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

San Francisco
calendar of events

October 2018
best events in San Francisco

Fleet Week

October 1 - 8, 2018

2.5 miles north

Fleet Week includes tours of Navy ships at Marina Green, a parade of ships under the Golden Gate Bridge, air shows with the Blue Angels, and military dogs. Free. Pier 39 has a Fleet Week Celebration with bands and exhibits.

Medieval fair

October 1 - 14, 2018 (begins Sept. 15)

92 miles SE

Watch knights joust on noble steeds, mingle with costumed minstrels and troubadours, shop 200 artisan and food-purveyor stalls, and see children delight in games and activities at Northern California Renaissance Faire in Hollister. Age 12 and under free. [May be extended to Oct. 21, 2018.]
CityPass San Francisco

Haunted house - San Jose

October 1 - Nov. 5, 2018

52.6 miles south

The Dead Time Dreams Haunted Attractions include a pre-show Midway of Terror, The River Styx, and DethworX at 2501 Tully Road in San Jose.

Wine walk

October 4, 2018 (4 to 8 p.m.)

1.6 miles north

Visit merchants on Union Street and Fillmore Street to sample wine and appetizers with your ticket to Union Street Harvest Wine Walk.

Film festival in Mill Valley

October 4 - 14, 2018

Mill Valley & San Rafael

See quality films from around the world at the Mill Valley Film Festival (MVFF), plus panel discussions most days and live music most nights.

Electric vehicles

October 5 - 7, 2018

2.6 miles NE

See and drive electric and fuel-cell vehicles, and visit the information booths during EV Week at Pier 27 on the Embarcadero. Free.

San Jose half marathon

October 5 - 7, 2018

47.7 miles south

Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon San Jose (plus 5K and 10K) follows a relatively flat course, with live bands on the way, and a free two-day health & fitness expo.
  • Oct. 5 & 6 – fitness expo
  • Oct. 6 – kids’ events and 5K
  • Oct. 7 – half marathon and 10K

Haunted house - San Leandro

October 5 - Nov. 3, 2018 (Sept. 28+)

23 miles SE

Fear Overload Scream Park offers two popular attractions in San Leandro.

Oktoberfest in Oakland

October 6 - 7, 2018

14 miles east

Oaktoberfest in the Dimond is a family-friendly festival with 30 kinds of German and craft beer, German food and music, an eco fair, and a kids’ area at Fruitvale Avenue & MacArthur Boulevard. Free admission.

Art fair in San Carlos

October 6 - 7, 2018

28.5 miles south

San Carlos Art & Wine Faire features 275 art and craft booths, three stages of entertainment, food vendors, wine, beer, a car show, and a family zone at San Carlos Avenue & Laurel Street. Free.

Vampire tour

October 6 & 31, 2018

1.3 miles NE

Celebrate Halloween on the Nob Hill Vampire Tour of San Francisco, which includes historical facts, vampire lore, humor, and a costume contest, beginning at the corner of California & Taylor Streets.

Castro Street Fair

October 7, 2018

1.6 miles SW

Castro Street Fair features local artists, vendors, craftspeople, LGBT organizations, live music, and dancers at Castro & Market Streets. Donation.

Pool party

October 10, 2018

0.4 miles north

Watch local celebrities get soaked at the $125 PoolToss, with “fabulous food, refreshing libations, wacky entertainment, and a wet-and-wild celebrity auction pool toss” at the Phoenix Hotel for charity.

Antiques show

October 11 - 14, 2018 (preview Oct. 10)

2.3 miles north

Browse fine antiques from 50 international dealers and hear expert lecturers at The San Francisco Fall Art & Antiques Show in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason.

Literary festival

October 11 - 20, 2018

San Francisco & San Rafael

Book lovers unite at Litquake, a giant independent literary festival with cutting-edge panel discussions, a Saturday Lit Crawl in local bars, and hundreds of mostly free author readings.


October 12 - 13 and 19 - 20, 2018

6.5 miles south

Watch cowboys and cowgirls bull riding, calf roping, steer wrestling, and demonstrating lasso tricks at the Grand National Rodeo at the Cow Palace.

Festival under the stars

October 13, 2018

1 mile NE

See dozens of music, dance, and art performances at Yerba Buena Night around Yerba Buena Lane. Free.

Sandcastles at the beach

October 13, 2018

5.8 miles west

See fantastic sandcastles built by competing teams of architects, designers, engineers, and students at Leap Sandcastle Classic at Ocean Beach. Limited parking. Free.

