By September, summer comes to an end, and autumn-centered activities start to take over. With the changing season also comes the need to find time to entertain children over the weekend, expand what they learn at school, and find fun outlets for adults looking to enjoy themselves. Golden Gate Park events for September 2016 are wide-ranging and plentiful, providing a variety of activities and happenings to satisfy locals and visitors of all ages. Below you will find a jam-packed collection of this month’s end-of-summer celebrations, picnics, and interesting things to do in San Francisco:

Friday Nights at the de Young (The Long Horizon) – deYoung Museum – September 2

The first Friday Night event of the month features the open of James Turrell’s ‘Three Gems’ in the Osher Sculpture Garden. Sunset is also the optimal time to view this long-running installment. Gather in Wilsey Court to enjoy Live California Surf Music by the Aquavelvets, which presents a combination of “surf, Latin rhythms, blues, lounge exotica, and free-form improvisation” as entertainment for the evening. In Koret Auditorium, a guest lecture called “Food as Ink: Ed Ruscha’s Screenprints from the 1970s” by Heather Brown will be held.

Other Fridays Nights at de Young events for September 2016 include:

  • Sept 9 – Everything and Nothing: Enjoy live fiddle music by the Lonely Bird Band in Wilsey Court, where you’ll hear original and traditional tunes. In Buchanan Court, Tania Padilla leads an art-making activity.
  • Sept 16 – The Changing Landscape: Expect a poetry performance by San Francisco Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguía (with an introduction by curator, artist, and community activist, Rene Yanez). Suzanne Couture leads art-making activities for the night. Live music performances for the night include Camilo y los Robot Ninjas featuring the Latin Dub Stars, playing Latin Noir Music from The Other Barrio – the 90-minute film screening scheduled at 7 p.m. at Koret Auditorium.
  • Sept 23 – A View from Above and to the West: A panel discussion (‘Printing Ed Ruscha’) will unfold at Koret Auditorium, involving the knowledge of four master printers who have worked with Ed Ruscha. Expect Sedey Gabrey to lead an art-making project for the evening.
  • Sept 30 – A Night of Sensations: The highlight of the evening is the 6th Annual Tiara Sensation Pageant, which kicks off at 7 p.m. and features drag contestants who sing, lip-sync, dance, and present vaudevillian entertainment.

“Ed Ruscha and the Great American West” Friday Night Tour Package – de Young Museum – September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Pre-reserved spots are available for you to enjoy a docent-led tour of the special exhibition, Ed Ruscha and the Great American West. In addition to a tour and exhibition ticket, you’ll be able to enjoy a complimentary beverage (choice of beer, wine, or non-alcoholic selection, like a soda). The tour begins promptly at 7 p.m. Keep in mind that space is limited.

Aloha Poly Fest: Polynesian Music, Dance & Food – County Fair Building – September 3

Admission is free to enjoy a celebration of the sounds, sights and culture of the South Pacific. The County Fair Building plays host to the Aloha Poly Fest, where you can learn about and appreciate the Polynesian (Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, Cook Islands, and New Zealand), Melanesian (Fiji) and Micronesian (Guam) islands by taking in examples of associated food, song, dance and art. This all-day affair kicks off at 11 a.m. and continues on until 5 p.m. There will be a Kids’ Korner, games, raffles, retail vendors and other features to enjoy. Just a few options in entertainment to look forward to include Tifa i Moana (Samoan, Tongan dance), Hot Hula Fitness (Hawaiian, Tahitian dance) and Te Poly Nui (Hawaiian, Tahitian, Samoan dance).

San Francisco Mime Troupe’s “Schooled” – Peacock Meadow – September 3

Performing multiple times throughout the Bay Area, the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe has been offering free shows this season with one of their stops being Golden Gate Park. Starting at 2 p.m., you can enjoy political theater and live musical comedy with music offered at 1:30 p.m. This event will be held between the Panhandle and Conservatory of Flowers.

