Golden Gate Park events in May not only treat Mom to special outings and Queen-for-a-day activities but also entertain locals and visitors of all ages with a collection of park-wide gatherings, festivals, and workshops. This month, get ready for a holiday picnic, outdoor musical performances, fun-filled runs, and relaxing yoga in the park. There’s also a new program to keep an eye out for on Saturdays that’s unfolding at de Young Museum. When you’re looking to add May events in San Francisco to your calendar, consider the following options:
Bluegrass Pickin’ Picnic – Dahlia Picnic Area – May 4
Another fine, annual event is setting up shop at Golden Gate Park this month and it’s filled with plenty of live, acoustic tunes, food, and entertainment. Bring along a blanket, folding chair and other laidback-ready accessories to take in the sounds of country, bluegrass and folk musicians. You’re also encouraged to come with your own instrument, if you feel like joining in. Food will be brought so that everyone can share, so guests may want to bring a dish, drinks, snacks or jug of water to contribute. Plates, cups and utensils will be provided as well.
You will find Dahlia Dell on Conservatory Dr East and Arguello – located close to the President Garfield statue on JFK Drive. The event is scheduled to last from noon to 6 p.m., and it doesn’t cost a thing to enjoy. Everyone is invited.
Free Saturdays – de Young Museum – May 4, 11, 18 & 25
Let’s celebrate! Starting this month, there is absolutely no cost to explore the permanent collections, free programming and current exhibits at de Young Museum on Saturdays. San Francisco residents enjoy free general admission, which consist of art-making adventures, enhanced gallery tours, discussion groups, family activities, and sketching in the collection galleries. Because of this new program, the museum has currently suspended Friday Nights at de Young events. To review qualifying zip codes and reserve tickets for this event, click here.
Spring Plant Sale – SF County Fair Building – May 4 & 5
There’s a two-day plant party you won’t want to miss. The largest plant sale in the Bay Area will have over 4,000 different kinds of plants – some of which you can only find at the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Nursery. General admission for the public sale of all things green on Saturday is from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. On Sunday, you have from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to check out what’s left. This is a free event.
Heron Watch – Stow Lake – May 4, 11, 18 & 25
Every Saturday, come to Stow Lake to catch sight of the 6-foot wingspans of the Great Blue Herons that bring their new chicks into the world at Golden Gate Park. Interns and volunteers from the San Francisco Nature Education will be on hand to answer questions, assist with spotting scopes, and help you zero in on all of the activity. The spring nesting season lasts into June, so don’t wait until the last minute to follow the bird’s progress. The observation deck is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s free to enjoy the scene, but a naturalist-led walk held from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. costs $10 for adults (free for young adults and children).
Park Chalet Spring Music – Park Chalet – May 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26, 27 & 31
This spring, stop by Park Chalet for tasty food, satisfying drinks, and live music on Saturdays, Sundays, and a few other days in between.
The performance schedule for May 2019:
- May 4: the bluesy, rock n roll tunes of Beach Cowboys (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 5: funk/R&B/soul band Soul Miners (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 11: Lady and the Tramps feature rock, soul, blues, R&B music (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 12: listen to rock, funk, pop and blues from Groove Objective (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 18: Wavelength performs (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 19: a variety of music styles from Love Struck (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 25: hit the dance floor with Spill the Wine (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 26: you never know what you’ll get with Mystery Tour Band, a Bay Area/Beatles cover band (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 27: Spill the Wine (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.)
- May 31: Perrish Sings Sinatra is a show where you’ll find Perrish D’ Andrea channeling Ol’ Blue Eyes (6 p.m. – 9 p.m.)
Golden Gate Park Band Concert – Spreckels Temple of Music – May 5
To kick off the month of May, join the Golden Gate Park Band as they celebrate the 228th anniversary of the Polish Constitution, as well as highlight the beauty of Polish music and culture – such as dance performances from Poland’s Spisz region of the Carpathian Mountains and the Southwestern border City of Cieszy.
