24 Summer Festivals in the Bay Area Celebrating Local Culture + Character

|May 12, 2017

The Bay Area has always been a melting pot of cultures. As a historic hub for emigration, the region has been built up by national and international newcomers, locals and political movements. And even today, the culture of each community is constantly evolving — that’s why we have to celebrate every single year!

To do so, we come together each festival season to celebrate San Francisco neighborhoods, Bay Area populations and the food, music, art and activities that make us who we are. Check out our most anticipated cultural events in the area this summer and let us know which ones you’re most excited for!

Jump ahead:

May | June | July | August | September 

May Events

Taiwanese American Culture Festival

May 13

This San Francisco festival is The Bay Area’s biggest Taiwanese American celebration. In its 25th year, the event is expected to bring in over 10,000 people to enjoy mouth-watering food, rock out to live performances, and experience the vibrancy of Taiwanese culture.

Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh

May 13 – 14

Silicon Valley Irish Festival

Photo courtesy of the Silicon Valley Irish Fleadh

The Gaelic word Fleadh, pronounced “Fla”, means festival — a celebration of Irish culture and traditions bringing people together to share in the festivities, happiness and joy. The Silicon Valley event will feature traditional and modern Irish performers, Irish dancers, Irish arts and crafts, Irish food vendors and a Kids’ Zone so everyone can join in the fun!

May Day Festival

May 13 – 14

The Annual May Day Festival celebrates Hawaiian culture and traditions by showcasing traditional music, dance, arts, crafts and food. Join in the fun at Alameda County Fairgrounds this year so you can dance, sing and eat your way through this cultural event! Buy your tickets online today.

The Asian Heritage Street Celebration

May 20

The Asian Heritage Street Celebration in Oakland showcases all Asian and Pacific Islander cultures and identities, bringing together the community and encouraging diversity. Every year on the third Saturday of May, everyone is invited to this free event to taste specialty foods, participate in arts and crafts, see a car show, Muay Thai Kickboxing, and so much more! Check their Facebook page for this year’s event updates.

Himalayan Fair

May 20 + 21

Every year since 1983, Berkeley’s Live Oak Park becomes a marketplace with over 100 shops, live music, Tarot, Ayurveda, a Himalayan kids’ craft table, Momos freshly made by the local Tibetan community, plus fresh, authentic Nepalese and Indian foods. Vendors come from as far as Kathmandu!

Maifest

May 21

Maifest is the first in an annual, three festival series hosted by Nature Friends Tourist Club to celebrate German and Austrian culture. You’ll always find a lively band playing a combination of folk and modern music, as well as performances, dances, activities, games, authentic food and plenty of domestic beer. Put on your your Lederhosen, Dirndl, Tirolerhut, or other Tracht (traditional attire) and join in the fun!

San Francisco International Arts Festival

May 25 – June 4

San Francisco Summer Festivals

Izumi B Fujii and Yukio Miyahara of Scarabe; photo courtesy of the San Francisco International Arts Festival 

In celebration of global culture, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and the Eyes and Ears Foundation present the San Francisco International Arts Festival. With over 100 presentations by 65 ensembles, and individual performing artists traveling from 15 other countries and the United States, it’s a must-see event!

39th Annual Carnaval San Francisco

May 27 + 28

In its 39th year, San Francisco’s Carnaval will include the annual Grand Parade and a two-day festival! Party all weekend with global cuisine, international music, dance, arts, crafts, and entertainment on every street corner. Then watch the procession of multicultural themed floats and performers during the parade on Sunday!

June Events

Berkeley World Music Festival

June 10 – 11

Participate in world culture, dance and music in East Bay at this free festival. Celebrating its 14th year in 2017, there will be a craft village, People’s Park concert, telegraph venues and more!

Haight Ashbury Street Fair

June 11

Haight Ashbury is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its street festival this year by combining the annual event and traditional celebrations with the 50th anniversary of The Summer of Love! The milestone occasion combines the cultural and historical contributions that have developed The Haight and went on to influence an entire generation.

San Francisco Black Film Festival

June 15 – 18

Black Film Fest

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Black Film Festival and LADYLIKE

This film festival will be taking place at Sundance Kabuki Theater, The African American Art & Culture Complex, Second Act, and The Variety Premier House where you can attend special events for viewing, networking and socializing. Learn about the filmmaking process, build connections, and enjoy ground-breaking cinema in celebration of an underrepresented culture.

