Not to Miss

Summer in the city: Enjoy the outdoors

Take your picnic to Tuesday’s Presidio Twilight. Photo: Jesus Camacho

Let’s face it: We have frigid summers in San Francisco. But we still want to get outdoors and enjoy all that our beautiful environs have to offer. Even though the sun may shine all day long, come late afternoon, it’s a different story, which doesn’t deter the best of us, who know to bring layers on our adventures (“summer cashmere and down” as I suggested to a friend planning a visit). After all, as long as you’re warm, you’re set.

Here are some great ways to enjoy the outdoors this month:


Free street festivals are a San Francisco summer staple. The Fillmore Jazz Festival offers great music, food, and shopping (Saturday–Sunday, July 6–7; … the ongoing months-long Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is a cultural goldmine, featuring free music, art exhibitions, performances, film screenings, family-friendly events, and more (various days through Oct. 27; … Francophiles won’t want to miss the Bastille Day celebration with an outdoor bistro, live music, pétanque, course garçons de café, and more (Saturday, July 13; … For a true San Francisco neighborhood experience, head to this month’s Sunday Streets in the Mission, where you can bike, skate, or walk along the car-free streets (Sunday, July 14; … The Stern Grove Festival continues with performances by the symphony, ballet, Mitski, and Toots and the Maytals. The weather is pretty iffy over here, meaning it can be lovely or freezing, so take heed (Sundays through Aug. 18;


You can’t beat the Presidio Picnic (Sundays through October) featuring cultural performances and yoga or the Presidio Twilight (Tuesdays through October) with fire pits and those new transparent “igloos,” designed to keep that whipping wind from driving you back indoors, and which look oh-so-cool when lighted in a variety of bright colors ( Bring your own picnic for both or enjoy the offerings from Off the Grid, which takes its show over to Fort Mason on Fridays (through Oct. 25), with Fog Appreciation Night on July 26 (


The fourth wouldn’t be the fourth without the perennial question of whether fireworks will be visible at Pier 39’s July 4 Celebration, which starts early with music (3–6 p.m.). The potentially spectacular fireworks display starts at 9:30, but events are contingent on weather and subject to change ( … For another kind of spectacular, join the Stargazing Party and view the night sky up close through giant telescopes (Thursday, July 11;


Don’t miss the Flower Piano at the San Francisco Botanical Park, where 12 pianos are scattered about the 55-acre park. The pianos are open to guests who want to tinkle the ivories any time other than the scheduled performances. Enjoy also lunch-time concerts, the family-friendly Flower Piano at Sunset, a community sing-along, piano lessons, and Flower Piano at Night with food trucks and an outdoor bar (Thursday, July 11 through Monday, July 22; … also in the Botanical Park, take your favorite little person to Bean Sprout Days to enjoy nature crafts, garden care, outdoor games, and exploration in the Children’s Garden (Saturdays through Oct. 1;

Joshua Raoul Brody performs during Flower Piano at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Photo: Travis Lange

Joshua Raoul Brody performs during Flower Piano at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Photo: Travis Lange

Yoga in Golden Gate Park is sure to leave you on an ohm state of mind (Saturdays; … or maybe a yoga happy hour trail mixer with your pup is more appealing at Yoga and Dogs Unite (Doga). Admission includes snacks, dog treats, adult beverages, and more, plus the proceeds benefit the Golden Gate Parks Conservatory (Thursday, July 19;

Art lovers — have you checked out the Guided art hike of Andrew Goldsworthy in the Presidio? It’s the largest collection of the artist’s work on view in North America. Visit all three installations during this three-mile hike (Saturday, July 13;


Join the AIDS Walk in Golden Gate Park (Sunday, July 14; or head over to the Presidio, as a Trail Steward to help maintain the trails, a Habitat Steward to restore and create wildlife corridors, or a Garden and Sustainability Steward to help enhance the gardens and grounds (ongoing;


If you’ve never been on a San Francisco City Guides walking tour (ongoing;
), put it on your bucket list. Each tour is a great way to learn about the city’s neighborhoods, history, and architecture. July tours include Fort Mason, Coit Tower Murals, the Golden Gate Bridge, Telegraph Hill Stairway Hike, the Presidio, Palace of Fine Arts, Cow Hollow, North Beach by Night, and many more.

Enjoy our great urban outdoors, don’t forget your jacket, and visit us next month for more summer fun in the city.

E-mail: [email protected]

Send to a Friend Print

Upcoming Events

more »

SFMOMA | Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love

Feb-Sep 1-7
Info »

Download the Current Issue: May 2024

Follow Us