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Your Guide to Well-known Treasures and Hidden Gems in the SF Bay Area

Beautiful, panoramic view of the iconic San Francisco Bay Area

Let’s be real: Most people living in or visiting San Francisco are busy, and saving time is of the essence when it comes to fun and leisure. Quite a few Internet resources will crop up in this article because they link to some really great Bay Area events. But although a simple Google search produces thousands of events via different social media tools, we’ve never quite found the perfect resource. So we decided to create one.

Before providing you with a list of events for everyone (and we do mean everyone), we’d like to offer a sneak peak of our own upcoming social media app. It’s aptly called Plans, and its main function is to give you the ability to connect with others who share your interests. A lot of event-finding resources lack an interactive quality- they simply list events under categories and give you options to pay for them. Plans is designed to fill those gaps in your event-planning with flourish! We know how hard it can be to make connections and find fun in your city, especially if you’re new to it (or simply just new to its social scene because you’re so busy). We will be offering a fun, easy-to-use social platform that generates events based on the community of friends and connections you’ve added on our app.

We realize that making friends and meeting up is a two-way street, so we’ve created a two-way solution to all of those other impersonal or complicated tools. Simple as that. You’ll be hearing a lot more about Plans in our upcoming articles as we get closer to its debut, so stay tuned for details. For now, keep reading your guide to all the best Bay Area weekend events- and how to get to them. With spring nearly in bloom and summer rapidly approaching, there are some exciting ones in the works for just about everyone.

For trending local events, SF Travel is a great starting point with long-standing credibility. It’s consistently up to date on not only the most popular local treasures in the Bay Area, and also lets you know about the hidden gems you may not have heard about around town or from friends. In the interest of broadening your options and giving you access to optimal pricing, San Francisco Travel links to other trending event resources and websites as well, such TripAdvisor, EventBrite, and more. In our opinion, the best thing about the San Francisco Travel is website is that it helps you plan your trip. The website either provides details about nearby hotels and transportation systems or links you to other sources that will, saving a whole lot of time and effort.

Simply go to San Francisco Travel and choose from options like activities, art and culture, dining, nightlife, and more. You can search by area and choose what kind of Bay area weekend event you’re looking for. A cursory glance at breweries and distilleries in the SF Bay Area shows San Francisco Brewing Co., whose high-quality brews have become a hallmark of Bay Area dining and drinking.

It’s worth mentioning here that Goldstar is a tried and true ticketing source that is wildly popular among locals and tourists for a reason. Goldstar is privy to some of the best deals in the city, and has a directly accessible link to trending events at the top of its website- it’s literally the first thing you see. (It also features a “New for You” option at the top of the page, so click on it to see a wide range of brand new Bay Area weekend events and more). If you’re unfamiliar with Goldstar or haven’t used it yet, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the savings you’ll find and accumulate over time. For just one example, if you’re new to the city or simply want to take a scenic route through the Bay Area, 60-minute Bay Cruises are an authentic San Francisco delight. The cruises, which run several times per day and offer iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito cityscape, usually cost $33 per person. But Goldstar offers a $13 savings per cruise, taking the price down to $20.

SF Bay Area Weekend Events: Bay Area Cruise coasting under the Golden Gate Bridge on a glorious sunny day

Actually, a brief further look shows that Goldstar is currently offering even better savings on a similar cruise. Blue & Gold Fleet’s Bay Cruise Adventure is a guided one-hour tour that sails under the Golden Gate Bridge and along the San Francisco Bay’s sparkling waterfront. The narrated tour features information about the history of city landmarks and leaves time for some stunning photo ops. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available on Goldstar at $16.50 per person now. A popular misconception is that enjoying San Francisco, one of the largest arts and entertainment meccas in the United States, has to be expensive. But authentic cultural experiences and amazing Bay Area weekend events don’t have to break your bank if you’ve got the right resources at hand.

Each Goldstar event also links to its Facebook page (if it has one) as well as email addresses and other links pertaining to the event.

Hook Up Your Bay Area Weekend Events with MeetUp

There is no shortage of Bay Area weekend events available to locals and tourists. But believe it or not, sometimes the biggest, most industrious cities are the hardest ones to meet people and make friends in. Everyone is so busy, leaving little time for leisure, and a large metropolis makes it hard to find personal, intimate settings where getting to know people is easier. Also, because San Francisco is one of the most important cities in the world for finance, arts, and entertainment, many people are looking for for a wide range of networking options. The social and networking events advertised on MeetUp are approved by an administrative team, but most of them were created by locals in your area who are interested in connecting with others who share similar interests. Most events are budget savvy to the extreme (we’re talking $3 per event sometimes, seriously. Many events are 100% free of cost, even those involving typically more expensive areas like tech, entertainment, or food). Costs can go up to $100 or more depending on the event, but most groups are pretty savvy about finding the best ticket prices).

