10 Things to Do in San Francisco this May

Have lunch at a giant community picnic, celebrate the anniversary of the Summer of Love and eat moon bars in the Mission District.

Mission murals, photo by Emile Lombard/Flickr

From local festivals to new eateries to art exhibitions, there’s no shortage of family-friendly and solo activities in San Francisco. Here are 10 things you should do in the California city this month.

Support local makers during SFMade Week

San Francisco is full of local makers creating beautiful and tasty products ranging from chocolates to guitars. And during SFMade Week (May 8 to 14), an annual festival put on by local non-profit SFMade, you can support and these vendors and learn more about how they manufacture their wares. Tour the factories of local businesses like Beneduci Shoes, take a workshop on making leather card holders and shop for locally made goods during several sale events.

Celebrate the golden anniversary of the Summer of Love

In 1967, thousands of hippies congregated in San Francisco as a celebration of hippie counterculture and a protest against the Vietnam War. That event, known as the Summer of Love, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and there are plenty of ways to re-visit this iconic time in history. Until August 20, check out Summer of Love memorabilia at the de Young Museum’s Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion and Rock & Roll exhibit. You can also ride around town on the wildly decorated Magic Bus, which takes riders on a tour of the city, outlining notable historical events and attractions that relate to the Summer of Love. The Magic Bus runs on select days until the end of September.

Check out a new exhibit about a former Walt Disney artist

If you’ve watched iconic Walt Disney films like Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan or Lady and the Tramp, then you’re already somewhat familiar with the work of late artist Eyvind Earle—he created artwork and paintings for all three films. So it’s not surprising that Earle is the subject of The Walt Disney Family Museum’s newest exhibition. Starting on May 18, Awaking Beauty: The Art of Eyvind Earle offers a look at works of art including more than 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures from the artist’s time at Disney and other projects.

Discover street art and tasty food on a tour of the Mission District

San Francisco’s Mission District is ripe for exploring, but if you’re not sure where to begin, Urban Adventures offers a walking tour that shows off the area’s best murals and eateries. During the two-and-a-half hour tour, you’ll learn about the Mission District’s history, check out colourful street art in Clarion Alley and Balmy Avenue and eat tasty treats like doughnuts, tacos and pies from local eateries.

Eat lunch at a community picnic in Presidio

Sundays just got a lot tastier in San Francisco. Every Sunday until October 8, local food vendors set up shop in the Presidio park’s Main Parade Ground for the Presidio Picnic. Grab a seat on the grass and chow down on tasty treats like breakfast tacos, grilled cheese sandwiches, barbecued meats, mini doughnuts and more. Afterwards, take part in activities like yoga classes and lawn games.

Go shopping at the iconic Ferry Building Marketplace

Easily accessible by public transit, San Francisco’s Ferry Building is a must-visit for locally made goods and food products. Pick up a new tome at Book Passage, a jar of honey from Beekind or a hand-painted bowl from Bram Cookware. If you happen to visit on a Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, pop by the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market outside the building to pick up some fresh fruit, bread or a bouquet of flowers.

Nosh on Cubano sandwiches and moon bars at the newly opened Media Noche

To find Media Noche, a new Cuban eatery that opened in the Mission area in March, simply look for the white building with large pink flamingos painted on the outside walls. Inside, it serves up four different kinds of Cubano sandwiches and snacks like picadillo empanadas in a bright and airy space filled with plants and a beautiful tiled floor. Finish with a café con leche “moon bar,” which is Cuban coffee ice cream covered in dark chocolate and cocoa nibs and served on a stick.

Stop by a weekend multicultural festival with your family

Bring the whole family to the Mission District on May 27 and 28 for Carnaval San Francisco. Now in its 39th year, this huge, high-energy street festival pays tribute to Caribbean and Latin American cultures with two days of music, dancing, food vendors, exhibits and more. On Sunday morning, watch as the streets fill with multicultural floats, dancers in colourful costumes, drummers and more during the Grand Parade.

Try creative ice cream at San Francisco’s first Salt & Straw location

Ice cream shop Salt & Straw already has eight locations across Los Angeles and Portland, and now, ice cream lovers can get a scoop of the creamy treat at its first San Francisco location in Pacific Heights. But don’t expect run of the mill flavours at this innovative shop; try one of the classic S&S flavours only available in San Francisco such as peach vinegar cobbler with toasted nutmeg or opt for a scoop of one of the monthly flavours such as sarsaparilla and dandelion root beer float.  If you can’t decide, order a tasting flight to get four different flavours all at once.

Take in a performance during the San Francisco International Arts Festival

San Francisco will host artistic talent from around the world during the San Francisco International Arts Festival. This year’s festival (May 25 to June 4) will feature 100 theatre productions, readings and musical and dance performances. Expect an Argentine tango piano performance by Argentina’s Pablo Estigarribia, a production of the Russian play One Day We Will All Be Happy and dance performances by San Francisco’s own LEVYdance.

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