This week’s guide includes citywide events that either are staples of the San Francisco event scene or tap into the city’s storied history. Take a ride in a vintage trolley along the same route as the very first cable car line from 1873, or break out your leather and get your kinky kicks at the 40th Folsom Street Fair. Whether you’ve been in the city for two or 20 years, these events will deliver a uniquely fun time.
The fall equinox can mean a few things–spooky season is upon us, pumpkin-flavored everything is hitting menus and retail shelves, and it’s the perfect time to buy apples, sweet potatoes, squash and other seasonal ingredients for cooking up cozy meals. The Ferry Building has hosted a farmers market since the early '90s, and nonprofit Foodwise now puts on one of the best in the city (check out our full guide here). The organization is hosting its quarterly “Pop-Up on the Plaza'' to kick off the fall season–a haven of local food, sweets and handcrafted wares that will highlight Black entrepreneurs in the Bay Area.
San Francisco’s transit system, including its cable cars, invented right here in the city 150 years ago, holds a special place in many San Franciscans’ hearts–even if it’s a love-hate relationship at times. Explore the rich history of transit in the city for Muni Heritage Weekend, hosted by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the nonprofit Market Street Railway. Taking place at and around the San Francisco Railway Museum, you can take rides on historic streetcars, buses and cable cars, snag some Muni merch at the museum and see exhibits, including the stationary vintage vehicles in the outdoor plaza. Plus, City Guides will host a few cost-free cable car-centric tours over the weekend, but these will ironically take place on foot.
🗓️ Saturday-Sunday | 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
📍 Grant Avenue between California Street and Broadway
The Autumn Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, is a Chinese cultural celebration honoring the full moon during harvest season that will supposedly bring a successful harvest. The massive celebration will take place over two days in Chinatown, so save room for plenty of mooncakes. The symbolic treat can come in numerous variations and flavors, and eating them is an integral part of the celebration. Keep your eye out for lion dances and appearances from celebrity chef Martin Yan and the neighborhood’s glitziest grandmas, the Grant Avenue Follies, during the weekend’s vibrant schedule of nonstop entertainment.
The Cole Valley Fair returns on Sunday for its 19th year, continuing a beloved neighborhood tradition. Hosted by Sunset Mercantile, this lively block party captures the charm of the Haight-adjacent Cole Valley and the hyperlocal pride among its residents and neighbors. The family-friendly fair features art, clothing and food from local vendors, live music and a showcase for historic photographs and vintage cars.
Buckle up and strip down for one of SoMa’s favorite (and most leather-clad) days of the year. Folsom Street Fair celebrates four decades of sexual liberation for kink, leather and alternative sexuality communities this Sunday. The NSFW festival of sex positivity, though not for the faint of heart, is an event that has historically provided a safe space for people to shamelessly and safely explore their sexual desires and fantasies. Amid the sea of skin, check out entertainment like drag from the famous Stud Collective and Oaklash, BDSM demos and live wrestling by Full Queer.
Morgan Ellis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org