When it comes to getting out and active in San Francisco, Golden Gate Park events in May promise to keep you on your toes…and will not disappoint. There’s a goldmine of activities to explore and enjoy. Some are family related, like bike rides, nature walks and Mother’s Day craft fun. Others focus on more adult-friendly pursuits involving the Amazon, bluegrass, and sampling some of the fine local beers that the city has to offer. Participate or watch one of the wildest runs in the world. Get a little tipsy and solve a mystery. Or, just get your yoga on early in the morning. A listing of park events for May 2018 to look forward to this month is found below:
Art Tech NIghtLife– California Academy of Sciences – May 3
For art buffs that enjoy tech just as much as Picasso, this evening program promises to impress. You’ll get a chance to explore the future melding of tech and art. In the Piazza, gather to listen to the techno sounds of NightSea, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Topazu and Vague Terrain will also entertain with DJ sets. Additional highlights include a 3-D installation and neon art made with programmable LEDs. The cost to enjoy a Thursday NightLife event is $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Keep in mind that you must have a valid I.D. to gain entrance. The doors open at 6 p.m., with the fun continuing on until 10 p.m.
Brew Festival – Park Chalet – May 4
If you’re a beer lover, then you’ll probably want to make a mental note of the festivities unfolding at the Park Chalet Coastal Beer Garden on this day. Sixteen local San Francisco breweries will assemble to treat guests to unlimited pours. You’ll also return home with a commemorative glass and lanyard in hand. Live music will be provided by the Beach Cowboys, and you’ll have plenty of eats available for purchase that goes well with beer. This event is slated to take place from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Grab your ticket at http://www.parkchalet.com/cbf.
ARTWEAR at the de Young – de Young Museum – May 4 & 5
Come enjoy an event that has been going strong for ten years now, where you can view and purchase wearable art made by creatives from the Bay Area. This time around, there will be seventeen local artisans on hand to show off their one-of-a-kind collections. There is no charge to gain admission. And, if you are a member of the museum, you get to take advantage of a 10% discount on your purchases. This two-day event takes place in the Piazzoni Murals Room, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.
51st Annual Spring Plant Sale – SF Botanical Garden – May 5
If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your garden and/or home, the Hall of Flowers at the Garden has you covered with everything you need to greenify your spaces. On sale, you will find natives, succulents, rhododendrons, houseplants, shrubs, perennials, trees and even plants that you can eat. You won’t want to miss the largest plant sale in the Bay Area, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no cost to enjoy this event. It’s completely free!
Nature Fun at Stow Lake – Stow Lake – May 5
Guided Trail & Nature Walk (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.): As part of a series of free Saturday Nature Walks that take place across of the city, the Boathouse at Golden Gate Park is host to one on every first Saturday of the month. Take time to view native plants and wildlife during your stroll. Rainy weather will cancel this walk, so make sure to keep up with the local forecast.
Heron Watch (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) – May 5: We’re right in the middle of the nesting season for the Great Blue Heron! The observation deck is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., for those who would like to take a peek at these majestic birds and their chicks. Interns and volunteers will be on hand to explain certain aspects of their behavior. Spotting scopes will be available to make viewing much easier to accomplish. For $10, adults can take their youngsters on a naturalist-led walk about the Lake and Strawberry Island for more critter sighting – from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 pm. Those who are interested will meet at the observation site.
If you miss the first heron watch of the month, don’t worry…there will be another opportunity to enjoy such a magnificent sight.
Two other dates in May include:
- the 12th
- the 19th
The Firefighters’ Family Bike Ride to Golden Gate Park – Panhandle Blacktop – May 5
The SF Bicycle Coalition will set up shop at the Park so that families and children can have a safe ride together. The route travels along the off-street Panhandle Park path to the car-free JFK Drive. Providing a little bit of excitement for the kiddies, the SF Fire Department will have one of their trucks stationed at the end of the ride. All those with basic biking skills are encouraged to come. This outing is free of charge, but you must bring your own bike and helmet. Expect the ride to last from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The Panhandle Blacktop is located east of the basketball courts at Ashbury Street and Fell Street.
Bluegrass Pickin’ Picnic in the Park – Dahlia Dell – May 5
Bay Area musicians that specialize in bluegrass, country and folk tunes are gathering to put on an impromptu concert, which provides the ideal backdrop for a good ol’ fashion picnic in the park. You are encouraged to bring some food, drink or water to share with others. The hosts of this jam will bring cups, plates and utensils. Don’t count on any fresh smoky BBQ because bringing grills is no longer allowed in Dahlia Dell. The music will entertain the crowd from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. with plenty of banjos, guitars and fiddles in the vicinity. You’re also welcome to bring your instrument along, if you like. In case you weren’t sure, the Dahlia Dell is located at Conservatory Dr East and Arguello.
