Things to Do in San Francisco in February
This post lists many of the things to do in San Francisco in February, including our Top 10, as well as free, family-friendly and what to do at night. For a more comprehensive list, be sure to check out our list of things to do in San Francisco. And if you will be here in the early part of the month, be sure to check out our guide to Things to Do in January.
Below is our top 10 list, but there are many more things to do in San Francisco. If you are planning on visiting many of the top attractions in the city, then consider a tourist discount pass, which could save you lots of money.
1) Chinese New Year Festivals
The Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco has been named one of the Top 10 Parades in the World. And we are lucky enough to have it right here in San Francisco! San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the most vibrant neighborhood in San Francisco. Every month is a great time to visit this neighborhood, but Chinese New Year is by far the greatest time to visit Chinatown. The Chinese New Year festivals bring over a million people into the city for the parade and other events. And be sure to let us show you the neighborhood on our self-guided tour of Chinatown.
Date: Saturday, February 24
Time: 5:15 PM – 8:00 PM
Parade Route: Click for Map
In 2018, the Chinese New Year Parade will take place on Saturday, February 2
2) Noise Pop Festival
February is a great music month in San Francisco. Every year, dozens of bands visit our city for the Noise Pop Festival where you can listen to great music nonstop for a full week at various venues around the city. From world famous music stages such as The Fillmore to smaller stages all over the city, you’ll be able to find something that fits your music tastes, your schedule, and your budget during this week.
Dates: February 19 – 25
Tickets: Range from $15 – $199 depending on the show
More Info: Noise Pop Website
3) SF Beer Week
For one great week, craft beer brewers from all over the world converge in San Francisco to show off their latest creations at SF Beer Week. With a week full of festivals and events, you can attend tastings, interviews, educational seminars, or even buy the equipment required to become a home brewer. And if you don’t want to schedule all of these events yourself, you can join a tour of multiple breweries of events throughout the week.
Dates: February 9 – 18
Tickets: Range from Free to $120 depending on the event
More Info: SF Beer Week Website
4) SF Independent Film Festival
For the 20th year, the San Francisco Independent Film Festival will be returning to our city. Join us at various theaters around San Francisco to watch some of the best independent films of the year. In prior years, the festival has shown future award-winning movies, and you can be guaranteed to watch fantastic cinema in the two weeks of the festival. In addition to movies, they also host some fun and outrageous parties such as the annual Big Lebowski party! The film festival is a great activity to visit.
Dates: Currently unannounced–check website (or right back here!) for details
Tickets: $10 per movie or $250 for an all-access pass to every movie
5) Free Museum Days
Every month, various museums throughout San Francisco offer free admission on a certain day. Our city hosts some world-class museums that you should certainly try to visit during your time in the city. For a fuller description of the museums, check out our page on Free Museums in San Francisco.
Free Museums in February:
Asian Art Museum – February 4
Conservatory of Flowers – February 6
Contemporary Jewish Museum – February 6
de Young Museum – February 6
Legion of Honor Museum – February 6
LGBT History Museum – February 7
6) SF Chronicle Wine Tasting
If you are a wine lover, you can’t miss the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, the best local wine event of the year! With over 7,000 entries, this is a hotly contested competition, and you get to taste the best of the selections! From Napa Cabernets to Sonoma Pinots to Italian Barolos and French Bordeaux, you will have the time of your life tasting some of the best wines from around the country and around the world. Take a scorecard, rate the wines, and see how your picks compare to the judges!
Date: February 17
Time: 1:30 PM
7) Mardi Gras SF
Every year in February, we celebrate Mardi Gras in San Francisco! Though it’s not quite as large as the parade on Bourbon Street, we still love to go all out for this fun day. Starting at 5:00 you can listen to some of the best blues musicians in the area play a great concert. Later on, come check out the big Masquerade Ball at the historic Fillmore Theater in San Francisco to laissez les bon temps rouler!
Date: February 28
Time: Concert – 5:00 PM, Masquerade Ball – 8:00 PM
Price: Cost TBA
8) Watch some of the Best Sports Teams in America!
