The Best Things to do in San Francisco in August 2020

This post covers the best things to do in San Francisco in August, including free, family-friendly, as well as things to do at night, all updated for 2020.

 

 

TOP TEN EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO

This section features our top 10 activities to enjoy in San Francisco throughout August. 

For tips on the most popular activities in San Francisco, check out the following posts:

Also, many of the items listed in our top ten section are included for free with the purchase of several tourist attraction discount passes


(1) Take a Walking Tour

Our guided walks are free to join and operate on a pay-what-you-like basis, which means you decide what a tour was worth or what you could afford when the tour is over.

 

 

We also have self-guided tours and GPS-enabled audio tours of neighborhoods that you will likely visit as a tourist in the city.

Check out our homepage or look at our schedule to see what we have available when you are here.


(2) Enjoy a Concert

As a major U.S. city, San Francisco plays host to major concerts almost daily and we have listed some of the most popular below.

Click here for a complete list of who’s playing in August.

 

 

Click here for a complete list of who’s playing in August.


(3) See a Sporting Event

August is a great time to get out, enjoy the sun, and take in the atmosphere of a game! During August, baseball season is in full swing and American football is beginning its pre-season games.

 

Baseball

Pre-Season Football

Fans of golf will be happy to hear that the PGA Championships will also be taking place this month at Harding Park Golf Club from August 3rd – 9th.

Most of the baseball games take place in the evening. For more nighttime activity ideas, check out our things to do at night section.


(4) Attend the Theatre

There are over 50 shows on at any time in San Francisco. Some even offer discounted tickets through the TodayTix website.

 

 

Mean Girls

The musical version of this cult classic film will be ending its production in San Francisco this August, which means you’ll have one last opportunity to see the show before it leaves town.

Purchase Mean Girls tickets or learn more.

My Fair Lady

If you’re looking for a classic musical to enjoy, this beloved show will be starting its production in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Theatre on August 5th with shows running throughout the rest of the month.

Purchase My Fair Lady tickets or learn more.


(5) Silicon Valley Comic-Con

August 16 – 18, 2019

Comic-Con is coming to the South Bay with celebrities, indie artists, cosplayers, video games, board games, music, comics, and electronics.

 

 

Steve Wozniak has brought the Silicon Valley Comic Con to life at the San Jose Convention Center, with tickets available for the whole weekend or just individual days.

Silicon Valley and San Jose are about an hour’s drive from downtown San Francisco.


(6) Eat Drink SF

August 23 – 25, 2019

San Francisco’s premier foodie event, Eat Drink SF has a lot in store for 2019.

Guests can enjoy a number of tasting events that span multiple days and feature a sampling of the city’s best chefs and restaurants.

 

 

Tickets and more information are available on the website!


(7) Outside Lands

August 9 – 11, 2019

One of the city’s biggest annual events, Outside Lands, comes to Golden Gate Park for multiple days of music, food, beer & wine, and art & comedy.

 

 

The 2019 lineup includes Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, The Lumineers, Blink-182, Bebe Rexha, and many, many more!

Check the website for more information and to purchase festival passes.


(8) Nihonmachi Street Fair

August 3 – 4, 2019

Head over to Japantown for the “melting pot of all street fairs.” The 46th annual Nihonmachi Street Fair will fill two days with Asian-Pacific American culture, tradition, dance, art music, and food. 

 

 

The event takes place from 11:00 am – 6:00 pm both days. Admission is free!

For more fun, free things to do, check out our family-friendly suggestions and free activities below.


(9) Polk Street Blues Festival

August 17 – 18, 2019

This free festival brings blues music to two stages on the weekend of August 17 and 18, 2019, is the festival’s 9th annual year providing free music.

There will be food vendors, arts and crafts for all ages to participate in, and other entertainment.

 

 

The festival runs from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm on both days.

It is a great event to bring the family to or to come by yourself and make a few friends with the other friendly jazz enthusiasts.  


(10) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

Save time and money with a sightseeing pass to San Francisco!

Several of the items above are already included for free with the purchase of a tourist attraction discount pass.

 

 

Tourist passes work by combining several popular San Francisco attractions and tours into one discounted price, up to 55%. 

They also can save you time by giving you skip-the-ticket-line privileges to many of these attractions.

Some attractions included with tourist passes:

  • Bay Cruises
  • Historic Cable Car Transportation
  • Alcatraz
  • Muir Woods Tour
  • Tour of Sausalito

Be sure to read our post that compares each option available to you.