“Access to Adventure” Festival of Arts & Recreation – Music Concourse – May 5
An assortment of arts and recreational outlets for children with disabilities or special health care needs will be on hand during a festival that encourages exploration of music, sports and artistic endeavors. There will be plenty of fun activities and live entertainment to enjoy. You might want to bring along a picnic lunch or spending money for eats, but you don’t have to worry about drinks, snacks and desserts – those will be provided. This free event will take place from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The cost to enjoy this festival is free with an RSVP. A donation of $5 to $10 per person is suggested. To register, click here.
Golden Gate Park Band (Polish-Themed Concert) – Spreckles Temple of Music – May 6
In celebration of Polish music and culture, the Golden Gate Park Band is assembling to put on one of their weekly performances – the first one in the month of May. The typical GGP Band performance starts at 1 p.m., and ends between 2:30 and 2:45 p.m. Concerts are always free of charge, and usually involve a themed program with dancers, singers, cultural costumes, and other special guests.
Other Golden Gate Park Band performances for May 2018 include:
- May 13 – a special Mother’s Day program
- May 20 – an Armenian heritage celebration
- May 27 – Memorial Weekend Concert with American and patriotic tunes
Sharon Art Studio’s Spring Sale – Sharon Art Studio – May 6
Art is in the air…and the Art Studio is hosting its spring sale this month. It doesn’t cost a thing to stop by and browse the local talent, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Looking for a new vase for the coffee table or an original art print? This is where you’ll find lovely handmade items to add to your collection. Hundreds of affordable art will be on sale, with a portion of the proceeds going towards supporting FOSAS and art programs at the Studio.
Big Bang: Party After Dark – California Academy of Sciences – May 10
If you’re looking for one of the hottest after-parties in San Francisco, the Academy will not disappoint. From 8:30 p.m. until midnight, come out to the museum for a night filled with dancing, drinks and pure bliss. An open bar and complimentary eats are just some of the things to look forward to. Some of the fun to expect includes a Silent Disco in the Aquarium, Adult Playground, and a new VIP Lounge. Special musical guest, T-Pain, will provide the tunes for the night. This party is for the 21 and over crowd only, and valid identification will be checked at the door. Hurry and get a ticket…they are going fast. To buy tickets (which range from $125 for general admission to $2,500 for a VIP table with bottle service for 10), click here.
Mother’s Day Craft – S.F. Botanical Garden – May 12
How does a family-fun activity sound for a Mother’s Day celebration that gets moms and kids out and about on this special day? A collection of baby succulents will be on hand for participants to use for the creation of one-of-a-kind hair pieces. All ages are welcome to check out this event. The workshop lasts for 45 minutes, and each ticket equals one hair piece.
The cost of this workshop is $18 for members and $20 for non-members, where all supplies will be provided. There will be two Mother’s Day sessions to choose from:
- Session 1 (2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.)
- Session 2 (3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.)
Olfaction in Action – Conservatory of Flowers – May 12
Thanks to a collaboration between the Conservatory and the Tigerlily Perfumery of San Francisco, a brand new series is afoot. It’s called Olfaction in Action, and it includes the expertise and guidance of perfumers and indie perfume movers and shakers. Here, you’ll start to make connections between fragrances and plants during this perfumery workshop that comes complete with an “after-hours olfactory tour of the Conservatory of Flowers.” How does creating a custom-blended perfume sound? What about an intriguing walking tour? The champagne reception is sure to impress. There are multiple times to enjoy this event, from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ticket costs range from $50 to $200. To save your place for this event, click here.
77th Annual Mother’s Day Rose Show – County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers) – May 13
What’s a Mother’s Day without roses? One of the most popular flowers for the occasion is on full display with a show that’s been going on for more than 75 years. The San Francisco Rose Society is hosting their annual Rose Show at Golden Gate Park, where exhibitors proudly present their miniatures, grandifloras, and hybrid teas for all to see. The show is on from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., and is free as always to attend. Highlights of the show include endless arrangements of the blooms, as well as a photo show/competition. It’s quite the sight to see – you won’t want to miss it! Treat Mom to an afternoon of beautiful, award-winning roses.
Brain & Body NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – May 17
It’s time to pamper your body and brain to a fun experience that dives deep into the intrigue and wonder of our health and wellness. The eye-opening demonstrations, yoga sessions, and enlightening discussions will include guidance from Yoga Tree and Yoga Works. They will have instructors on hand to lead yoga at the Philippine Coral Reef and Piazza. If the weather is nice, the Living Roof will provide the perfect setting for a session. Other highlights of the night include meditation, researcher meet-and-greet, and music provided by DJ Hyfi. NightLife events cost $12 for members and $15 for non-members, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. But remember, this party is for the 21 and over crowd.