The GGP Band concerts are free and held at the Spreckels Temple of Music in the Music Concourse at Golden Gate Park. The performances typically begin at 1 p.m. and last until 2:30-2:45 p.m. Depending on the program, you’ll encounter costumed guest performers, singers, dancers, speakers and other traditions of specific cultures and nationalities.
The May 2019 performance schedule will include the following concert themes:
- May 12: Armenian Cultural Celebration
- May 19: Music of Britain
- May 26: Memorial Weekend Concert featuring Patriotic and American music
Golden Gate Park 10K – Kennedy Drive – May 5
One of the lengthier annual races that take place at Golden Gate Park begins on Kennedy Drive and touches upon a variety of attractions and streets, such as McLaren Lodge, the Japanese Tea Garden, Kezar Drive Barricade, MLK Drive, Middle Drive and Overlook Path. This race is scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The price for joining in on the run is $5 for non-members and $3 for standard members. Those who are 13-17 years old pay $3. There is no cost for children 12 and under to participate.
Artist Reception for Stephanie Martin – SF Botanical Garden – May 9
It’s time to celebrate Stephanie Martin, who will have a reception held at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture in honor of the artist and her exhibit Return to Eden: Etchings from California’s Wild and Cultivated Gardens. Martin’s work includes botanical portraits of California native wildflowers and trees, some of which feature an iconic feathered friend representing their habitat. You’ll see the Belted Kingfisher with maples and Northern Flicker alongside willow catkins. Etchings of tree fruits will also be on display. From 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., the reception is free to enjoy, but you should still register here.
NightLife in Space: Other Earths – California Academy of Sciences – May 9
Every Thursday night, the Academy opens its doors for an evening filled with music, cocktails and science centered on a specific theme. This week, experts visit to talk about space missions and spacecraft currently on the hunt for exoplanets. You’ll have the chance to take a peek through the lens of Unistellar’s portable, planetary eVscope telescope. Chat it up with researchers and scientists – all while taking in the tunes spun by DJ Masha Martinovic. Tickets cost $12 (members) and $15 (non-members). The event will be held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Mother’s Day Lei-Making – SF County Fair Building – May 11 & May 18
Bring Mom along or work on a surprise for her special day when you join Arleen Fernando of Haumea Designs in a lei-making moment at the Garden. All floral materials to make your ‘head crown’ are included in the workshop free (ranging $54 to $60). All you have to bring is a pair of scissors and garden shears. There are two different sessions to consider, both running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. You are encouraged to also bring some of your own plant material to customize your lei, if you wish. To purchase a ticket to this special event, click here.
San Francisco Rose Society Rose Show – Hall of Flowers/County Fair Building – May 12
Pretty flowers play an important role in Mother’s Day celebrations and the SF Rose Society makes sure you get plenty of them with an annual show that features award-winning rose arrangements and a photography show/competition. You’ll find old garden blooms, grandifloras, hybrid teas, miniatures, and many other types of roses. This is a free event that runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Show rose bouquets are available after the show with a donation to the SFRS. This takes place closer to the end of the show (around 4 p.m.)
Mother’s Day Brunch – Beach Chalet – May 12
Celebrate Mom’s Day with an unforgettable feast, where brunch specialties include Grilled Lamb T-Bone Chops, Pan Roasted Sea Bass, and Flatiron Steak & Eggs – served until 2 p.m. A Mother’s Day dinner menu features Idaho Red Trout, Miso Glazed King Salmon, and Chicken Carbonara…just to name a few items. For more information, call the Chalet at (415) 386-8439.