Frameline41

June 15 – 25

For the past 41 years, Frameline has come together annually to educate, celebrate and discuss LGBTQ films, artists and culture. Stay up-to-date with the schedule on Facebook and the festival website.

Juneteenth

June 17

The relationship between Juneteenth and the City of San Francisco dates back to 1951 when Dr. Wesley Johnson Sr. invited the Bay Area’s African American community to celebrate at the Texas playhouse on Fillmore Street. Today, the city’s historic Juneteenth has become one of the largest African American celebrations in California. Join them on June 17 to promote historical awareness, build confidence in the community and support local vendors and crafters.

63rd Annual North Beach Festival

June 17 + 18

North Beach Festival 2017 San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Steven Restivo Event Services

For the 63rd year, North Beach is celebrating the community with over 125 arts and crafts booths, gourmet food, two stages of live entertainment, Italian street painting, beverage gardens, a kid’s chalk art area and the annual blessing of the animals. As one of the country’s original outdoor festivals, it’s a can’t miss event this summer!

San Francisco Pride

June 24 + 25

With over 200 parade participants and exhibitors, and more than twenty community-run stages and venues, the San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade is the largest gathering of the LGBT community and allies in the nation. The celebration begins on Saturday and leads to the Grand Parade on Sunday morning!

July Events

4th of July Celebration at the Pier

July 4

San Francisco Summer Festivals

There’s no better place to watch fireworks sparkle on the water than Pier 39. Add live music to the mix and it’s guaranteed to be one of the best July Fourth celebrations in the city. And this year, Pier 39 is turning 39! The 4th of July Celebration is just one part of a 39-week long anniversary celebration. Click here for the full schedule through the summer and fall.

39th Annual San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival

July 8 – 9 and 15 – 16

Save the date for these can’t-miss performances at San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. The festival serves to present the diverse ethnic dance companies in the Bay Area, and always promises an exciting and ground-breaking show!

Sommerfest

July 16

Sommerfest is the second of the Nature Friends Tourist Club German and Austrian culture celebrations. Get your Lederhosen back out and show up to the Mill Valley lodge on July 16th!

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival

July 20 – August 6

Jewish Film Festival

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and Barak Shrama Photography

This annual film festival is the largest and longest-running event of its kind and has become a leader in the curation and presentation of new media exploring the complexities of Jewish life locally, nationally and internationally. Follow the festival on Facebook for updates on the 37th Annual event!

August Events

Nihonmachi Street Fair

August 5 + 6

The Nihonmachi Street Fair considers itself the original melting pot of street fairs, showcasing Asian-Pacific American life and the evolving culture that makes up San Francisco. Join in for the 6th Annual Doggie World Parade with your furry friend on Sunday then don’t miss The Art & Soul of J-town, an exhibition of the community’s creativity!  

September Events

J-Pop Summit

September 9 + 10

J Pop Summit San Francisco 2017

Photo courtesy of J-POP SUMMIT and Rendy Lai

J-Pop Summit is the Japanese cultural festival of San Francisco and has been held every summer since 2009. You’ll find everything that makes up the Japanese and Japanese-American community — from fashion and food to tech innovations, art and anime. For food and drink lovers, don’t miss the Sake Summit and Ramen Summit. You can learn more about them on our food festivals round-up!

Kinderfest

September 17

Round out the summer with the third and final German and Austrian culture festival hosted by Nature Friends Tourist Club! At this kid-centered celebration, you’ll find special games, dances and activities planned for Kinder (children).

Greek Food Festival

September 22 – 24

As San Francisco’s only Greek food festival, food and culture lovers can’t miss this event! Surround yourself with aromas of fresh made Spanakopita, Moussaka, Gyros and other Greek specialties in the Mission. There will also be plenty of Greek Wine and homemade pastries to enjoy while you dance to live music! Get festival updates on the Facebook page.

Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival

September 23 + 24

Head to Oakland’s Lake Merritt at the end of September for this two-day, admission-free festival. Both days will feature world-class dragon boat racing, spectacular cultural performances, delicious food, clothes and crafts vendors, and kid-friendly activities in Dragon Land.

Enjoy!  

Let us know where you’re celebrating culture in San Francisco this summer!

Category Local Events

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