Free music in Marin

October 13, 2018

18.6 miles north

Marin Music Festival promises five local bands, arts and crafts booths, food trucks, beer and wine, kids’ activities, and a waterfront view in San Rafael. Free.

Bike & beer festival

October 13, 2018

20 miles north

See handmade bikes, visit 70 exhibitors, take a bike ride, buy a ticket to taste 35 hand-crafted beers, and hear live music at Biketoberfest in Fairfax. Free.

Horse festival

October 13, 2018

32.1 miles south

The Horse Fair is a free event with live music, food, exhibits, a petting zoo, and stagecoach rides in the small town of Woodside, with an optional ticketed ride for horse owners. See schedule.

Art fair in Livermore

October 13, 2018

44 miles SE

Browse art from 200 artists and hear live music at ArtWalk indoors and outdoors near First Street in Livermore. Free.

Pumpkin festival - Half Moon Bay

October 13 - 14, 2018

29.4 miles south

Expect crowds at Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, plus giant pumpkins, pumpkin carving, 250 art & craft booths, 3 stages of entertainment, wine, beer, food vendors, and a parade on Main Street. Free.

Miniatures show

October 13 - 14, 2018

45 miles south

See miniature objects displayed by 100 dealers and attend workshops at the Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures at Doubletree Hotel San Jose.

Greek films

October 13 - 20, 2018

2.3 miles NE

San Francisco Greek Film Festival screens 30+ films about Greece and Cyprus, plus films made or directed by Greek filmmakers and filmmakers of Greek descent at Delancey Street Screening Room. English subtitles.

Neighborhood festival

October 20, 2018

1.9 miles SE

Potrero Hill Festival has a stage with live music, local restaurant food, a kids’ area with petting zoo, and 100 local artists and vendors on 20th Street. Free.

Wharf festival

October 20, 2018

2.3 miles north

San Francisco’s Wharf Fest features live music, street performers, craft and food vendors, a chowder contest, kids’ rides, ship tours, and fireworks on Embarcadero from Jefferson to Taylor. Free.

Urban music & art festival

October 20, 2018

5.1 miles south

BayviewLive [sound] features Talib Kweli and other “notable performers, muralists, and tech tastemakers” at 1439 Egbert Avenue (from 3rd to Jennings). Free.

San Jose home show

October 20 - 21, 2018

48.3 miles south

See home improvement products, services, and demonstrations at the San Jose Spring Home Show at the San Jose convention center. Held in February and October.

Halloween in the park

October 26, 2018

5.2 miles SW

Scaregrove is a ticketed event with a costume parade, haunted house, hayrides, carnival rides, games, and food for sale at Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove.

Halloween party for kids

October 26 or 27, 2018 (uncertain)

3 miles west

A ticket to SuperNatural Halloween gets you trick-or-treating, dancing, face painting, magic shows, science, pumpkin carving, crafts, food, and drink at California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.

Pet parade

October 27, 2018 (1 p.m.)

2 miles SE

Watch decorated dogs walk with their owners on 18th Street (from Arkansas to Texas) during the Annual Pet Parade, followed by a costume contest. Free.

Halloween party for kids

October 28, 2018

1 mile NW

Spooktacular Halloween Party offers mall-wide trick or treating for kids in costumes, games, pumpkin decorating, a bouncy house, arts and crafts, and face painting at the Japan Center. Free.

San Jose neighborhood haunt

October 31, 2018 (6 to 9 p.m.)

48 miles south

Just a normal house the rest of the year, Albertson Halloween House is a neighborhood attraction at Halloween. The theme in 2018 is “video games.” Free.

Arabian films

October 2018 (undated)

San Francisco Bay Area

The Arab Film Festival screens films about the beauty, complexity, and diversity of the Arab world, plus its people, culture, art, history, and politics.

Celebrate San Francisco Bay

October 2018 (undated)

multiple locations

Bay Day events include free entertainment and food trucks at The Yard SF, family activities at Jack London Square in Oakland, the Port Fest festival in Redwood City, and activities (pre-register) on Angel Island.

Fashion week

October 2018 (undated)

San Francisco

Attend fashion shows, tours, expos, and parties during San Francisco Fashion Week at various venues.

People in the street

October 2018 (undated)

San Francisco neighborhoods

Walk, bike, or roller skate on a city street when most cars are banned for Sunday Streets, which are held about once a month from March to October.

Science Festival

October 2018 (undated)

San Francisco Bay Area

Bay Area Science Festival offers 40 fun events about science and technology, including exhibitions, lectures, debates, concerts, plays, and workshops.