The Meetup webpage is easy to navigate- you explore events by location and category. To name just a few, categories include outdoors and adventure, tech, film, photography, food and drink, and sports and fitness. There are many more, and the options within each general category are diverse. For example, people in the Bay Area attending an outdoorsy group event might be embarking on a Bay Area hike or walking for a cause (there’s a current “Walking in San Francisco for Health and History group that invites recreational walkers to learn about San Francisco’s history along the way). Other Bay Area weekend hikers have a passion for mountain climbing or long walks on the beach (which don’t have to be a cliche when you’re walking along some of the most beautiful, historic shores in the U.S.).

Find Your Bay Area Weekend Events (and Your People)

For new and exciting ways to make learning fun for kids or spend quality time with family in the Bay Area, there are all kinds of events on MeetUp. A group called hhints: Babies, Toddlers, Kids Activity Meetup Group offers a variety of themed play dates, including cultural, cooking, educational, and reading activities.

It goes without saying that MeetUp that a good portion of Meetup events are also dedicated to millennials and adults with business and media interests. One category is singularly dedicated to career building and connecting, and others cater to specific or established careers or hobbies. A quick scan of the “Tech” option reveals groups and events dedicated to women in tech, SF restaurant tech, real estate startups, making optimal use of Prezi, and tech diversity. You can build and operate an app with your group. The Bay Area Meetup Tech series is a popular one among San Francisco tech workers and enthusiasts. Bonus points for this group: Their meetups are always free.

A group of novices practicing their dancing skills at a Bay Area SF Meetup gathering

Do you love acting or want to become a part of the film industry, but don’t have the money, resources, or know-how to get your foot in the door? Are you already involved in the industry and would like to start your own production company, but don’t know who or where to turn to? Do you simply love theater or improv as a hobby, and want to meet others to perform or take in performances with? Oakland Improv Comedy Meetup, San Francisco Spontaneous Storytelling, and Creative Crew RWC are all free collaborative groups that meet regularly in the Bay Area. For artists and art lovers, Meetup has various avenues into conventional and non-conventional art creation and exploration. East Bay Sketchers and East Bay Artists Salon are two Bay Area favorites. ArtGasmica is a less conventional group that combines artistic integrity with sensuality to bring a liberating and healing experience to artists and models.

A small, focused group meeting in a spacious art deco building with laptops at the ready

MeetUp offers an exciting, explorative range of SF Bay area weekend events for political movements, people who love pets, music artists and fans, and much more. Like San Francisco itself, MeetUp is home to hundreds of LGBTQ groups, events, and activism groups. Some LGBTQ groups are age-inclusive, while others are dedicated to 20-30 somethings or older adults. There are groups for bisexual women, bisexual men, or both. Most social LGBQT events on Meetup invite every gay-friendly person in the city to join, and are lots of fun for everyone.

Bay Area weekend event: A DJ playing for a downtown SF dance party

Spice up Your Bay Area Weekend Events with Thrillist

Another great we resource for Bay Area weekend events is Thrillist. Scroll down the home page and the first thing you see is a large announcement of “The Most Fun Things Happening in San Francisco This Weekend”. Scroll down just a bit further and you’ll see a slough of upbeat, resourceful articles about Bay Area weekend events for upcoming holidays, Thrillist’s favorite bars and restaurants of 2018 and 2019, best sports bars, and more. There’s even an article dedicated to California chills and thrills: “The Top Ten Creepiest, Abandoned Places in California”. A hotspot for fun and recreation, Thrillist also has some light reads on SF entertainment and cultural interest that you might enjoy. “17 Things the East Coast Doesn’t Understand About the West Coast” opens with the revelatory one-liner, “It actually snows here.”

SF Dating Inspo- and Where to Find It

Thrillist (among various other articles on other SF social sites) have compiled list after list of fun, creative dating ideas (all of work for just hanging out and meeting people, too). Now we’re happily passing some along to you:

Unless you’re a major science lover, the California Academy of Sciences may not sound like the most romantic date spot. But after hours- and with a few alcoholic beverages added to the mix- it becomes a more viable option. The California Academy of Sciences hosts NightLife every Thursday night, and admission is only $15 per person (a big difference from the usual $80 each day time cost). Full bars are scattered quaintly throughout the museum (which is even more luminescent at night, especially in the aquarium). There’s a different DJ each week, and it’s a fun alternative option to the usual dating options.

