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SF’s Best Free Summer Festivals

Here’s our picks for the five “can’t miss” free summer festivals in San Francisco for 2011.
By - posted 6/21/2011 No Comment

The San Francisco Bay Area blossoms during the summer months with practically every neighborhood hosting its own street fair. Many of these festivals are practically interchangeable – with the same vendors, similar activities and nearly identical music.

Don’t get us wrong… we love the neighborhood street fairs for their local charm, but there are a few free summer festivals in San Francisco that stand out and are worthy for special consideration.

FuncheapSF’s Five “Can’t Miss” Summer Festivals
Summer 2011

Alice’s Summerthing
– Sunday, June 26, 2011 (Noon-4p)
As if you needed a reason to head to sunny and scenic Golden Gate Park, Top 40 radio station Alice @ 97.3 offers up a free concert in the park featuring arena alt-rock band OneRepublic, Singer/songwriter Matt Nathanson, chanteuse Michelle Branch, plus art projects and special activities for dogs. | Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF | FREE

San Francisco Pride Festival & Parade
– Saturday, June 25, 2011 (Noon-6p)
– Sunday, June 26, 2011 (Noon-6p) – Parade (10:30a)

Nearly 16 square blocks of the Civic Center gets taken over for one of San Francisco’s biggest parties – the annual LGFT Pride festival. The two day festival features over two dozen stages of live music and entertainment including Sandra Bernhard, Britney Spears impersonator Derrick Barry, a classic car show, tons of dance stages and speeches by Chaz Bono, Yigit Pura, and Olympia Dukakis. The annual parade features nearly 200 floats down market street and takes place Sunday at 10:30am | Civic Center Plaza, SF | FREE

Fillmore Jazz Festival
– Saturday, July 2, 2011 (10a-6p)
– Sunday, July 3, 2011 (10a-6p)
Nearly 100,000 music lovers descend on San Francisco as Fillmore Street shuts down from Eddy Street to Jackson Street to host the largest free jazz festival on the West Coast.  | Fillmore Street from Eddy to Jackson, SF | FREE

San Francisco Street Food Festival
– Saturday, August 20, 2011 (11a-7p)
Expect huge lines, but full bellies as La Cocina presents the 3rd Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival. Taking over a huge slice of the Mission District near 24th Street BART station, this is the city’s largest gathering of your favorite mobile vendors, food trucks and food tents set up by some of San Francisco’s most delectable restaurants | Epicenter: Folsom and 24th Street, Mission District, SF | FREE, Food available for purchase

– You might also like Oakland’s Eat Real Festival at Jack London Square (Sept. 23-25, 2011)

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
– Friday-Sunday, September 30 – October 2, 2011
It’s never too early to start planning to attend the biggest (and free-est) music event of the year in the Bay Area. The 11th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass features six stages, 350 musicians and over 750,000 attendees enjoying three days of some of the county’s biggest names in bluegrass, honky-tonk, country and folk taking over a huge section of Golden Gate Park | Speedway, Lindley & Marx Meadows, Golden Gate Park, SF | FREE

– You might also like the 35th Annual San Francisco Free Folk Festival (June 25-26, 2011)

Here’s some of our other favorite summer festivals for 2011:


Northern California Pirate Festival
(June 18-19)
57th Annual North Beach Festival (June 18-19)
San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival (June 18)
35th Annual San Francisco Free Folk Festival (June 25-26)


San Francisco 4th of July Festival & Fireworks (July 4)
Berkeley 4th of July Festival & Fireworks (July 4)
Symphony in the Park (July 10)
Berkeley Kite Festival (July 30)


38th Annual Nihonmachi Street Fair (Aug. 13-14)


Opera in the Park (Sept. 11)
San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
(Sept. 17-18)
31st Annual Comedy Day in the Park (Sept 18)
Eat Real Festival (Sept. 23-25)
Tour de Fat Bike & Beer Festival
(Sept. 24)
Folsom Street Fair (Sept. 25)

What’s your favorite summer festival in the Bay Area? Leave us a comment below and let us know!