Visit art studios

October 2018 (undated)

San Francisco locations

Visit up to 800 emerging and established artists in their studios during the weekend SF Open Studios, and attend preview and tasting parties on weekdays.

Wine tasting

October 2018 (undated)

1.1 miles NE

Taste fine wine paired with restaurant bites, oysters, and cheese at the Top 100 Tasting by Wine & Spirits magazine at City View at Metreon.

Horror film series

October 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles NE

Avant-Garde Horror is a series of scary films on three nights at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Pet day

October 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles south

Bring your pet to enjoy family-friendly activities on Pet Pride Day, including pet costume contests, a runway show, a pet photo booth, dog-toy making, adoptions, a beer garden, and food trucks at Rescue Row. Free.

Columbus Day ball

October 2018 (undated)

1.3 miles NE

The black-tie optional Italian Heritage Grand Ball includes a banquet, no-host cocktails, and dancing at the The St. Regis.

Bridge to Bridge Run

October 2018 (undated)

1.7 miles NE

The 5K or 12K Bridge to Bridge Run follows a scenic waterfront route from Justin Herman Plaza to an after party with food and music at Marina Green.

Columbus Day Parade

October 2018 (undated)

2.3 miles north

Italian Heritage Parade begins at Fisherman’s Wharf and ends at North Beach. Free.

Concerts in the park

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles west

Golden Gate Park Band plays a variety of music (classical, marches, opera, swing, and show tunes) at Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park. Free.

Palestinian festival

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles west

Palestine Cultural Day has folk songs and dance, a bazaar, traditional food, and kids’ activities in the San Francisco County Fair Building at Golden Gate Park. Children under age 12 are free.

Vegetarian festival

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles west

World Veg Festival features speakers, cooking demos, exhibitors, a children’s corner, samples, and food for sale at San Francisco County Fair Building.

Neighborhood festival

October 2018 (undated)

3.7 miles south

Fiesta on the Hill features live bands, dancing in the street, street artists, pumpkin carving, kids’ activities, and food vendors on Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. Free.

Country bluegrass concert

October 2018 (undated)

4 miles west

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass presents 90 country and bluegrass acts on multiple stages with food vendors in Golden Gate Park. Free.

Neighborhood festival

October 2018 (undated)

5.4 miles south

Excelsior Arts and Music Festival features live music, multi-cultural food, and a variety of family-friendly entertainment on Ocean Avenue & San Juan Avenue (at Mission). No pets or smoking.

Visit art studios

October 2018 (undated)

5.5 miles SW

Visit 180 artists during Fall Open Studios, which includes food trucks, a beer and wine garden, live music, and kids’ entertainment, free at Hunters Point Shipyard and Islais Creek Studios. Repeats in April.

Garden lights festival

October 2018 (undated)

12.3 miles east

Autumn Lights Festival features illuminated art, fire dancers, larger-than-life art installations, live music, interactive arts, and a food court in The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Days of the Dead in Oakland

October 2018 (undated)

13 miles east

Days of the Dead Community Celebration begins with a procession of Aztec dancers. It includes folkloric dance, mariachi music, art vendors, food booths, and community-made altars honoring the dead at Oakland Museum of California. Free for kids age 8 and younger.

Ideas festival

October 2018 (undated)

13.5 miles NE

Hear expert speakers, join thought-provoking conversations, see pop-up performances, and mingle at a party during Uncharted: The Berkeley Festival of Ideas at various venues in downtown Berkeley.

Dracula show + party

October 2018 (undated)

14.3 miles east

You’re welcome to wear a costume to the Halloween performance of Dracula, which adds live music, dance, and magic to the traditional gothic tale, onstage at Brooklyn Preserve in Oakland and followed by a party.

Day of the Dead - Oakland

October 2018 (undated)

15 miles east

Dia de los Muertos Festival has entertainment on three stages, art and food vendors, face painters, altars, and a children’s area at Fruitvale Village in Oakland. Free.

Small-town Oktoberfest

October 2018 (undated)

33 miles NE

Find German food, beer, wine, arts & crafts, carnival rides, street performers, and a parade (noon Saturday) at outdoor Clayton Oktoberfest. Free entry.

Jewish film festival

October 2018 (undated)

Palo Alto & San Jose

Watch two dozen feature-length films at the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival, with special events opening and closing nights.

Snow sports sale - South Bay

October 2018 (undated)

42.4 miles south

Shop for skis, boards, apparel, and lift tickets at SnowBomb, which also has a climbing wall, and a BMX/skate ramp show at Santa Clara Convention Center. Free.

