San Francisco events, festivals, things to do – January 2018

San Francisco
calendar of events

January 2018
best events in San Francisco

ZooLights in Oakland

January 1, 2018

19.2 miles east

ZooLights has colorful light displays, laser light shows, gondola rides, Christmas trees, and Santa some nights at the Oakland Zoo. Free parking. Closed Dec. 24-25.

Holiday castles

January 1 - 2, 2018

1 mile NE

Stop by the lobby of the Westin St. Francis to admire the St. Francis Holiday Display, featuring two castles with circular towers, individual rooms, and illuminated windows, surrounded by holiday sugar cakes. Free.

Gingerbread House

January 1 - 2, 2018

1.3 miles NE

See a life-sized Gingerbread House made of thousands of homemade gingerbread bricks and tons of icing and candy in the lobby of the Fairmont San Francisco hotel. Free. Optional Holiday Gingerbread Tea.

Free garden day

January 1 & 9, 2018

3.3 miles west

Visit the 55-acre San Francisco Botanical Garden at Golden Gate Park on Free Days, which include Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and second Tuesdays. Always free with S.F. identification.

Figure skating

January 2 - 7, 2018

48 miles south

Potential Olympic athletes compete with breathtaking feats of athleticism, acrobatics, and grace in the U.S. Figure Skating Championship at SAP Center at San Jose.

Auto show in San Jose

January 4 - 7, 2018

48 miles south

Manufacturers display electric cars, concept vehicles, luxury models, and event celebrity’s cars at the Silicon Valley Auto Show in the San Jose convention center, with test drives available.

RV show

January 6 - 15, 2018

36.2 miles SE

See the latest recreational vehicles and accessories at the Manufacturers RV Show at Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

Free art museum day

January 7, 2018

0.1 mile east

Visit the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco on a First Free Sunday of the month to see its 18,000 objects that represent 6,000 years of Asian art and culture.

No pants on BART

January 7, 2018 (12:30 to 5 p.m.)

0.8 miles SE

Liven up winter by joining hundreds who will meet at DNA Lounge and then take a No Pants Subway Ride, followed by an after party.

Run for hot chocolate

January 7, 2018

3.5 miles west

Run through Golden Gate Park and along the ocean on the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, which includes snacks along the way and hot chocolate at the finish line.

Electronic game festival

January 11, 2018 (6 to 9 p.m.)

1.5 miles NE

Join 500 people at Winter Play: San Francisco Game Expo [formerly Playcrafting SFO Winter Expo] to check out 50 new games and visit developer booths at Microsoft Reactor.

Art and design fair

January 11 - 14, 2018 (preview Jan. 10)

2.3 miles north

FOG Design+Art showcases 40 contemporary design dealers and art galleries and hosts lectures by artists and designers in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason.

Mushroom festival

January 12 - 14, 2018

73.2 miles south

See wild mushrooms on display, vendors, cooking demos, expert talks, a kids’ room (Sat. & Sun.), mushroom books and products for sale at Fungus Fair at Louden Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz.

Truffle festival

January 12 - 15, 2018

46.9 miles north

Napa Truffle Festival celebrates the rare fungus with seminars, lunches, dinners, and a free marketplace. Most events sell out early.

Wine weekend

January 13 - 14, 2018

70 miles north

Meet winemakers, taste limited production wines, and taste food pairings at Winter WINEland at various wineries in Northern Sonoma County for age 21+.

Black comics festival

January 13 - 15, 2018

San Francisco locations

Celebrate African American creativity in the comic arts and popular visual culture at Black Comix Arts Festival, which includes an expo, kids’ activities, panel discussions, films, and cosplay events. Free.
  • Jan. 13 & 14 - San Francisco Public Library
  • Jan. 15 - City View at Metreon

MLK musical tribute

January 14, 2018 (7 p.m.)

13.3 miles east

Songs of Change is a non-denominational musical tribute to Dr.. Martin Luther King, Jr. that includes jazz performances, historical footage of Dr. King, and a gospel choir at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center.

Films for MLK Day

January 14 - 15, 2018

1.2 miles NE

The Liberation Film Festival shows short films that focus on issues of social justice and equality in the screening room of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Free.

MLK park day

January 15, 2018

U.S. National Parks

Entry is free at Muir Woods National Monument and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park on Free Entrance Days in the National Parks. Expect more people and less parking than usual.

Free museum day

January 15, 2018 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

1.2 miles NE

Visit the exhibits at Museum of the African Diaspora and enjoy “a day of performance and art inspired by the carnival tradition” to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. Free admission.

Underground art show

January 19 - 20, 2018 (8 p.m.)

0.8 miles NE

The San Francisco Pancakes & Booze Art Show is a traveling exhibition by 100 artists, with free pancakes, DJ music, body painting, and a bar at Mezzanine for age 21+. Pay cash at the door or buy a line-jumper ticket online.

