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Brunch is basic, bubbles are banal: 6 Mother’s Day alternatives that don’t involve Belgians and Brut

Take your mother for an adventure this Mother's Day. | Getty

She's your mother. And even though she brought you into this world and may threaten to take you out of it at times, you love her. That’s what Mother’s Day weekend is all about. 

Brunch may seem like a no-brainer, but your mom doesn't need to leave the house to load up on Belgian waffles and get day drunk. Why not show some initiative, get adventurous and give her something a little something different, eh?

If you’re at a loss for ideas, no worries. We’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for Mother’s Day brunch alternatives. 

Ferry Building Second Floor, 1 Ferry Building
Thursday, May 5, 5:30 p.m. | $150

Are you looking to indulge your sweet tooth while learning a new artsy skill? Bring mom along and embrace your inner Julia Child at the San Francisco Ferry Building for a custom cookie art workshop taught by Maya from Painted Ladies Pastry and Murrah from Burnt Cookies by Murrah (Don't worry, the cookies are not actually burnt). These bakers will teach you everything from recipes to decorating techniques. The best part is that you and mom will leave with a box full joy.

MILF: A Drag Show

Oasis, 298 11th St. 
Sunday, May 8, 7 p.m. | $20-30

Can you call yourself a San Franciscan if you haven’t been to a drag show? Oasis is the city’s premier drag queen event space, whether you are a regular or a first-timer. This weekend, they are inviting everybody and their mama to spend Sunday evening at the nightclub. Your hosts are drag queens Elsa Touche, Gina La Divina, Fauxnique, Katya Smirnoff-Skyy and Bebe Sweetbriar. There will be no shortage of entertainment. All you and mom have to do is show up and kick back with your white wine spritzers. You may even get a lap dance from a sexy gogo dancer. 

A Mother’s Day Community Event

Little Oceanuts, 1917 Ocean Ave. 
Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.

If you are a mother with small children looking for something to do, Little Oceanuts and the Ingleside Light are giving you the gift of tiring your kiddos out at their indoor playground. This weekend they are hosting a special Mother’s Day community event featuring arts, crafts, popcorn, cotton candy and tons of playtime. This event, hosted by Little Oceanuts & The Ingleside Light, is perfect for kids up to 10 years old and free for San Francisco residents, so bring that ID. 

Dia de Las Madres | Dia de la Comunidad

Exploratorium, Pier 15 Embarcadero at Green St
Sunday, May 8, 10 a.m. | Free

This weekend the museum is encouraging all mothers—especially Latinas—to visit the museum and “pay what you wish.” You can enjoy fun art activities like paper flower making and groove to live music performances from Mariachi bands and folklórico dances. This event will also offer bilingual programming. 

‘Uplifting Ukraine’ Concert Series Kickoff

Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th St. 
Sunday, May 8, 4 p.m. | Free

The Mother’s Day performance organized by Bay Area-based global music-service organization Listen for Life hosts a Notes for Nourishment benefit concert for displaced Ukrainian families, mothers and children. The program features a mix of classical and contemporary compositions, with performances by San Francisco Opera cellist Emil Miland and organist and pianist Jerome Lenk, the music director of Mission Dolores Basilica, and a Listen for Life board member. Donations can be made by cash or check at the door or online at Listen for Life’s website. The concert will also be streamed on YouTube. The event is free but donations are encouraged.

Girls Graffiti Workshop with Moms

Historic Clarion Alley, Clarion Alley 
Tuesday, May 10, 4 p.m. | Free

Nina Wright and Nyia Luna, two local artists, believe that young women in San Francisco should take up more space—public space, that is. If you couldn't get enough of hanging out with mom over the weekend, or if you're a mom looking for something fun to do with your teen, consider taking a graffiti lesson at Historic Clarion Alley. Wright, the founder of Graffiti Camp for Girls, started the organization to help young women who are passionate about graffiti feel confident. "The graffiti scene is dominated by men, and as the only girl, I often felt lonely and intimidated," Wright explained. "It's all about empowering women." Spray painting will be taught in this class, and all materials will be provided.

Meaghan Mitchell can be reached at

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