 


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FREE THINGS TO DO IN SAN FRANCISCO

Luckily, so many of the festivals that happen in San Francisco offer free admission! This is a great way to enjoy any event. Some of the activities we’ve listed above are free to attend like Fort Point Living History Day and the Festival of the Sea.

 

 

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in San Francisco.


Golden Gate Bridge Swim – August 17 

Bring the family to cheer on 50 experienced swimmers as they complete a 1.5 miles (3km) race swim from one end of the Golden Gate Bridge to the other. Click here for more information.


Fort Point Living History Day – August 17 

History buffs of all ages will enjoy Living History Day at Fort Point! Visitors will be able to experience the era of the Civil War with live reenactments, Victorian music and dance, artillery and infantry demonstrations and more.

 


This photo of Fort Point National Historic Site is courtesy of TripAdvisor.

 

The event takes place from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and is free for all!


Enjoy Washington Square 

Located in the heart of North Beach, Washington Square is an excellent place to take a break and enjoy an afternoon respite while you people watch.

Don’t miss the Benjamin Franklin time capsule in the park, which will be opened in 2979!


Free Museum Days! 

While most museums in San Francisco charge a daily admission fee, there is typically one day a month museums choose to offer free admission. 

Free days can vary by the museum but it’s worth it to check the museum’s calendar to see when admission will be free of charge!

Or, you can check out our post on free museums in San Francisco for more details.

For even more free activities, see our guide to free things to do in San Francisco.

 


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THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN AUGUST

Below is just a short sampling of the many things to do at night in August.

A couple of the items we’ve listed are great evening activities like the Bay Area Brew Festival and some events at Eat Drink SF.

 

 

For suggestions on other nighttime activities, see our post, Things to do at Night in San Francisco.


CabFest

August 16-17

Cabernet Sauvignon connoisseurs will love this multi-day wine event!

Held at the Westfield downtown, events will include winery walkthroughs with over 100 wineries from around the globe, pairing dinners, and a grand tasting event.

For tickets and more information, click here.   


Exploratorium 

The Exploratorium After Dark is a fun, 21+ night out that features exhibits, live music, and a bar.

The space is transformed for the 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm Thursday events, so even if you’ve already visited, don’t hesitate to come back on a Thursday night.


Asian Art Museum 

The Asian Art Museum is open late (until 9:00 pm) every Thursday for events, talks, and opportunities to meet the artists. You’ll be able to purchase drinks at a cash bar and listen to a live DJ.


Dine at Pier 39

One of the most popular attractions in San Francisco, Pier 39 really comes alive at night!

 


Questa foto di Pier 39 è offerta da TripAdvisor.

Filled with specialty stores and restaurants, the attraction also offers a carousel, access to the sea lions who dock here, and a variety of street performers on any given evening.  

TIP: For many more ideas, be sure to take a look at our post Things to do at Night in San Francisco.

 


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FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO

San Francisco is full of family-friendly activities and events in the month of August! Some of the festivals we’ve listed like the Nihonmachi Street Fair and the Pistahan Parade & Festival are fun for people of all ages.

 

 

Here are a few more family-friendly activities.


Origami-Palooza

August 25

Practice your paper folding skills at Origami Palooza at the Japan Center Malls in Japantown. There will be a number of instructors on hand, a paper airplane contest, and an origami folding contest.

This event runs from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, is free and open to all ages!


Bridge to Bridge Run

August 25

Touted as “America’s Most Beautiful Run,” the Bridge to Bridge Run in San Francisco offers stunning views from the Oakland Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Runners can choose from a 5k or 12k. Check the website to register and for more information.


Festival of the Sea – August 17

Experience the 150-year history of the historic Hyde Street Pier during the 2019 Festival of the Sea.

An event the whole family can enjoy, there will be traditional music, boats to explore, sailor’s demonstrations, children’s activities, and more! Admission is free.


Maritime Museum

Visit the Maritime Museum in the historic Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building.

Built in 1939, this building was occupied by US troops during WWII and was then turned into the country’s first senior living center.

Stop by to see the rotating exhibits and 1930’s WPA murals. The museum is open daily from 10am-4pm.


Check out the Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park

Located next to Spreckels Lake, the Bison Paddock in Golden Gate Park has hosted American bison since the 1890s.

A nod to the “Wild West” of the 19th Century, the paddock is one of the most loved spots in the park.

TIP: For more ideas of things to do with kids in San Francisco, see our post Things to do in San Francisco with Kids.

 


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