Curator Tour: Walk on the WILD Flower Side (Spring’s Best) – S.F. Botanical Garden – May 18
Guided tours at the Garden allow you to experience your surroundings in a completely different way. You can ask specific questions, and learn more than just roaming about on your own. For this outing, your guide will introduce you to some of the best blooms that spring has to offer. Don’t forget to wear your walking shoes. The tour is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. If heavy rain starts to pour, this event will be canceled…so keep up with the weather forecast. Members pay $23 to enjoy this tour, while non-members are charged $25.
Botanicals and Brews Beer Garden – Conservatory of Flowers – May 18
San Francisco is home to plenty of opportunities to enjoy a nice cold one. The Conservatory would like to introduce you to two local breweries at an event that includes one flight of 4 beers, one souvenir glass, and a $10 food credit to use at one of the onsite food trucks. This month, it’s the Local Brewing Co (a small batch brewery) and the Gilman Brewing Company (award-winning brews from Berkeley) time to shine. This event is scheduled to take place from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with tickets ranging from $27 for general admission to paying $75 to receive the ‘Master Brewer’ treatment. If you’re interested in enjoying a night of beer at the Conservatory, click here.
Yoga in the Garden – S.F. Botanical Garden – May 19
Rise and shine! It’s time to get movin’ in the right direction, and the Garden has just the thing for you – outdoor yoga. You can join accredited instructor Sarah Allison, as she leads a 60-minute class (from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) that touches upon various spots about the Garden. All levels are welcome to participate. It is suggested that you bring along a yoga mat or beach towel. Once you sign up for this workshop, you’ll receive a confirmation email of where to meet up. Be on the lookout for the weather – heavy rain cancels this event. If you are a member, expect to pay $18 for this event. Non-members pay $20.
Bay to Breakers 2018 – western end of Golden Gate Park – May 20
Ever since 1912, San Franciscans have been gathering to participate in one of the most fascinating outdoor events in the Bay Area…so engaging that it’s known as the oldest consecutively-run yearly footrace in the world. It’s also one of the largest races in North America. This is the race where runners come dressed to impress, in all sorts of costumes that range from TV characters to ancient Romans to wearing barely anything at all. Over 30,000 people join in on the run with more than 100,000 people watching from the sidelines. The race is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., taking participants through Howard St., Hayes St. Hill, Ocean Beach, and of course, Golden Gate Park. This event is free to watch, but if you need more details or want to join in on the festivities, click here.
Bones NightLife– California Academy of Sciences – May 24
If archeology and anthropology have always been of interest to you, then this NightLife is perfect. This evening lineup pays homage to Ray ‘Bones’ Bandar, owner of one of the most well-known of bone collections. He has amassed over 7,000 specimens with an impressive number of skulls. Now, they will become part of the Academy’s scientific catalog. Come see the pop-up (dubbed the ‘Hall of Bones’), where a handful of these specimens will be in view. DJ Omar will provide live music for the night. Before you leave, don’t forget to head for the café to enjoy a sample of pasture-raised bone broth.
Thursday NightLife events run from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and cost $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Only guests 21 and over are allowed to enjoy the festivities, and you must show valid identification in order to join the party.
Murder at the Conservatory – Conservatory of Flowers – May 25
Who enjoys a good mystery? The Conservatory has an evening planned (from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.) that will have you searching for clues and putting on your thinking cap. It will be your responsibility to assist Detective Burdock Loames, who is looking to solve The Mystery of the Immortal Elixir. General admission costs $105, and entitles you to a complimentary glass of wine or beer, plus lite eats. For an extra $15, spring for a Victorian tour that takes place an hour earlier. Feelin’ like a good whodunit? Click here to purchase tickets.
Lindley Meadow XC 5K – 30th Avenue & Kennedy Drive – May 27
Looking for a run in May? An off-road run consisting of a double 1.55-mile cross country loop that takes runners across dirt, grass and trails will begin at 9 a.m. and end around 10 a.m. If you’re interested in this event, the fee for this 5K is $3 for 13-17 year olds and 18 and over members, and $5 for adult non-members. Participants ages up to 12 years old run at no cost. For more details, you can contact (415) 978-0837 or click here.
Amazonia – Bring Your Wild! – Conservatory of Flowers – May 31
The Amazonian forest is a beautiful habitat that just so happens to be the largest and most diverse of bio-rainforests in the entire globe. This event will take time to celebrate the music, food, plants, and culture of Amazonia, while raising money for future programs. Proceeds for this benefit will go towards supporting the Conservatory, which serves as home to a well-known collection of Amazonian plants. This event will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., with a range of ticket options (Early Scarlet Macaw $60, Amazonia General Admission $75, Duo Discount $125, and the Jaguar Dream VIP Experience $150). If you’re in a giving mood, click here to secure a ticket.