Sometimes the best things in life are free. And so it is with the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, which kicks off each May. Concerts, dance performances, plays and children's events are all free. That includes contemporary orchestras, Afro jazz concerts and Brazilian dancers. While you're here, why not take in a contemporary art exhibit at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts or consider attending one of the center’s films, workshops or parties.
Bay Area residents know that spring has arrived when the smell of flowers and baseball is in the air. The Giants play their best games at AT&T Park, an open- air stadium with fabulous views of the nearby and expansive bay. Forget hot dogs and Cracker Jacks and chow down on your choice of jerk chicken, garlic fries and more, while rooting for the home team.
What better place to celebrate Earth Day than one of the most eco-conscious cities in the world? The annual event, celebrated on or around April 20th, is marked throughout the Bay Area. Fashion shows featuring recycled but stylish wares, hybrid ferry cruises from Pier 33 and bird-watching tours at the San Francisco Zoo, are a few of your choices.
Since 1957, the San Francisco Film Society has been running what’s become the oldest film festival in America. For two weeks in April and May, the San Francisco International Film Festival screens dozens of narrative features, animated shorts, documentaries by aspiring film makers and experimental works. A visual delight for film buffs, it's also fun for even occasional moviegoers looking for an entertaining evening.
Easter celebrations pop up all over San Francisco, but the most popular is the Union Street Spring Celebration and Easter Parade, which includes bunnies, kids' rides and even a Big Wheel tricycle race. On the other side of the day and the spectrum, the cross-dressing Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hosts a noir event, but the day starts with a family-friendly event in Dolores Park.
It should surprise no one that the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration is held in the traditionally Hispanic Mission District. Various acts include Ballet Folklorico, mariachi bands, Aztec dancers and the always entertaining wrestlers, Lucha Libre. This free event is held annually in Dolores Park, located on Dolores Street between 18th and 20th streets. The park itself is a great vantage point from which to view the Mission District, the downtown, the San Francisco Bay and the East Bay Hills.
Although the "official" event takes place in the fall, the spring version of the San Francisco Jazz Festival is always full of old favorites and new artists. Musicians from all over the world come to grace the fine stages of the city, including the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre and the Davies Symphony Hall.