When you live in this city, there’s no excuse for boredom just because it’s a weeknight. Any given week, there are hundreds of things to do in San Francisco, from concerts and comedy shows to art exhibits and food events, and that’s really only scratching the surface. We narrowed down the list to a handful of the best happenings. Now put down that TV remote. Off you go.
Things to do in San Francisco this week
Beloved by locals and tourists alike, landmark Alamo Square Park has been languishing behind chain link for more than a year. No more! After undergoing a $5.3 million makeover, it’s time to pull back the curtain and reveal the goods. Sunbathers, dog walkers, Frisbee tossers and Postcard Row Instagrammers are invited to take part in the grand reopening, with family activities planned after some stimulating speeches from local civic luminaries.
Time flies when you’re becoming a cult classic. Luc Besson’s quintessential late-90s sci-fi flick The Fifth Element is turning 20. The visually stunning space opera stars the eternally-rakish Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Milla Jovovich and one of the most outstanding wigs in film history. Catch Saturday’s screening for a double feature with another late night dorm favorite, Run Lola Run.
For six years, this delightful flea market has been luring shoppers to a former military base with promises of uncovering an Antiques Roadshow-worthy treasure and a guaranteed jaw-dropping city view. For this special birthday edition, enjoy half off entry, dancing, kids’ activities and two-for-one-drinks. Oh that’s right: This is a party flea market.
San Francisco’s take on Carnaval is arguably one of the most diverse in the world, as a dizzying array of performers, vendors and food stands take over Harrison Street between 16th and 24th Street for two full days of family fun. This year’s parade kicks off Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at 24th and Bryant and includes contingents repping Brazil and the Caribbean, along with Aztec dancers, African and Japanese drummers and more.
Erasing traditional stand-up conventions, Picture This! pairs local comedians with talented artists who add some visual punch to their routines by live-illustrating the sets. With the projected images unfolding behind them, the comics often become part of the joke, as they have no way of knowing exactly how their bits are being depicted by the artists — who this month include Sega game artist Sean Keeton and Oakland illustrator Zachary Sweet.
From the minds behind Basscon and Beyond Wonderland comes Dreamstate, a two day festival dedicated to trance—that sometimes maligned branch of EDM whose chipper melodies and prolonged builds attract legions of rainbow styled emotional fans who thrive on the genre’s inherent sense of drama. Acts range from legendary German DJ Paul van Dyk, the stateside debut of Swiss electronic group Liquid Ace, and more, more, more.
For a group that started out playing tiny clubs, bingo halls and dive bars, Modest Mouse fills larger spaces remarkably well, offering up a slightly frenetic live show anchored by Isaac Brock’s distinctive yelp-and-shout singing. Here, the Pacific Northwest indie-rock heavies gig behind their latest LP (and first in eight years), Strangers to Ourselves.
Retro party juggernaut Club 90s is tip-toeing into the future this weekend — the future of 2001, when Daft Punk cleared the way for a swarm of electronic music pioneers to infiltrate warehouse parties across the globe. Thirty-somethings, this is your night to shine, but everyone over 21 is welcome to hit the floor as DJs dip into the recent-memory bin of late ‘90s and early ‘00s dance, EDM and rave faves.
Direct your Sunday Funday inclinations toward an urgent cause as SF Oasis hosts a fundraiser to benefit Chechnya’s persecuted gay community. A beer bust, raffle, great food and impressive performances from Scarlet Letters and Laundra Thyme should make it more than easy to give ‘til it feels good. Funds directly benefit American Friends of the Rainbow Railroad and The LGBT Asylum Project.
It’s officially BBQ season. No backyard? No problem. The food truck experts at SPARK have you covered. For one day only, mobile smokestack Steel House is rolling in to celebrate National Brisket Day (it’s a thing!). They’re hauling in 200 pounds of beef for the event; choose from a BBQ picnic plate with brisket and ribs or massive brisket sandwich, or heck, spring for both. It’s a holiday, after all.