Skip to main content

4-day carnival coming to downtown San Francisco’s UN Plaza in August

People congregate in U.N. Plaza in San Francisco in May. The area around the plaza has become a hotbed of drug dealing and illegal vending. | Jason Henry for The Standard

San Francisco will host a four-day carnival in August complete with a Ferris wheel, a 100-foot super slide and spinning teacups in the city’s troubled Civic Center neighborhood, Mayor London Breed announced Monday.

The carnival is the city’s latest idea to revitalize Downtown areas that have long struggled with crime and open-air drug use. This month, plans were filed to bring a skate park, pingpong and chess tables to Civic Center’s troubled U.N. Plaza.

Breed said in a press release that the event is expected to attract up to 1,000 people per day and will be accompanied by recent investments to hire eight park rangers to patrol UN Plaza.

“Creating vibrant, lively public spaces with activities people of all ages can enjoy is how we create stronger, safer communities,” Breed said. 

U.N. Plaza, at Market Street and Hyde Street, has become the epicenter of the city’s open-air drug trade. Large groups congregate there, bartering or selling stolen goods; many people are experiencing mental illness and addiction. 

The carnival will run from Aug. 24 to 27 on Fulton Street between the main library and the Asian Art Museum. Entrance to the carnival will cost $10. Sugary fair treats such as candy apples and funnel cakes will be on sale.

The carnival will open on the same day as the Asian Art Museum debuts its new “East West Terrace,” an outdoor art space for contemporary sculpture and events. 

Following the carnival, the city aims to break ground on U.N. Plaza’s transformation into an outdoor activity space in September and open the project to the public six weeks later, Breed said. 

David Sjostedt can be reached at