Bay Area weekend events near San Francisco: A Thursday evening at the California Academy of Sciences Nightlife

A Ferry Building crawl in Embarcadero is another fresh date idea that is also well-served as a social night out with the guys or girls. Oysters at the Hog Island Oyster Co., spring rolls from Out the Door, and ice cream at Humphry Slocombe are a few ideas for this foodie adventure.

When most people think “date night”, “roller disco” are not usually the first words that come to mind. But San Francisco Bay Area weekend events are nothing if not diverse and full of alternatives to the status quo. The Church of 8 Wheels is a retro-inspired roller skating spot where DJs combine old-school with a modern electronic sound. You’re actually skating around a converted historic church, which is an interesting prospect if nothing else!

A bustling night on the rink at the Church of 8 Wheels Roller Disco San Francisco

Spark Social Mission Bay is another great hangout spot if you’re looking for a Bay Area weekend event to enjoy with friends. It’s also a great place to meet new friends because it packs a multitude of hobbies and fun ideas into one event: There’s a food truck, beer garden, an open-air bus to hang in, and ambient fire pits that burn late into the night. You can also catch the game on one of the event’s larger-than-life TVS. It’s been said that the best part of Spark Social is that dogs are absolutely allowed.

Although not for everyone, a romantic date ideally involves chocolate. Therefore, we suggest taking the Dandelion Chocolate Factory tour in lively Mission. Tours are only $5 per person, run from Wednesday through Saturday, and last from 6:10 to 6:50 p.m. The Dandelion Chocolate Factory tour is an experience for the mind as well as the taste buds: Along the way, you learn about these decadent small chocolate bathes’ journey from the cacao farm to Dandelion. You can also taste cacao in different forms. After the tour, many people like to visit the cafe and enjoy spicy, signature Mission hot chocolates and bakery treats. Discover this Dandelion Chocolate Factory event and others. Or go to this Bay Area event on Meetup.

Pretty much everyone has heard of Eventbrite and we’ve mentioned it in passing, but have you ever really explored its website? A closer look at Eventbrite reveals a San Francisco Bay Area Event Calendar, including the best things to do this month. The list is jam-packed with a month’s worth of fun things to do in the Bay Area this weekend- or the next weekend, or the weekend after that. These particular events have been hand-picked by Eventbrite to cover both wildly popular and more obscure (but just as worthy) Bay Area weekend events. (Some of these are commencing on weekdays, too- but most are also available on weekends because, well, that’s when we’re available).

Go to Eventbrite now to learn about and sign up for activities ranging from concerts, classes, food festivals, and much more.

Getting back to lovers of the great outdoors (who may feel we’ve strayed too far from the trails), Bay Nature is a great resource. If you’re new to the hiking scene or simply looking to expand your horizons on foot, Bay Nature points you toward guided hikes, nature festivals, and other outdoorsy Bay Area weekend events. Furthermore, it connects nature with the big city, linking outdoors enthusiasts to architectural events, modern art, and more. An ongoing current event is The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism at MoMA. The Sea Ranch is a private community on Highway 1, was designed in the 1960s as a wildlife preservation effort. It’s was a beautiful, minimalist community that is being shown as a MoMA event.

Nature-friendly Bay Area weekend events: The Sea Ranch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at a MoMA event.

Bay Nature is also an excellent educational source with articles about topics ranging from climate change to conservation efforts for endangered species. Poetry lovers know that many great poets combine their love of nature with creative writing, and Bay Nature reviews the book Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California for your reading pleasure. Birdwatchers will be equally delighted the sheer number of Bay Area weekend events dedicated to bird watching.

For more Bay Area weekend events, there is really no shortage of Internet resources. SF Gate, Atlas Obscura, and a blog called Bucket List Journey are a few personal favorites. For more kid-friendly activities, give SF Tourist Tips a try. Another interesting promotional resource for Bay Area weekend events (or any other local events) is Thumbtack Bugle offers hand-to-hand distribution and San Francisco Bay Area postcard services advertising your event.

Now that we’ve given you some places to start, planning your San Francisco Bay Area events should be, if not a piece of cake, a whole lot easier. The beautiful thing about the Bay Area (besides its obvious charm) is that its diversity is what unites people. In a larger-than-life region, you don’t have to be alone in a crowd. There is not only something for everyone, but multiple communities devoted to just about every area of interest- and simple ways to find your people if you’re looking in the right places.

And don’t forget to keep a look out for Plans, our own innovative social media app. We’re really excited about it, and we think you will be, too. Plans is less about creating an image and more about cultivating new experiences. Our innovative app gives you the freedom to take initiative in your social life and easily reach out to thousands of others who share your interests. We hope you’ll find not only limitless access to events in your area, but also an authentic mode of self-expression and some new friends in your city.



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