With all the annual events, festivals and ceremonies scheduled throughout Memorial Day weekend, this long weekend has become one of the Bay Area’s favorites. Not only is Memorial Day a time to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have died in service to our country, but it’s also widely considered the kick-off to summer festivities.
While you’re paying your respects and enjoying that extra day off of work or school, take the opportunity to get outside and experience all the Bay Area has to offer—from arts celebrations and beer festivals to community barbecues and formal ceremonies. Our guide includes all of that and more from Thursday, May 23rd through Monday, May 27th.
Thursday, May 23 – Sunday, June 2 | Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture
In celebration of global culture, the San Francisco International Arts Festival kicks off during Memorial Day weekend each year and includes more than 45 presentations by 40 ensembles and individual performing artists. The theme of the 2019 event is The Path to Democracy which will explore some of the struggles for democracy past and present and how these manifest in different cultures.
Thursday, May 23 – Sunday, May 26 | Andrews Park
Fiesta Days in Vacaville is just what the name would suggest, an opportunity to celebrate life and kick off the summer. Over the years, the festival has grown into a beloved community celebration and draws crowds from all over California. Expect a large parade, barbecues in Andrews Park, a crab boil, costumes and camaraderie.
Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26 | Napa Valley Expo
One of the most popular music festivals in the entire state, BottleRock brings together some of the world’s biggest names in music—and local Bay Area talent—for three days of music, after shows, wine, craft beer, artisan cocktails, a spa and salon, a silent disco, a culinary stage, and more. Get all the details and tickets here.
Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26 | Monterey County Fair & Event Center
Photo courtesy of Pitline Media via California Roots Festival
Venture south to Monterey to engage in one of the most rad music and art festivals on the coast. The California Roots Festival, inspired by a performance Jimi Hendrix gave on-site in the 60s, delivers good vibes alongside good music. Aside from a jaw-dropping music lineup every year, guests can experience outdoor yoga classes, live art and paint workshops, visit the After Dark Lounge and visit the Art Retreat. The 2019 music lineup includes Atmosphere, Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, Rebelution and more than 30 others.
Friday, May 24 – Sunday, May 26 | Alameda County Fairgrounds
The team behind NorCal Night Market began their event with a goal to unite the community while showcasing local talent that includes chefs, entrepreneurs and artists. Today, they’ve grown to be the largest Asian-inspired night market in the country with events in Los Angeles, Orange County and here in the Bay Area. Suitable for all ages, NorCal Night Market features more than 200 food and merchandise vendors, crafters, games, an art walk and live music. For all the details and tickets, click here.
Friday, May 24 – Monday, May 27 | San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport
This weekend welcomes the Bay Area’s longest-running science fiction convention, run completely by fans. If you love reading post-apocalyptic or out-of-this-world novels, viewing fan-made art, or simply exercising your imagination, this convention will be right up your alley. This year’s theme celebrates science fiction’s influence and inspiration regarding the digital world, and guests of honor include author David Brin, artist Gary Villarreal and more. To get all the details, click here.
Saturday, May 25 – Sunday, May 26 | Mission District
Photo courtesy of Carnaval San Francisco
Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2019, San Francisco’s Carnaval will include the annual Grand Parade and a two-day festival! All weekend, you can enjoy global cuisine, international music, dance, arts, crafts and entertainment. Then, watch the procession of multicultural themed floats and performers during the parade on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.
Saturday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Downtown Fremont
For the fifth year in a row, downtown Fremont’s Burger & Brew Fest will celebrate Northern California’s best craft breweries and local businesses. Purchase your tasting package today to enjoy beer tastings, burgers and sliders, gourmet snacks, local business booths, art and craft vendors, and live entertainment. The special event lineup includes The Burger Throwdown, a lively burger cooking competition, and you can get your tickets here.
Saturday, May 25 from 1 to 5 p.m. | Jack London Square
For the seventh year, Drake’s Brewing Company and Bike East Bay are coming together in Jack London Square to celebrate the community alongside more than 30 local craft breweries. Each brewery will bring their thoughtfully crafted, full-flavored and super refreshing low-ABV brews, so you can taste as many as your heart desires. Entry is free but tickets come with one signature tasting glass and 10 tickets which is equivalent to 10 five-ounce pours, and all proceeds benefit Bike East Bay. To get your tickets in advance, click here.
Sunday, May 26 – Monday, May 27 | San Ramon Central Park
This unique celebration in San Ramon takes to the skies, literally, with extravagant kites in all shapes, sizes and colors. The two-day event invites families and individuals to watch national kite-flying champions face off in professional kite-flying demonstrations, including impressive tricks. While this will be the main attraction, attendees can also enjoy local vendor booths and hang gliding.
Sunday, May 26 from 12 to 5 p.m. | Santos Meadow on Frank Valley Road
An annual Memorial Day weekend tradition in Marin County, this event is free and open to the public. Entertainment throughout the afternoon includes food and drinks with alcohol available to purchase on-site, dancing, raffles, a kid-friendly play zone, and live music from Soul Ska and Andre Pessis and his All-Stars. All proceeds from donations and on-site purchases benefit the Muir Beach Volunteer Fire Department.
Monday, May 27 from 9:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Presidio Officers’ Club
Now more than 150 years old, this Memorial Day tradition dates all the way back to the establishment of the national day back in 1868. As the official City and County of San Francisco Memorial Day Observance, the event will honor the more than one million Americans killed while serving in the U.S. armed forces with a flag raising ceremony, a parade, a formal ceremony and a 21-gun salute. This will be followed by the Memorial Day Community Picnic on the Main Parade Ground complete with lawn games and food available for purchase.
Enjoy your weekend!
Wherever and however you decide to celebrate the long weekend and honor our fallen veterans, be sure to have a safe and happy holiday.