning views of some of the most iconic landmarks in SF. Starting from the seabase in picturesque Sausalito, you'll soar above the Golden Gate Bridge, Tomales Bay, Pt. Reyes Seashore, and along the scenic Highway One. Marvel at the breathtaking sights of Alcatraz and Angel Island, as well as many other incredible sights along the way. This unforgettable experience will give you the ultimate aerial perspective of the Bay Area's beauty.
Where: Mill Valley, CA
See a Show at Stern Grove Festival
Festival hoping this summer? Stern Grove Festival is a beloved SF summer tradition for 86 years and counting. Each summer, the festival presents 10 free concerts featuring a mix of popular headliners, Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Grammy Award-winners, and rising new stars—including Santigold and Indigo Girls for this year.
Where: Sigmund Stern Grove, located at 19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd, San Francisco, CA
Eat at Waterbar
Considered one of San Francisco’s best seafood restaurants, Waterbar is a bucket list restaurant for sure. Perfect for warm afternoons and date nights, Waterbar is seated at the sparkling SF Embarcadero waterfront, with panoramic views of the bay, Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and city skyline. Treat yourself to a lux night out you won’t forget.
Where: 399 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, SF
See Live Jazz at Stow Lake
Spend a summer evening listening to live jazz at the Stow Lake Boathouse in GG Park. Listen to some of the Bay Area’s best jazz musicians with a cold glass of beer or wine to compliment the tunes. Every Friday and Saturday, new bands are featured, but you won't know the lineup until you get there! You can expect all things Jazz, though, from 1920s swing to Latin, Hip Hop, and funk.
Where: Stow Lake Boathouse: 50 Stow Lake Drive East San Francisco, CA
Zip Through the City in a GoCar
Let GoCar zip you off the beaten path through many of San Francisco’s iconic parks and loopiest streets, then over the GG Bridge and back! Finish your tour where tour buses can’t by winding your way up Russian Hill and down the exhilarating ride of the world’s most crooked street (Lombard St).
When: GoCar San Francisco: 431 Beach St, San Francisco, CA
Explore Union Street Festival
Since 1976, Union Street Festival has kicked off the summer weekend festival season in San Francisco. On June 3 and 4, you can peruse the market’s plethora of tents for a masterpiece from a local artist, plus enjoy live bands, indulge in gourmet food, and sample drinks at the Beer and Wine Gardens.
Where: Union Street from Gough St. to Filmore St., San Francisco, CA
Hike to Twin Peaks from the Castro
Hikes don’t always have to be backcountry affairs. Starting at the intersection of Market and Castro Street and rising 900 feet, this hike peaks with a magnificent 360-degree view of the city. We recommend checking out the step-by-step route from the late SF native, Bill Choissier. Make sure to bring a jacket—the wind can be brisk at the top!
Where: Start on Diamond St. Between 18th and 19th Streets in the Castro District
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