Zinfandel tasting

January 19 - 20, 2018

2 miles NE

Billed as the world’s largest tasting event for a single varietal, Zinfandel Experience features hundreds of wines at multiple events, including a Grand Tasting on Saturday at Pier 27.


January 19 - 21, 2018

1.7 miles NE

Step back in time to the decadent Kit Kat Klub of prewar Germany as colorful singers serenade you in Cabaret at Great Star Theater.

Discount tickets $15 to $25.

CityPass San Francisco

Oakland Restaurant Week

January 19 - 21, 2018

12 miles east

Get a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner meal during Oakland Restaurant Week.

Fishing & hunting show

January 19 - 21, 2018

91.6 miles NE

Attend seminars and visit 600 vendors at the Sportsmen’s Expo at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Comedy festival

January 19 - 28, 2018

San Francisco comedy clubs

SF Sketchfest mixes national headliners, local favorites and up-and-coming groups for a variety of sketch, improv, stand-up and alternative comedy.

Sea Lion days

January 19 - 28, 2018

2.7 miles NW

Celebrate the Sea Lions’ Arrival at Pier 39 with free tours and views of the boisterous barking pinnipeds.

Racy movies

January 19 - Feb. 10, 2018

S.F., Berkeley, Oakland

Hump! features 21 five-minute films produced by amateurs of all persuasions at three locations.
  • Jan. 17 - 27: Victoria Theatre, San Francisco
  • Jan. 31 - Feb. 4: Ashby Stage, Berkeley
  • Feb. 8 - 10: Starline Social Club, Oakland

Midnight bicycle ride

January 20, 2018

See location on website

Meet at a local bar the third Saturday of every month for the San Francisco Midnight Mystery Ride, which is five miles long and ends with potluck snacks. Details are posted on their website on the event day. Free.

Cheese festival

January 21, 2018 (5 p.m.)

0.8 miles south

The most knowledgeable cheese vendors compete at Cheesemonger Invitational, and you get to enjoy fondue, raclette, grilled cheese sandwiches, and a cash bar at Public Works for age 21+.

MLK lectures

January 21 - Feb. 18, 2018

multiple locations

Hear a dozen theological leaders speak about Martin Luther King, Jr. and current issues in events at multiple San Francisco venues during the King and Faith Lectures by NorcalMLK Foundation. Free.

S.F. Restaurant Week

January 22 - 31, 2018

San Francisco restaurants

Get a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner meal at 130 restaurants during SF Restaurant Week.

Don Quixote musical

January 24 - Feb. 17, 2018

1.1 miles NE

Broadway musical Man of La Mancha is about the author of the inspiring novel Don Quixote, which features a mad knight in search of an impossible dream at Custom Made Theatre.

Discount tickets $20 to $30.

Australia party

January 26, 2018

2 miles NE

Celebrate Australia Day with Australian music, beer, wine, drinking games, sausage sangas, Tim Tam slams, fairy bread, and contests at Score Bar.

Vaudeville cabaret

January 26, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)

2 miles NE

Wear cocktail attire to The Speakeasy, a 1920s watering hole with multiple rooms of bootleggers, bouncers, war veterans, and barflies put on by Boxcar Theatre behind a secret door in North Beach.

Discount tickets $85.

Victorian/steampunk ball

January 26 - 27, 2018

0.7 miles north

Crowds of costumed partygoers attend The Edwardian Ball “an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theater, fashion, technology, circus” on Saturday, plus a similar event The Edwardian World’s Fair on Friday at The Regency Ballroom.

Discount tickets $49 (Friday).

Classic films

January 26 - Feb. 4, 2018

1.6 miles SW

Noir City screens classic films that are stylish, cynical, and melodramatic at the Castro Theatre.

Olympic swimming drama

January 26 - Feb. 24, 2018

24 miles NE

“A sharp and stylish play about swimming, survival of the fittest, and the American dream,” Red Speedo follows a swimmer facing the pressure of competition, endorsement deals, and a difficult family at Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek.

Discount tickets $8 to $17.

Fort Point event

January 27, 2018

5.5 miles NW

Tour the West’s largest Civil War fort, watch actors recreate the life of a Civil War soldier, visit medical and household exhibits, watch a cannon drill, and learn why California mattered to the Union cause on Fort Point Living History Day in January & August. Free.

Dog show

January 27 - 28, 2018

6.5 miles south

Meet dogs of different breeds and their owners at the Golden Gate Kennel Club Dog Show, which has prize competitions both days, a dog fashion show Saturday, and vendor booths in the Cow Palace. No pets.

Discount tickets $15.

Chinese circus

January 27 - 28, 2018

13.6 miles NE

The gymnasts, jugglers, cyclists, and tumblers of Peking Acrobats perform amazing feats with live music on Chinese instruments at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley.

Discount tickets $15 to $30.