NightLife in Space: Cosmos – California Academy of Sciences – May 16
Calling all enthusiasts of the universe! There’s a NightLife planned for you to explore cosmic mysteries that center on the likes of the Fermi paradox, dark matter, and magnetic fields in space. Chat with senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, Seth Shostak, as he searches for extraterrestrial life. Gravitational physics is also a topic of discussion with an UC Berkeley Einstein fellow. Throughout the night, cut a rug with music spun by DJ Mawkus. Every Thursday night, check out the latest themed program offered at the Academy, where the evening presents an ever-changing lineup of music, cocktails, science and food. The price of admission is $12 for members and $15 for non-members to attend an event that’s held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Yoga in the Garden – SF County Fair Building – May 18
What better way to start your morning off than with a yoga session in the midst of Golden Gate Park’s beauty? From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., join accredited instructor Sarah Allison for a 60-minute class that connects you, yoga and the great outdoors. All levels are welcome to join in with heavy rain canceling the event. Tickets range from $18 to $20, and can be purchased here.
Bay to Breakers 2019 – throughout San Francisco and Golden Gate Park – May 19
The oldest consecutively-run annual footrace in the world has been entertaining the masses since 1912, and on the third Sunday of the month – the Bay to Breakers race is back. Over 30,000 people participate in the action with at least 100,000 onlookers. The course starts at the Bay and ends at the western end of Golden Gate Park. One of the most amusing parts of the race is the costumed runners who wear everything from banana suits to tuxedos and wedding dresses. If you want to participate, keep in mind that online registration ends on May 16.
For more details, visit the Bay to Breakers site.
Garden Feast – SF Botanical Garden – May 22
Golden Gate Park is hosting an annual fundraising event to support the Garden’s programming with a luncheon, silent auction, and keynote speaker speech. This year, the event celebrates Helen McKenna Ridley and Allan Ridley for their life-long service and support of community youth. Ticket prices begin at $500 for individual admission. The event lasts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. To reserve your space, click here.
Tiny NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – May 23
Music, drinks, food and science are all on the menu when you participate in a Thursday NightLife event at the Academy. This week, you’ll be treated to an exploration into the wonderful world of down-sizing, which includes a look at tiny home living, how microbes survive under ice, the movement of microscopic organisms, and tiny insects that are quite powerful in numbers. DJ Starfari will be on hand to provide mood music for the night. Tickets cost $12 for members and $15 for non-members. Keep in mind that the festivities last from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Lindley Meadow XC 5K – 30th Avenue/Kennedy Drive – May 26
For an off-road event that takes you through grass, dirt and trails, consider the double 1.55-mile cross-country loop offered this month. The race is slated to run from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The cost to participate in is $5 for non-members and $3 for standard members. Ages 13-17 pay $3, while children 12 and under run for free. In case you didn’t know, Lindley Meadow is located across from Spreckels Lake at 30th Ave.
Memorial Day BBQ – Stow Lake – May 26
Hosting a BBQ is one of the most popular ways to celebrate Memorial Day and when you pay the registration fee, you’ll have access to food, snacks, desserts and drinks for the day. The grill will churn out endless hot dogs, burgers, sausages, ribs, and other tasty eats. Nurse a bowl of chips and salsa, or satisfy a sweet tooth with cookies. Quench your thirst with beer and wine. And, food isn’t the only thing on the menu…there will be plenty of games, like spikeball, bocce, Frisbee, corn hole, soccer, football, and card games to keep you busy.
Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. with introductions made at the Stow Lake Boathouse. Help set up the picnic area at 11:15 a.m. The grills fire up at 12 p.m. Participate in the games around 2 p.m. Lastly, expect to pack up and go on your merry way by 4 p.m. The cost for this event is $35. You can purchase tickets here.
NightLife Spotlight: Flight – California Academy of Sciences – May 30
Birds, butterflies and bats, oh my! The primary theme for the evening is an exploration of the mechanics of flight in the natural world. Specimens from the Academy’s scientific collections, such as fossils, mosquitos and terrestrial arthropods, will serve as examples. Morrison Planetarium will host one of its classic shows, and a telescope viewing of the stars will take place on the Living Roof. Themed programs at the Academy are held from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., featuring a fun time with cocktails, music, eats and science. The cost of tickets is $12 (members) and $15 (non-members).