All month, you can check out the world champion Golden State Warriors at the amazing Oracle Arena (often called the “Roaracle” because of how loud the fans get inside!) or the up-and-coming San Jose Sharks just down south of SF in San Jose. Both teams have plenty of games to visit, and we guarantee that you’ll have a great time no matter what sport you decide to check out.
Date: Various throughout the month
Price: $40 and up
9) Valentine’s Day in SF
If you are on vacation in San Francisco with your loved one, you can enjoy this incredibly romantic city. One of our favorite parts of San Francisco is the amazing food that we have here. San Francisco has frequently been called one of the best restaurant cities in the world, and we certainly agree! On Valentine’s Day, many restaurants will have a Valentine’s special for couples, with a prix fixe menu complete with appetizer, entree, and dessert to share. So check out OpenTable to find a reservation at one of the thousands of great restaurants here!
10) Hello! The Book of Mormon is in San Francisco
Every year, we are fortunate to have some of the best Broadway productions in the country come through San Francisco. This year, we have one of our favorites in The Book of Mormon! One of the most popular and talked-about musicals in recent memory, Book of Mormon captured the attention of theater-goers nationwide as people flocked to see this show. So if you love Broadway and you feel like laughing out loud, be sure to head on down to the Orpheum and see the show!
Dates: February 6 – March 4
Times: 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM or 8:00 PM, depending on the date
Price: $110 and up
See the schedule here.
Below is our short list of free things to do in San Francisco. These are in addition to free events held for the Chinese New Year as well as free museum days (mentioned in the top 10 section). Every month we have many free activities in the city. If you’d like to learn more about free and cheap things to do all year, be sure to check out our San Francisco budget itinerary and our list of free things to do in San Francisco for more free and almost-free ideas. But we also have some great February-only activities below!
Chinese New Year Festivals
In addition to the Chinese New Year Parade we mentioned above, there are about four weeks of festivals during Chinese New Year. Whether you go to the parade itself, see the Chinese Culture Center on a free admission day, or just watch the dragon dancing and lion dancing around the neighborhood, this is a must-do if you’re looking for free and cheap activities.
Free National Parks Day
Every year on the Presidents’ Day Holiday in the United States (that’s February 20 this year), the US National Park Service throws open their doors to all the national parks in the area for everybody to join for free! For many people visiting San Francisco, a trip to Yosemite is on the itinerary, so going on February 20 would be a great day for it (though you should plan on it being busier than usual of course). If you want to stay closer to the city, you can head up to Muir Woods to see the giant redwoods.
SEE THE BAY LIGHTS ON THE BAY BRIDGE
The Bay Bridge is one of the most iconic sites in San Francisco and there’s no prettier time to visit it than at night! There is a spectacular light show every night from dusk until dawn. Leo Villareal, one of the most well respected light artists designed and orchestrated The Bay Lights. Originally the show only ran from 2013-2015, but as of 2016, it was made a permanent feature — to both locals and tourists’ delight!
During winter, the sun sets pretty early in our city. Many things mentioned in other sections of this post are also great night activities, such as Bay Bridge Lights or shows of the Noise Pop Festival. So you should have some ideas for what you want to do at night around here. Below, we have listed some of our favorite evening and nighttime activities for you to visit. Read our master post on things to do at night in San Francisco.
Alcatraz Night Tour
Most people take a trip out to Alcatraz during the day. But we think that a night tour is a fantastic time to visit the old prison island. On your boat ride, you’ll hear a talk about the island, and some of the history involved in it (which you won’t get if you take the morning tour or day tour). You’ll also get to see the sparkling lights of the San Francisco skyline. Once you’re on the island, you’ll get a special guided tour of the prison that other visitors don’t receive. Overall, it’s an incredible experience! Read our post on visiting Alcatraz at night.
