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Arts & Entertainment

San Francisco weekend events: Free things to do

Children with the Dancing Queen Dollz, a dance group from San Francisco, join the 2014 Juneteenth Parade as it rolls through the Fillmore District. | Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

San Francisco will be bustling with carnival rides, street fairs, live music—and even exotic cacti this weekend. Check out this guide to free events happening in the city Saturday, Sunday and Monday for a guaranteed full and fun itinerary. 

1. North Beach Festival in North Beach

🗓️ Saturday-Sunday | 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
📍 Various locations, North Beach neighborhood

One of the country’s longest-running street fairs—and one of the Bay Area’s largest—is returning to San Francisco’s Little Italy this weekend. North Beach, a neighborhood rich with cultural history, will be filled with live music, acrobatic performances from Club Fugazi, a Blessing of the Animals on Saturday and, of course, delicious food offerings from the neighborhood’s many eateries. 

2. Juneteenth SF Freedom Celebration in the Fillmore 

🗓️ Saturday | 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
📍 Fillmore Street from Geary Boulevard to Fulton Street

Continuing San Francisco’s Juneteenth festivities, the annual Freedom Celebration is bringing a massive block party to the city’s historic Fillmore District. The event commemorates the emancipation of enslaved Black Americans, and it will feature attractions highlighting local African American culture. Over 50 retail and food vendors will be present, plus family-friendly entertainment like carnival games and rides, and a hair and fashion show.

READ MORE: Soul Food, Black Winemakers and Free Concerts: Juneteenth 2023 in the Bay Area

3. Succulent Show & Plant Sale in Golden Gate Park 

🗓️ Saturday-Sunday | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Saturday), 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sunday)
📍 San Francisco County Fair Building

Plant parents, this one's for you. Aptly titled the “Stranger Than Fiction” plant show and sale, this event promises “unusual species of succulents and cacti you can’t buy at stores,” according to its website. There will also be handmade pottery for sale if you want to buy a new planter for your fresh new succulent, as well as educational opportunities like expert growing advice and planting demonstrations.  

4. Native Contemporary Arts Festival in SoMa

🗓️ Sunday | noon-3 p.m.
📍 Esplanade, Yerba Buena Gardens

Celebrate your father, father-like figure or any loved one near and dear to you with the Native Contemporary Arts Festival, a Yerba Buena Gardens Father's Day tradition. Curated by Janeen Antoine (Sicangu Lakota), founder of American Indian Contemporary Arts, the event will feature a diverse array of live entertainment including song, dance and spoken-word performances. There will also be the opportunity to shop from Native vendors and participate in activities with artists like mini zine-making and reed basket weaving. 

5. Queer Craft Fair in the Mission 

🗓️ Sunday | noon-5 p.m.
📍 Arcana

Head to Arcana plant and wine bar in the Mission on Sunday for its “Gimme Gimme” Queer Craft Fair. Arcana is a queer- and Iranian-owned, plant-adorned wine bar and event space, and this weekend, it will be celebrating a diverse assortment of LGBTQIA+ artists and vendors. Look out for curated vintage pieces and other wares like ceramics, jewelry and candles.