Bull riding

October 2018 (undated)

48 mile south

The world’s best Professional Bull Riders take on bucking bulls at SAP Center at San Jose.

Taco tasting in San Jose

October 2018 (undated)

55 miles south

Taco Takeover promises “unlimited margaritas, beer, tequila samples, and tacos” with live music, games, and a nacho contest at Avaya Stadium for age 21+.

Santa Cruz Film Festival

October 2018 (undated)

76 miles SE

Santa Cruz Film Festival celebrates innovative and original filmmaking and screens locally made films.

Tasting in San Luis Obispo

October 2018 (undated)

240 miles south

Bubblyfest by the Sea is a series of gourmet wine tasting and food events at Avila Beach.

Haunted attractions - Pleasanton

October 2018 (undated)

36.2 miles SE

Pirates of Emerson Haunted Theme Park offers six haunted attractions at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. See schedule.

Halloween party - Pier 70

October 2018 (undated)

Location uncertain

LoveBoat Halloween is a Halloween art, music, and dancing experience that features multiple stages, lots of DJs, giant art installations, and art cars.

Halloween pub crawl

October 2018 (undated)

Bay Area

Check in at Mayes Oyster House between 6 and 8 p.m. for the Adult Trick ’R Treating Pub Crawl, which includes drink specials at 7 bars. Costumes welcome.

Halloween party - Regency

October 2018 (undated)

0.7 miles north

Join 2,000 costumed revelers at A Nightmare on Van Ness for three floors of DJ & live music, a costume contest, and go-go dancers at The Regency Center for age 21+.

Halloween children’s festival

October 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles NE

Halloween Hoopla features a costume parade, interactive performances, and games for kids under 10 and their adults at Yerba Buena Gardens. Free.

Halloween costume ball

October 2018 (undated)

1.2 miles NE

Halloween International Ball is a multi-room spectacular with dance music at Westin St. Francis.

Halloween party

October 2018 (undated)

1.4 miles NE

Wear a costume to Nightmare on 3rd Street for music, dancing, and a full bar at the new second-floor lounge in W San Francisco for age 21+.

Halloween comedy

October 2018 (undated)

1.8 miles NE

Comedians perform jokes in costume and in character during the Halloween Comedy Showcase at the Punch Line, which has a two drink minimum and is age 18+.

Halloween cruise

October 2018 (undated)

2.2 miles east

Titanic Masquerade Halloween Party Cruise is a 4-hour ride on San Francisco Bay with two DJs, views of the city and bridges from three decks, and an open bar for age 21+. Requires semi-formal attire with a mask.

Halloween party

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles south

Funhouse Halloween Massive [website has sound] promises four rooms of celebrity DJs, live performances, and dancing at Roccapulco for age 21+.

Museum party

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles west

Tour a haunted hall full of scientific curiosities, visit a haunted arcade, watch a drag show, join a costume contest, and order food/drinks at Creatures of the NightLife at California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park for age 21+. No masks or violent costumes.

Race in costume

October 2018 (undated)

3 miles west

Run through Golden Gate Park in a Halloween costume on the Costume Dash 5K, beginning at Spreckels Temple of Music, and followed by a costume contest.

Halloween at the zoo

October 2018 (undated)

7.7 miles SW

Children can enjoy treats, watch animals eat pumpkins, dance to music, bounce, walk on a haunted trail, make crafts, and join the 11 a.m. costume parade and contest (no masks) during Boo at the Zoo at San Francisco Zoo.

Free classical concert

October 2018 (undated)

8 miles SW

Hear two pianists play “Petrushka” by Stravinsky and “The Banshee” by Cowell at the Annual Scary Concert in the Creative Arts Building at San Francisco State University. Free.

Halloween at Six Flags

October 2018 (undated)

34.7 miles NE

Enjoy pumpkin painting & trick-or-treating in daylight, but beware of ghosts, ghouls, and zombies at night during Fright Fest [sound] at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo.

Family haunted house

October 2018 (undated)

37.8 miles SE

Candle Lighters Ghost House is a low-scare haunt with goblins, ghosts, witches, and warlocks in a historic carriage house, plus games, caramel apples, and a country store in Fremont. Special events include lights on for kids and a kiddie costume parade.

Halloween at Great America

October 2018 (undated)

42.6 miles south

Halloween Haunt at Great America features hundreds of monsters, 8 haunted mazes, 5 skeleton key rooms, 5 live shows, and 3 scare zones at California’s Great America in Santa Clara (Fri., Sat., Sun. evenings) for age 13+. Great Pumpkin Fest (weekends) is age 1-12.