Nighttime Ice Skating
Ok, well, you’re certainly not going to find any natural ice around San Francisco. The winters here are just too nice! With the temperature rarely getting below 40 F (5 C), things just don’t freeze here. But never fear, because we still have some fun ice skating around the city!
Best Skating Locations:
The Embarcadero Center: 4 Embarcadero Center
The Yerba Buena Gardens Ice Rink: 750 Folsom Street
Union Square: 333 Post Street
Check out Yelp’s rankings of ice skating venues in San Francisco.
Beach Blanket Babylon
Earlier in the post, we told you about The Book of Mormon arriving in San Francisco for various dates. But it is not the only show happening here. Five nights a week for the past 43 years, Beach Blanket Babylon has been performing in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. Beach Blanket Babylon is the world’s longest-running musical revue show. Featuring great comedy performers, singing, dancing, and some of the most outrageous costumes you’ll see, this show is a San Francisco institution that you should definitely see if you have the chance.
Dates: Every Wednesday through Sunday
Time: 8:00 PM
Price: Varies, from $20 to $110
Exploratorium After Dark
Long considered one of the best science museums in the country, The Exploratorium is a fantastic place to electrify your senses (sometimes literally)! With exhibits and experiments from engineering to science to biology, every science geek can find something to enjoy. However, during the daytime, there are often kids and school groups walking around and using the experiments. Don’t you sometimes wish you could check out the museum without all of them? Exploratorium After Dark is a great way to experience it! Starting at 6:00 every Thursday, you can enter the museum at a discounted rate and listen to music, have a drink or two, and check out the exhibits with only adults around.
Dates: Every Thursday
Time: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Many of our San Francisco visitors are coming here with families and children. And even some of the best and most fun things to do aren’t exactly family friendly. So here, we have put together a list of the great things to do with families and kids in San Francisco.
Dog Film Festival
Every year, the Roxie theater hosts the Dog Film Festival for dog owners and dog lovers alike. They show a collection of movies related to our furry friends and invite people of all ages to watch these movies. In addition, guests are always welcome to bring their dogs along with them, so the theater is filled with people and pups alike. This is a great experience for kids!
Date: February 19
Time: 1:00 pm-Midnight
Price: Varies per movie
Winter Play: San Francisco Game Expo
If your kids are interested in video games, look no further! The San Francisco Game Expo hosts the creators of 50 different video games to show off their latest wares. Developers will be looking for feedback on the games they are creating, and players will be able to try dozens of different games. In addition, they can interact with their favorite game creators and see the process of building a video game.
Date: February 23
Time: 6:30 PM
Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt
Do you love history, culture, and puzzles? If so, the Chinese New Year Treasure Hunt is for you. When you show up to the treasure hunt, you will receive a booklet of maps and clues. You have to sleuth your way through the clues to solve the puzzles. You’ll have to use your knowledge of Chinatown, Chinese culture, and San Francisco to figure out all the answers. But don’t worry–there are multiple difficulty levels and if you don’t know much (or anything), they have a beginner level to start out. This is a great way to learn more about Chinatown history!
Date: February 24
Time: 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Price: $45 – 60 depending on when you purchase.
We don’t know about you, but here at Free Tours by Foot, there are a few of us who spent their childhood watching Monster Truck rallies. During daytime TV we’d be able to watch the biggest trucks we’ve ever seen fly around an arena, make the longest jumps we’ve ever see, crush multiple cars, and just generally be awesome. If you have kids that enjoy the same sort of thing, you should certainly check out the annual Monster Jam! Located right over the San Francisco Bay in Oakland, Monster Jam is an extravaganza of monster trucks that many kids will love to see.
Date: February 17 – 18
Time: 7:00 PM on the 17th, 3:00 PM on the 18th
Price: $15 – $125
Free San Francisco Walking Tours in February
While you’re in San Francisco, be sure to check out our free walking tours! We have a guided tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, or Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, and more. Or if you’re in SF for just the weekend, check out our San Francisco in One Day Tour, a 5-hour tour of all the best neighborhoods of downtown San Francisco, including a ride on the famous San Francisco Cable Car.