As we inch closer to summer, there’s no better time than now to visit Golden Gate Park. You get to enjoy some of the monumental changes initiated last month. Did you know it’s free for all San Francisco residents and veterans to enter the Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco Botanical Garden, and Japanese Tea Garden? In addition, JFK Drive is now car-free forever! Those are just a few excellent reasons to make time for the following May 2022 events at Golden Gate Park. Let’s see what other activities and attractions you may want to visit this month!

Reggae Sunday – GGP Bandshell – May 1, 8, 22, 29

Sit back and relax to reggae tunes from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. with Crucial featuring DJ Irie Dole and special guests. Leave it to them to entertain you on Sunday evenings throughout May. 

Singer/Songwriter Wednesdays – GGP Bandshell – May 4, 11, 18, 25

Singers and songwriters hit the Bandshell stage through May to display their talents from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. This month, you can expect the following performances:

  • May 4: Market to Bandshell –  Grupo Tribulation at 4 p.m., Young & Up Too Late at 5 p.m., and Analog Dog at 6 p.m. (produced in association with Sunset Mercantile)
  • May 11: District 8 plus more to be determined
  • May 18: Brendan Earley at 4 p.m., Roger Rocha at 5 p.m., and Dizzy Twin at 6 p.m.
  • May 25: Jonathan Burnside at 4 p.m., Jason Crawford at 5 p.m., and Sammy Patrick Band at 6 p.m.

Poetry in the Park – SF Botanical Garden – May 5

SF Day middle school students will be stationed throughout the Garden, reading their original works or sharing their favorite published pieces. Afterward, students will gather in the Celebration Garden to listen to guest speakers: visiting poet Azure Antoinette, SF Day’s Dr. Ruth Bissell and Dean Rader, plus San Francisco Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin.

This free event is open to all and is from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

RSVP to Poetry in the Park.

Peña Toribio presents Cinco de Mayo – Music Bandshell – May 5

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo (which commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla), Golden Gate Park has a musical afternoon planned with the following performers:

  • Calle Son at 4 p.m.
  • Barrio Manouche at 5 p.m.
  • Monreal Latin Blues at 6 p.m.

This is a free event.

Starry NightLife – California Academy of Sciences – May 5

Music, drinks, food, science, and more! You won’t want to miss the NightLife fun every Thursday evening at the Academy. These fun-filled gatherings begin from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and are for the 21-and-over crowd.

The first NightLife of May provides a starry experience and introduces how different cultures view the cosmos. In collaboration with One Sky Project, you will learn about Indigenous astronomy. D.J. Sep will spin for the night as you see galaxies through the lens of the Unistellar telescope and listen to the wisdom of astronomers. You’ll also have a chance to add your wish to the 1000s of Wishes Upon a Star art installation.

Other Thursday NightLife events planned for May include:

  • May 12: Theme TBA
  • May 19: Secret Garden, take a look at the mysterious side of the plant kingdom
  • May 26: Theme TBA

Get your NightLife tickets here.

Soul/Jazz/R&B Happy Hour – GGP Bandshell – May 6, 13, 20, 27

Plan to visit Golden Gate Park on Fridays to enjoy free outdoor performances with live soul, jazz, and R&B music from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Some of the performers for May include Punk Funk Mob, San Francisco’s Finest: Pat Wilder Band, and Electrofunkadelica featuring Shaunna Hall on 5/13, plus two sets from Parlor Tricks on 5/20.

Krakow’s Jewish Culture Fest Pop Up Concert – Music Concourse – May 7

Krakow’s Jewish Culture Fest is a free event from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., offering a pop-up concert at Spreckles Temple of Music celebrating traditional and modern Jewish culture. Hosted by Kosha Dillz, the event features special musical guests such as Gilu Yalo, Happie Hoffman, and Jeremiah Lockwood. The Idelsohn Society will also entertain with a Black Sabbath D.J. set.

Register for the Culture Fest here.

Live Music Saturdays – GGP Bandshell – May 7, 14, 21

Saturdays at the Bandshell bring live music and free outdoor performances from noon to 4 p.m. In May, there is a Jewish Culture Fest to enjoy on 5/7, plus 826 Valencia presents The Storyteller’s Showcase (a 20th Anniversary Event) on 5/14.

Picnic in the Park – Sharon Art Studio – May 8

If you love handmade ceramics, you won’t want to miss out on this community gathering in the park on Mother’s Day. This event will help support the programs and maintenance of the local art center. Timed tickets for the event are $45 per person. You will get a handmade ceramic bowl of your choice, a to-go Peasant Pie, and a picnic basket, plus Numi Tea or Andytown coffee. Find a spot in the meadow to feast upon your goodies while listening to the sounds of The Nep-tunes. Limited tickets are available for 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.