GGP Band Concert (An Afternoon of Jazz) – Spreckels Temple of Music – September 4

Free symphony performances are held at Golden Gate Park with concerts beginning at 1 p.m. and typically running until 2:45 p.m. The first concert for September will center on the sounds of jazz. Additional concert performances scheduled for September 2016 include:

  • Sept 18: In celebration of Robert Emmett Day, there will be Irish Symphony, Singing & Dancing
  • Sept 25: Spanish Symphony & Dancing with El Grupo Sabores de Espana

GGP Park Band Labor Day Concert – Spreckels Temple of Music – September 5

The Golden Gate Park Band will host a tribute to the American worker with a special performance held on Labor Day. This event is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. to 2:45 p.m., and is free to enjoy.

San Francisco Zine Fest – County Fair Building – September 4

Every year, those with a love of comics, art books, zines and other publications gather to enjoy the free celebration of small-press creations that include the wares of more than 200 small-press and DIY artisans that will be on hand to sell, trade and share brand-new items and more. Other activities to consider at the festival include complimentary workshops and panels; something just for the kids; tasty edibles; and exclusive posters and T-shirts for sale to commemorate the event.

NightLife LIVE: September – California Academy of Sciences – September 8

With performances by psychedelic rock artists White Fence & The Tyde (offering indie pop-rock tunes), this monthly musical event is presented by (((folkYEAH!))) and also includes DJ sets by DJ Freaker (Alex Bleeker of Real Estate) and Britt Govea. In addition to live music unfolding in the West Garden, you are also treated to an interactive LED art installation, vinyl for sale, live screen printing, and creative workshops providing an outlet to create your own art. Thursday NightLife events run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with tickets that cost $12-$15 (depending on whether you are a member or not); and require a valid ID to prove you can legally party with the rest of the over-21 crowd. Additional Thursday NightLife events for September 2016 include:

  • Sept 15 – Claude’s 21st Birthday Bash: Come pay tribute to one of the most popular creatures at the Academy – an albino alligator with a lot of personality.
  • Sept 22 – Forest NightLife: Here is a time to explore the various elements that make up a forest, including some of the features found in redwood and tropical settings.
  • Sept 29 – Sharktoberfest NightLife: If you have a love of sharks and brew, this is the event to embrace this month.

Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – September 10

If you’ve wanted to add California Natives & Succulents to your garden or home space, this is the time to pay a visit to the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s monthly plant sale. Come see the possibilities from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Nursery.

Bluegrass Pickin’ Picnic in the Park – Dahlia Dell – September 10

Open to all who enjoy playing or listening to bluegrass music, it is free to attend this picnic in the park that presents Bay Area musicians represent country, bluegrass and folk music. Guests are encouraged to bring a dish, drinks or jug of water, as there will be other food to share. The hosts will bring the plates, cups, and utensils. You will find the grove located close to the statue of President Garfield on JFK Drive. Keep an eye out for the signs, but the sounds of banjos, fiddles and guitar might be enough to lure you to the correct spot. This event kicks off at 1 p.m.

Summer End Celebration & BBQ – Lindley Meadow Table 15 – September 10

From 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., you are invited to join MQ Expeditions as they serve up hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, grilled veggies, soft drinks, desserts, games and other fun activities. Everyone is welcome to join in. Attention canine lovers, this event is also dog-friendly. The price of admission for this event is $7, which helps to cover the cost of edibles and non-alcoholic beverage. You must RSVP to participate, which is accomplished through eventbrite.

Teal 2 Heal 5K/Run Walk– GGP Bandshell – September 10

In an effort to bring attention to and raise funds to support research and treatments for gynecologic cancers (such as ovarian, endometrial, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers), UCSF and the Shanti Project are hosting an event meant to bring together patients, families and friends who know all too well the effects of these illnesses. You can participate in either the 5K run/walk or a 1-mile walk, following a route that involves the beauty of Golden Gate Park. Other features of this event include music, speakers, information booths and other resources. This event is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. For more information, you can contact

Artist Reception for ‘The Park: A Love Story’ – SF Botanical Garden – September 15

From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., come enjoy an artist reception for Stephen Kane, who shares his talent for capturing Golden Gate Park landscapes and flora. This photography exhibit will cover a wide variety of plants and landscapes found in the Botanical Garden and Golden Gate Park.