Purchase a Sharon Art Studio Picnic in the Park ticket here.

MCD Mobile MakeArt: Natural Perfumery – SF Botanical Garden – May 14

Ever wanted to create your own signature fragrance? Well, here’s your chance! The MCD Mobile MakeArt theme for this experience is: Living with Scents + the Art of Natural Perfumery.

This custom fragrance workshop is from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and includes a docent-led tour of the Garden of Fragrance. You will then join Carole Addison-Goyne of Nomad Botanicals and Jessica Mennella of FLWR Napa Valley for a hands-on exploration of botanicals. Each participant will walk away with a unique perfume formula they’ve created and the basic knowledge of blending natural scents. The general admission fee for this event is $75.

Space is limited. Buy your ticket for the Living with Scents Mobile MakeArt event.

Bay to Breakers 12K – Through Golden Gate Park –  May 15

The Bay to Breakers 12K is the oldest consecutively run annual footrace globally, and it’s known to bring out the most colorful characters. No, really! People wear all sorts of costumes to the event, which brings in thousands upon thousands of participants. The race starts at 8 a.m. at Main Street and Howard Street, continues through Golden Gate Park, and finishes at the Great Highway along the Pacific Coast’s Ocean Beach.

For more information, visit this Bay to Breakers website. You can also register to participate in the Bay the Breakers 12K as an individual or a team of 13-15 members.

Talk & Book Signing: Jerry Strauss – de Young Museum – May 21

Come celebrate and explore the life of Dewald Strauss, portrayed by Alice Neel in her painting Fuller Brush Man. You will join Jerry Strauss for his talk, “Giving my Father Back His Name,” where he shares the true story behind the painting of his father, which depicts a Holocaust survivor and door-to-door salesman. This event is a Free Saturday talk held at 1 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium. Tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis an hour before the lecture. A book signing follows this event.

SFCAMFT Volunteering: Habitat Restoration – Conservatory of Flowers – May 21

Join SFCAMFT members from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to help restore the Bunny Meadows habitat (located around the side of the Conservatory). Get your hands dirty while enjoying the fresh air and the company of those looking to give back to the park. Afterward, enjoy a simple picnic lunch at a reserved picnic area at the park.

Register to volunteer to restore the habitat at Bunny Meadows.

Nature Printing at the Garden – SF Botanical Garden – May 28

Explore the beauty and charm of a printmaking technique that blends botanical printing, plant-pressing, and hand-coloring into one intriguing mixed-media workshop. After introducing and demonstrating the printmaking process, you will learn how to create hand-pressed works of art with fresh flowers, foliage, and feathers using ink and paper.

This workshop is from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; it costs $150, including all materials for a printmaking session. Buy tickets for Nature Printing at the Garden

Golden Gate Park Monthly Recurring Events

Recurring monthly events at Golden Gate Park for May 2022 include: 

May 1 – Corgi Run Club: GGP Series at Stow Lake Boathouse, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (more details)

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – Outdoor Yoga, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. $16. Get tickets here.

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – “Lindy in the Park” swing dance party, every Sunday from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – Golden Gate Park Roller Disco Party at the Skatin’ Place – 6th Ave. and Kennedy Drive from noon – 5 p.m., free (Sundays) 

May 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29 – Music at the Beach Chalet (Saturdays & Sundays) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

May 3 – Conservatory of Flowers, free admission on the first Tuesday at 10 a.m.

May 3, 10, 17, 24 – Taco Tuesdays at Park Chalet, 3 p.m.- 6 p.m.

May 7, 21 – Sketching in the Galleries at de Young Museum, free Saturdays at 11 a.m.

May 8, 15, 22, 29 – Family-friendly JAMBoodas Music & Dance Class with Charity Kahn at SF Botanical Garden, 10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m. (buy tickets, $25 adult, $12.50 additional kids)

May 8, 15, 22, 29 – Tai Chi in the Garden, 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. (buy tickets, $25)

May 6, 13, 14, 20, 27, 28 – Lakehouse Jazz at Stow Lake Boathouse, 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (more details)

May 7, 14, 21, 28 – Blankets & Wine Comedy at Polo Field (3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.) Free. (RSVP here). 

May 7, 14, 21, 28– Free de Young Museum Day for Bay Area residents (every Saturday) 

May 10 – San Francisco Botanical Garden’s Free Day (2nd Tuesdays) 

May 13 – Women and Non-Binary Bike S.F. 7:15 a.m. start – McLaren Lodge (more details

May 14 – NAMI Saturday Strolls (monthly) at Murphy Windmill, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. (details

May 14, 28 – Family Art-Making at de Young Museum, free Saturdays at 11 a.m.