Full Moon Walk: Harvest Moon + Haiku – SF Botanical Garden – September 16

In addition to enjoying the sights and scents of the Garden at night, join others for light refreshments, guided tour, and a haiku reading on the Moon-viewing Garden’s deck to celebrate the harvest moon. Don’t forget to bring a flashlight. It is highly recommended to pre-register for this event, as they do tend to sell out quickly. The cost to enjoy this event (which runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.) is $20 for members and $25 for non-members. To register, click here.

‘Peace in the Park’ Festival – GGP Bandshell – September 17

It is free to attend this festival (with an RSVP), which centers on bringing locals of all walks of life together for a day filled with peaceful activities. There will be area musician and visual artists on hand to entertain, in addition to seminars, kid’s fun, meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga. This event is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

‘Tour de Fat’ Bike & Beer Festival – Lindley Meadow – September 17

Every year, an event fit for beer and bike enthusiasts, the Tour de Fat combines brew, live music, bicycle contests, and a wealth of educational information into one gathering. Starting at noon and continuing on until 5 p.m., head for Lindley Meadow (near 30th Ave and JFK) to participate in this year’s festivities. You’ll also encounter vaudeville acts, yo-yo performers, and a fashion show. Tickets to this event cost $10 for adults, while children 12 years and younger gain admission for free.

Augmented Reality of Capture The Flag Adventure – GGP Hilltop – September 17

If you’re looking for something fun to do, consider joining SF Games and Scavenger Hunts with a Capture the Flag adventure. Two teams will use their iPhones to download the iOS app nFlux, which will enhance your gameplay beyond expectations. It’s like playing a video game with one of the best parks in the U.S. as the backdrop. Those who are interested should meet at 1 p.m. at the Golden Gate Park hilltop. The cost to participate in the fun is $5.

Liver Life Walk – Music Concourse – September 18

Known as one of the fastest-growing public health concerns in the U.S., those who participate in the annual Liver Life Walk San Francisco are pledging their efforts, time and money to fighting liver disease. Check-in for this event is 9 a.m. with the opening ceremony kicking off at 10 a.m. The walk starts at 10:20 a.m. which consists of a route measuring 2 miles (or 3K).

Comedy Day in the Park – Sharon Meadow – September 18

Need a good laugh? The free comedy extravaganza taking place at Sharon Meadow kicks off at 12 p.m. and runs through a schedule that offers the humor of 40 comedians that take to one stage to provide non-stop belly aches for five hours straight. This annual event has been known to produce a surprise or two, and has been going on for 35 years now. You never know who will stop by this event…big names can’t resist the temptation.

Lindley Meadow XC 5K [Off-Road] and Kids Run – 30th Ave/Kennedy Dr – September 25

With a 9 a.m. start, there is a 5K planned at Lindley Meadow that involves a double 1.55-mile cross country loop that takes runners through a course filled with grass, dirt, and trails. A Kids Run (1/2 mile) starts at 9:45 a.m. with the same start/finish location as the adult race. The fees for race participation are: ages up to 12 years old (free), 13-17 years ($3), and 18 and over ($3 for members and $5 for non-members). For more information, you can contact (415) 978-0837 or check the schedule at

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass – Hellman Hollow, Lindley/Marx Meadows – September 30 – October 2

The last day in September kicks off a celebration of bluegrass music with the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, where you’ll get a chance to enjoy a host of free music at one of the largest music festivals of its kind. Over the course of three days, more than 750,000 attendees are expected to gather at Golden Gate Park to listen to over 100 artists. This year, seven stages will accommodate the likes of The Infamous Stringdusters, CAKE, Rosanne Cash, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mavis Staples, Chris Isaak, Cyndi Lauper, and Delta Rae. The festivities open at 10 a.m. each day, and can be found at Hellman Hollow and Lindley & Marx meadows.